Brunch: the sweet (or savory) savior of hangovers everywhere. That meal of ambiguity, definitely not breakfast, but still not quite lunch. A daytime meal where it’s acceptable—nay, encouraged—to have a drink (or three). After all, the weekend’s almost over. Why not relish it?
It’s true that brunch is not exclusively reserved for Sundays. On a normal weekend, Saturday brunch is allowable, sure, but barring a holiday or other special occasion, you’d be hard pressed to justify a Monday brunch. No one’s going to work after that.
Hosting a brunch is a whole different ball game. Some of the same rules apply as do to dinner parties, but some are drastically different. The result is a totally different experience. For instance, in contrast to dinner parties, which usually start at a set hour, a brunch works best when people are allowed to filter in as they wake up, slowly recovering from whatever happened last night. Also different from dinner parties? The opportunity for the host to clean up after the party is over. But what’s the best way to plan a brunch menu?
Planning a brunch menu
What’s the best brunch menu? That’s a matter of taste. But there are some general rules to work by. Brunch by its very nature should combine the best that breakfast has to offer with the best of lunch, multiplying strengths while minimizing weaknesses. That brings us to the classic breakfast question: sweet or savory? Pancakes or omelette? French toast or chicken fried steak? Brunch’s answer? All of it.
On the sweet side: cinnamon buns
Everyone cleans up when they’re expecting guests. Sometimes, it’s common to light a scented candle to really amp up the atmosphere and make everyone feel at home. But with this easy cinnamon bun recipe, that’s not necessary. Cinnamon and sugar combine in all the right ways, rising and filling your home with their sweet, spicy aroma. At the mall, they use this to great effect, luring customers in from miles around, sniffing out that sweet cinnamon aroma until they find it. Use this to your advantage.
Savory pancakes: an unexpected surprise
There’s another benefit to drawing recipes from two distinct mealtimes: it allows you to cover a range of dietary needs and requirements. This recipe gets points for bringing an exotic twist to your brunch: some savory Chinese-style pancakes. Even better? It’s vegan! This recipe for Chinese vegan savory pancakes couldn’t be simpler. Serve them with some soy sauce for dipping, and you have a brunchy snack that people will come back for.
Brunch’s secret weapon: the BLT
Bacon plays an outsize role in breakfast foods, but disappears into relative obscurity when lunchtime rolls around. Fix this discrepancy and restore balance to the universe with this fancy BLT recipe, which takes the classic BLT simplicity and adornes it with all the extravagance and excess that brunch calls for. Still not rich and decadent enough for your brunch? Throw on some avocado and call it a BLAT.
Not just game day food: how to make the best nachos
At first, nachos for brunch might just sound crazy. But it’s actually amazing. The only question left is, how best to melt cheese for nachos? The trick is to choose a soft, mild cheese like monterey jack to use as your base. These typically melt well, while more strongly flavored cheeses tend to get greasy or break when heated.
With your soft mild cheese melting well, it just takes a small amount of sharp cheddar or gruyere to get that cheesy twang you’re looking for. How to choose your accent cheese? It all depends on your ingredients. If you’re making classic Mexican nachos, you bring some authenticity to the table and try a Mexican cheese like cotija, some crumbled chorizo, maybe a few black beans. But it’s brunch, right? Why not make brunch nachos? Hash browns, sausage bits, pieces of bacon… maybe even some baked beans! Once you start making brunch nachos, the sky’s the limit.
The best brunch cocktails
The undisputed Queen of Brunch Cocktails is the bloody mary. A day-drinking classic, the bloody mary needs no introduction—that’s part of what makes it great. There are many ways to make one, so the best way is to look for a few bloody mary recipes and get the most common ingredients. Set up a drink station and you’re golden: here, at least, your guests will be happy to take care of the rest.
How to host brunch
Hosting brunch brings many of the same challenges as hosting a dinner party, but also some key differences. Brunch is a more casual affair, rarely formal, and the savvy host can use this to his or her advantage, encouraging a relaxed atmosphere forgiving of kitchen mistakes and other deviations from plan. Remember, you’re here to have fun.