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Easy as Pie: Recipe for a Simple Spring Brunch

Don’t you love the feeling of getting something “in the bag.” Finding that perfect shade of pink polish or ruby red lipstick that you’ll wear forever. The lasagna or salad dressing that can’t possibly get better. Or even a cozy vacation spot your family looks forward to every year. If variety is the spice or life, tradition is a cozy cup of tea. And while there are many situations where I like to spice things up a bit, when it comes to entertaining, I’d rather rely on tried and true recipes. That is why over the years I have fine-tuned a handful of entertaining menus I use over and over again. So, with Spring in the air and bridal shower season on the horizon, I thought I’d share my go-to Ladies Brunch menu, that is elegant, yet super simple…

Photo by Marla Smith

Main Course: Quiche  

Other than being delicious, what makes quiche an all-star entertaining dish is that it tastes best a room temperature, eliminating the headache of a pulling off a perfectly-time main course. I’ve noticed over that years that you never quite know when it’s going to feel like the right time to eat until a party is in full swing (although light nibbles and drinks should be available from the start), so a main without a fussy finish time is always ideal.

Photo by Marla Smith

If quiche sounds intimidating, because let’s be honest, what classic French dish doesn’t, let me share my easy formula for pulling this off:

  1. Start with a two beautiful 9-inch pie dishes, then line with store-bought crusts (no one needs to know). Don’t forget to defrost these in the fridge overnight.
  2. Make the egg base. This incredibly easy recipe is my absolute favorite. I typically double the base recipe and make one quiche with spinach and Swiss cheese (a great vegetarian option), and a second pie swapping diced ham and cheddar in for the spinach/Swiss combo. The only issues that have come up for me when making quiche is that they can be a little awkward for guests to cut, and by the time the egg mixture is fully cooked the crust is often burned.
    To skirt these issues, I’ve picked up a pie cutter and crust shields , which now ensures a perfect slice. Quiche is a rich and hearty dish, so I plan for 2 slices per person. One 9-inch pie typically results in 8 slices.

Sides: Seasonal Salads  

My go-to side dishes taste fresh and modern and are incredibly easy to make. Their complimentary herbaceous ingredients result in a bright, Spring-forward flavors.

  1. Herby-Mixed Greens. Start with a large, pre-washed box of mixed greens. Next, finely chop a generous handful of your favorite fresh herbs. I like parsley, dill, basil, and thyme leaves, and tend to avoid rosemary, cilantro, and oregano as they are often too intense for such a light salad. Mix together in a large bowl (I use an old-fashioned glass punch bowl that are easy to find second-hand) and keep chilled until party time. Right before serving, dress with a bright lemony vinaigrette.
  2. Fruit Salad with Mint Sugar. Wash, dry, and slice up a variety of your favorite fruits. Blueberries and raspberries are great added to the mix since they require no cutting! If using apples, brush with lemon juice to avoid browning. I tend to skip bananas as they turn brown and mushy quickly. Next, and this is the simple step that makes this salad heavenly, pulse together granulated sugar and chopped mint in a food processor until very finely ground. I always eyeball this but if you want a little extra minty-sugar to rim your evening mojito, I recommend a ratio of 1 cup of sugar to a half cup chopped mint. In a large mixing bowl, gently fold mint sugar into fruit salad, a little at a time, tasting until you’ve got it just right.

Beverages

I recommend having a drinks station that is a slightly different location than food to help spread guests out during an event. A good host or hostess should always get their guest’s first beverage, then encourage them to help themselves thereafter. When hosting a Ladies brunch, I provide the following three beverage options:

  1. Iced Coffee. Depending on the size of the crowd I either put this in a pitcher or large carafe. I start with cold brew, and then for a little luxury add in a splash of condensed milk, half-and-half, or Irish cream to taste, and of course plenty of ice. Head over to our Delicious Cold Brew recipe for specifics.
  2. Mineral Water. Go for the large glass or individual bottles. Perrier or San Pellegrino taste great and give a stylish, high end vibe to your drinks table.
  3. Mimosa Bar. I have a stash of pretty glass carafes that I fill with various juices. Try to find carafes with lids so you can decant juices ahead of time and easily store in the fridge until party time. The ones below are actually recycled cider bottles that have Etsy instant download labels hot glued on. Then just put some bubbly on ice and guests can serve themselves.
Photo by Marla Smith

Desserts

This time of year, it’s great to opt for something fruity and a bit more light:

  1. Pie. Playing on the pie theme, I often add a sweet pie to the mix and serve it alongside the savory quiches. Dessert pies usually cook at a slightly deferent temperature than quiche, so I bake them first and let them set at room temperature while the quiches have their turn. Similar to the quiche, use a beautiful dish and a store-bought crust, then find a recipe for a seasonal fruit-based filling. It’s fun to have another open-faced pie here to compliment the quiche, so I often choose a recipe for blueberry or strawberry pie, and in a pinch store-bought cherry pie filling is always an old-fashioned crowd pleaser.
  2. Berries and Cream. Simple and Delicious. Serve in pretty glass compote bowls and instantly beautiful.
  3. Guest’s Choice. If I’m feeling crunched for time, I will outsource dessert to my guests, asking them to bring bakery treats that I add to a pretty tiered tray.

That’s it! A simple elegant brunch that your lady friends will love, and you will return to again and again. Cheers!

Photo by Angela Carlyle

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