Bonne Année Brunch

Bonne Année Brunch

Instead of burning the midnight New Year's Eve oil, here’s a guide for throwing the ultimate New Year's Day brunch to kick off 2012.

Brunch Theme: Post-Party

After a late night, the last thing you’ll want to do is get up at the crack of dawn to mix, stir and sizzle.

Menu: Eggs, bacon and French toast are as easy to cook as they are delicious—plus, they make for perfect hangover antidotes. Whip up a bacon-and-egg casserole and a pan of French toast the afternoon before. In the morning, pop them in the oven and serve with a Bloody Mary.

Pairing: Coffee

Entertaining Tips: Play light jazz designed to ease guests out of their hangover and into the New Year.

Décor: At minimum, make sure all the booze from last night is cleared away. Then keep it simple: a bowl of fresh lemons and limes on the table or a pot of wheatgrass appears fresh and clean.

Recipe: Bloody Mary

Invented in Paris and named after King Henry VIII’s daughter Mary Tudor, the Bloody Mary is a great New Year's brunch drink—both for its restorative powers and because you can mix a big pitcher ahead of time.

4 cups tomato juice
1 cup vodka
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco is preferable)
½ tablespoon prepared horseradish
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Celery stalks, green olives, lime wedges, baby corn and dill pickle spears, for garnish

Mix all ingredients (except for garnishes) in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish.

Brunch Theme: Feeding Frenzy

Hosting a crowd? We've got recipes and party ideas that go the extra mile to feed all those hungry guests.

Menu: A spiral-cut ham stretches to feed a big group. Serve with a bowl of fruit salad dressed in yogurt, muffins from your local club warehouse and sausage patties, which can be fried ahead of time and kept warm in the oven. Our recipe for Pumpkin Bread Pudding is another quick way to wow your crowd.

Pairing: Irish coffee, Bellinis and orange juice, and for the kids, lemon-lime soda.

Entertaining Tips: Set up the food buffet-style with disposable tableware. Crank the party music, or put out some board games for the kids and set up the Wii.

Décor: Pick up some orange and yellow bouquets for a bright and cheery table setting. Choose green and blue if you’d like to set a relaxed mood.

Recipe: Pumpkin Bread Pudding

This creamy bread pudding comes together in a snap. Top it with fresh whipped cream for extra indulgence.

2 15-ounce cans pumpkin purée
4 large eggs
2 cups half and half
1½ cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
16 ounces day-old brioche or French bread, cut into ½-inch cubes

Preheat over to 350ºF.

In a large bowl, whisk pumpkin, eggs, half and half, brown sugar, spices, salt and vanilla. Stir in bread cubes and let sit for 15 minutes. Pour bread mixture into a greased 9”x12” glass baking dish and for 20–25 minutes, or until custard is set. Serves 10-12.

Brunch Theme: Small and Sophisticated

For a smaller crowd, the food and décor can go upscale.

Menu: Smoked salmon, eggs Benedict, blood orange and spinach salad, cranberry scones and brie with walnuts and honey.

Pairing: Raspberry Champagne, cranberry mimosas, Bloody Marys

Entertaining Tips: Put on some swingin' big band music to match the haute cuisine.

Décor: Blue and silver are classic New Year’s colors, adding an icy ambiance to your décor. String white lights around the room and decorate the table with blue flowers in clear Champagne bottles set on silver mirrors.

Recipe: Raspberry Champagne

This Champagne cocktail features a sweet French liqueur made with black raspberries steeped in Cognac.

4 ounces chilled Champagne
½ ounce Chambord
Fresh raspberries (optional)

Pour the Champagne into a tall flute. Slowly add Chambord, top with a fresh raspberry and serve immediately.

Published on November 28, 2011