It had been a while since we had invited a group of friends over for a meal, and we thought Easter was the perfect time to invite friends. There are a few things we did that made the event easy and not overwhelming. So here are a few brunch tips from The Bitten Word.
Our three lists were: (1) Who was coming, (2) Ideas for dishes to serve, and (3) Ingredients we needed for those dishes.
Maybe those are common sense, but it helped keep us focused.
2. Plan your serving dishes: A smart lady we know (Z's mom) taught us this trick, which helps since we don't have that many dishes: match your serving dishes with the food you plan to serve prior to the day of the vent.
We simply wrote the names of our brunch dishes on index cards, and dropped them into serving platters or bowls. It helped us know if we had enough dishes, or if we needed to make an emergency run to the Crate & Barrel Outlet (which we did the day before this brunch).
3. Keep the food simple: Having people over can be stressful, and food doesn't need to be one of those stresses. For this brunch, we wanted to use a mix of simple dishes that could be easily executed, and more challenging dishes that helped us use our food magazines and -- honestly -- that would make good blog fodder. So, we settled on the following that falls into those categories:
- Easy dishes: Scrambled eggs, fruit salad, a glazed spiral cut ham, sausage gravy and chocolate gravy (a story for another time).
- More challenging or impressive dishes: Sugar snap pea and radish salad, homemade buttermilk biscuits and carrot cake (challenging but made a day ahead).
For this brunch, the food turned out great. If we had one criticism, it would be that some of the dishes -- like the biscuits -- required too much time in the kitchen after guests had arrived.
4. Set the table the night before. This may be a little fussy, but we went ahead and at least put out the tablecloth (and ironed it) the night before the brunch. This eliminated something that could have been time-consuming the next morning.
5. Buy some flowers. Just a few flowers can really help bring life to your table. You don't have to go all Sandra Lee tablescape crazy, but let's face it -- flowers are nice to have around. And they're relatively cheap -- these were $4.99 a bunch at Trader Joe's.
6. Champagne! Enough said.
So there you are -- six tips for a successful brunch. Start making your lists and go get your brunch on. And please share your tips below!