Simple Sunday Brunch in Under an Hour
Spring is here, and that means it is Brunch Season. What exactly is brunch, and when is it eaten? In an episode of The Simpsons (“Life on the Fast Lane,” which first aired on March 18, 1990) the handsome French bowling instructor Jacques gives his (French) impression of American brunch to Marge: “It’s not quite breakfast, it’s not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end. You don’t get completely what you get at breakfast, but you get a good meal.” Typically served between 10 am and 2 pm and consisting of items normally found at breakfast and lunch, brunch is normally served only on Sundays, when people rise later and have more leisure time. We have come to think of brunch as a restaurant event, a more formal and expensive affair than breakfast. Why not serve your family a homemade brunch every once in a while, saving the time that it takes to go to a restaurant to sleep in and the expense of a restaurant bill to do some fun activity later in the day? Brunch can be extravagant and special while remaining simple and easy to prepare. If you do a little planning ahead, Sunday brunch can be just as enjoyable for the preparer as for the people enjoying it. Here I have included The Menu, a game plan to make Sunday morning a breeze, and two recipes. To make things extra special, serve the brunch in three courses. There are infinite variations to this menu. The key is to plan ahead, and do a little job each day so that you are not starting from scratch on Sunday morning.
Fresh Strawberry Juice Cocktail
Biscuits and Jam
The Main Course
Spanish Tortilla with Alfredo and Sliced Fresh Tomatoes
A Sweet Ending
Chocolate Walnut Tart
Thursday: Shop for ingredients. Purchase a dessert, preferably with chocolate, from the supermarket’s frozen or bakery departments. Tarts, dessert bars, decadent cookies, or dense cakes work well. The sausages can be any readily-available pre-cooked sausages that appeal to you, such as chicken-apple. Make sure the package indicates that they have already been fully cooked. Then all you have to do is simmer or fry them. Buy the best prepared alfredo sauce you can find, in a jar or refrigerated.
Friday: Make the biscuits and freeze. (recipe follows)
Saturday: Make the Strawberry cocktail. Simply puree fresh strawberries in a blender with lemon juice and sugar to taste. For extra interest, add a little mint, red wine, vodka, or even black pepper. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Cook tortilla. (recipe follows).
Sunday: Bake biscuits, reheat tortilla, and fry sausages. Enjoy your family.
- 1 lb. all purpose flour
- 1 oz. sugar
- 1 oz. baking powder
- 2 t. salt
- 6 oz. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 c. whole milk
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pulse to combine, then add butter. Continue to pulse until butter is the size of peas. Add milk and process briefly until dough just comes together. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 2-3 times. Pat the dough into a 3/4 inch thick disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour. Unwrap and cut into circles using a cookie cutter or glass. At this point the biscuits can be baked or wrapped individually in plastic wrap and frozen. They can be baked directly from the frozen state. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for a couple minutes, then split and spread with butter and jam.
- 6 medium red or golden potatoes, diced with skins on
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1teaspoon salt
- 1/2 t. pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 7 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- Mix the potatoes and onions with half the salt and the black pepper. In a large non-stick pan, heat half the oil over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the potato/onion mixture and cover the pan. Turn the heat to medium-low. Cook for several minutes, then uncover and gently stir. Continue to cook until the onions are soft and translucent and the potatoes are soft. Generally, the potatoes are not browned, but you may brown them on a higher heat if desired. While the potatoes are cooking, whisk the eggs, milk, and remaining salt. When the potatoes are done, drain briefly in a strainer to remove excess oil, and then add the hot potatoes gradually to the egg mixture. Wipe out the pan and add the remaining oil. Heat the oil for a couple of minutes over medium heat, and then add the egg/potato mixture. Turn heat to low, cover, and cook until the tortilla has set. Invert a plate on top of the pan and turn out the tortilla onto the plate. The underside should be golden brown. Slide the tortilla back into the pan and continue to cook until completely set. Slide the tortilla onto a parchment-lined plate or sheet pan. After a few minutes of cooling, the tortilla can be cut into slices or squares and served, or you can refrigerate at this point. The tortilla can be eaten cold or reheated in a 375 degree oven until warmed through. If served hot, try topping with a little alfredo sauce. Sliced fresh tomatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil or a salad make great accompaniments.