The Lost Art of Brunch

WHERE BREAKFAST AND LUNCH MEET TO CREATE MOMENTS OF PURE BLISS

PHOTOGRAPHED BY DAN AUSTIN
STYLED BY LISA MALOTT

Where does the time go?

I’ve asked my husband this quite a bit recently. In the background I can hear my grandmother’s voice warning me of this eventually happening. It’s no longer, “Whoa, that month went by so fast!” Now a year seems to pass by just as swiftly. The leisurely moments in life seem fewer, yet it’s those moments that we’re after: when time slows down enough for us to catch up.

SOMEHOW DURING BRUNCH, TIME STOPS, AND IN SOME MOMENTS EVEN WINDS DOWN TO SLOW DOWN

The ideal moments are the leisurely mornings (that seamlessly turn into afternoons) spent with friends and family . . . and food, of course!

There’s this concept called brunch.It’s the clever meal combination of breakfast and lunch. Today, ours is plated at home, simple, with savory filled croissants, eggs, pancakes, and mimosas. Do you want to know how much we love you? Not only did we capture a beautiful brunch to drool over, we’re going to tell you how to make it happen in your kitchen, too.

For me, the toughest decision at brunch is always the climactic deciding factor between savory or sweet. I’ve even been known to choose two meals and then force the waitress to surprise me. Some call it co-dependence. I like to call it spontaneous and adventurous.

Somehow during brunch, time stops, and in some moments even winds down to slow motion. (Picture syrup dripping onto plate as fork moves toward mouth.) It’s during times like this that smartphones are useless, better set on airplane mode, and what matters is exchanged in smiles, shared stories, and memories that last forever.

So, live spontaneously. This weekend, randomly call friends or family. Invite them over on a whim. And make brunch.

THYME AND RED GRAPEFRUIT MIMOSAS

Prosecco, Champagne, or your favorite bubbly Fresh thyme sprigs Red grapefruit juice

Fill a flute glass halfway with sparkling wine. Top it off with a swig of grapefruit juice and a sprig of thyme.

15-MINUTE PANCAKES

1 1/2 cups flour

3 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp sugar

1 1/4 cups milk

1 egg

3 Tbsp melted butter, plus more for the pan

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Pour in the milk, egg, and melted butter. Mix until just smooth.  Heat a griddle and melt the butter for getting the best crispy pancakes in all the land. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle (about 1/4 cup). Cook until brown on both sides and serve hot.

BANANA CRISP PANCAKE TOPPING

1/4 cup regular rolled oats

1/4 cup of your favorite chopped nuts

2 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp butter

3 medium to large bananas, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices

1/2 cup dried calimyrna or kalamata figs, stemmed and chopped (about 3 ounces)

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

2 Tbsp bourbon or water

2 Tbsp honey

In a skillet, cook oats and nuts over medium to medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until nuts are very lightly browned, stirring frequently. Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes more or until mixture is evenly toasted. Add sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons butter; stir until butter is melted and mixture evenly coated. Remove from heat. Transfer to bowl and set aside. In the same skillet, cook bananas, figs, 1/4 cup butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until bananas and figs are just softened, gently stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add bourbon and honey. Return to medium heat; cook 1 minute more, gently stirring to coat fruit well. Remove from heat. Top pancakes with warm banana mixture and sprinkle with oat topping, whipped cream, and (optional) freshly grated nutmeg.

CROISSANT CROQUE MADAME

4 croissants (or 8 slices of your favorite bread)

4 eggs

8 slices of ham (thinly sliced)

4 ounces of grated Gruyere cheese

Freshly chopped thyme and chives

PARMESAN BÉCHAMEL SAUCE

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 cup whole milk

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

3 Tbsp finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and stir for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, increasing the heat to medium high, and bring to a simmer. Add salt, nutmeg, cayenne, and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and whisk to combine. Cook for 3 minutes, whisk – ing constantly until the sauce thickens. Remove the béchamel sauce from heat and set aside until ready to use.

Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the broiler.

Slice the croissants in half and place the bottom half of the croissant on a baking sheet. Place 2 slices of ham on the croissant, and place 1/4 cup of the Gruyere on top of the ham. Broil the sandwiches for 1 to 2 minutes, or just until cheese is melted. Top with remaining half of croissant. Ladle 2 table – spoons of the béchamel on top of each sandwich. Sprinkle each sandwich with 1/4 teaspoon thyme and 1/4 teaspoon chives. Place a fried egg on top of the béchamel. Equally divide remaining cheese between the four sandwiches. Broil sandwiches for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted to a light golden brown.