Birthday Brunch!

By grace.g.yang ยท October 19, 2015
Under: American,Brunch,Desserts,Drinks,Gramercy,Lunch,My Life,Recipes

For Ken’s birthday this year, we decided to host a brunch in our apartment. We recently purchased some home items (including a dining table and dining room chairs) and thought it was time to finally have people over to the apartment. Ken and I thought about the menu and weren’t sure what to make so we went back and forth a little over the week and finally decided on the menu late in the week.

On Saturday, we headed to the farmers market to buy eggs, milk, maple syrup, challah bread, and flowers. Then a trip to Whole Foods to pick up some White Moustache yogurt, Early Birds granola, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, papaya, honeydew, hashbrowns, and mangoes! We went home and started assembling the ingredients that could be prepared beforehand and on Sunday morning finished setting up. We also set up our dining table early in the afternoon so it was one less thing to take care of on Sunday morning.

Here’s our table:


My fruit plate included honeydew, pineapple, raspberries, blackberries, mangoes, blueberries and papaya:


Ken, pouring some fresh French press coffee for our guests:


Ken’s vanilla bean French toast with berries and powdered sugar:


Ken took the recipe from Ina Garten (because Ina Garten can do no wrong when it comes to food!) I added some vanilla beans to make it look prettier and we used clementine zest instead of orange zest. I also made the milk/egg mixture the evening before so we could just do the dipping on Sunday morning. The recipe:

6 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half or milk (we used whole milk and a touch of whipping cream!)
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (we used clementines because we only had a blood orange or a bag of clementines)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon good honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large loaf challah or brioche bread (the challah bread at the farmers market was a little harder than the egg challah that Whole Foods sells – we did a practice run before brunch and found the challah bread from the farmer’s market absorbed the egg mixture much better and still maintained its texture)
Unsalted butter
Vegetable oil

To start, preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, orange zest, vanilla, honey, and salt. Slice the challah in 3/4-inch thick slices. Soak as many slices in the egg mixture as possible for 5 minutes, turning once.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a very large saute pan over medium heat. Add the soaked bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Place the cooked French toast on a sheet pan and keep it warm in the oven. Fry the remaining soaked bread slices, adding butter and oil as needed, until it’s all cooked. Serve hot with maple syrup, raspberry preserves, and/or confectioners’ sugar.

Happy birthday, Ken!

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