Punch up your brunch

Every social circle I know finds Sunday brunch to be the most important part of their week. 

For many people it is the last chance to spend time with friends before they head back to work on Monday.  This column is devoted to having a pot luck brunch.  It is all of the fun with out all of the work.

The best place to start is to figure out who do you want to invite.  For a Sunday brunch it is best to keep the guest list small, and only invite your closest friends - probably no more than six people. 

You really want this to be a group of people who know each other very well. This will create a warm environment that allows everyone a chance to share about what is really going on in their lives.  It will be an afternoon of joy, commiseration and soul replenishing.

As the host I would prepare the main dish.  I have a simple recipe for a savory breakfast bread pudding that anyone can make.  This will take about thirty minutes to assemble and just under an hour to bake.  You can assemble this the day before if you like.

8 large eggs
2 _ cups of half and half
1 tablespoon of mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
_ teaspoon of black pepper
4 cups of frozen shredded hash rounds
2 cups of grated parmesan cheese
2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese
8 cups of bread cubed with out the crust (French or Italian will work)
_ pound of bacon cooked and crumbled

Add eggs, half and half, mustard, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.  Wisk everything together until well blended.  Then dump all of your other ingredients in the bowl and mix well with a big spoon.  Pour the pudding into a buttered 13x9 casserole dish, and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes. 

Here are some ideas of the different things that you will need for the brunch that your friends can bring. This will satisfy your guest’s different palates, and keep the costs in a reasonable range for everyone who is attending.

1) Orange juice, sparkling water, and peach nectar (orange juice and nectar are for mimosas)
2) Fruit salad
3) 2 bottles of sparkling wine (divvy up between two friends)
4) Loaf of artisan bread and jam

As you can see that hosting a simple Sunday brunch only takes minimal time and minor coordination.  The best part is that you have one more time to enjoy your friends before you start the grueling work week. 


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