Book Club Brunch

This weekend I threw a birthday themed brunch for my book club, because this month we read the book Happy Birthday To Me by Brian Rowe. Brian is my brother-in-law and a fantastic writer. This book is a simple easy read and I would recommend it to anyone. blog post picture 2My husband likes to say that anything I make that goes into the oven to be baked is absolutely amazing, so apparently anything else I make on a stove top or such is not very good. For my book club's birthday brunch, everything except for the yogurt was baked in an oven. I've hosted several brunch's in the past and have my favorite go to recipes.

The first was a quiche lorraine, I found the recipe on Simply Recipes, the only adjustment I made was using a gluten free pie crust. This is always a great recipe that people love and I like to make it the day before so I am not crunched on time when preparing for everyone's arrival. Another great brunch item that is incredibly easy to make and takes no time is a recipe I found on Babble for hash brown bites. Unfortunately sometimes our guests don't get to try the deliciousness of this creation because my husband eats them all before anyone arrives. I also made a basic gluten free chocolate cake, to coincide with the all important cake featured in the book club's book Happy Birthday to Me. I love entertaining in my home and with these recipes my guests always leave happy with a belly full of good food. Please let me know if you tried these recipes and what types of foods you love to make for brunch.

Hash brown Bites Recipe

1 package of pre shredded potatoes (I used simply potatoes found next to the eggs in the grocery store)

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 finely chopped onion (optional)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and thoroughly grease a mini muffin pan (you may need more than one, I used 1 plus 5 mini muffins). Pour potatoes into a bowl, add the salt, garlic powder and onion, stir to combine. Pour in the egg and give it another stir, then add the cheese and mix it all up. Spoon into mini muffin tins and bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown and tops and edges begin to get crispy. Eat warm, or cool and freeze into individual packs and heat for about 20 seconds in the microwave. Yay, breakfast is make for the whole week!

Quiche Lorraine Recipe

1 recipe pie dough or a prepared frozen pie crust

1/2 pound of bacon (you can use more or less to your taste)

1 cup milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

Black pepper to taste (we used about 1/2 teaspoon)

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup grated gruyere or other cheese (cheddar works too

1 heaping tablespoon chopped chives


1a If you are making your own pie crust, roll out the pie dough into a 12-inch round. Place it in a 10-inch wide, 1 1/2-inch high tart pan, pressing the dough into the corners. Use a rolling pin to roll over the surface of the tart pan to cleanly cut off the excess dough from the edges. Freeze for at least half an hour before blind-baking.

1b Pre-bake the frozen crust (also called "blind" baking). Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the frozen crust with heavy duty aluminum foil or with parchment paper. Allow for a couple inches to extend beyond the sides of the tart or pie pan. Fill two-thirds with dry beans or other pie weights (I've heard copper pennies work well for this too). If you are using a pan with a removable bottom, place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to catch any spillage. Bake for 20 minutes. Then remove from oven, remove the pie weights (the easiest way to do this is to lift up the foil by the edges) and the foil. Using the tines of a fork, poke little holes all around the base of the crust. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, until lightly browned all over. Remove from oven and set aside.

2 Cook the bacon. Heat a large frying pan on medium heat. Arrange strips of bacon in a single layer on the bottom of the pan (you may need to work in batches or do two pans at once). Slowly cook the bacon, turning the strips over occasionally until they are nicely browned and much of the fat has rendered out. Lay the cooked strips of bacon on a paper towel to absorb the excess fat. Pour fat out of the pan into a jar (not down the drain, unless you want to clog the pipes) for future use, or wait until it solidifies and discard in the trash. Chop the cooked bacon crosswise into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch pieces.

3 Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the nutmeg, salt, black pepper and chives and whisk a little more. Add the milk and cream and whisk vigorously to incorporate and introduce a little air into the mix – this keeps the texture of the quiche light and fluffy. Arrange the bacon and cheese in the bottom of the pie crust.

Whisk the egg-milk mixture hard again for a few seconds, then pour it gently into the pie crust. You want the bacon and cheese to be suspended in the mix, so you might need to gently stir it around just a little. You also want the chives, which will float, to be evenly arranged on top, so move them around with a spoon until you like where they are.

4 Put the quiche into the preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. (If using pan with removable bottom, be sure to place a rimmed baking sheet underneath.) Check for doneness after 30 minutes by gently jiggling the quiche. It should still have just a little wiggle. (It will finish setting while it cools.) Cool on a wire rack. Eat at room temperature, cold (a quiche will keep for several days in the fridge), or reheated gently in a 200-degree oven.

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