It’s early morning and the sun is shining! You’ve got the whole day ahead of you and, of course, you want to make it memorable. Enter brunch.
Because it’s early in the day, most of your guests will have the time slot free, and they’re sure to appreciate a hearty meal to keep them going throughout the day. Best of all, you can plan ahead to serve food that only looks difficult. The best brunch dishes are easy to prepare in advance, so you can enjoy the party just like everyone else. With a few carefully considered decorations and recipes, your brunch is sure to make you look like the Martha Stewart of your inner circle. Here’s how to get started:
Planning Your Brunch Menu
Because brunch is typically a late morning meal, it spans the gap between breakfast and lunch. Typically, brunch buffets offer a spread of sweet pastries and savory dishes. This helps cover all the bases and please those hoping for a breakfast as well as guests who came with an appetite for heartier fare. Choose at least one recipe from the following categories for a well-rounded menu that guarantees to please all parties – and their palates, too.
Coffee is a brunch must. It’s cheaper than you might expect to invest in a large urn to avoid having to make a fresh pot every 15 minutes. It’s also easy to keep a kettle or urn of hot water available for tea; a table stocked with tea bags, sugar, honey, cream, and other accoutrements will keep everyone happy. It’s also typical to offer a festive drink: A Mimosa punch is easy to make and allows guests to serve themselves. For another fun option, set up a Bloody Mary Bar. Offer a variety of garnish choices (think celery stalks, olives, Sriracha, pearl onions and crispy bacon) and let your guests build their own.
Instead of worrying about flipping pancakes or repeatedly refilling a waffle iron, choose a decadent selection of pastries from a local bakery and arrange them artfully on a platter. Great choices include lemon bars, chocolate croissants, and miniature fruit tarts. If children will be in attendance, donut holes of various flavors are sure to be a hit. It’s also a good idea to have some plain popovers, buttermilk biscuits, and a selection of jams available. For an extra pop of color and healthier option, include a bountiful fresh fruit platter.
Egg dishes are great choices for brunch, and when you can prepare them in advance, you’re ahead of the game. A quiche is a classic choice, but you can defy expectations by making a much easier frittata. These are like crust-less quiches, so they’re quick to make and can be served at room temperature. A tomato, scallion, and cheddar frittata is a classic choice, but ham, bacon, onions, asparagus, and broccoli also make excellent fillings. Make several ahead of time with different fillings, and guests can try a slice of each.
Setting the Table
To encourage your guests to mingle and chat, a brunch buffet is usually the best solution — and you’ll get to spend more time socializing and less time serving. Place salad plates, napkins, and utensils on both ends of a large buffet table for easier access. Savory dishes can be placed in the middle of the table, flanked by a platter of pastries and a platter of fresh fruit. If space allows, set up a beverage bar on a smaller table nearby to keep traffic flowing and to allow for easy refills throughout the event. If the weather is warm enough, set up some tables and chairs in your backyard, too. Your guests will loving having the option to sit outdoors in between going back and forth for seconds!
Decorating for Brunch
The only decor you need for a classic spring brunch? Fresh flowers. A simple way to create an ultra-lush buffet table is to purchase inexpensive grocery store bouquets in coordinating colors. Add a shabby-chic touch by dividing the flowers into pint-sized mason jars. Be sure to cut the stems so the flowers fit well. Make one flower jar per guest and place them along your buffet and beverage tables. When brunch is finished, you’ll be able to send friends and family home with a lovely favor that will brighten their homes.
Choosing simple ingredients and elegant decorations makes putting together the perfect brunch a breeze. By preparing everything ahead of time, you’ll be able to leave the kitchen and join the party. After all, spending time with the people you care about is the very best part of hosting a special brunch.