Yeah, I know. Brunch isn't dinner. When I was a kid, sometimes my mom would make eggs and bacon for dinner, which always seemed exciting for some reason, but that's not what I'm talking about here.
I'm talking about having people over for brunch instead of dinner. It's a great alternative for lots of reasons, especially cost-wise. A dozen eggs can cheaply feed a lot of people—at least six or more, depending on whether you're making them sunny side up or in a quiche. Don't like eggs? Brunch-y baked goods like pancakes and waffles are equally affordable when made from scratch, although they can be a bit more time-consuming. That's why I'm in the egg and bacon camp.
Still not sold?
--Brunch is inherently more casual. Which can be extra nice for people with kids or people who aren't into cocktail parties.
--There are less courses, meaning less money and clean-up.
--Usually, brunch isn't as much of a time commitment as dinner. A few hours, tops.
--Brunch is a good alternative for a non-drinking crowd, but if your guests are into drinking, you can serve mimosas, bloody marys, or seabreezes.
--You (and your guests) have to wake up early.
--You need to serve coffee. Or tea. Or anything with caffeine. Otherwise you might have a group nap on your hands.
--Brunch doesn't have as much of a dress-up, special occasion feel.
Mainly, though, it's a nice kick-off to the weekend. A homemade morning meal puts everyone in a good mood and then leaves you the rest of your day to do whatever you want.
A few weekends ago, my friend Amanda came over for brunch. We ate eggs, caught up on each other's lives, and then went on our merry, separate ways to the gym. There's something really satisfying about making time for friends without it being a big production. Sure, we could have gone to a restaurant, but it was nicer to linger in the living room rather than being stared down by a hungry line of brunch-goers waiting for a table.
Brunch for Amanda
Mushroom and parmesan frittata
Spicy roasted potatoes
Fruit salad with yogurt and almonds
Mushroom and parmesan frittata
If you don't like mushrooms, you can substitute any type of sauteed greens, tomatoes, or cubed, roasted potatoes. You can also use any other type of cheese.
(Serves 4 to 6 people)
3 tablespoons butter
4 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced (I used criminis, or baby bella mushrooms)
1 Tbsp. thyme
6 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan
pinch of salt and pepper
Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and thyme and sautee until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, cheese, salt, and pepper until combined. Drain any liquid from the mushrooms, patting them dry with a paper towel, if needed. Add the mushrooms to the egg mixture. Pour the mushroom-egg mixture back into the skillet (make sure it is oven-proof) or into a 9-inch ovenproof casserole dish. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the frittata is puffed and golden around the edges and slightly soft in the center. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top. Serve hot or at room temperature.Spicy roasted potatoes
This recipe came together sort of spontaneously--I had potatoes, tomatoes, and an onion in the fridge, all of which went into a roasting pan, creating a spicy, savory version of hash browns.
(serves 4 people)
1 lb. fingerling potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, whole
1 onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
pinch salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place the vegetables in a roasting pan, and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat. Sprinkle on the red pepper flakes, paprika, salt, and pepper and toss to coat. Bake for 15 minutes, then toss the potatoes, and bake for 10-15 minutes more, or until they are browned and soft inside. Add a sprinkle of coarse salt and serve hot.