As is clearly evidenced by the title of our blog, we are very serious brunch enthusiasts. We love going out for brunch at restaurants, cooking brunch at home, and sometimes even eating brunch for dinner. What may not be known is that we are also very enthusiastic about entertaining. We love sharing a meal with friends, and sometimes the coziest place to do that is at home!
When entertaining guests, it’s always nice to have something to celebrate. It doesn’t need to be a major holiday, either; sometimes something as simple as a change in season can be cause for celebration. In this case, we wanted to host a brunch for some close friends in honor of that most nostalgic and heart-warming of seasons: autumn.
I use the term “nostalgic” for a number of reasons; mainly that here in Los Angeles, fall doesn’t really exist. The past few years, it’s been so hot that September through November have really just been an unwelcome extension of summer. We grew up on the East Coast, in cities up north where boots, thick socks, and scarves are actually useful. So, every year we find ourselves looking longingly at our East Coast friends’ Instagram feeds full of freshly fallen leaves, cozy sweaters in pretty autumn colors, and apple picking in cute flannel shirts and knit caps. We each separately even tried out that apple picking bit, and we just wound up sweaty and sunburned with a bunch of apples we didn’t know what to do with (it was too hot to make applesauce). Folks, you can’t force cute and cozy fall clothing here in Southern California; trust us. You’ll just wind up a hot mess.
In honor of this nostalgia - of flannel and apples, of actual seasons and new beginnings, of cider and freshly fallen leaves - we celebrated the best way we knew how. With brunch.
There were yummy treats a’plenty. To sip, a simple spiked cider with bourbon and hot coffee (we turned on the A/C).
For the creative souls, a build-your-own toast bar with endless possibilities. Perhaps the most exciting topping was Johnna’s homemade ricotta in its perfect creamy glory. Paired with simple oven-roasted tomatoes and some fresh basil, it was heaven. Meanwhile, fresh farmers’ market figs and local honey satisfied those with a sweet tooth (me).
The centerpiece was a homemade quiche filled with roasted sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, baby kale, thyme, and gruyere.
Hearty accompaniments included chicken-apple sausages and simple roasted potatoes with garlic. And because we love to have greens with just about every meal, we couldn’t forget a big beautiful salad with arugula, roasted beets, candied pecans, pomegranate seeds, and avocado.
No brunch is complete without something sweet, so we celebrated the fruits of the season with some beautiful pastries that are deceptively simple to make: apple and cream cheese rosettes, hand pies with plums and thyme, and mini peach galettes.
More photos and event details in the gallery below!
- Homemade Ricotta
- The sweet potato, caramelized onion, and gruyere quiche was created using this recipe as a guide.
- The hand pies were an amalgamation of this preparation method mixed with a riff on this filling (plums instead of peaches; elderflower liqueur instead of bourbon; addition of finely chopped fresh thyme... what can I say? I'm a baking rebel).
- Apple Cream Cheese Rosettes
- The salad was greatly inspired by this one, with a few additions and subtractions.