… and not tear your hair out.
Hosting friends for a weekend brunch can be a glorious, stress free affair if you plan ahead. Jonathan and I love brunching. Most weekends we can be found strolling around Fillmore street or the Mission plotting out the where and when of our next brunch meal. But brunching in restaurants can suck. I mean, yes, the food is often delicious, but the worst kept secrets aren’t even secrets anymore. Waits are long, service is pleasant, but highly efficient, and most unnerving of all, there are those people, you know them, just staring you down, waiting for you to get out of their seat!
It was under the duress of some hipster’s evil eye that I pondered, “what if we just made our own brunch”? I have two thumbs, a stove and some rudimentary knowledge of cooking. Surely we can throw a relaxing, mimosa-laden brunch for our friends and spend hours lazing around in the comfort of our own home!
Brunch: Take One (how to fail at making brunch for your friends, pull your hair out and do a crazy dance)
The first time we attempted to make brunch for a few of our friends, the kitchen looked like it had been hit with a food hurricane. We were making deviled eggs! french toast! to order egg sandwiches! bacon! MORE EGGS! Don’t get me wrong, the food was delicious, but it was exhausting. This was not the relaxing brunch I wanted.
Brunch: Take Two (how to make brunch a total delight!)
As we learned during our first attempt at brunch, planning is important. In fact, planning and preparing food ahead is the secret to a perfect brunch. By the time your friends come over, you want to be done with the bulk of the cooking so that you can enjoy the meal along with them.
Starting with the menu, have your main items be prepped the night before, so the morning of, you just need to throw them in the oven. Keep simple dishes, such as fresh cut fruit or a cheese plate to the morning.
Here’s our take on a perfect brunch menu, with instructions on how to execute this flawlessly for your next brunch affair:
The Perfect San Francisco Brunch
Overnight Cinnamon Buns
Cheese and Chili Egg Casserole
Locally harvested veggie roast
Lox and Bagels
Overnight cinnamon buns — cinnamon buns made from scratch take time to make. The dough will need to rise three times before they hit the oven. So to make this easy on yourself, simply start the night before and roll you pre-cooked cinnamon buns up, throw them in the fridge and pull them out an hour before you start baking them. I guarantee, this will be so worth it! Breaking up cinnamon buns into two steps: make and bake, makes this an incredibly easy treat to prepare.
Recipe Recommendation: Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Buns
Cheese and Chili Egg Casserole – Casseroles are awesome. They are universally loved, taste delicious and are dead simple to prepare. Get all your ingredients in a baking pan the night before. Pull it out a couple hours before you’re ready to bake it and you’ll be good to go.
Recipe Recommendation: Nick Jonas’s Chili Cheese Egg Casserole
Locally harvested veggie roast — We are extremely fortunate to live in a state where locally grown fruits and vegetables are easy to find. If that’s not the case for you, check what’s in season and give that a shot. This is so simple to make, you can easily prep it the morning of. Simply throw your veggies in a pan, add a generous drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and include a couple sprigs of rosemary. Don’t worry about the cooking temp. Just throw it in while your other dishes are cooking in the oven. It’ll be done in about an hour.
Lox and Bagels– Your grocer is your friend! Pick a few different varieties of bagels, include some cream cheese, lox, lemon and capers on a side dish and have your friends make their own when they arrive. This is a starter dish to serve while other items might still be in the oven.
Fruit Salad– Go with whatever is fresh and looks ripe. I love to do a mix of orange slices and strawberries. Add two pinches of cardamom and a splash of triple sec. Your guests won’t know what hit them.
Mimosas– What would brunch be without a cocktail? Involve your guests and ask them to bring the OJ and champagne supplies. Combine in your favorite glasses and enjoy!
Logistics for the day of your brunch
Simply pull all your overnight dishes out of the fridge a couple hours before.
An hour before everyone shows up, turn on the oven. Prep your fruit salad. Toss your veggies in a pan.
Thirty minutes before, put your casserole in the oven along with the veggies. Start slicing your bagels and preparing your lox on a plate with all the fixings.
Zero minutes before, take out your casserole and let it cool and firm up for twenty minutes. With your veggies still in the oven, put in your cinnamon rolls for 30 minutes. Serve lox bagels, fruit salad and mimos in the meantime.
Take your veggies out when the cinnamon rolls are done. Serve up your eggs, veggies and cinnamon rolls. Watch as your guests eyes roll to the back of their heads as they fall into food ecstasy.