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A Girly Spring Brunch

Friends, I’ve got a few exciting things to share:

One, my fabulous photographer friend Signe Birck is back! You may remember her lovely photographs from previous posts (here and here), or read her Q&A a few months ago. She’s back in NYC (from Copenhagen), and I am thrilled that she wants to continue working together. Her pictures are so light and airy, and my food has never looked more delicious than when captured through her lens. Not only is Signe super-talented, but she’s a pleasure to work with. Stay tuned for more of her work on the blog (including today’s beautiful shots).

And…it’s spring!! With the balmy weather lately (60’s and 70’s in NYC) and the extra hour of daylight, it’s time to start planning a spring brunch party. Because what could be more spring-like than tulips, mimosas, and pastel colors?!






There’s something really wonderful about having friends over for brunch (instead of going out and waiting in line for an hour). I love the sunlight streaming in the windows. I love buying fresh flowers and placing them around the apartment. I love drinking bubbly in the middle of the day (who doesn’t?!). I love how relaxed everyone is after a good night’s sleep, late on a weekend morning. Plus it’s really nice to throw a party and still have plenty of daylight hours left to enjoy. But most of all, I just love brunch food.

When planning a brunch menu, I like to include a little sweet, a little savory, and a lot of bubbly (and coffee). And ideally, everything can be assembled in about an hour, so I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn. For this party, I made mini frittatas with goat cheese, spinach, and bacon, blood orange mimosas, a bowl of mixed berries, and picked up mini pastries from Ceci-Cela, a nearby French bakery.



The idea for these brilliant little frittatas came from my good friend Amanda. You just whisk some eggs together with your favorite cheese, vegetable, herb, and/or meat (like bacon, sausage, or prosciutto) and bake them in muffin tins for 15 minutes or so. My favorite combination is spinach, bacon, shallots, and goat cheese (recipe below). I’ve made them a few times now and I love how versatile, easy, and delicious they are. And as an added bonus, they can be served hot or at room temperature. Thanks for sharing, Amanda!!



I hope you are inspired to have a few friends over this weekend (or sometime soon) for a laid-back spring brunch. Go buy some fresh tulips, a few bottles of Prosecco, some blood oranges (while they are still around!), berries, and your favorite frittata ingredients. Make it easy on yourself and pick up some pastries or scones. Or if you’re feeling really ambitious, try this Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake or these Banana Muffins with Sour Cream and Walnuts. Whatever you make, as long as there are good friends, good conversation, and plenty of mimosas, you can’t go wrong.



(All photos by Signe Birck)

MINI SPINACH, BACON, AND GOAT CHEESE FRITTATAS

Makes 12

5 strips bacon, diced
1 small shallot, minced
9 ounces baby spinach
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
12 eggs + 2 egg whites
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a nonstick regular-size (not jumbo) muffin tin with cooking spray, or grease with vegetable oil and a paper towel. Place the muffin tin on a baking sheet.

In a large saute pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Increase the heat to medium high and add the shallot. Cook for 2 minutes or until translucent. Add the spinach (you may have to do this gradually, depending on how big your pan is), stirring constantly and cooking until bright green and wilted. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the bacon.

In a large bowl (preferably with pouring spout), whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Divide the spinach-bacon mixture into the bottoms of the 12 muffin cups. Carefully pour (or ladle) the egg mixture over the spinach, filling each muffin cup until nearly full. Add a few crumbles of goat cheese to each cup (make sure to use it all) and finish with a sprinkling of red pepper flakes.

Carefully place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the tops of the frittatas are puffed up like little souffles. Turn the oven up to broil and cook for an additional 2 minutes to create a nice golden color on top.

Let cool for a couple of minutes then, using a small knife, cut around the edges of each frittata to remove them from the pans. (NOTE: Soak the pan immediately in soapy water to remove any egg remains.) Serve hot or at room temperature.


BLOOD ORANGE MIMOSAS

Makes 6

3 blood oranges, halved
1 bottle Prosecco, well chilled
6 Champagne flutes

Using a juicer, squeeze the oranges into a liquid measuring cup. (You should have about 3/4 cup.) Fill the bottoms of six Champagne flutes with blood orange juice. Carefully fill each glass with Prosecco, pausing to allow the bubbles to go down. Drink immediately!



My name is Anna Watson Carl. In a word, I love food, I love France, and I love throwing dinner parties. Over the years, I've worked as a personal chef, taught cooking classes, edited cookbooks, written for magazines, tested and styled recipes, and traveled whenever opportunity has arisen. But at heart, there's nothing I love more than sharing a meal with friends around the yellow table.

For me, cooking has always been a way of life. As a (mildly precocious) ten-year old, I planned and prepared a four-course Valentine's dinner for my parents, birthing a lifelong passion for dinner parties. That was just the beginning. I've been cooking ever since, whipping up souffles at a chateau in Burgundy, searing filet mignon for a wealthy client's dog (bizarre, but true), butchering ducks for confit de canard in Paris, baking the night shift in Nashville, and bathing the floor of my NYC apartment in turkey brine...the story continues.

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