“Cook’s Illustrated All-Time Best Brunch” by the editors at America’s Test Kitchen, America’s Test Kitchen, $22.99, 182 pages, hardcover
While the new school year means a return to the need for quick weeknight meals, it also brings opportunities for weekend entertaining.
Whether hosting a casual, midmorning get-together before a football game or a more refined affair, what could be better than a homemade, indulgent brunch? To help you plan the perfect meal with little to no hassle, America’s Test Kitchen editors have put together 75 easy-to-follow, tested recipes in the newly released “Cook’s Illustrated All-Time Best Bunch” cookbook.
The book begins with a “road map” for how to plan and prepare for a meal that allows you to enjoy the party. Many of the recipes, or at least part of them, can be made ahead of time. The editors also suggest recipes that can be kept warm until you’re ready to serve and others like Quick Coffee Cake that can be frozen a month ahead and then finished the day of the brunch. Other dishes can be safely transported to potluck parties.
There also are sample menus for serving 10-12 people — whether plated or served buffet style; suggestions for finishing touches; preparing perfect hot coffee or tea and other brunch-ready beverages like bellinis.
Recipes are divided into six chapters: Eggs every way from eggs Benedict to huevos rancheros; pancakes, waffles and French toast; savory mains such as cheese coufflé and classic Cobb salad; quiches, tarts and casseroles, including New Orleans bourbon pudding; muffins, breads, and more; and brunch sides like fruit salad and baked cheese grits.
I prepared the 24-Hour "Omelet" casserole for a mid-morning meeting. I assembled it the night before since it must be refrigerated at least eight hours and put it into the oven to bake in the morning while I got dressed. The recipe says it serves six to eight, but with sides available, I found it served more. I also would add a bit more hot sauce than the recipe suggests.
“All-Time Best Brunch” is a great choice for anyone who enjoys hosting small and large get-togethers or just needs ideas for taking satisfying dishes to potlucks.