This year I thought I would do something a little different to celebrate my mom, sister, and
niece’s special day on May 8th. Since Mother's Day falls on the 8th this year, it will also be a
special day for me…my 52nd birthday. But all of my focus this year will be on the females in
our family. I will be hosting a Mother's Day brunch at the house. I wanted to share with you
some of the things that have crossed my mind in planning the meal.
Do I have to make eggs for brunch?
If you don't like eggs or hate cooking them you can certainly skip them and focus on the sweeter
elements of a traditional brunch such as pancakes or crepes. It's nice to offer something
savory as well, so you might consider an eggy dish like a quiche rather than straight-up scrambled
or fried eggs. Or skip the eggs all together and go with a bagel spread and some fruit instead.
How to Put Together a Bagel Spread.
A New York style bagel and lox feast is a great way to please a crowd for brunch, and there's
no cooking involved (unless you want to offer softly scrambled eggs on the side as they
complement the saltiness of smoked salmon perfectly). Good sliced smoked salmon is available
in vacuum-sealed packages at many supermarkets and on the internet, and it ships well. If you
have access to a gourmet store or a Jewish Market with good Smoked Fish, buy a few different
kinds, such as sable, Sturgeon, or Whitefish salad, as well as a salmon. If it's being cut to order
you should be able to try each one.
Likewise, get an assortment of very fresh bagels, and serve very thinly sliced cucumber, tomato and red onion on the side to counterbalance the fattiness and saltiness of the fish. In addition to regular plain cream cheese, whipped or not, you may want to add a scallion variety or low-fat version. Lemon wedges are a nice addition for those who may be making a plate and not a sandwich.
How to Serve Warm Bagels.
Pre-heat your oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and meanwhile cut bagels in
half. Place them on a baking sheet or two if necessary. Assembled with the top sitting on the
bottom. Warming them up this way makes for a slightly steamy inside just like a fresh-baked
bagel and spares your fingers from having to slice hot bagels.
Of course you can also leave them open for toasty browned cut slices. Put some of the bagels in a basket with a napkin to cover them and keep them warm.
Should I serve dessert at brunch or lunch?
A dessert course isn't necessary at brunch. The fun of the meal is to have sweet and savory foods
together. If you're serving a more savory brunch, such as baked eggs, and nothing very sweet, you might put out some pastries or a coffee cake as well. You may just want a fruit salad, which people can integrate into the main course or snack on at the end of the meal.
For a seated lunch you should offer something sweet at the end but in most cases it should be a lighter and more casual dessert than you would serve after dinner. Again, it could be fruit but it could also be a tart or some cookies or brownies.
How to Make a Beautiful Buffet.
For a plentiful buffet that is easy to navigate, map it out. Place empty platters and baskets on the table to see how everything fits. After you've worked it out, snap a photo or draw a diagram to follow later, especially if you have other people helping you. It'll be easier to remember where
everything goes when the pressure is on, allowing for swift setup for the table.
Mix things up by using wooden cutting boards, a marble pastry slab or a small wicker tray for
things like bread and fruit or anything else that won't be messy or wet. Here's your chance to use
all of those one-off flea market finds. Variety, not conformity, is the key to a sumptuous buffet.
A cake stand can come in handy to elevate one dish making it more accessible and
making the buffet instantly look more beautiful since you can nudge other platters or bowls
underneath it close to the base. Feel free to improvise and set up a platter on top of a shoe box or
dictionary just cover the base with a tablecloth or napkin. The effect should be seamless. The idea is to not have guests noticed that something is being elevated or what is elevating it, but to notice that the food is being elevated.
Fill in the Holes.
Clutter is not a look that you want, but nothing is worse than a skimpy looking spread. If you are left with some space at the end of a sideboard, for example, move a vase with flowers to that spot or make a second bread basket. A bowl of fruit would work, too.