Mexican Made Easy, Clarkson Potter/Publishers
Eating out can be costly, especially once cocktails start flowing — unless there’s an all-you-can-drink deal, the bill won’t be pretty. So save dining out for special occasions, and invite friends or family to come over and feast together. With a potluck brunch, the cost doesn’t fall on just one person and everyone can partake in the fun. Pick a few recipes and email, tweet, or, better yet, create a Pinterest board of brunch recipes and have friends post what they’d like to make (or like to eat). Then, everyone can pick what they want to contribute.
Brunch cocktails don’t have to be fancy — opt for large batches of punch or sangria so no one has to be stuck shaking cocktails all day (which will translate to slow production, sober guests, and mostly likely stagnant conversation).
Feeling hesitant about hosting a brunch? Check out these tips from Food Network’s chef Marcela Valladolid that will be sure to spruce up at-home meals. She’s paired up with Kahlúa for the Delicioso Brunch project and specializes in easing people’s minds when it comes to hosting.The recipes she shares are perfect for entertaining with a brunch at home or even for weeknight dinners. Enjoy!
Marcela’s tips for easy entertaining:
Instead of having a sit-down brunch, serve everything buffet style. A brunch buffet is a relaxed affair, so feel free to use any available surface as a serving table.
Click here to see the Mexican Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe.
You’re there to entertain, not slave in the kitchen! Have everyone bring a dish so you can spend more time enjoying your company and less time running around. Give guests subtle guidelines for what to bring, like an egg-based dish, a fruit-based dish, or something with chocolate. Dishes like empanadas or tacos that don’t require serving utensils are perfect for a potluck brunch.
When putting together a brunch, it’s always great to have some freshly made dishes such as salsas on hand, but also add items that can be made ahead of time! My corn tamales can easily be made a day ahead and are a great option for brunch.
Vary the Menu
Make sure your guests bring a variety of dishes so everyone’s tastes are met. There should be something sweet and savory, something for the light eaters, and something for the salt lovers. Ask your guests about any dietary restrictions or allergies, and ensure there are vegetarian options, if called for. These extra steps go a long way in your host duties.
Keep Drinks Simple
When entertaining, the first thing I do as my guests enter is hand them a drink to keep them busy as I’m getting all last-minute items in order. I always like to incorporate my Mexican heritage into what I serve, so one of my favorite cocktails for brunch is a simple Kahlúa with club soda and a lime. It’s refreshing and the Mexican Arabica coffee notes really shine through in the drink; the perfect match for brunch!
Chips and salsa have come to be predictable when entertaining, but why not do something a little out of the ordinary, like set up a salsa bar? Make a couple of the traditional red tomato and tomatillo-based salsas and look for some mango-based salsas as well that can be used to accompany some of the brunch dishes. If you’d still like to have chips on hand, consider making your own tortilla chips; it’s easy and if you chose to bake instead of fry, you’re also giving your guests a healthier option than what they’d get in a bag.
Don’t get caught up in the stress of entertaining; find ways to make it fun! Coffee is an obvious brunch staple, but instead of just serving your typical brew from the coffee machine, have everyone bring over their favorite roast so you can have a comparative coffee cupping. Start with mild roasts and then move your way up to the more robust. If possible, brew one variety at a time so your guests get hit by each aroma separately. And grind your beans at home… the aroma will be nothing short of amazing!