Here’s a quick foodie history lesson for you: The concept of the modern-day brunch was first mentioned in an 1895 magazine essay, aptly titled “Brunch, A Plea,” by British author Guy Beringer.
Beringer, a fellow who apparently did his fair share of Saturday night carousing, asks: “Instead of England’s early Sunday dinner, a post-church ordeal of heavy meats and savory pies, why not a new meal, served around noon, that starts with tea or coffee, marmalade and other breakfast fixtures before moving along to the heavier fare?” Brunch, Beringer rightly asserts, makes people happy. “It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
Indeed, what’s not to love about a lazy Sunday afternoon meal consisting of sweet and savory foods accompanied by alcoholic beverages? The following recipes work together as a brunch feast, or on their own as a hearty weekend breakfast or lunch.
Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican breakfast of fried corn tortillas, herbs and a green or red sauce, sometimes incorporating meat and/or eggs. My spicy version includes pulled chicken, smoky chipotle chiles in adobo and a runny fried egg. It’s the ultimate hangover food.
Stratas are layered casseroles of bread, eggs and cheese, and typically use sourdough or white bread in their construction. Here, in my salmon, dill and goat cheese strata, I use pumpernickel bread for extra depth of flavor. The dark bread also makes for a more colorful presentation.
And for those with a sweet tooth, the fragrant lavender, cardamom and hazelnut scones are made for dunking into tea, or slathering with butter and lemon curd.
But it wouldn’t be brunch without a bit of booze. The Bloody Bunny is a vitamin A-packed play on the Bloody Mary featuring carrot juice, vodka, fresh ginger and blood orange bitters. I believe Mr. Beringer would be pleased.