A Harvest Brunch to Celebrate Autumn
By Brenda Hyde
With cool weather creeping in, and the crisp smell of Autumn greeting us in the mornings, it's the perfect time to throw an Autumn brunch for family and friends. Since it's harvest time there are plenty of fresh ingredients available for serving and decorating.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to fall decorations for your brunch. A simple centerpiece can be made with a shallow wicker basket and natural ingredients. Line your basket with fall leaves of different colors. In the center place a small pumpkin (pie pumpkins work well), and surround it with small gourds of various shapes and colors. You can stop there or you can add pinecones and milkweed pods for variation.
Mini pumpkins are a great touch for your table. Cut the tops off and scoop out the insides, then place a candle inside with a raffia bow tied around the candle. These can be grouped together, placed at each place setting or scattered around the buffet table.
The Brunch Buffet
Brunches are traditionally set up as buffets which include breakfast and luncheon foods. All recipes can be doubled or tripled depending on how many guests you invite. In addition to the recipes below, brown up sausage links in traditional flavors and maple flavoring for a change. Use wicker baskets lined with napkins in Autumn colors for the silverware, napkins and muffins.
Hot Raspberry Cider
8 cups fresh apple cider
1 cup frozen raspberry juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Combine cider, juice, sugar and cinnamon stick in a 4-quart saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture simmers. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove stick, and serve hot. Transfer to a crockpot and keep setting on low to serve throughout your brunch. Makes 8 cups.
2 cups milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups pancake mix
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup finely chopped apples
Place milk, eggs, pancake mix and melted butter in bowl. Beat with mixer until batter is fairly smooth. Stir in apples. Bake in hot waffle iron until steaming stops. Place in warm oven until just before the brunch starts then place on platter with fresh butter, syrup and preserves nearby. Serves 6.
Zucchini and Potato Pie
1 pound (3 medium) potatoes, scrubbed
boiling salted water
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces mozzarella or provolone cheese, diced fine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large zucchini, grated
1 tsp. fresh oregano, or 1/2 tsp. dried, crushed
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
Cook potatoes in boiling salted water for 25-30 minutes, until tender. Drain, peel and mash, using a potato masher, ricer or food mill. Stir in remaining ingredients except bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon butter. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9 inch pie plate and sprinkle with half the crumbs. Fill plate with the potato mixture, smoothing top. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs and dot with the remaining butter. Bake 30 minutes until pie is puffed and golden. Makes 4 servings. Make two to three pies depending on how many guests are invited.
Golden Fruit Salad
1 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt
2-3 tablespoons orange juice
1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and sliced
1 Red Delicious apple, cored and sliced
1 banana, sliced
1/2 cup red grapes, seeded and halved
Combine yogurt, orange juice, and nutmeg in bowl and mix. In another bowl, combine and mix fruit. Serve with dressing on salad plates lined with lettuce. Serves 3.
Golden Squash Muffins
2 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 large egg
3/4 cup cooked, mashed butternut or buttercup squash
1 tsp. grated orange peel
1 cup milk
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin tin (regular size dozen) with butter. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender (I use clean hands) or knives until mixture is like fine crumbs. Beat egg in a medium bowl; stir in squash, peel and milk. Add to flour mixture until just blended. Fill muffin cups 3/4 cups full. Bake 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and center is done when tested with a toothpicks. Makes 12 muffins. Serve with butter and honey.
Brenda Hyde is a wife and Mom of three, a freelance writer, bookseller and editor of Seeds of Knowledge.com For more recipes and cooking tidbits subscribe to Tea Time Tidbits by sending any email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.seedsofknowledge.com.