Sunday Brunch Day

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Fall TableThere is just something about Fall.  The crisp air, the colorful leaves, and the cooler temperatures seem to beckon you to come gather at the table.  The Fall table does not require formalities, she simply asks you to come as you are, and to come hungry.

When I was in law school and the Husband, then boyfriend, moved up here to Cincinnati, we started family dinners on Sunday nights.  It was a time to come together with family amidst all the craziness of the past week, relax together, and to reconnect.

With the Husband’s work schedule or studying often pulling him away on Sunday, we have gotten out of our little routine.  And I miss it.  This past Sunday though, schedules aligned and we brunched.

Now, I’m a breakfast person.  There is no mistaking that.  So I couldn’t wait to welcome everyone with a warm cup of coffee on a cool Sunday morning.  And let’s be honest, there’s no better way to watch football than with a warm and happy stomach.  So before the Steelers play, or if you side with the Ohio contingency of my family, the Bengals or Browns, it was time to come to the table.

pumpkinEveryone has their go-to for brunch.  Whether it’s a soufflé, your grandmother’s cinnamon rolls, or strata, there’s that one dish you pull out of your back pocket to please the morning crowd.  For years mine was a Rachel Ray casserole.  We made it the morning of my law school graduation so it only seemed fitting to make this past weekend to celebrate passing the Ohio Bar.  However, I decided to break out of the mold and break into my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.

On the menu this past Sunday morning was the Farmer’s Casserole and Pumpkin Bread.  It only seems fitting.  They were delicious! So next time your family gathers, break out these little numbers and they will be sure to please.  This Pumpkin Bread would also be great as gifts.

Pumpkin Bread
From Better Homes and Gardens

Makes 2 loaves.  This can be made ahead of time, which is always key for brunch.  If making the night before, after the loaves are completely cool, wrap and store overnight.

Ingredients
– 3 cups sugar
– 1 cup vegetable oil
– 4 eggs
– 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 tsp. baking soda
– 1 ½ tsp. salt
– 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
– 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
–  2/3 cup water
–  1 15oz. can pumpkin

Directions
– Grease the bottom and sides of two loaf pans; set aside.
– In a very large mixing bowl beat sugar and oil with an electric mixer on medium speed.  Add eggs and beat well; set aside.
– In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
– Alternately add flour mixture and water to sugar mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.
– Beat in pumpkin.
– Spoon batter into prepared pans.
– Bake at 350 for 55-65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the centers come out clean.
– Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.
– Remove from pans and then cool completely on the wire racks.

Farmer’s Casserole
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

This makes 6 big servings but I would suggest doubling the recipe because people will go back for seconds.  This can also be made ahead of time.  Cha-ching.  If making ahead, go through second step.  Cover, and chill up to 24 hours.  Then bake uncovered at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Ingredients
– 3 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
– ¾ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, cheddar cheese, or a mixture
– 1 cup cooked, crumbled, turkey sausage (the recipe calls for diced cooked ham or bacon, but the turkey was great in it and a bit healthier)
– ¼ cup sliced green onions
– ¼ cup diced red pepper
– 4 beaten eggs
– 1 ½ cups milk
– 1/8 tsp. salt
– 1/8 tsp. black pepper

Directions
– Coat 2-quart square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
– Arrange potatoes evenly in the bottom of the dish.
– Sprinkle potatoes with cheese, turkey, green onions, and red peppers.
– In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, salt, and pepper.
– Pour egg mixture over potato mixture.
– Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
– Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

What is your brunch go-to?

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Where I’d Rather Be Wednesday

I crave their brunch 7 days a week

“A great chef is an artist that I truly respect.” ~Robert Stack

A friend over at Wee Little House, has “I’d Rather Be Wearing Wednesday,” which I absolutely love! If I could raid a virtual closet, it would be hers. Anyway, it got me thinking.  If you remember I did a post awhile back about Monday mornings.  I love my job but sometimes, now that the weather is nice, I simply don’t want to be in an office all day. This is how we ended up at Where I’d Rather Be Wednesday!

This morning, as the sun creeps over the treetops to welcome what is sure to be a beautiful Spring day in Nashville, it  is especially hard to pass Marche on my way to cubeland and not pull over and ask for a job for a day.

Marche's marketplace. Picture from Metromix

Marche is a European style cafe and marketplace that has come to be my favorite weekend brunch spot. It’s not even a ten minute walk from my house and I swear I can smell the croissant french toast on any given Saturday morning. I blame this obsession with it on my dad. Mom and Dad came to visit when I was moving into my new place and we headed down there to grab some lunch and he liked it so much we went back the next day! Come to think of it, I might be able to blame all my food obsessions on my dad. We would hardly ever go to McDonald’s as kids but when we did it was because Dad was craving a big mac. Anyone who knows me knows I get some serious cravings for cheeseburgers at the most random times. But I digress, back to Marche.

It’s just so inviting to me on the corner of what is considered to be the heart of East Nashville, 10th and Main. Windows wrap around the outside giving diners the feel they are relaxing in front of their own window on the world, which for a people watcher like me, couldn’t be better! Inside it’s open, with fans whirling overhead, and the buzz of conversation is mixed with the clink of coffee cups on the naked wood tables. I adore it. The whicker chairs, the breeze meandering through the open door, the exposed kitchen, the simple flower in the center of the table, it’s simple yet otherworldly. On a Wednesday like this, although I swore I’d never want to work in food service again, I would love to be a chef at Marche.

Photo by Wander Girl on Ponder My Wanderings Blog

My sister is in culinary school and I think I am secretly jealous of her. I wish I could like her and like Margot McCormack (the mastermind behind Marche), take fresh ingredients and create something mouthwatering.  That’s why I want to work at Marche. I want to learn how to create these masterful concoctions.

So much of most of our jobs are constant to-do lists that follow you day to day and sometimes you feel you get nothing done even though you have been chugging along all day. I think because of that- even though it’s tough work, I just think there is something so satisfying and gratifying in putting a delicious meal on a table for people to enjoy with friends and family. Cooking. I with that was my to-do this today.

This Wednesday, I would rather be walking apron in hand to Marche.

Two things…

1-I’ve heard rumors about cooking classes at Marche/Margot…true or false?

2- Marche this Saturday? Bellinis and french toast? Who’s in?