Yes, you agreed to host brunch. Or maybe you haven't because you aren't sure if you are up to it. Well, I've got good news for you, friend. You are up to it. Absolutely anyone can put together an easy peasy AND impressive brunch by taking advantage of their local bakeries, butchers, and other resources and assembling a couple of easy recipes the day before. Here is a menu we've put together here at Muddy's Bake Shop designed to help you impress without stress!
Mimosas... Pink Mimosas--pictured here--featuring fresh grapefruit juice and pink champagne are pretty even without a garnish.
Local Cold Brew Coffee... Boom. You don't even have to get the coffeemaker dirty. Get your cold brew from Muddy's, if you're in Memphis
Strata... It's the easiest and most versatile make-ahead egg bake ever--make it with meat, or without and cook up some bacon from a local farmer or butcher on the side if there are any vegetarians on the guest list. HERE is a recipe, or if you've got leftover shredded chicken, artichokes, and gouda in the fridge, go for it!
Fruit salad... Choose seasonal fruit from your farmer's market if possible. For the easiest fruit salad ever, mixed berries are the way to go! They don't have to be cut and can be mixed the day before. Add a few fresh herbs or a simple citrus-honey dressing--just honey (yep, we got that too at Muddy's) thinned with fresh orange juice and maybe a dash of fresh zest--right before serving. Don't have time for dressing? Don't worry, no one is going to complain about a heap of berries on their plate. Trust me.
Scones... From your local bakery naturally! Pictured are Muddy's famous crowd-pleasing Ginger Scones.
Cupcakes... Also from your local bakery (a yummy little coconut number is pictured here from Muddy's Bake Shop).
Optional: It doesn't hurt to have a dozen muffins from your local bakery on the table, too! Between the extra hungry folks and those who prefer an option, they'll get eaten for sure, especially if they are from Muddy's.
Here's a simple time table to make sure making brunch is as stress-free as possible. Of course there's no reason you can't do all of this the day before if this is a last-minute shindig, but if you have the time, here's how we suggest you use it.
As soon as possible! Save yourself the panic that may arise the day of (or even the day before), when you realize that you never replaced any of the three glasses the toddler broke in the last month; or when you discover that the red wine stain never came out of that one placemat but the other set is dirty and you don't have time to wash them.... Go ahead and assess your servingware and decor situation as far in advance as possible so you have time to put a call out on Facebook to borrow an item, make a quick run Target, or play the Amazon Prime card for that item you just can't find locally. An extra tip: can't figure out how to show off all those pretty tea towels? Set a memorable and beautiful table by using them as placemats! (We got those at Muddy's too!)
1 week - 48 hours in advance: Buy your groceries, hit up your farmers market and/or local butcher, and check out the website of your favorite local bakery (we suggest Muddy's Bake Shop, if you're in the Memphis area, of course) to see what items they have in their case the day prior to your brunch (or the day of, if you don't mind going out to pick up goodies before guests arrive). We suggest you place an order for scones, muffins, cupcakes or any other baked goods you would like serve (remember most places--Muddy's included--require pre-orders to be placed at least 48 hours in advance), especially if you have special requests or a large number of guests. And don't forget the champagne and cold brew!
24 hours in advance: Pick up your baked goods. Assemble your strata. Prep your fruit (and fresh herbs or dressing, if using) for your fruit salad: wash your berries, slice your melons, but if you are considering a fruit salad featuring other cut fruits, consider saving this step for the next day. A dash of lemon juice can keep some fruits (such as banana and apple) from going brown if sliced early, but it won't guarantee that the fruit will stay a nice texture. Locate every piece of flatware, servingware, and any other ware you may need for the event the next day and make sure you have at least a rough idea of how you plan to set the table.
The morning of! Bake your strata. Slice any fruit necessary to complete your fruit salad and toss it together with any herbs or dressing you may be using. Juice your grapefruits or oranges if you plan to use fresh juice in your mimosas. Set your table, decorate your table, and unbox all your yummy baked items. Place ice in glasses for cold brew coffee or water. Once your strata and fruit salad are on the table along with a pitcher of water and your mimosas made (or the components placed on the table if preferred), you're good to go!
Bon appetit, and have fun! That's why you're hosting this brunch anyway, right?