Monday, April 23, 2012

Brunches & Babies

It's Spring, which means it's the start of baby and bridal shower season! A couple of my best friends have just had (super adorable) babies, but they live out of state, so we've had some really fun meet-the-baby brunches when they come back in town.  I feel so lucky to have the best group of friends & moms, who put on the most amazing parties & showers. Here are some pics - try not to overdose on baby cuteness - and some recipes for the perfect brunch dishes.
Meeting Ryan. Alana (to my left) & I have been friends since 3rd grade. 
All the moms and daughters.
Meeting Parker. Colby (to my right) & I have been BFF since we were 5.

I'm an auntie!
Below is the spread from one of the brunches. If you are planning a brunch, you have to try this recipe for the egg & cheese souffle casserole. Its super easy to make and almost sinful in how delicious it is. We just make it on special occasions, since it is heavy in butter and cheese. To add in something on the healthy side, try the butter lettuce salad with bacon and hazelnuts. The bacon helps the salad fit in well with other breakfast dishes & bacon is fine to eat occasionally - just make sure you buy it with no nitrites added.

Clockwise from top: egg souffle, salad, fresh fruit, french toast.
Egg Souffle Casserole
Serves 8
10 slices white bread, buttered (unsalted butter) and cubed
3/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt

Layer bread, cheese, bread, cheese in a 2 quart casserole dish. Mix eggs and milk with seasonings. Pour over bread mixture. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight. Pull out of fridge 1 hour prior to baking. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Serve immediately.

Butter lettuce salad with hazelnuts, bacon and sherry vinaigrette
(adapted from LA Times article on Nancy Silverton of Pizzeria Mozza & La Brea Bakery)
Serves 4 - 6

Sherry Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons Spanish sherry vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to aste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the shallots, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and stir to combine.  Add the oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly to combine.  Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if needed.  This makes about 1/3 cup vinaigrette, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe.  Use the vinaigrette or transfer it to an airtight container (like a clean jelly jar) and refrigerate up to 3 days.  Bring to room temperature before serving or using.

Salad and Assembly:
6 slices thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon (optional)
1/2 cup hazelnuts
Kosher salt
2 heads butter lettuce
Sherry vinaigrette
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

Freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces Gorgonzola dolce cheese (optional)

1. Adjust the oven rack to the center position and heat the oven to 325 degrees
2. Lay the bacon on a baking sheet and cook until it's done about 17-22 minutes depending on thickness of bacon. Remove the bacon from the oven, drain on paper towels, then cut each strip into four pieces.
3. At same time, scatter the hazelnuts on another baking sheet and place them in oven until golden brown and fragrant about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven. When cool enough to touch, place inside clean dishtowel and rub them together inside to remove the skins.  Place the hazelnuts in a small bowl and sprinkle with a touch of salt.
4. Remove any bruised outer leaves from lettuce heads, & break the remaining leaves off from the core.  Wash lettuce and spin dry.  Place the dry lettuce into a large bowl.  Season the lettuce with some kosher salt.  (This is important)  Then drizzle with 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette and 1 tablespoon of the fresh lemon juice.  Toss the lettuce very gently with the dressing and ensure it binds to the leaves.
5. Plate lettuce leave on salad plates,  divide bacon and hazelnuts equally onto each salad.

6. If desired, sprinkle a little Gorgonzola cheese on each plate for extra flavor.

Enjoy! xo.


  1. Yummy! I love how you incorporated a green salad with brunch. I wish I could have been there! - Kristin

  2. Krit: we wish you could have been there too!!

  3. Yay for making your blog! It was such a fun day and the food was delish! I haven't wait to try this Egg Souffle Casserole.

    We missed you Krit!!!