It”s been a little quiet lately on the “Twelve Parties for 2012” front. The truth is, I failed to throw the planned May party, which was supposed to be a mother-daughter tea. I did throw a party in May — it was a blogger event for the launch of the Ruckus Reader,
a cool new educational iPad app that JR loves. (I am going to be telling you all about the Ruckus Reader soon and even giving one of my readers a chance to try it for free so stay tuned for that.) But it was not the party I was supposed to throw. I was also away for several May weekends between my anniversary trip to Paris and my trip to DC for my 20th high school reunion. But all my excuses aside, the truth is, May was a wash. I will try to make it up by throwing two parties some other month; I still want to have that mother-daughter tea party!
The June party was supposed to be a brunch and we did host friends for brunch this weekend. So I am back on track with my plan. A woman that my husband has gotten to know well in his professional world came to brunch with her husband and their two boys. The older boy is right about Zuzu”s age and they played well together with no hesitation. The younger boy, at 3, is younger than JR but JR actually relishes being the older boy — not in a mean way, just in a I”m-the-leader-here kind of way. The kids played so well that the adults were able to sit both before and after brunch and have a pleasant conversation about topics ranging from overnight camp — Zuzu is headed off in a week! — to politics.
I love to entertain at brunch, particularly when we are hosting families with young kids. All parents know that kids do better in the morning than they do at dinnertime. And no one is worried about getting home for bedtime. Brunch with kids can be leisurely in a way that dinner with kids rarely can. Plus, brunch feels so much more casual.
The key to entertaining at brunch is to make dishes that can be prepared in advance. It would be very easy to fall into a trap of making pancakes or omelets or some other brunch-type food that would have you, the host, standing over the stove while your guests are in the other room. Avoid this trap like the plague. You can still make eggs; but make a frittata that bakes in the oven instead of an omelet that must be cooked right before serving. Instead of pancakes or French toast, make a delicious coffee cake or fruit buckle that you can bake the day before. The only brunch food that I make while my guests are at my house is chicken sausage, but that is a matter of a quick six minutes in a skillet and I barely even need to be at the stove.
Wait, did she just say “duck egg frittata?” Why, yes. Yes I did. In keeping with the theme of me being the biggest sucker at the farmers” market — you know the gullible foodie who will plunk down cash money for whatever unusual or unfamiliar item that someone is selling that week — when I saw that my favorite vendor for farm-fresh chicken eggs was selling duck eggs this week, I happily handed over my $8. (My husband just went, “Eight dollars!?!” Here”s the really scary part: I would have paid $10.)
My extensive internet research revealed that duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs and are higher in both fat and protein. As a result, they can make dishes both richer and fluffier. I decided to substitute the duck eggs for chicken eggs in my favorite frittata recipe and see what happened. The result was a frittata that tasted much the same but definitely had a different texture. Fluffier, I think. I”ve got five duck eggs left and I am excited to play around with them. Maybe a custard?
Duck Egg Frittata
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style
6 Duck eggs (or 8 chicken eggs)
1 stick butter
2 cups boiling potatoes, cut into a half-inch dice
15 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
12 basil leaves, cut into a julienne
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Melt three TB of butter in an oven-proof skillet and saute the diced potatoes over medium heat until cooked through and slightly browned, 10-15 minutes. Melt the other 5 TB of butter and set aside. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs together in a large bowl. Add the ricotta, basil and melted butter and stir to combine. Sprinkle the flour and baking powder over the egg mixture and incorporate thoroughly. Season well with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over the potatoes in the skillet. Sprinkle Gruyere over the top and bake in the oven until puffed and golden, 50-60 minutes. Serve warm.
I know that frittata recipe is not exactly low-cal. But it is so good. And you can serve 8 people with it. The recipe is quite variable so feel free to adapt it to your family”s tastes.
What is your favorite brunch food?