spring brunch

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did you have a good easter/passover/pagan spring celebration?

good. me too.

i ate too much, but it was glorious. i can't wait to show you the bunny cake. next week!

in the meantime. i offer you this delightful brunch menu.

first, start with mimosas. this might seem self-evident, but it bears repeating. start with mimosas. add a splash of st. germaine if you're feeling fancy.

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we may have started on the mimosas BEFORE the photographing. mmmmm.

second, serve a strata or  savory bread pudding that requires a night in the fridge to get good and settled. (is there a difference between a strata and a bread pudding? is is just all stuffing? gah.) why on earth would you want to wake up early to actually cook something? sanity requires that any party that begins before 3 pm on a sunday be as make-ahead as possible.

this dish is aptly named the "don't hold the anything" bread pudding. it was created for those among us who agonize over the sweet and savory options on the brunch menu. stuffed with sage, sausage and cream cheese, it is an eggy custardy delight of a savory bread pudding, with a sweet sugary crackly crust. let's get a close up.

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douse it in some real maple syrup and you won't be able to stop yourself from seconds.

or thirds.

you did start with the mimosas after all.

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third, don't forget the carbs. these blueberry beauties will hit the spot. never have i made muffins that so looked like the perfect crumb-laden berry-studded image in my brain.

plus? super yummy. brown butter. a tender crumb. sweet enough without being cloying. and lots, LOTS of exploding blueberry goodness. tis the season friends, tis the season.

i am a crazy lady and broke my own rule of baking the morning of to get these on the table because the somm was concerned there wasn't something sweet on the menu. (i mean, wha? challenge ACCEPTED.) 

but my guess is that you can make the batter and stir the blueberries in the morning of, and have them in the oven in just a few minutes.

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the scones? even easier. those can be premade, frozen and reheated with no one the wiser. squeeze a lemon into a bowl of powdered sugar, and you can even give them a quick sweet tart glaze.

i used this recipe because i wanted a nice, light scone to balance the richness of the bread pudding and (turns out) the sweetness of the muffins.

think of these as the dowager countess of scones. traditional in their flaky texture, they are not disguised slices of cake. the flavor is complex, but restrained. i added a strong hit of fresh and candied ginger for spice, and lemon zest for some tart. a little sugar for balance. but they will not send you into a food coma.

plus, you could probably eat them with white gloves. win!

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four, end with fruit salad. this is a purely defensive move on my own part, as i need a bowl of something relatively safe and healthful to pick at while we stretch brunch out, sitting, chatting, sipping mimosas and holding onto every lazy, sunny spring sunday moment.

ahh.

plus, this is the last of citrus season. show off your bad-ass knife skills by supreming the heck out of a bunch of oranges (ooo!  maybe i'll post a how-to for this). i've been on a cara cara kick for their beautiful pink color, but the humble naval oranges lately have been delightfully, drippingly sweet and seductive.

add berries, a squeeze of lemon juice, maybe some mint and sugar. a splash of grand marnier if you're looking to step it up a notch. done.

and yes, that was totally a somm sighting. he stuck around even though things got pretty real in the condo: we were visited by munchkins.

you'll be happy to know manchego survived the encounter. that poor cat has no idea what's in his future.

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Spring Brunch Link Love

Don't Hold the Anything Breakfast Bread Pudding from Food52: I've made this recipe twice now and it is pretty-much no fail. The recipe calls for maple sugar on top, but turbinado sugar worked really well for me.

Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins from Shutterbean: This is also from the Joy the Baker cookbook, which is on my wish list. Just putting that out there, internet gift fairies.

Ginger Lemon Scones from Smitten Kitchen: I may never be able to produce my own recipes because I seem to have a complete adversion to measuring anything. But I think I added a few tablespoons of chopped fresh ginger and a few tablespoons of chopped crystallized ginger.  And the zest of a lemon.  It worked out.

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