Sunday, February 28, 2010

Brunch Club February: Humble Showing

Brunch club is still alive for those of you who had doubts. There was a humble showing this month, a humble showing of people that is, not food.

Yes, after a break during the month of January, the brunch club kids are back to their old tricks: making impressive, feastly and insane amounts of food for not-that-many people. One of us is also subsequently making up words like "feastly" just to accurately describe the food situation.

Andace (Andy and Candace) was in San Diego "locked up" in a room all day for some sort of conference Candace had to attend for work. I also feel I should mention Andy made a coke commercial that won a contest! It is called "Message in a Bottle," and I believe it will be playing in movie theaters before the movie starts... at least I am pretty sure that is the case. It is very exciting, and it is the reason I am giving these two a pass for missing out on brunch this month.

Emily had lots of work to do. She seems to be in a crazy-difficult post-grad english program. Somehow, she found the time to plan an entire Mammoth Mountain ski trip weekend earlier this month for all of us. She really did make all the plans for that amazing weekend in the midst of her full-time student, part-time english curriculum planner schedule so she too will receive a pass for missing brunch this month.

Natalie was sick. I simply do not wish to be sick right now no matter how much I knew we would miss her presence. She, of course gets a pass. She did get to enjoy a tidy plate of food from the festivities brought to her door by her loving sister, Sue, later in the day.

This leaves the rest of us who I now like to call the "die-hards" of Sunday brunches. While the above-mentioned hooky-players got free passes this time, next time they may not be so "lucky".

Elliott gets "Best in Show" this month. He whipped together a fresh broccoli salad that I think could get anyone to eay raw broccoli anytime. It was a delicious blend of a sweet balsamic dressing with raw broccoli, dried cranberries and walnuts from what I remember.

At some point I remember saying doughnuts could never be made better in the home than at the doughnut shop. Now, it has been a while since I have ducked into a let's say Dunkin Doughnuts, but I was very impressed with Sube's lightly-crispy-on-the-outside-and-delightfully-fluffy-on-the-inside powdered sugar doughnuts. Verrrrry impressed.

Sube also prepared some delicious baked goods featuring fruit: cranberry muffins and banana bread with orange zest. Both were delicious and adventurous.

BreAnna arrived after my pictures had been taken, but they supplied the much-needed delicious fresh strawberry fix. Oh, and the chocolate fondu and halvah to dip them did not hurt.

Lindzachary is all about the savory this month. First of all, we bring the meat: some slices of cooked Canadian bacon. We also brought a frittata (much like we did last time Sube hosted Brunch), this time with spinach, mushrooms and goat cheese. You can basically make a frittata with anything you want in it by whisking a dozen eggs with whatever vegetable, meat and/or cheese you wish. Put the mixture in a large skillet at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes (until egg is set). If you are using hard vegetables (such as broccoli, carrots, potatoes, etc, you should sauté them in the skillet on the stovetop until they are tender before adding the eggs and cheese. Also be sure to cook any meat all the way through before adding the eggs. Sprinkle a little cheese on top because it is pretty.

What else could this group possibly need? Biscuits. I have never made biscuits from scratch before so I decided to go with a classic-seeming buttermilk biscuit recipe. I was not disappointed with the results. The best part of baking buttermilk biscuits from scratch is the buttery milky smell. mmmmmmmmmm. This is a good simple recipe by Alton Brown that is easy to follow.

Basic Buttermilk Biscuits By Brown

(Makes about 10 biscuits - Recipe by Alton Brown, featured in Family Circle Magazine)

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup buttermilk, chilled

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don't want the fats to melt.)
Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.
Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round.
Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first)
Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.

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