With the planning and prep of Cinco de Mayo behind me, it’s time to move on in my head to the next big family social. Already I’ve been kicking around a few menu ideas for this year’s Mother’s Day. I wanted to put something wonderful together – and as usual, I can’t make up my mind. Brunch is always nice – one of my favorites. But then again, an Afternoon Tea for all the Moms is also a lovely idea. It’s one I’ve done before with wonderful success.
The best thing about Mother’s Day is that my guys let me have things my way despite the fact that they are not wild about Brunch or The Indulgent Pleasures of an Afternoon Tea – too “girly” for their manly tastes. I get that men are men. However, it’s the whole “girly” thing that appeals to me. Since Mother’s Day is “my day”, I get to have it my way. That means all the flowers and lace, and delicate things I love about both styles of “entertaining”. Be it brunch or Afternoon Tea, I get to break out the “fancy” china and simply enjoy. Yeah, I’ll be doing most if not all of the cooking. Still, my guys will be at my side; lending a helping hand and I’ll be doing what I enjoy most – getting creative in the kitchen. That always makes me happy.
I decided not to decide between Brunch and Tea. Instead, I suggested we have something at the farm and let my sister decide. She went with brunch. Now comes the challenge – coming up with a menu that can prepare in advance, transported, with any final “touches” at the farm.
Excuse me while I think out loud . . . Hum . . . Bacon and country sausage are easy enough. Those can be cooked in the morning, put into a Chafer Dish, then warmed gently in the oven before serving. Mimosas are super easy – just bring all the makings and pour when ready to serve. What about coffee cakes? While I would prefer my cakes served warm, room temperature isn’t out of the realm of possibilities – I could do a coffee cake the day before, then slice and arrange on a footed serving dish for a pretty presentation. What about pastries? I hate the idea of store-bought pastries, but they sure do make life easier. A little cheat goes a long way to improving store-bought pastries (Cheater’s Butter-Almond Croissants), Fresh fruits served in cut-glass bowls with fresh whipped cream would be pretty, and super easy. A breakfast casserole might be a bit tricky – those with a heavy egg-base might not travel and warm well. French Toast could be made at the farm, then kept warm until ready to serve. While I love my Lemon-Kissed Irish Pancakes, I don’t think the delicate pancakes would transport well. Darn. Okay, enough thinking out loud . . . let’s get this menu planed!
The first thing I needed to keep in mind was that our Mother’s Day Brunch was going to be served at the Family Farm. I decided to use the Farm as the entire theme – a Country Brunch.
****** The Menu ******
– – Beverages – –
* Blueberry Mimosa served in Lime Sugared Rim Champagne Glasses
Fresh Orange Juice
French Press Coffee
– – The Buffet Table – –
* Chocolate Chip Pancake Casserole
* Cinnamon Streusel Buttermilk Coffee Cake
* Hobo Cast Iron Skillet Potatoes
* Scrambled Egg, Sausage and Cheese Pull-Apart Sandwich Rolls
* Biscuits and Gravy Casserole Style
– – Assorted Breakfast Meats – –
* Apple Wood Smoked Bacon,
* Country Sausage Patties
* Vermont Maple Sausage Links
– First Up: Refreshments –
Blueberry Mimosa with Lime Sugared Rim
1 Cup Blueberries
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Water
Champagne or sparkling cider
1 Lime, sliced into 8 slices
Green Sugar Crystals
Combine sugar, water, and the blueberries in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to make sure that the sugar has dissolved. Boil for 1-2 minutes or until the syrup turns purple. Remove from the heat and allow the syrup to cool for about 30 minutes.
Once the syrup has cooled strain out the blueberries if desired. (Can be made a day in advance. Store in refrigerator until ready to use).
Run lime slice over rim of champagne glass. Dip glass into sugar crystals.
Evenly divide the blueberry syrup between champagne glasses. Fill the glasses with champagne or sparkling cider. Garnish with lime slice if desired.
Additional Beverage selections
Fresh Orange Juice served in Carfes
French Press Coffee in Coffee Warmer
– Next Up – The Brunch Buffet –
Chocolate Chip Pancake Casserole
Butter, for greasing baking dish
20 cooked pancakes (frozen or fresh)
5 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Maple syrup, for serving
Butter a 9-x-13″ baking dish. Cut cooked pancakes into halves and begin layering them in the dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour over pancakes, flattening them with a spatula to make sure they’re submerged in liquid. Cover with aluminum foil and transfer to the refrigerator overnight (at least 4 hours).
