How wonderful it is to be able to gather for the holidays again! Last year I blogged a lot about making the most out of the holidays and a lot of it was focused on either very small groups or safe outings. This year we actually get to have people over (still safely of course) and our first holiday gathering was our Jolly Holiday Brunch with our friends Sam and Sara.
This was their first time visiting the new place and I wanted to make it really fun and special. I made a very large charcuterie board, a savory bread pudding and potato and pepper hash. Aside from the charcuterie all recipes came from my favorite cookbook Laura in the Kitchen.
I took part in Christmas is Not Cancelled University this year and one of the classes was about making a Charcuterie board, between that and extensive Instagram research I created a board I was really proud of. Yes it could have used some fruit but Sara brought a beautiful fruit plate so I didn't want to over do it!
The Savory Italian Bread Pudding is a repeat recipe and trust me when I say it's a winner! Most of the work is done the night before so it just needs to bake the morning of your event. And it's full of bread and cheese and tomatoes and eggy custardy goodness. If you are looking for something to serve for a holiday brunch or anytime of the year brunch really, you should definitely try this!
I have not always had good luck with pan fried potatoes. They always take too long to cook or I burn some and some are raw still. This potato and pepper hash was perfect! Cooked in butter and oil everything cooked perfectly and was so flavorful even though you likely have every ingredient on hand.
I decided to make Apple Danish. From the same book, this quick recipe uses a puff pastry shortcut and you make the apple and then a cream cheese filling and you end up with these delightful pillows of magic. Seriously this will be a go to recipe from now on!! Perfect for those holiday breakfasts and some of this work can be done the night before as well though I did it all the morning of and I was not sorry!
We rounded off Brunch with a Sinatra Smash to celebrate Frank Sinatra's birthday and I have to say I am really proud of how this maiden holiday voyage turned out. Tips for a great at home Jolly Holiday Brunch:
Pick an easy menu that you feel comfortable with and that you can get most of the cooking done in advance - you want to be able to enjoy your guests not just be flitting around the kitchen missing all the fun.
Don't be afraid to have your guests bring something! When Sara volunteered to bring something my initial thought was to say no and when she suggested fruit and a fruit dip I thought "you know that would be perfect" let your guests help round out the menu!
A signature drink for an event never hurt anyone! Of course have water, tea, coffee, soft drinks available but know your crowd and if you have a drink ready to be made it takes all the guesswork out!
Are you hosting any holiday gatherings this year? Let me know in the comments below!