A few months ago a friend stopped by the house loaded with ideas for a brunch they wanted to host. I say, host, as they were looking to have someone cater the event and just wanted to bounce some ideas around.
It is always in these moments when we are laughing and having a good time that I ended up saying, “Oh, I can do that for you, brunch for 30, no problem”.
Our good friend had already offered up his spectacular hacienda as the location, and honestly cooking for thirty, although a bit of work ahead of time, was not something that stressed me out. We did want to plan a somewhat whimsical and different menu.
Now let me say the thirty people who were attending, also happen to be professionals from a broad range of the hospitality industry locally as well as oh, California Wine Country. So I stuck to what I know best, and for me, that is using simple ingredients in unique ways that let their flavour be the wow factor.
I love the new generation of chefs creating amazing dishes at a macular level. However ,my style is more rustic, and the Hacienda setting as our backdrop made for the perfect afternoon.
We settled on poached salmon with grilled lemon, served with green beans that I tossed in sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. Beautiful egg and toast cups layered with Serrano ham and spinach. I would have made these with brioche in the past, but here we just used a high-quality white bread and applied liberal amounts of butter to give us a rich flavor. Miniature pancakes, wrapped in bacon and served on skewers, plus gourmet french toast. Throw in some baby roasted potatoes, yogurt and fresh fruit parfaits, fresh fruit and cheeses and there you have it – brunch for thirty.
The host for the event a self-professed kitchen neophyte had assured me that the one item he could help with was miniature pancakes. Moreover, true to his word he did manage to stand by the grill and make about ninety or so. Thankfully, the very talented team at the hacienda stepped in to lend a hand to finish the other hundred and eighty we needed.
Rosa, Cynthia, Ritgo, Ari and all of the team who helped us this past weekend were not only professional; they were funny and such a great group. Everyone did their part to make the event run as well as any I have ever catered with teams who do this for a living.
The food was plentiful and well received, and it reminded me to cook more, we get busy in our lives and forget that these simple pleasures do bring us all together to enjoy life here. Well that, and bottomless mimosa and bellinis.
As the local markets all open up again, I hope to get out and see what new foods we have available this year and bring you some new ideas.
However, until then buen provecho!