Are you hosting a brunch this spring or summer for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, a special occasion or just because? Try a fresh, country farmhouse menu to keep a wide variety of ages happy. You can pull this together in two shakes of a spring lamb’s tail, as long as you get yourself organized and stay on track. Miss Party will walk you through it, top to bottom!
For “country farmhouse” decor, keep everything very simple. Use casual, country flowers for arrangements in a few key locations. On the food table, play up on the farmhouse, country-style menu and use an eclectic mix of traditional, vintage and rustic serving containers and linens. Use rustic baskets; vintage wooden boxes, and clean, galvanized metal containers and tubs. Depending on how far you want to walk down this country lane, glass canning jars make fun drinking glasses (reasonably priced when purchased by the case).
Try to imagine yourself on a simple, country farm and think about what might be on hand for flower and food containers. Of course, your imaginary farmhouse might be on a vast and perfectly groomed horse farm in the middle of hunt country and be decorated in a very upscale, genteel way. If so, use a refined red or hunter green, black, and white color palette to subtly play on a fox hunt inspiration. Acquire a couple of new horseshoes to use as clever paper napkin weights. Either way, if you need a little inspiration to remind you of all the loveliness that comes with springtime, see the “Springtime Theme-Storm“.
Brunch is one of Miss Party’s favorite meals to use for entertaining and serving buffet-style one of her favorite styles of service. When done in your home it lends itself to a casual, relaxed sort of pace. For a crowd, serving the meal buffet-style gives you a chance to visit and eat with your guests. This menu accommodates for a wide-variety of tastes, diets and ages. Adjust or remove dishes depending on your number of guests. If you prefer more lunch-type options, change as desired. Oh, and Miss Party assumes you’ve probably invited more guests than can be seated at your dining table, so nothing on this menu requires a knife for cutting, only spreading.
Do you have any family favorite dishes you want to substitute or add to this menu? Please share a favorite recipe…
FARMHOUSE BRUNCH MENU:
Offer an attractive basket full of good-quality, thick-sliced country white and/or wheat bread, biscuits (a farmhouse favorite and more authentic choice than bagels) and muffins. Set up a station with a toaster and condiments. (Purchase all baked goods at a high-quality bakery.)
(See the Breakfast/Brunch Recipe section for lots of delicious quick bread recipes and awesome “Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins”.)
Farmhouse Honey Butter and good-quality (seeded) fruit jams
Tossed salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
(Pre-chop and wash all vegetables the day before, bag separately, cut lettuce into BITE-SIZE pieces and air-dry before bagging. Make dressing day before, if homemade.)
(Cut melons and citrus fruit the night before and bag separately, wash berries the morning of and allow to air-dry. Assemble the ‘morning of’.)
Five Cup Salad (This fruit salad is super easy to assemble and goes very well with ham.)
Heavenly Deviled Eggs (make a dozen more than you think you need, this retro comfort food will go fast!)
Spiral-cut, honey-baked ham: (Cut off the bone and attractively arranged or done up as a mini sandwich platter.)
(Figure out your cooking time, and don’t forget to allow for the extra half hour bake time needed after the honey glaze goes on the ham. The ham must be finished one hour before the event starts. Cover with aluminum foil and cool to room temperature. This will also free up the oven for the casserole dishes. If you are offering ham for mini sandwiches, you can pre-assemble the sandwiches or set up a DIY assembly with a platter of pre-sliced ham cut into bun-size pieces with a basket of mini, pre-sliced buns.)
Ham Condiments: good-quality mayonnaise, honey mustard, whole cranberry sauce or chutney
Macaroni and Cheese Casserole (Mac and cheese goes particularly well with ham. Use Miss Party’s recipe (sans lobster) or a favorite family recipe. Make the entire recipe the night before, stopping short of the breadcrumb topping. Add topping and bake on the ‘morning of’.)
Egg Strata Casserole (Delicious ‘make ahead’ sausage and egg dish, which could also be made meatless if preferred. Bake on the ‘morning of’.)
Coffee and Tea Station:
Need 2 hot beverage carafes, one for coffee, one for hot water (attach a card or tag which lets guest know which is which). Provide everything necessary for preparation: mugs, tea selection (include non-caffeinated varieties) sugar, artificial sweetener, cream, stirring utensils.
