Some folks go to church on Sundays, I go to brunch. I worship everything about the wonderful late-morning combination of breakfast and lunch: the egg dishes, the seafood, the freshness and spirit of it all.
Indeed, the experience is more than just a couple of eggs and toast — it’s an event. Brunch is an opportunity to get together with friends and family and enjoy life in the desert during this beautiful time of year.
Every Easter, our neighborhood hosts an egg hunt and brunch, which has mushroomed to include a dozen families and more than 50 people. It’s fun to have all the kids hunt for eggs and prizes, but the subsequent brunch is what I look forward to. Everyone brings a dish to share and, of course, I whip together a few large-format drinks for the adults. While the kids play and pick through their Easter goodies, we eat, sip and catch up on remodeling projects, sports and life in general. Therapeutic indeed.
Plan your own brunch, and consider one or more of the following recipes. Think beyond mimosas (champagne and orange juice) and go for something handcrafted and memorable. Your guests will appreciate the effort. Invite them over after church.
2 cups fresh honeydew, diced
2 peaches, unpeeled, pitted and sliced
1 cup pineapple chunks with juice
1 cup green grapes, cut in half
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1/2 lemon sliced
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup orange liqueur
1/2 cup dry gin
1 cup orange juice
1 bottle dry white wine such as sauvignon blanc
1/2 liter sparking water
Preparation: In a half-gallon pitcher, add chopped and sliced fruits. Add orange liqueur, gin and sugar and gently muddle and stir. Add wine and orange juice and stir. Allow to rest overnight in the refrigerator. Add sparkling water before serving and lightly stir. Serve over ice in red wine glasses. Garnish with a lemon twist.
CLASSIC BLOODY MARY
32 ounces tomato juice
24 ounces vodka
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
2 ounces fresh lime juice
4 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons celery salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lime cut into wedges for garnish
Celery stalks for garnish
Green olives for garnish
Celery salt for rimming glasses
Preparation: Combine all ingredients excluding vodka, ice and garnish items in a Rubbermaid-style container, shake vigorously and store in your refrigerator for two to three days before serving. When you’re ready to serve, add vodka, shake and transfer into a display pitcher for serving. Moisten rim of old-fashioned glass with lime and dip rim of glass into celery salt. Pour over ice and garnish with celery, lime and olives.
2 cups silver rum
24 mint sprigs
1 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup simple syrup
Club soda or sparkling water
Preparation: Place mint sprigs and syrup in bottom of pitcher and muddle to release oils in the mint. Add rum and juice and stir. Fill rest of the pitcher with club soda and stir. At service, fill Collins glass with ice and fill with mixture. Garnish with lime wedge.
2 small oranges, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1 lime, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1/2 lemon, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
12 whole strawberries
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
8 ounces orange liqueur such as triple sec
8 ounces brandy or cognac
8 ounces sparkling water
8 ounces fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 bottle dry red wine
Lime and orange wedges for garnish
Preparation: Chill all ingredients. Place all the fruit and sugar in a large pitcher and muddle. Add orange liqueur, brandy and stir to dissolve sugar. Add orange juice and wine and gently stir. If possible, allow to rest overnight in the refrigerator. Just before serving, add sparkling water and stir. Serve with or without ice in red wine glasses with a wedge of lime or orange for garnish.