Sunday, January 24, 2010

Brunch at Home

Technically this blog is supposed to be about trying food around the Bay Area, but today we had a really nice brunch at home AND we remembered to take pictures, so we'll go with that.

The idea behind this brunch were these jam butters. I had seen this post when it first went up, and had been wanting to try them ever since. Then I spotted these fancy butters and had to figure out which to make, because really, how much butter can 6 people eat?  In the end, I picked the raspberry and the lemon rosemary and we were not disappointed. Both recipes say to use 1 stick of butter - next time I think I'm going to halve that though, because even after sending our friends home with butter doggy bags (really) we still have a whole bunch left over.  Luckily we also have some home made scones left over (thanks Britt!) and they are amazing with the butter.
The rest of the brunch centered around Smitten Kitchen recipes. I loved the idea of making everything the night before, and went with that. First up was the spinach and cheese strata. It was pretty easy to make, except for the part where you have to squeeze all the excess liquid out of the thawed spinach. I hate that part, even when I use cheese cloth to do it. Spinach aside, this dish is a winner. You basically just layer fresh cubes of bread with cheese and spinach, then pour an egg mixture over it, and refrigerate over night. Then 30 minutes before your guests show up, stick it in the oven. It's kind of like a savory bread pudding.  This is definitely on the make-again list.

Not on the make-again list: This winter fruit salad. The idea behind it - apples, pears, dried apricots and figs, soaking over night in a vanilla/sugar/lemon/anise syrup - sounded great. The problem for me was the texture of the apples and pears post soaking - they got a little too mealy for me. Also the anise was stronger than I would have liked. 

On the plus side, I really liked how they looked in the ramekins.

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