Cold Beverage Station – Non-alcoholic suggestions: orange juice, ice water, apple or white grape juice (no staining issues), lemonade, regular iced tea, herbal or fruit-flavored iced tea. If desired, AM cocktail suggestions: Mint Julep’s, Mimosa’s, Bloody Mary’s or Arnold Palmer’s. (Set up non-alcoholic cold drinks nearby the Hot Coffee/Tea Station, but separated so children who might be overanxious to help themselves, won’t inadvertently bump someone fixing or carrying a hot beverage. Set up alcoholic bar away and out of reach of children.)
Dessert at this hour could be a simple platter of homemade or purchased cookies or something made the day before. Here are some ideas: a Coconut Cake; Delicious Cake (a rustic-style yellow cake); a Raspberry or Strawberry Shortcake; or something lighter like a Lemon Loaf or retro Seven Layer Bars.
Two-three weeks before:
-Take linens to dry cleaners for pressing or DIY
-Purchase paper products and plastic beverage glasses, if needed. (Consider paper goods for children.)
-Think through children’s activities plan. Will they watch a video? A DIY activity table? Supervised game or egg hunt? You want as many happy children as possible. Everyone will be happier! Purchase supplies needed.
-If desired, decide on a SMALL party favor. An edible favor is best for all ages. Buy supplies.
One week before:
-Think through equipment/platters/dishes needed. Buy or borrow what you don’t have.
-Clean the house, especially bathrooms. Put away breakables or valuables that small hands might find interesting.
-Prep children’s activities.
-Make food description tent cards or attach to place card holders for casseroles. Guests will appreciate not having to ask.
Three days ahead:
-Get out EVERY dish or platter needed for your food dishes and serving utensils. (Wash up as needed.) Put a sticky note with food dish name into corresponding dish to be sure there is a dish for every single item (including condiment bowls) that will need a container.
-Wash glasses and hand wipe if using for a bar.
-Gather baskets for breads, set up the stations.
-Get a yellow pad and go through each recipe and every station to make a full grocery list.
-Grocery shop. Multiple stops may be needed to gather all ingredients.
-Make party favors, if planned for.
Two days before:
-Boil eggs for deviled eggs, refrigerate.
-Prepare Farmhouse Honey Butter.
-Prep the buffet table and beverage stations.
-Set up a children’s dining table, if desired. If you will seat adults, set up dining table.
-Decorate the public spaces, if desired. Arrange flowers for table, entryway.
-Set up children’s activity, or supplies.
-Bake cookies, if desired.
One day before:
-Pickup bakery order.
-Make deviled eggs.
-Make Five Cup Salad.
-Prep green salad ingredients and fruit.
-Make salad dressing, if desired.
-Prepare casseroles towards the end of the day.
-Make dessert, if not purchased. Platter as desired and cover.
-Pre-split bagels and re-bag.
-Tidy bathrooms and public spaces.
-Get ham in the oven at calculated time!
-Combine fruit for fruit salad. Put in serving bowl and refrigerate.
-Make Mac & Cheese topping and put over casserole.
-Finish prepping salad except for dressing.
-When ham is finished, cover and set aside to cool.
-If you plan to pre-assemble ham sandwiches, platter now and cover.
-Get your own shower!
-Get kids dressed.
One hour before party:
-Put casseroles in the oven.
-Set out beverages.
-Make coffee and hot water. Put in carafes. Finish setting up the Hot Beverage Station.
-Finish the Bread Station. Cover baked goods to keep from drying out.
-Put green salad into serving bowl and toss with dressing, cover. Put on buffet table.
-Set out any condiments needed such as butter, jams, honey mustard, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.
Half hour before party:
-Put on music to relax EVERYONE and signal the party will soon be starting. Pour yourself a Mimosa! Will yourself to RELAX!
-Put fruit salad, Five Cup Salad and deviled eggs on buffet table.
-Put out cream for coffee.
-Cover casseroles and leave in the oven (turned off).
As guests arrive:
-Get out of the kitchen to welcome them! Take coats and handbags.
-Offer a beverage to start them relaxing.
-If kids can go outside, send them along, to give adults a chance to catch up.
-Sneak back into the kitchen to finish setting out the buffet and unwrap the food dishes.
Approximately half hour into the party, announce the buffet is open!
Bask in all the compliments you receive for a delicious meal! Get a plate and SIT DOWN to eat with your guests.
No one will know anything that DIDN’T happen – don’t worry, be happy!
Later in the party or after main meal:
-Check on refilling coffee and hot water carafes.
-Reset buffet table for dessert, if providing.
-Ask older child or other adult to help supervise your kids activity table or game.
-Set out party favors, if providing.