When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, recover with foil, and bake 40 minutes. (Can be made to this point, transported and then continue). Remove foil and continue baking, 10 minutes.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup.
Cinnamon Streusel Buttermilk Coffee Cake
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
About 2/3 cups (1/3 lb.) melted butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans or almonds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Heat oven to 350-degrees.
In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, nutmeg, and 2/3 cup butter. Transfer 1 packed cup of the sugar mixture to a small bowl. Add nuts and cinnamon, mixing well.
To the mixture in the large bowl, add egg, buttermilk, baking powder, and baking soda; mix well.
Pour batter into a buttered 9-inch cheesecake pan with removable rim. Sprinkle cinnamon-nut mixture evenly over batter.
Bake in oven until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and cake begins to pull from pan sides, about 40 minutes (about 35 minutes in convection oven). Cool on a rack at least 20 minutes. Remove from pan. Serve warm or cool.
Hobo Cast Iron Skillet Potatoes
4-5 bacon strips
2 tablespoons butter
5 medium/large red potatoes, diced
1 small sweet yellow onion, diced
1-2 teaspoons seasoned salt
pinch of ground black pepper
Dice potatoes and place into a micro-wave proof bowl or casserole dish. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place potatoes into the micro-wave and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until almost cooked through.
Dice onion and set aside until ready to use.
Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat and fry the bacon until crispy. Place the bacon on a paper towel, leaving the grease in the skillet. Add the butter.
Carefully add the potatoes and onion to the skillet.
Stir gently until all of the mixture is coated in the grease.
Cover with a lid and cook for 25-30 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. Stir potatoes every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning/sticking.
Once potatoes are cooked through and nicely browned, crumble bacon and toss to mix well.
Scrambled Egg, Sausage and Cheese Pull-Apart Sandwiches Rolls
1 [11 oz] package Parker House Style frozen dinner rolls
3 Tbsp butter, divided
8 large eggs
¼ cup sour cream
2 tsp chopped chives
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided [or your favorite]
8 oz spicy or mild breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Whisk together the eggs, sour cream, chopped chives, salt and black pepper. Melt 1 Tbsp of butter in a skillet and soft scramble the eggs. Set aside to cool slightly.
Allow the rolls to thaw enough on the counter to cut in half. Brush the top and bottom with butter.
To assemble: Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheese on the bottom half.
Arrange the eggs, crumbled sausage and remaining shredded cheese on the bottom piece. Place the top piece over the filling and brush all over with melted butter. Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt. (Can be assembled to this point, transported, then baked).
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Serve immediately.
Cheaters Biscuits & Gravy
1 lb Breakfast Sausage (Jimmy Dean)
2 Package Breakfast Gravy Mix (Jimmy Dean)
10 Pillsbury Southern Style Biscuits (frozen section)
Bake biscuits according to package.
While biscuits are baking, crumble and brown the sausage until cooked through. Drain pan. Add packaged gravy mix. Use milk to make gravy. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Remove biscuits from oven, split open and line a casserole dish with split biscuits cover with gravy.
Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
– And the Breakfast Meats –
Apple Wood Smoked Bacon
1 lb Apple Wood Smoked Bacon
Prime skillet or girdle with about 1 tablespoon bacon drippings. Fry Bacon until just crisp. Transfer to a paper-lined casserole dish. Keep warm until ready to serve
Country Sausage Patties
24 Country Sausage Patties, Pre-cooked
Warm griddle to about 325 degrees. Arrange frozen Country Sausage Patties on griddle and cook until just warmed, about 3 or 4 minutes per side. Transfer to same dish with bacon, overlapping the patties to utilize space.
Maple Sausage Links
3 Packages Johnsonville Maple Sausage Links
Place sausage links in a large skillet. Add enough water to the pan to “steam” sausage – about 1/4 cup or so. Cover and cook sausage over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until water has evaporated. Remove lid and brown sausage to finish.
Transfer sausage to same casserole dish. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.