The friends have been so busy the last few weeks: weekly lunches and quick coffees together have been impeded by travel, work, family and other responsibilities; some time together to enjoy a respite from the daily grind, and to laugh together is in order. Brunch was scheduled for Saturday at 11, a time which makes it closer to lunch, but lunch implies something more structured, and structure is the last thing I want (or am) on a weekend.
"You're having a brunch and flying out the same night?" Joetta asks during a phone call after I tell her I'm flying back to the UK that night. She's in Texas competing and so unable to join. She begins to laugh. "I can't tell if you're amazing or crazy."
Definitely the latter. Let me describe the day: I stayed up until 3:00 Saturday morning in an OCD-inspired cleaning frenzy. When Hubby woke up at 7:00, I got up with him. Catching a glimpse of me bent over the sewing machine to make Annette's European pillow shams on his way out to the range, he muttered, "I see the sweat shop is open again."
"Better than Elf Shop," I retorted. Elf Shop was what he named my one-woman, hand-made paper operation for our wedding. Two hundred and fifty invitations, all cut and assembled by hand, cutting board, hammer and grommets. That's another story. You see the recurring theme, yes? Madness. But there was a method to this: I was on my way back to Milton Keynes for a few days (once again, too short to do anything meaningful or meet up with friends [Keiko, I’m sorry!]). My overnight flight was scheduled to depart at 10:00 and I wanted to sleep; thus, I was priming myself to fall into an exhausted sleep beforehand.
I finished the shams at nine and started cooking. There are two schools of brunch: savory brunches and sweet brunches. Guess what kind of student I am? But not everyone is as enamored of sweet dishes as I; so the menu included an equal number of savory and sweet dishes.
Bacon & Gorgonzola Mushrooms Caps
Sprawled in the living room, we form a semi-circle to talk and laugh. Eventually the desserts migrate to the coffee table and are consumed over coffee and tea. We may not have enough time; but what time we make together is infinitely precious. By the time Hubby gets in at 3:00, I have cleaned up and I have finished packing. We eat dinner together and I have a glass of wine to further mellow me. At 6:00, Greg and I are on the road.
We make it fifteen minutes towards Atlanta when Delta calls to inform us that our flight has been cancelled and we will have to fly out Sunday evening instead. I feel cheated: I have worked so hard to be exhausted for my overnight flight! I was ready to sleep!
I wonder if I should have a Sunday brunch, too?
Baked Brie Puffs
Pillsbury crescent roll mix (shortcuts…)
Soft, ripe brie cheese, cut into 1 inch chunks
- preheat oven to 400
- Wrap the brie into the crescent sheet and roll.
- Place on pan and bake for 20 minutes, until crescent roll is brown and cooked.
This also works with camembert or other soft cheeses. Because the crescent roll dough is sweet, you don’t want a sharp cheese with this.
Mini Pain Au Chocolat
2 sheets frozen puff pastry (one 17.3-ounce package), thawed, each sheet cut into 12 squares
1 large egg beaten to blend with 1 tablespoon water (for glaze)
2 bars high quality bittersweet or milk chocolate, cut or broken into strips
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 1 chocolate piece on edge of 1 pastry square. Roll up dough tightly around the chocolate. Place pastry on baking sheet, with the seam side down. Brush tops of pastry rolls with remaining egg glaze. Bake until pastries are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Makes 24 mini pain au chocolat.