One of my favorite ways to relax on the weekend is over brunch with good friends. I love checking out new brunch spots and going to the usual favorites too. I usually have a hard time deciding between eggy, savory dishes and sweet things that I never make at home like French toast. I never have a hard time deciding on a mimosa 😉
In the interest of not having to make a reservation, saving a buck or two, and an excuse to use my new copper chargers from Crate and Barrel, I had two of my favorite ladies and their respective husbands/boyfriends over for brunch this weekend. It was super casual, but I did put more thought than usual into the food I chose. My favorite element of brunch is the lingering, taking our time and doing a little more talking than eating. I hadn’t seen some of these friends in a bit and I wanted us to have all the time we needed to catch up!
Before anyone arrived, I prepped the two plated meals — I sliced the grapefruits in half, separating the segments from outside peel and the thin membranes. I mixed the cinnamon and brown sugar. I chopped and diced the jalapenos, garlic, and onions for the shakshuka, and I hand crushed the tomatoes (apron on! I’ve learned that one the hard way 😉 )
I had a mimosa bar and cheese board set out when people arrived. This particular cheese plate might be my favorite ever: smoked cheddar, jarlsburg, and brie, accompanied by blood orange and sumo orange wedges, medjool dates, and my FAVE rosemary-raisin crackers from Raincoat Crisps. (I find them at Whole Foods but they’re also carried at Dean & Deluca. Trader Joe’s also has their own version of this cracker. It’s totally worth picking up.) With the cheese plate, we also had Smitten Kitchen’s banana bread, and Steve’s own blueberry buttermilk muffins. Great spread for snacking and catching up.
After everyone had caught up for a bit, I got started with the grapefruits. These were super easy, and a great thing to make while still engaged in conversation. I just spooned the cinnamon-brown sugar mixture over each grapefruit on a baking sheet. I then put them under the broiler on high for about 4-5 minutes, and easy peasy, ready to serve!
Once we’d all finished, I snuck back over to the kitchen to finish the shakshuka. Everyone was still seated, which was perfect – no one in my way 🙂 And with our open floor plan, I didn’t miss a thing! Since I’d prepped everything in advance it was easy to get the main course out in a snap. I tossed all of the chopped aromatics into a heavy stainless steel pan, sauteed until fragrant, then added the crushed tomatoes and a little water to simmer. When thickened, I dropped in six eggs and covered with a lid for about 5 minutes.
The timing of this meal was important to me, because I wanted to be able to enjoy and relax with everyone else, but I didn’t want to have the meal on the table the second everyone arrived. I’d highly recommend throwing a grapefruit course into your next brunch at home – it was a (delicious) lifesaver!
And don’t forget to have plenty of champagne & coffee on hand. These things are the lifeblood of any good brunch. Enjoy!
- For the cheese board, use whatever you like that is seasonal and incorporates brunch flavors. For me, a charcuterie plate felt a little heavy to start, but citrus and fruit felt just right!
- Banana Bread recipe found here
- Broiled grapefruit is super easy and needs no recipe. Mix brown sugar with a few dashes of cinnamon. Slice and segment the grapefruit. Coat the top with the sugar mix and broil on high for 4-5 minutes, keeping an eye on it since every oven is different!
- Shakshuka recipe found here