Sunday, January 11, 2015

Brunch Tips: A New Year's Start

Long overdue for blogging! As such, I've made it eleven days into the new year without an update. The entry you're reading now comes especially belated because it highlights the first brunch—the first anything, actually—that I made in 2015.

To date it less: just consider it a lovely, filling meal pulled together after a late night out with friends, cocktails, and champagne toasts.

Rather than an improbably accomplished chore, this meal (consisting of asiago grits, fresh cherry tomatoes, roasted vegetables, pancetta scrambled eggs, and seasoned toast spread with strawberry preserves) was my way of wrapping 2015 in a bear hug. Welcome, welcome, welcome, new year ... what do you have in store?

Below I'll pass on some tips and strategies for pulling together your own hearty meal with low energy reserves and a variety of elements to manage.

Roasted vegetables are simply made with a vibrant presentation. Just chop-chop your range of vegetables; toss them in a mixing bowl with olive oil, salt & pepper, and fresh (or dried) herbs; and then spread them out on your baking sheet. Roast at 400 F for about forty minutes, with a half-time toss/stir/pan rotation.
• For little "callbacks" (and a way to cut down on your ingredient list and clean-up time), repeat elements throughout your meal. A few cherry tomatoes, un-roasted, can be tossed onto the plate for a pop of color (fresh herbs too). The asiago grated into my polenta was sprinkled into the scrambled eggs as well.
• Speaking of polenta: oh, man! After a vigorous whisk at the outset, the polenta doesn't need much tending, just the occasional stir. Polenta, homemade chicken stock, asiago, and a hint of tomato paste melded into silky smooth deliciousness. Leftover polenta can be saved and chilled for polenta cakes later, a fancy mop for divinely good sauces. For another brunchy application of polenta and fresh produce, check out my take on Alice Waters' polenta torta.
Confidence is key: Having a game plan, a mise en place, and a bit of choreography to your kitchen routine makes this late-morning activity enjoyable rather than panic-inducing. Twirl from oven to cutting board to fridge with a (slightly smug) mastery. If you have an audience, take care not break the fourth wall (especially when they shout "Brava!" or "When's this going to be ready exactly?") You are a god/goddess. Own it.

Other breakfast/brunch ideas from My Weekend's Cooked:


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