Brunch Time

Eek. It’s been a pretty long time since my last post. If I have any readers left it will be a miracle…so, if you’re reading this, thank you for sticking with me!

Let me bring you up to speed. I recently quit my second job (yes, the one I said I would never quit because of the food perks). I got a new “first” job that I really like…and realized that I really wanted my weekends to decompress. It was a hard decision, but the right one.

Which means that I found myself with a free Sunday while Noe was scheduled for inventory. Not wanting to sit around by myself, I did something a bit spontaneous and invited my usual crew of girlfriends over for brunch. Due to the short notice not everyone could make it, but we still had a great group of gals gathered around the table, drinking mimosas and enjoying the company.

Being that I invited everyone on Friday for Sunday, I didn’t have a ton of time to get things together – nor  a lot of spare cash at the moment. Therefore, brunch was going to be made largely from things already in my refrigerator and cupboards. I did however spring for some “May flowers” (we’ve had more than our share of April showers) during a quick Kroger run this morning:

Bucket full of posies

The reason I picked brunch rather than lunch or dinner was that I had an abundance of eggs in my house. When my mom and I signed up for the meat CSA, we also opted to get farm fresh eggs with each delivery. Well, I keep forgetting this and buying eggs, leading to a glut of eggs in our refrigerator. Normally I could get rid of excess eggs at Easter by coercing one of my friend’s children into dyeing eggs with me…however, egg dyeing does not work so well on brown eggs. Therefore, a dozen of them were allotted to breakfast casserole duty:

Breakfast casserole

I made a very simple casserole using a tried-and-true recipe from Epicurious.com. Not only did this casserole use more or less an entire carton of eggs, I also subbed in some slightly stale Trader Joe’s hamburger buns for the bread and used up the ends of several blocks of cheese. Yum.

We always have bacon in the house, so I cooked up the rest of an open package on the Foreman grill (the stovetop and oven were in use):

It's not a party without bacon.

My next dish was a bit more inspired. A while ago I found an amazing recipe for muffins with dried figs and a honey and goat cheese filling. When I found a box of Jiffy Oatmeal Muffin mix in my cupboard – and half a carton of goat cheese crumbles in my fridge – I immediately thought “why not?” The result was amazing – the oatmeal muffins held up to figs and the cinnamon-y taste complemented the lemony, slightly sweet but slightly tangy filling perfectly.

Cheater's muffins

My resourcefulness did not stop at the cheater muffins. I still had a whole second carton of goat cheese crumbles (I’m not sure what I was planning when I bought this abundance of goat cheese). Well, as luck would have it, when I was surfing through my usual blog roll on Saturday morning I found a link to a Martha Stewart recipe for no-bake goat cheese cheesecake. The ingredients? Goat cheese (duh); sour cream (had about a cup left from some spin dip a few weeks ago); cream cheese (half a container from Zingerman’s left over from Easter); and mascarpone (can’t even remember why I had half a container of mascarpone). The crust was supposed to be made from crushed cookies but I figured my half a box of graham cracker crumbs (from a cheesecake made ages ago) would serve just as well.

Oh my.

And – as if I hadn’t cheated enough with this meal – I cheated again by making the berry sauce out of a bag of dried tart cherries left over from the Christmas biscotti experiment (with a few fresh strawberries added in to up the sweetness).

Cherry sauce a-simmer

This still left me with the majority of a container of strawberries, a whole bunch of duck eggs, and a container of heavy cream purchased for some unknown reason that was quickly approaching its expiration date. A quick search on TheKitchn.com (one of my faves) turned up a three-ingredient recipe for duck egg sponge cake. “What the hell,” I thought. I put my Kitchen Aid mixer to work whipping up cake batter and later whipping up cream for a very spring-appropriate strawberry shortcake.

Duck egg sponge cake with berries and cream

Somehow I managed to convince myself that this was not enough food for six girls, so I added some mixed fruit (strawberries and pineapple, all gussied up in my fancy fruit bowl from my aunt Susan) and some cheese and pate (luckily the Rikster was available to pick up some bread).

The trophy bowl

Cheese plate pre-bread

Because I had planned this at the very last minute, I didn’t want to burden my girlfriends by asking them to bring stuff. However, I have amazing and generous friends. They rounded out my meal of leftover kitchen items with juice and sparkling wine for mimosas…and some sparkling wine for drinking on its own (Thanks Diane and 2 Lads for the sparkling Pinot Grigio – YUM). Chilling the sparkler gave me an opportunity to use yet another wedding present – my fancy ice bucket from my cousins Julie and Catherine:

Fab wine and fab ice bucket

All in all, this was a fantastic Sunday. I got to spend time with a great group of girls, eat fantastic food that I didn’t spend a lot of money to pull together, and drink fabulous wine. I also got to use my “fancy” fruit bowl, ice bucket, and cheese plate, all wedding presents that I love but definitely don’t use every day. And the (deeply discounted) flowers are still brightening up my dining room as I type.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

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