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Two Low-Cook Brunches

Ah, brunch.  Whether it’s with one friend or with a whole crew of people you met the night before, gathering for a late, weekend breakfast at your place should feel effortless.  Except your life isn’t a Pottery Barn mailer.  So, because we like you so much, we’ve cooked up two different low-cook versions of the weekend classic in enough time for you to pull them off this Saturday or Sunday – in the real world.

Breakfast in Paris

For a fancy affair that doesn’t find you slaving over the stove, recreate morning at a Parisian cafe, resplendent with dappled sunshine.  Take time to set the scene the day before: iron a white tablecloth, make and post a menu and tags for each item you’ll serve (use your high school French or a good online dictionary), and set the table with pretty, classic dishes.

Excellent news: traditional, French breakfast fare is sweet and carb-based!  Serve “tartines” of baguettes and strawberry jam (make absolutely sure to buy the [not-sourdough] baguettes the day of the brunch, or they will be tough), croissants, and brioches, accompanied by decadent chocolat to drink; the French version of hot chocolate is made with whole milk and sipped tepid from deep, round bowls.  And, although mimosas aren’t French, they could supplement your chocolat for another beverage choice.  Glass-bottled water is a good choice, too; Evian, Perrier, and Vittel are popular.

You’ll be able to “buy and serve” a lot of the menu, but if you feel you need to supplement the standard treats with something more hearty, remember that a French theme calls for rich recipes in smaller portions, which will still mean less cooking overall.  Croque monsieur and madame sandwiches with ham, cheese, and egg are quick, authentic, and tasty.  Plus, they can be served at room temp.  To serve, place items on cake stands or on any silver trays or servers you may have oxidizing in the closet.

As always, don’t forget the soundscape!  Grab a compilation off an end cap at Target (you know, the one by the candle aisle), and layer with street sound effects for maximum oh la la.

Casual Comfort

If fancy isn’t your thing, you’re still in luck.  Sometimes, especially after a big night, guests can love a laid back, self-serve kind of morning.  A downhome brunch that lets people relax is easy for you, too.  Issue a verbal invitation and encourage friends to arrive wearing whatever’s comfortable  - whenever they wake up.

For food and drink, keep it simple.  You can minimize your kitchen time by pre-making pancakes (they re-heat in the oven on warm) and going big on the no-cook items.  Set up a fabulous pancake toppings bar with applesauce, jam, Nutella, powdered sugar, marmalade, fresh berries, and three or four different syrups.  Do the same for juices (frozen juices are inexpensive and now come in a zillion varieties) and coffees.  Keep it real with earthenware dishes, pitchers, and platters.

To emphasize the brunch’s casual vibe, use the table as a buffet.  Stack plates, flatware, glasses, and napkins at one end, and arrange food and drinks at the other.  Finish with a giant bouquet of fresh flowers, and eat in the living room, where you’ll pile up a variety of newspapers, magazines, and catalogues for people to page through while they munch and sip. Finally, create a music playlist that features folk, bluegrass, and acoustic versions of your modern favorites to take you from morning to afternoon.

Want to make your next brunch a big one?  Consider brunching as a followup to late-night celebrating.  The morning after someone else’s wedding, New Year’s Eve party or weekend Halloween party, host the after- after-party and make it better than the original.

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2 Responses to “Two Low-Cook Brunches”

  1. I love breakfast parties! A friend of mine is throwing a crepe breakfast this weekend and I’m so excited!

  2. dont forget the quick carry breakfast sitting by a lake or pool if you are lucky enough to be close to one.

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