Saturday, January 23, 2010

BrunchIN: Veggie Frittata for a Rainy Day Brunch

So not every brunch that we ladies attend is a "sponsored" BWB meal. One such brunch occurred last Sunday. A last minute invite to the welcoming brunch party for Jessica, a newly transplanted Seattleite, proved to be just what the doctor ordered for a drizzly Sunday afternoon.

The aforementioned charming hostess greeted us at the door, smiling and quick to offer drinks to cure our rain-drenched selves. A glance at the overflowing tables of food confirmed that this Brunch IN was worth the trek.

Clockwise from the top, we have delicious Baked Bacon, Emily C's outta this world Mac-n-Cheese, Blue Cheese Stuffed Prunes, Emily H's Roasted Vegetable Frittata (recipe below!). Also shown are cookies, chocolates, and croissants courtesy of Niki, scones and Chocolate Babka (both quite tasty!) from Moishe's, Chocolate Donettes from Patrice sharing the plate with Devin's homemade French Toast Sticks (with Mint Whipped Cream and Apple Compote accompaniments), and finally, Jessica's Corn Souffle. There was also two huge, overflowing bowls of Murray's bagels, a variety of cream cheeses, and a crackers and cheese plate to round it out. Whew.
Roasted Vegetable Frittata
1 large or 2 small heads of broccoli
2 onions
4 cloves garlic
1 bell pepper, either fresh (and roasted) or canned roasted
8 eggs
1/3 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 small wheel (about 2 oz) goat cheese
1 cup or one heaping pile grated cheese - I used gruyere and parmesan
Parsley, thyme, scallions - or your herbs of choice, chopped
Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes - to taste

All vegetables listed are interchangeable - this frittata is great for leftover vegetables you may have had in the fridge from a previous meal, dinner out, whatever you like and is in season, preferably. If using leftovers OR if you roast the vegetables the night before, this truly is an easy recipe to throw together the morning of a brunch!

Cut the onions in half and each half into thin half moons. Warm a skillet (nonstick is fine) with a little olive oil on low to medium-low. Add the onions, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and basically let these cook for at least 45 minutes, up to an hour. Stir every 5 minutes or so, and right at 30 minutes, add the 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced. To make sure these cloves don't brown, I keep the heat as low as it can go. When you're almost ready to pull the pan off, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and a heavier splash of vermouth or white wine. Scrape off the bottom of the pan, let cook for a few more minutes to dry it out a bit, and voila.

Once you start the onions, move on to the broccoli. Preheat the oven to 450. Chop the broccoli into small florets, and cut the stalks into rings. Spread out on a large baking sheet and drizzle on olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat, and roast for 20-40 minutes. Basically, every 10 minutes, take out to stir. You want the stalks to get browned and almost cooked, but not mushy. Brown is important, though, so resist the urge to stir.

For the roasted bell pepper, you can easily use a jarred, pre-roasted pepper, or you can be like me and roast one right on the gas flame of your stove. Or in the oven. (Learn all about both techniques here  and here.) Once roasted, cut into thin strips.

Now assembling the frittata! Throw the heavy cream and goat cheese into a small saucepan on low. Let the goat cheese melt into the cream, and then pop the pan into the fridge for a few minutes. Whisk the eight eggs in a bowl, and carefully add in the flour and baking powder and whisk thoroughly to combine. Finally, whisk in the slightly cooled cream/cheese mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Liberally grease/PAM a heatproof (read: all metal) large skillet and place on a medium stove. Once pan is a bit warm, spread onions, broccoli, and red peppers evenly across the bottom of the pan. Top with half of the eggs, add all of the grated cheeses and chopped herbs, and add the rest of the eggs. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
We passed the time chatting and lounging around the bright, open living room, complete with a big screen TV, comfy white couches, and a small outdoor patio. Space is an important factor of hosting Brunch INs, or any large meal really, yet it is an element that many city-dwellers simply lack. Another testy factor to consider is the neighbors; a large group of people having a good time tends to get pretty loud, and walls are comparatively thin. That said, the brunch went smoothly. Only after a whopping 4+ hours did guests begin clearing out, amongst pleas to stuff our faces with the leftover food, and a buildup of noise complaints from the neighbors.

This was definitely a pleasant experience that we can't wait to partake in again. A big thanks to Damien the organizer, Jessica the host, and every one of the awesome guests we met there. We've got plans to host our own BrunchIN soon, so keep tabs on the Babes who Brunch!


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