Throwing a brunch party (or Breakfast Club, as I like to call it) is a great excuse to hit up the farmers’ market and catch up with friends. Brunch parties are the least intimidating of food parties. A few quality ingredients and make-ahead dishes are all you need to break the fast (a pitcher of bloody marys wouldn’t hurt, either). Many towns and cities host farmers’ markets on Fridays and Saturdays (the Union Square Greenmarket is a personal favorite). Set out early to get some freshly baked bread (cranberry pecan, whole wheat flax, poppy seed) and homemade preserves in seasonal flavors like peach, mission fig, and blueberry. Stock up on colorful fruits to make a fruit salad and to throw in yogurt parfaits or atop cereal. Be on the lookout for some flowers to decorate the table—you’ll have a hard time finding bunches that smell and look as good as the flowers at the farmers’ market anywhere else.
What: A breakfast club.
For: Keep it intimate (save more bacon jam for yourself) or open your kitchen to a crowd—encourage some BYO breakfast dish/drink.
When: Saturday or Sunday late morning. Unless you’re experiencing the joys of fun-employment, in which case go wild on a weekday morning.
What to Eat: Purists and francophiles will enjoy a tartine—a slab of toasted bread with butter and jam. Artisanal breads will make some killer breakfast sandwiches. If you see some farm fresh eggs, they are worth the splurge! Fried eggs with golden yellow yolks are a match made in heaven with this avocado toast. If you’re feeling adventurous, doll up a fried egg with this bacon jam, irresistible with its hints of sweet caramelized onion and maple syrup.
To avoid becoming a short-order breakfast chef, prepare a a no-fuss frittata or a lovely baked oatmeal serve it warm, drizzled with butter, honey and a smidge of sugar. You can prepare both dishes the night before, and pop them in the oven for 40 minutes so you can socialize. Quick breads like whole-wheat apple cinnamon are always crowd-pleasers, and can be made days ahead of time.
For something that requires getting off your butt on a lazy Saturday morning, set up a DIY yogurt parfait bar. Slice up some peaches, and nectarines, put out bowls of your favorite berries and other toppings. Add some dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, mango, pineapple and figs if you’re feeling adventurous) and nuts (experiment with salted ones for a salty-sweet combo, or even toast them for some added crunch). If you really want to woo your guests, set out a bowl of homemade granola. Or cheat, and buy this killer salty, sweet Early Bird granola.
What to Drink: Coffee is a must. If you’re up for the challenge, try your hand at some DIY Cold Brew. Serve up freshly squeezed OJ as a treat, and offer some sort of boozier drink, perhaps a summer spritzer of white wine, lemonade, mint, and a dash of liquer.
How to Set the Scene: Set up the breakfast spread in the kitchen. Splurging on some decorative paper plates will be worth the time and effort saved for not having to do the dishes. Roll utensils into cloth napkins (no need to match) and set out mason jars for yogurt parfaits, as well as coffee, or something a bit stronger. I’ve always been a fan of placecards, but if you’re going for a more laissez-faire Saturday morning sprawl, keep the settings organic.
Attire: Pajamas encouraged, among friends. But sundresses never hurt, and get you in the mindset to do something more with your day besides watching Girls on the couch.
RSVP to Small Kitchen College in the comments with your ideas for and stories from great on-campus parties!
Brooke Elmlinger has two hopes for the month of July: to cold brew coffee in her own kitchen, and to can some bacon jam, to be used for breakfast club and on her dad’s killer burgers.