Years ago Hani and I were driving our parents' friends back to their home in Georgetown. We were enjoying our time with Mark and Anne, whom we had not seen in some time. Long time friends of our parents, we were enjoying our conversation with them.
Hani suggested meeting for brunch and Anne should her head. "Let's do breakfast or lunch, dear," she said. "I don't like brunch."
I think it's possible that Anne was the only person I've ever known who didn't love brunch. As meals go, it's my favorite. Straddling the informality of breakfast and the more organized lunch, brunch is such a lovely amalgamation of both, allowing for multiple dishes and leisurely eating.
Stephanie and I initially bonded over brunch and we've been lucky enough to meet at least once a year over the last few -- always over brunch, so in relaunching Cookbook Spotlight, it wasn't hard to persuade us to begin with Gale Gand's delicious new book: Gale Gand's Brunch featuring 100 recipes encompassing drinks, sweet and savory dishes, bakery items, salads, side and condiments.
When it comes to brunch, I'm much more partial to sweet - so for a friend's' visit this past weekend, we made buttermilk pancakes and crepes.
My preferred recipe for pancakes is Marcus Wareing's; but those airy, delectable pancakes require a little more work, incorporating wet ingredients with dry, and the addition of beaten egg whites. I was quite pleased to find that Gale's recipe is fast, easy and just as delicious. Despite being denser, they puffed up beautifully, and the addition of melted butter on the pan, provided a wonderfully crisp edge. The buttermilk also adds a nice tanginess to the pancakes.
The crepes were less successful, but that was my fault, not Gale's; they were entirely too thick -- crepes are meant to be delicately, Kate Moss-ishly thin. The recipe is very straightforward but the trick is in quickly spreading the batter the minute it hits the pan. Apparently I'm no good at balancing Hoss on one arm and trying to swirl wafer-thin crepes with the other. Despite the slightly thicker crepe, it's hard to complain about a carb enrobing macerated strawberries with mascarpone. I'm going to have to try again, but there are other recipes I'm interested in trying first -- the egg segment is screaming my name as are the bakery items.
With so many dishes possible for this meal time, unconfined as it is to conventions dictating just eggs, cereals and pastries for breakfast and heartier dishes for lunch, I wonder, if given the time, we might have been able to convert Anne to the pleasures of brunch?
Check back soon for the roundup -- thank you to everyone who joined us!