‘Round the Table: Brunch to Bring in the New Year

Some of us know that the first morning of the new year is not our finest hour. We may have over-indulged, over-imbibed and in general over-done it. Or perhaps, the end of the year finds you tucked away in bed with a good book and a cup of cocoa. Whatever your camp, I think we can all agree that a New Year’s Day Brunch is the perfect way to start the year off right!

If you love bacon and you love Bloody Marys, then you are probably guilty of dipping a piece of bacon into your Bloody Mary; this Bloody Mary Recipe is what you’ve been waiting for. I garnished mine with celery and olives, but pickled okra or asparagus is equally lovely.

Everything is better with bacon! Including Bloody Marys

Bacon Bloody Mary

Yield: 6 Bloody Marys

  • 6 cups of tomato juice
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice
  • ¼ cup of lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons grated creamy horseradish
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Tabasco Sauce
  • 1 small clove of garlic, put through the
  • garlic press
  • ¾ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces of cold vodka
  • Cajun or Creole Seasoning or garnish
  • Lemon wedges for rimming the glass
  • Green Olives for garnish
  • Cooked Bacon for garnish
  • Celery Stalks for garnish

In a blender, blend the tomato juice, lemon juice, lime juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, garlic, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

To Serve:

Place some of the creole seasoning on a flat plate. Run a lemon or lime wedge around the rim of each glass and dip the glass in the creole seasoning.  Fill the glass with ice and add 2 ounces of vodka and then fill with the chilled Bloody Mary Mix.

Garnish with olives, bacon and celery.

A soft custardy frittata is easier than you think! Follow these rules for a perfect New Year’s Day Brunch!

Spinach and Pancetta Frittata

Yield: 8 servings

The Italians know, fussing over omelets is so passé; when the last omelet is finished, the first is cold and rubbery. No one sits down to eat at the same time and most often, the cook goes hungry.  A well-made frittata solves the problem nicely.

A well-made frittata may be one of the world’s most perfect foods. It’s equally delicious as breakfast, brunch or a late-night supper. It begs to be filled with leftovers, but it’s just as happy to be filled with beautiful fresh ingredients. While a well-made frittata is perfect, a poorly made frittata is tragic. Here are some tips:

Use some dairy and make it full fat.

Abide by the egg-dairy ratio. For every dozen eggs you’ll need a half-cup of dairy. For a 6-egg frittata you’ll need a quarter cup.

Use a well-seasoned cast iron pan for the job. No exceptions.

Never, ever over-bake.

  • 12 eggs
  • ½ cup of whole milk
  • ½ pound of fresh baby spinach leaves, rinsed, dried and torn into bite sized pieces
  • ¼ pound of pancetta cut into cubes
  • ½ large yellow onion, diced
  • 8 ounces of fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Cook the pancetta in a 10” well-seasoned cast iron skillet set over medium-low heat. When the pancetta is crispy, remove it from the pan and drain on paper towels.

Reserve about 2 Tablespoons of bacon grease; heat the bacon grease in the cast iron skillet over medium high heat; sauté the onion for 2 to 3 minutes or until it’s translucent; add the mushrooms and cook until they are beginning to brown.  Turn off the heat and add the spinach pieces and stir with a wooden spoon for a minute or until the leaves are fully wilted.

In a separate mixing bowl, thoroughly beat the eggs until frothy; add the milk and stir until combined.  Season with salt and pepper.

While the egg mixture is still frothy, pour it into the skillet and add the bacon pieces.  Stir lightly to combine the ingredients evenly.

Turn the heat under the skillet back on to medium and cook for about 5 minutes or until the egg begins to set; do not stir. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly across the top of the frittata and transfer the skillet to the hot oven and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the eggs are fully cooked.

Cool for 5 minutes before slicing into wedges and serving.

It’s hard to start the year off wrong when you start the year off with mixed berries and white chocolate.  The sweet, creamy chocolate balances the tart berries for a delectable pick me up that’s perfect for brunch.  Oh yeah, they are gluten free too!

These Berry White Chocolate Muffins have everything necessary to make them the perfect muffins for the New Year.

Gluten-Free Mixed Berry White Chocolate Muffins

Yield: 12 servings

  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • ½ cup of oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups of Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Multi-
  • purpose Flour Or 2 Cups of All-Pur-
  • pose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of white chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ cups mixed berries, frozen or fresh

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Combine the milk, oil and egg in a bowl and whisk together until combined. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and then gently pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Use a rubber spatula to stir the batter until just mixed; do not over mix.  Don’t worry about stirring out all the lumps or your muffins will be tough.

Gently fold the chocolate chips and berries into the batter. If you are using frozen berries, do not thaw them in advance.

Fill each cup of the prepared muffin tin about 2/3 full. Place in the oven and bake for 20 t0 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.