Holidays are a big deal around here. And, since I seem to have been appointed the role of lead family party-planner, most holidays are hosted at our house. As the host, I’m usually in charge of menu planning. Of course, there is always input from the fam, usually letting me know what dishes are “must make.” For Easter we host an annual “Munchie Brunchie” (don’t ask me why we call it this—it’s just tradition!). I almost always get carried away with the menu planning, generally to the delight of friends and family. This year my sister and her boyfriend are flying in from LA for the occasion, plus my other sister, her fiancé, my parents, and some dear friends. Sounds like a party to me!!
I always make deviled eggs because people love them. I even have a special deviled egg serving platter. It’s hard to explain, but they seem to vanish as soon as I put them out. This deviled egg recipe is quite lovely looking, and uses whole Greek yogurt instead of mayo. The pickling adds a special touch, but feel free to skip the pickling part if you just want a classic deviled egg.
- Pickled Beet Deviled Eggs from Dishing up the Dirt
On the Side
You can’t go wrong with simple roasted potatoes. Ina is the queen of all roasted vegetables as far as I’m concerned. Just chop, throw in the oven, and enjoy!
- Garlic Roasted Potatoes from Ina Garten
Ham is one of those things that is a must-include on our brunch menu. It’s non-negotiable as far as Andrew and the rest of my family are concerned. I do try to look for a natural one, made without nitrates. I also hold off on any glaze that involves super-processed ingredients like soda. In fact, I often go with no glaze since I have so much else going on. This Riesling and mustard glaze looks darn good, though, so I might have to give it a try. Thinking of substituting prosecco for Riesling since I’ll have plenty it on hand. That can’t be a bad thing.
- Riesling and Mustard Glazed Ham from Bon Appetit
In addition to deviled eggs I generally serve an egg dish, usually a frittata since I can make it ahead of time and serve at room temperature. It’s also nice to have an alternative for people who might not want to eat ham. I’m going to pick one of these two options, though I haven’t decided which yet. The Frittata with Peas, Herbs, and Feta or Parmesan is simple, straightforward, and highlights lovely spring ingredients. You might consider omitting the cheese to simplify even further. The Baked Pancake with Spring Greens also looks fantastic, if not a bit more involved. If it doesn’t make the cut it definitely goes on my short list of weekend recipes to try soon.
- Frittata with Peas, Herbs, and Feta or Parmesan from the New York Times
- Baked Pancake with Spring Greens from Green Kitchen Stories
Simple to prepare, a big salad is a must on the brunch buffet. It cuts through all the rich flavors, adding brightness and color. I try to fill my plate with at least half salad and take smaller portions of everything else. You can’t go wrong with the Avocado and Grapefruit Salad, I make it every year. Serve it on top of a giant bed of arugula to bump up the greens. The Everyone Loves Citrus Salad also looks splendid. Sunshine on a plate!
Perhaps it’s Portland coffee snobbery, but Andrew only makes French press coffee in the mornings. He brews up a big pot or two prior to brunch, and we let people serve themselves. We also always have mimosas or a Bellini bar—it is a holiday after all. I offer sparkling water too, so people can make themselves fruit spritzers.
So far we’re looking pretty good, right? Deviled eggs, roasted potatoes, a little ham, some eggs, a little coffee or tea, and maybe a Bellini. Not bad, all in all. Munchie Brunchie would not be complete, however, without some sweet treats. I will tell you, too, that I have tried making many “alternative” desserts for my family as substitutes for traditional treats. They are happy with the alternatives most of the time, but on holidays they want the real deal. Fine with me, it’s a special occasion, and as long as I’m cooking with real ingredients it’s okay.
I have three desserts in the running as of today. According to Andrew, there is no contest—we must have Ina Garten’s Carrot Cake. It’s his favorite dessert, and since his birthday is coming up, I’m happy to indulge him. I’m still thinking of making either Strawberry Shortcake or the Croissant Bread Pudding also, since I know those are favorites of other guests. We’ll see how early I’m willing to get up to start baking.
If you want something a little lighter, the Bay Leaf Pound Cake or the Maple Huckleberry Pound Cake both look phenomenal. Or, if you’re looking for vegan, gluten free options the Heavenly Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal or the Double Layer Custard with Strawberry Compote certainly can’t be beat. I’ll be making both sometime soon for sure.
- Carrot Cake from Ina Garten
- Croissant Bread Pudding from Ina Garten
- Bay Leaf Pound Cake from 101 Cookbooks
- Maple Huckleberry Pound Cake from 101 Cookbooks
- Heavenly Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal from Oh She Glows
- Double Layer Custard with Strawberry Compote from Nutrition Stripped
I hope you’ll have the opportunity to celebrate spring with your friends and family. Just remember to drink plenty of water to counteract any extra salt, sugar, or alcohol. Wrap up leftover treats and send each guest home with a bag. That way you won’t be tempted to keep indulging for days after the party is over. Most of all, enjoy the special day!!