Weekend gatherings with your friends and family should not be stressful; this is Effortless Entertaining. They should be relaxing for you and your guests, so there is no need to for a fussy menu that has you chained to the kitchen.
The fail-proof recipe for any small gathering is (1) choose multiple menu items you can make the day before so you aren't scrambling the morning of the party, (2) don't be ashamed of buying a few pre-made(or at least pre-prepped) items at your local grocer or specialty food store to save you time, and (3) pick one show-stopper that is undeniably homemade. I did exactly that for the classic navy and white mid-winter brunch over the weekend.
The menu was as follows:
- Roasted Citrus (found here)
- Pre-made Cranberry Scones and Croissants (purchased beforehand)
- Simple Caesar Salad (pre-washed lettuce, croutons, grated parmesan, and your favorite bottled dressing. Easy.)
- Potato and Spinach Fritata (homemade in cast iron skillet)
- Pre-made bacon
- Buttermilk Pancakes (made from a box dressed up with blueberries and delicious maple syrup...no one will ever know)
And to make things even easier, here is a simple play-by-play for the days leading up to your gathering for the perfect Mid-winter Brunch:
Two days before:
- Make your grocery store run. Don't forget the pre-made baked goods and other treats! Oh, and don't forget the bubbles.
- Plan your buffet or tablescape. I always jot a diagram down on a piece of paper so I know exactly where all the platters, napkins, etc. are located so I am not rushing around trying to find hidden serving pieces an hour before the door bell is going to ring.
- Press your linens.
- Make any place cards or food label cards, if necessary.
The day before:
- Arrange your flowers. You can grab these at the grocery store when you go as long as you keep them out of the heat and in plenty of water. For tips on floral arrangements, try this post.
- Make your fritata, and place in the fridge when it cools.
- Lay out all of your platters, vases, and candle holders on your buffet/dinner table for easy food transport tomorrow. If you are having a sit down meal, go ahead and set the table.
- Cut the citrus and place in a Ziploc bag so they are ready for easy roasting.
- Wash and dry your lettuce for the salad -- if you did not buy pre-washed -- and place in a Ziploc with a dry paper towel (that will help soak up the small amount of water you were unable to dry off the greens.)
The day of:
- Heat up your bacon.
- Reheat the fritata in the oven on 250 degrees until warm in the middle.
- Make your pancakes and stack them neatly on a pretty cake plate. Cover with berries.
- Quickly assemble your salad.
- Roast your citrus (on a pan for 18 minutes. Easy breezy.)
- Plate everything, and place out on the table.
- That's it.
- Have a glass of bubbly. You deserve it.