Spring is finally here. I was so excited by this I decided to host a brunch to celebrate.
My keys to a successful hosted meal
Game plan. Make a list of everything. A list of groceries. A list of guests. A list of tableware. Then the big hour by hour game plan for the day of. This is just an itinerary of the things you need to do before the guests arrive. It keeps you organized and saves your life.
Make it ahead. You will find salvation in this. Make a menu based on things you can make the day before, the morning of or a few hours before. Also, If you are having more than two people over do not try and make an individual piece of meat for everyone. You’ll be in the kitchen forever and never see your guests. And someone’s will be cold.
Have a sous chef. Anytime I’ve decided I’m going to cook and plate it all alone I end up very stressed out. If you’re having more than a few people or a lot of food ask a friend to come over a few hours before. It is a god sent.
When I decide to host, I am usually inspired by one thing I want to have on my menu. The candied bacon I made weeks ago was so good I had to share it. Next, I decided how many people I want to invite. I decided on five. I am the sixth. I like a good round number. Two ended up canceling. I took the hit and we end up at four. Still a round number! Then, I chose what else to have based on what’s easiest to make for a group and what would go with the candied bacon.
April Bloomfield’s English Porridge. I used the recipe from Food52. Which is my favorite website. I put out mix-ins which are pictured above on the table as well as in the bowl.
Asparagus, Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche. This was just for my deep love of goat cheese.
Apple, Fennel and Arugula Salad. Wildflower Honey and Red Navel Orange Vinaigrette. Oranges were a big note through this whole brunch. I wanted it to be light and crisp because of the richness of its three counterparts. It was. (If anyone is interested in this recipe, let me know below)
Toast “a la Sqirl”. Brioche, Ricotta, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. When I went to California in December I went to a café in LA called “Sqirl”. They made this, I fell in love. This is their actual jam. I found it in a pop up shop near me and took it as a sign I needed to make this.
Smokey Candied Bacon. My first post on this blog was making this. Still did not disappoint. Swoon inducing.
Blood Orange and Red Navel Mimosas. Prosecco, Muddled Mint. Fresh squeezed orange juice is an amazing luxury. Squeezing fifteen oranges at 10pm at night is not. But this mimosa was worth it.
Fresh Ice Water. Lemon juice. I guess I have to hydrate my guests?
The brunch was a success even though the morning started off not so well. First, my bread did not rise. I don’t know what happened but it all lead to a grocery store run thirty minutes before guests arrived. I had to laugh that one off. I thought “What would Julia Child say?”. Two of my invited guests cancelled at the last minute. “What would Julia say?” Probably, “more food for us!” Which is what I did say. I mistakenly didn’t use one of my rules for this brunch. I made a menu that was not that “make it ahead” accessible. Rookie mistake. I ended up being in the kitchen too much during the brunch which I hate. But I always learn. All that aside, we ate a lot, and had fun and who the hell cares if my bread didn’t rise. (I will know now to have extra loaf on hand!)
I hope this inspires a spring meal in your life and you can learn by my mistakes. Also, have a sous chef that is also a photographer, like I did. She took all the photos shown. Check out her work.