Sunday, May 10, 2009

15 Tips for a Mother's Day Brunch

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Happy Mother’s Day to everyone! Traditionally our family celebrates Mother’s day either by going out to a brunch buffet in San Francisco or the East bay. This year we decided to go to my sister’s house and have a homemade brunch celebration.

As a family, we divide and conquer the brunch duties to relieve stress for everyone. My contributions for this year’s brunch was a colorful fruit salad, savory breakfast bread pudding and the Barefoot Contessa’s French Tart which I put my own spin on the recipe. (Recipes to follow this week)

Authentic Suburban Gourmet’s top 15 tips to throwing a successful Mother’s Day Brunch:

1. Pick a date, location and time. Sundays are traditionally the best brunch days.

2. How many should you invite? - For a cozy brunch, no more than 4-6, including you. If you are planning a buffet, you can invite 8-12 if you can fit everyone in your house. It is important to keep in mind the size of your home, as most items for brunch may not be finger foods, and your guests will need a table to sit around to enjoy their food.

3. Determine your invitation list. Invite some friends and/or family members. A phone call or e-mail is sufficient for a casual brunch; send written invitations if the meal is celebrating something special. With the web 2.0 age, use evite or blast out to your friends and family on facebook.

4. Create an “event blueprint” that includes that includes your shopping list, menu, guest list, timelines, check list for things such as house cleaning, music & getting yourself ready. If you work off a detailed list, the event will go off without a hitch!

5. Plan a menu that you'll enjoy preparing with dishes that are easy for you to make and can do ahead of time. Pancakes and fruit bowls with pastries, hash browns and quiches are good choices for larger groups of people. Eggs, bacon, omelets and sausages are easily prepared for smaller numbers.

6. Variety is Key - Serving a variety of sweet and savory breakfast and brunch foods is key to a successful party, so make sure you have a selection of eggs, breakfast meats, fresh fruits, and breads.

7. Shop one to two days before and prepare as much as possible ahead of time. Clean your house in advance as well. A few hours prior to the event, spot clean your guest bathroom and make sure fresh towels are out and a new roll of toilet paper is on the holder.

8. Wake up early and prepare yourself for the arrival of your guests. If you can prepare certain dishes at this time (pastries, for example), do so. Use the checklist and put timelines to complete your tasks - this will keep you ahead of schedule and less stressed.

9. Plan to take care of getting yourself ready at least two hours prior to your guests arriving. This is a key step!

10. Set the table, and decorate it with fresh flowers or with other items you choose. If you can do this the night prior, your stress level will be reduced and one thing to check off the list.

11. Have coffee, soothing music and a subtle scented candle burning ready for your guests. I love having a candle burning in the guest bathroom. Depending on the size of the location or your house, set up stations for coffee and food.

12. Greet each guest with enthusiasm and a welcoming smile. Take their coats, handbags and any other items. Determine ahead of time, where you will store these; perhaps in a guest room or den. Have your beverages ready to offer to your guests. A mimosa is a traditional brunch cocktail or prepare a special signature drink to add that extra added special touch. In your spare time, whip up the remaining dishes.

13. Typically guests are always willing to help - a smart host takes them up on the offer. If a guest offers to bring something, review your menu and then choose an item for them to bring. If they ask to help at the event, let them pour water, serve coffee or help bring out the food items to the buffet table.

14. Setting up the buffet table. Place the plates at one end of the table, so your guests know to start there. If you are having cold and hot dishes, strategically place the cold together towards the plates and the hot next. Make sure that you have flatware bundled with napkins at the beginning of the brunch line or set at the place settings at the table.

15. Let your guests know that you are ready to start the brunch service. Once all of the guests have selected their food, then feel free to take yours. Then sit down and relax with your friends and family.

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