Playoff games, Super Bowl or just winter Sundays, a Sunday brunch is a great way to entertain: Every one is relaxed and informal, including the hosts. The menu has a flexibility no other meal has. If you want fancy dishes, fine. If you want paper plates, that’s fine, too.
I like to use my pretty things and don’t mind washing them so that is what I usually do when I entertain. I recently gave a brunch in honor of my nephew and his wife’s birthdays. They fall on December 1 and December 24. So I waited until the week between Christmas and New Year since that is usually a relaxed time too. Well, the weather in our area postponed our brunch until January but we had a great time anyway.
The rest of the menu included wild rice quiche, shrimp-topped white pizza and Danish almond puff. Small wedges of cheese cake with cherry topping served as a dessert. A playoff football game provided the entertainment and I was delighted to have all day to clean up after they left for home.
Wild Rice Quiche
9″ unbaked pie crust
1/2 cup partially cooked wild rice
1/2 pound bacon, fried and crumbled
1-1/2 cups half and half
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
grinding of nutmeg, to taste (I use about 1/4 tsp)
Line 9″ pie pan with wild rice; crumble bacon on top of rice, then cheese. Blend in blender eggs, half and half and salt and nutmeg. Pour over ingredients in pie pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Shrimp-topped White Pizza
Let thawed dough rise to double in a plastic zip-lock bag. Take out of bag and let rest, covered with an inverted bowl for 10 minutes. Pat and stretch dough onto a 12″ pizza stone (not heated) making a slightly higher edge around. Pour 1 Tbsp olive oil on dough and brush it over evenly. Put 1 clove minced garlic on dough and brush it evenly. Add mozzarella cheese, spreading evenly over crust. Meanwhile, sauté shrimp in rest of olive oil mixed with rest of minced garlic until shrimp just starts to turn pink. Remove from heat and place shrimp evenly over pizza. Sprinkle Parmesan over all. Bake in 425 degree (preheated) oven for 16-17 minutes or until crust is brown on edges and cheese is melted. Cut into wedges.
Pickled Deviled Eggs.
6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
1 jar pickled beets
Place eggs into pickled beet brine (remove beets and use for something else) so that they are all immersed. Let them sit for at least 24 hours. Cut then into halves lengthwise and remove yolks to bowl. Mash yolks with dijon mustard (1 Tbsp.), sour cream or yogurt (2 Tbsp.) and turmeric (1/4 tsp) until well blended. Fill egg whites with yolk mixture either mounding carefully or using a wide mouth on pastry bag. Decorate with a light dusting of paprika.
Heat oven to 350. Cut 1/2 cup butter into 1 cup flour. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. water over mixture; mix. Round into ball; divide in half. On ungreased baking sheet, pat each half into strip, 12×3 inches. Strips should be 3 inches apart. Heat 1/3 cup butter and 1 cup water to a rolling boil n saucepan. Remove from heat and quickly stir in almond extract and 1 cup flour. Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Beat in eggs all at once until smooth and glossy. Divide in half; spread each half evenly over strips. Bake 60 minutes. Cool. Frost with Powdered sugar frosting and sprinkle generously with nuts.
Powdered Sugar Frosting
Mix 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2 Tbsp butter, softened, 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1 to 2 Tbsp. warm water until smooth and of spreading consistency.
Put everything in a blender and blend until frozen slushy consistency. Add more ice or water if necessary. Serve in stem ware with a maraschino cherry.