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Easy brunches for summer entertaining

Pre-made brunch food can minimize preparation time and maximize visiting time when family and friends gather during summer.

These make-ahead recipes can be frozen or stored in the fridge for a day or two and then easily reheated for late risers or for a leisurely brunch.

Melon mélange

Mélange is French for a mixture or medley. It is a refreshing mixed melon fruit salad that is best if refrigerated for at least eight hours before serving.

  • 4 c. of a mixture of honeydew, watermelon cubes, melon balls, fresh blueberries and/or raspberries 1 L
  • 1 c. water 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. sugar 125 mL
  • juice of one lemon or lime and grated rind

Scoop balls out of all the melons, clean the berries, combine and refrigerate. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and simmer three minutes. Add the lemon or lime juice and grated rind. Pour the juice over the fruit to cover and return to the refrigerator for several hours. Serves six to eight. Serve in a scooped out honeydew or watermelon rind bowl for a relaxed holiday feel. Adapted from Nellie Lyle Pattinson’s Canadian Cook Book

Baked blueberry-pecan French toast With blueberry syrup

This is a delicious version of baked French toast that can be made in a cake pan or muffin tins for individual servings. I first had this recipe at a bed and breakfast. The hostess said she usually froze the baked toast in individual servings so her guests could have a variety of breakfast options. She also felt the baguette slices held their shape better.

  • 24-inch baguette 60 cm
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 c. 1% milk 750 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg 2 mL
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar 250 mL
  • 1 c. pecans 250 mL
  • 1/4 c. butter 60 mL
  • 1 – 2 c. blueberries 250- 500 mL

For syrup:

  • 1 c. blueberries 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. pure maple syrup 125 mL
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 15 mL

 

Butter a nine by 12 inch (22 x 33 cm) baking dish. Cut 20, one-inch (2 cm) slices from baguette and arrange in one layer in baking dish. If making in large muffin tins, cut the slices about 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick and trim edges to fit. This will make about 48 muffins.
Butter or spray muffin tins well with oil. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, nutmeg, vanilla and 3/4 cup (175 mL) brown sugar and pour evenly over bread. For the muffin tins, use about two tablespoon (30 mL) of egg mixture per muffin cup. Cover and refrigerate mixture at least eight hours and up to one day.

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a shallow baking pan, spread pecans evenly and toast in middle of oven until fragrant, about eight minutes. This may be done ahead.
Increase oven temperature to 400 F.
Sprinkle pecans and blueberries evenly over bread mixture. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat with remaining 1/4 cup (60 mL) brown sugar, stirring, until butter is melted. Drizzle butter sugar mixture over bread and bake 20 minutes, or until any liquid from blueberries is bubbling.
Make syrup while French toast is baking. In a small saucepan, cook blueberries and maple syrup over moderate heat until berries have burst, about three minutes. Pour syrup through a sieve into a heatproof pitcher, pressing on solids, and stir in lemon juice. Syrup may be made one day ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat syrup before serving. Serve with syrup. Recipe from Kathy Champigny adapted from Gourmet, June 1999

Gluten-free blueberry French toast

I made a gluten-free version of this recipe using “Udi’s” gluten-free ancient grain millet-chia bread. I cut the bread slices into quarters and used two pieces in a well-oiled muffin tin. This bread did not absorb as much of the egg mixture as the baguette but was just as tasty.

Thin German pancakes (crepes)

These can be made ahead, separated with parchment paper and frozen. Remove the desired number and individually microwave to heat, fill and serve.

  • 3 eggs, well-beaten
  • 1 1/4 c. milk 310 mL
  • 1 c. flour 250 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL

Beat eggs, add milk and mix. Mix salt with flour, add to eggs and milk, beat until smooth. Lightly grease a heavy eight inch crepe pan or griddle. Heat over medium-high heat. Pour in enough batter to just cover bottom of griddle, about 1/4 cup (60 mL) of batter. Tip pan so it evenly coats bottom in a thin layer. When the top is bubbled and the edges are dry, flip and brown the second side. Roll up with jam, peanut butter and bananas, fresh fruit with yogurt or whip cream, stewed rhubarb and strawberries. This is also tasty with syrup. – Source: Brenda Ediger from Daily Bread, A celebration of Friendship, Food & Faith, Rosetown Alliance Church.

Crispy waffles

This is a family favourite. The waffles freeze well and can be reheated in a toaster.

  • 4 eggs separated
  • 3/4 c. melted butter or margarine (melt extra to brush the waffle iron) 175 mL
  • 3 1/2 c. all purpose flour 875 mL
  • 3 tbsp. baking powder 45 mL
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 2 tbsp. sugar 30 mL
  • 3 to 3 1/2 c. milk 750 to 875 mL

Separate eggs. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fluffy, and set aside.
Plug in waffle iron to preheat. Beat egg yolks, add two cups (500 mL) milk and beat. Add two cups (500 mL) flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and mix. Add last of milk and flour and beat until just mixed. Remove bowl from mixer, add butter and stir in and then fold in egg whites until slightly mixed.
Brush some melted butter on waffle iron. Add batter and cook about five minutes.
Remove from waffle iron and keep hot in a warm oven. Place the waffles directly on the racks so they don’t get soggy. If freezing for use later, cool completely in a cold oven and then place in large zipper freezer bags.
Serve with syrup, fruit syrups, whipped cream and fruit or ice cream.
To give a bed and breakfast flare to your brunch, serve on your best china and crystal.

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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