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Nov. 20, 2018 #91-324 PB1
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You had me at brunch

by Kate Williams | Southern Kitchen

The stockings have been unstuffed and the presents have been unwrapped. It’s mid-morning on Christmas Day and everyone’s stomachs are grumbling. Your family is clamoring for brunch, but no one has any desire to slog away in the kitchen after a busy holiday morning. Don’t fret — with a little planning and some smart shopping, you don’t have to.

Christmas brunch (or New Year’s, or any festive occasion) is the perfect time to flex your make-ahead muscles. And even if you forgot to assemble a breakfast casserole ahead of time, we have the quick and easy recipes for you to throw together day-of.

We’d recommend picking at least one make-ahead dish to make your morning run as smoothly as possible.

THE MENU

Make-ahead options

Pecan Bread Pudding French Toast: For our festive, make-ahead version, we up the indulgence by a factor of three with a rich, brioche bread pudding base, a creamy soak and a whipped cream topping. Make the bread pudding at least a day in advance so it’ll firm up and become sliceable in the fridge. Day of, simply slice, soak and fry in butter.

Patatas bravas: The Spanish dish’s name roughly translates to “angry potatoes,” and we consider our version to be even more perturbed with its extra dose of spice. You can bake the potatoes up to two days ahead of time and quickly re-crisp them in a skillet or the oven, and the sauce can be whisked together as early ahead of time as you need. Toss and serve. Last-minute options

Bacon Cheddar Drop Biscuits: Quick and easy to prepare, these onebowl drop biscuits make for an indulgent brunch treat. Extra fat, in the form of sour cream and vegetable oil, ensure totally tender biscuits, and the use of selfrising flour elimates extra ingredients. Even better: A one-two punch of bacon and cheddar cheese makes these biscuits totally unforgetable.

Country Ham and Broccoli Frittata: Think of a frittata as a crustless quiche, or an omelet without any pressure of the ever-treacherous flip. It’s a great one-pan wonder that can easily feed a small group, and can be a perfect outlet for any cooked meats or vegetables you may already have in your refrigerator. The only special equipment you’ll need is a large nonstick skillet, and the frittata only needs 20 minutes to cook. Serve the frittata directly on the cutting board to eliminate another dish to wash.

Pecan Bread Pudding French Toast

Serves: 6
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 2 hours

For the bread pudding:

• 2 cups half and half

 • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan

• 1/2 cup sugar

• 4 large eggs, whole

• 4 large egg yolks

• 1 tablespoon vanilla

• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

 • 6 croissants or brioche buns, torn into 1-inch pieces

For the French toast:

• 1 cup half and half

• 4 large eggs

• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

• 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans, for serving

• Maple syrup, for serving

• Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

To make the bread pudding: Heat the oven to 225 degrees. Butter a loaf pan. In a medium saucepan, heat the half and half and butter over medium heat until gently simmering. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs and yolks, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. When the half and half mixture has come to a simmer, slowly whisk it into the egg mixture.
Add the bread and let soak until the bread is almost completely saturated, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes.

Let cool at room temperature for 45 minutes, then refrigerate overnight or until completely chilled.

To make the French toast:

Slice the chilled bread pudding into slabs 4 inches long and 1/2-inch thick. In a medium bowl, whisk together the half and half, eggs and cinnamon. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Coat each slab of bread pudding in the custard mixture then, when the butter is foamy, place in the skillet in batches, without crowding the pan. Cook until softened, browned and heated throughout, about 4 minutes on each side. Repeat with the remaining slabs of bread pudding.

To serve, top the French toast with pecans and drizzle with maple syrup. Serve whipped cream on the side, if desired.

Bacon Cheddar Drop Biscuits

Serves: 12
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

• 2 cups self-rising flour

• 1 tablespoon sugar

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• 2/3 cup buttermilk

• 2/3 cup sour cream

• 1/4 cup vegetable oil

• 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

• 1/4 cup cooked chopped bacon

• 3 tablespoons chopped scallions

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Spray a baking sheet generously with nonstick oil spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Whisk in the buttermilk, sour cream and oil. Fold in the cheese, bacon and scallions. Use a large spoon to drop spoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between each biscuit.

Bake until risen and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Patatas Bravas

Serves: 6
Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

• 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized pieces

• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 3/4 cup mayonnaise

• 1 tablespoon tomato paste

• 1 tablespoon smoked paprika

• 1 tablespoon sambal or Sriracha sauce

• 1 clove garlic, finely minced

• Juice of 1/2 lemon

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, tossing halfway through, until browned and crisp, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a second large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, tomato paste, paprika, sambal, garlic and lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Once the potatoes are crisp, transfer to the mixing bowl with the sauce.

Toss to coat thoroughly. Serve hot

Run Rudolph Run Cocktail
Serves: 6
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

• 1 cup water

• 1 cup sugar

• 2 pods star anise

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/4 cup cranberries

• Angostura bitters

• 1 bottle chilled sparkling wine, such as prosecco, cava or Champagne

In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, star anise and salt, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. While the syrup is heating, use the tip of a paring knife to pierce the center of each cranberry. Add the cranberries to the syrup mixture, reduce the heat to low, and gently poach until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer the syrup mixture to a medium bowl and refrigerate until cold. Place four cranberries in the bottom of each Champagne flute, along with a bar spoon of the syrup. Add three dashes of bitters to each flute, then top with sparkling wine. Serve.

Country Ham and Broccoli Frittata

Serves: 4 to 6
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes

• 8 large eggs

• 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

• 1/2 cup diced country ham

• 1 cup cooked broccoli florets, cut into small pieces

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cheeses, salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the country ham and broccoli, and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add the egg mixture to the pan and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the bottom and sides have just set, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the oven and bake until the center has set and the frittata has turned a light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

Flip the frittata out onto a cutting board, cut into equal wedges and serve immediately.

Vesper-Style Mimosas

Serves: 2
Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes

• 4 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice

• 1 1/2 ounces London dry gin

• 1/2 ounce vodka • 1/2 ounce Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano

• Ice cubes

• 6 ounces Champagne or other sparkling wine

In a cocktail shaker, combine the orange juice, gin, vodka and Lillet Blanc. Fill with ice and shake until cold. Strain into two Champagne flutes and top with Champagne

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