Sunday, May 22, 2011

A 50th Brunch

Just because I decided to go to France during the week of Mother’s Day and my eldest sister’s 50th Birthday doesn’t stop my family from asking me to make them brunch.  God forbid they would make their own brunch while I am gone….no, they just decided to wait until I got back. 

Yesterday was the appointed day for brunch for Mom & Sis and the whole gang, so I went to the Corona del Mar market, set up my booth, then handed it over to my dear helper Linda, while I quickly loaded up three baskets of fresh eggs, produce and citrus.  Did you notice, I have new baskets?  These are very vintage, from the Paris flea market; I positively adore them and use them weekly now for my shopping and display~

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We started with the usual mimosa bar, but rather than separating the citrus varieties, I set one of my nieces up with the juicer and made a blend of Orange-Strawberry, Tangelo, Clementine and Navel, while my sweet Miss Biscuit guarded the carrots and veggies at the kitchen door~

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Instead of buying flowers at the market, I cut masses of roses from the garden early in the morning, and set the vases in every room of the house and on the round tables on the patio for breakfast.  Can you top the scent and color of a home-grown rose?  They made my Mom very happy, and that was what counted.  Here clockwise Johann Strauss (pale pink), Yves Piaget, Sheila’s Perfume and Scentimental~

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Scentimental and Yves Piaget again, with the white “old rose” Bagatelle, one of my favorites. 

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This one, I do not remember the name, but it has a heavenly perfume and of course I love the deep color and voluminous petals~

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Brunch itself was rather “bare bones” for me; pancakes with fresh blueberries, and eggs benedict, which my sister specifically requested, with Julia’s Hollandaise sauce~

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After brunch, I went back to the market to break down the booth with one of my nieces, then home again for more partying, more cooking.  The evening before, I had cooked the meat for a blanquette de veau, with various aromatic veggies including fresh garlic, carrots, herbs and baby celery from Sage Mountain.  Read this, if you buy much celery; I will only buy organic celery.

Rather than just a simple white stew, I added the best spring veggies I could find at the market that morning, which included thin green asparagus.  I also bought fat green and medium purple (sweet) asparagus, the trio for comparison~

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Added to this, each cooked separately, were small Japanese turnips, orange and yellow carrots (peeled and halved here, with a tip of the green showing), caramelized white and purple spring onions, leeks, asparagus, and cremini and shitake mushrooms, all topped with a light crème sauce~

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It’s a little sad, my family considers this “normal fare.”  So I have to keep trying something new and mixing it up a little.  No wonder they wait for me to come home to cook for them, right? 

The nouveaute of the brunch was scones.  Not just any scones…scones stuffed with fresh blueberries and raspberries, then baked, and topped with homemade butter, which was flavored with raspberry sauce.

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For the scones, I used this recipe.  Very simple, but I made some modifications: use half the cinnamon, I added about 1 cup of fine granola for extra texture and taste, and used 1/2 cup whipping cream for the milk/cream ingredient.  I divided the dough in half, then formed each into a flat circle, which I cut into 6 triangles, like slicing a pie.  Slice each triangle in half like a sandwich and add the fruit; use your fingers to seal the fruit in at the edges. 

I brushed with egg yolk and water, for a golden top, then dusted with vanilla sugar (or use a few free packs of Sugar in the Raw).

The butter was the clincher; look for a post on it later this week.


  1. Andrea your photos are just amazing ~ I'm still trying to get over the ones you took of the market in France! While in CA this summer I MUST make it to market day and pack a box of all this goodness to send home :) Your family is spoiled with all your talents!

    Have a great week ~

  2. what a feast for the eyes! everything looks wonderful!

  3. Andrea you are the best hostess in the world. The menu is perfect and your flowers just gorgeous!

    I adore your new baskets!

    Art by Karena

    Serena & Lily Giveaway until the 25th!

  4. Your roses are does that Eggs Benedict...I have a maneu change for tomorrow evening!
    I can see why your family waited for your return.
    Love the new baskets. Bonne semaine,

  5. Andrea, Your photographs are beautiful and the food looks amazing. How lucky you are to have markets to shop for fresh vegetables.

  6. Lovely basket indeed!

    I am drawn to your peppermint colored rose~ Scentimental. So pretty.

    The stew looks amazing. I couldn't stand it and went to the library to pick up MTAOFC. Made the family Leek Quiche. Yum.

  7. Yum, every morsel looks devine. Your photographs are lovely, they look like I can reach out to touch and taste each one of them.

    Thanks, for sharing. Kathy