They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I’m more likely to err on the side of brunch. Let’s review a few of the reasons brunch is superior to breakfast. For one, brunch often includes a cocktail or two and I don’t know too many people over the age of 21 who wouldn’t start a weekend day with a mimosa if presented with the opportunity. Second, brunch never requires you to wake up at an ungodly morning hour. You can sleep until nine or ten or noon and eat a breakfast-lunch combination that will last you well until dinner.
If you’re planning on cooking brunch anytime in the near future, we have a few tips that will sweeten your table — and a few delicious recipes that will help get you out of bed faster.
Cook One Item on the Stove. Put away that second frying pan because sautéing hash browns while scrambling eggs and frying bacon is far from relaxing. Think about stovetop items that can be made in the oven, like frittata instead of omelets or a baked French toast instead of pancakes or traditional French toast.
Make Ahead. Choose one item that requires attention the day of (think: scrambled eggs or hash browns), one that requires quick assembly (think salads or sandwiches) and another that can be made from start to finish in advance so that all you have to do is defrost or pop it into the oven.
Think Eggs. Eggs are inexpensive, tasty and most recipes are easy to double and triple depending on how many people you’re planning to serve. If you’re trying to assemble your egg dish in advance, try our Mexican Baked eggs or Spinach and Cheddar Strata.
Serve in Season. The best way to vary up your brunch menu is to focus on local ingredients. This weekend, the farmer’s market was overflowing with blueberries, so we have three blueberry-laden recipes to inspire your next AM meal.
Makes 3 cups
5 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 to 1 cup sugar*
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
In a medium saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Mash with a potato masher or wooden spoon until the berries have released their juices.
Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer to containers/glass jars and refrigerate for up to 1 month or freeze for up to 1 year.
The recipe called for 1/2 cup of sugar, which is how I made it, however I like my jam to be a little sweeter. Next time I’d use more sugar, so feel free to add more to taste until it reaches your liking.
This recipe can also be made with two 10-ounce bags of frozen blueberries instead of fresh. Cook the frozen berries for 2 to 3 minutes before mashing, then reduce the total cooking time to 15 to 17 minutes.
Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 cup milk or cream
2/3 cup sugar or packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted or 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen, thawed blueberries
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a standard 12-muffin pan or line with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. In another bowl, whisk together butter or oil, milk or cream, sugar and butter or vegetable oil.*
Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix together with a few light strokes just until the dry ingredients are moistened. DO not over mix, the batter should not be smooth. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in 1 or 2 of the muffins comes out clean, about 17 minutes or longer. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before removing from the pan. If not serving hot, let cool on a rack.
Blueberry Drop Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup dried blueberries (I also tossed in a handful of frozen fresh blueberries that I had on hand)
1/2 cup milk, plus more if needed
Coarse sugar, for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add cut up butter and toss to coat. Using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse sand. A few large bits are ok, but try not to have any pieces larger than an average pea.
Stir in dried blueberries. Add about 2/3 of the milk and stir. Add remaining milk gradually until the mixture comes together into a slightly sticky ball. Divide dough in eight even pieces and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with a bit of coarse sugar, if desired.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, until scones are a light golden color. A toothpick should come out clean, but color is a reliable indicator for these.