27 August 2009

Pancakes and Paninis

This weekend, we are hosting an open house for neighbors and friends to come and meet our new son as well as see our new kitchen.

It will be our first trial run of entertaining a crowd with the new kitchen! It will be fun to see how it all works out -- the various serving spots for appetizers and desserts, the flow of the buffet line, the comfort and sociability of the space. We definitely will need to add more seating in the future, but it's not in the budget for now. Parties like these, however, will help me to figure out how to plan that seating, creating comfortable niches where small groups can socialize and yet still have some circulation to the room.

Here is the menu for our open house. The theme of "pancakes and paninis" is an honorary nod to the 24" modular griddle, perhaps the most unique appliance in our new kitchen:

Melon and Grapes Platter *
Plum Jam [homemade by me] and Goat Cheese Crostini Platter *


Caprese (buffalo mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, basil) *
Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette *

Breakfast Meats

Main dishes
Walla Walla Strata (caramelized onion, fontina, egg and bread dish) *
10:30a-noon, Made to Order Pancakes (options: chocolate chips, various berries*, fake maple syrup, fig syrup)
Noon-1:30p, Made to Order Paninis (options: gruyere and veggie [mushroom, roasted pepper*]; chicken pesto; kids menu: nutella and banana)

Berry Trifle *
Carrot Cake *
Brownies (from a friend)

orange juice
rosemary lemon rhubarb spritzer (from a friend)

* Includes farmer’s market ingredients

It takes quite a bit to pull together a brunch when you have two kids. Today I am creating the plan so it all comes together at show time. Most of the dishes are make-ahead or make-on-the-spot, in an effort to reduce prep at the busiest time -- the morning of the brunch. My biggest snag right now that the grapes that I ADORE -- from a specific stand at one farmer's market, a variety called "sweet seduction" -- are only available for sale once per week. And that stand opens basically half an hour before my brunch starts. So right now I hope to have everything mostly ready by 9:30, then I'll pop over to the stand (8 minutes away), get the grapes, and pop back. My husband will (probably rightfully) freak out when he hears that this is my "plan" :)

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