Everybody eats: Brunch is a good reason to love Sundays
I was flipping through a book of writing prompts and came across this question: What is your favorite day of the week? Underneath that was the follow-up inquiry: What is your least favorite day of the week?
I assume most people would name Friday their favorite and Monday their least favorite, answers that are a day off from mine. Thursday is my favorite day of the week and Sunday my least liked. I prefer Thursday over Friday because the weekend has yet to start, and the anticipation of what could happen is still fresh. I dislike Sunday because it signals the end of the weekend and I usually have a moment of panic over all the things I meant to do in the past 48 hours, but didn’t.
I’ve been known to start large projects late Sunday afternoon/early evening in an attempt to show some level of productivity before the start of another week. It’s a terrible habit, as I usually stay up later than I should to finish it.
I didn’t always dislike Sundays. I think my aversion began in college, when it became a travel day after a weekend away. There was always a rush to do laundry and clean my apartment, or catch up on reading and other assignments. When I was younger, I loved Sundays. The reason for this adoration?
Breakfast was never a big production at my house. With six kids, there wasn’t enough time to make everyone a hot meal. We subsided on cold cereal or toast; simple things we could fix ourselves. But on Sundays, after church, we often went to brunch.
It was amazing.
A long table of silver serving dishes held scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage, hashbrowns or some other form of breakfast potatoes. Sometimes there was a person in a chef’s hat at the end of the line, with a large carving knife poised above roast beef or ham, ready to slice a serving at your request. Maybe there was an omelet station or an oatmeal bar, with small bowls of topping choices that made the cooked grains look more appealing than they ever did at home.
But my favorite table, both then and now, held the breakfast pasties. Cinnamon rolls. Sweet breads. Doughnuts. Muffins. Bagels. Even the toast looked appetizing because there were spreads besides butter or grape jelly to sample. If I could, I’d only visit the pastry table and call it good. Sure, I’d be in a sugar-induced frenzy the rest of the day, but imagine how productive I’d be? Unfortunately, my parents intervened, and I was limited to one visit — and only after I ate some eggs or something on the lower end of the food pyramid.
My love for brunch has not subsided over the years. I look forward to holidays because it’s they’re an opportunity to break out the cookbooks and try recipes that otherwise go ignored in the rush to get out the door every other morning of the year.
A friend of mine called Easter “the brunchiest of all holidays.” I think of it more as the kickoff to brunch season. There’s Mother’s Day next month, followed by graduation open houses, Memorial Day gatherings, wedding showers, baby showers, Father’s Day … The list goes on and on, and when it stops, I’ll come up with my own excuse to break out of the morning norm.
1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell
6 slices bacon, chopped
½ cup chopped onion
1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
1 can (12 fluid ounces) evaporated milk
3 large eggs, well beaten
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat. When bacon starts to turn brown, add onion. Cook until bacon is crisp; drain. Sprinkle cheese into bottom of pie shell. Top with bacon mixture. Combine evaporated milk, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a small bowl until blended. Pour into pie shell.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes on wire rack before serving.
Makes 8 servings.
Source: “Nestle Year-Round Recipes: 365 Sensational Dishes for Every Season” by Nestle Editors (Publications International, Ltd.; January 2012)
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
½ cup 2% milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Dash of salt
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (Note: If using frozen blueberries, use without thawing to avoid discoloring the batter.)
1½ cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon butter, melted
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk, lemon juice and peel. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture until just moistened. Fold in blueberries.
Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing pan to a wire rack.
In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, butter and vanilla; drizzle over warm muffins.
Makes 11 muffins.
POPPY SEED FRUIT SALAD
¼ cup honey
¼ cup frozen (thawed) limeade concentrate
2 teaspoons poppy seed
1 cup strawberries, cut in half
1 cup cubed pineapple
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup cubed watermelon
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted, if desired
Mix honey, limeade concentrate and poppy seed in a medium bowl.
Carefully toss fruit with honey mixture. Sprinkle with almonds.
Source: “Betty Crocker Celebrate!: A Year-Round Guide to Holiday Food and Fun” by Betty Crocker Editors (General Mills, Inc.; August 2004)
SPICED ICED COFFEE
4½ cups freshly brewed hot coffee
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
4 strips orange zest about 3 inches long, 1 inch wide
Ice for serving
Milk or half-and-half for serving
In a heatproof bowl or large, heatproof pitcher, combine the coffee, sugar and cocoa powder. Stir thoroughly to dissolve the sugar and cocoa. Add the cinnamon stick and cloves. Twist each piece of orange zest to release essential oils, then add to the hot liquid. Let the coffee stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to infuse the flavors.
Pour the coffee mixture through a sieve to remove the spices and zest, then cover and refrigerate until very cold, about 2 hours.
To serve, fill chilled tumblers with ice cubes. Stir the coffee mixture, then pour over the ice until the glasses are ¾ full. Fill the glasses the rest of the way with milk and stir well with a long-handled spoon. Serve right away.
Source: “Brunch: Recipes for Cozy Weekend Mornings” by Georgeanne Brennan (FIRESIDE; February 2008)