Foodbuzz 24x24: Nighttime Fantasy Brunch

"We take eighteen ounces of sizzling ground beef, and soak it in rich, creamery butter. Then, we top it off with bacon, ham, and a fried egg. We call it 'The Good Morning Burger.'"
--The Simpsons

I had this quote in mind when I began forming the idea for my "Nighttime Fantasy Brunch." I wanted foods that were over the top--fatty and sinfully rich. I wanted foods that your heart swells for when you go out for breakfast, but your conscience says to avoid. I wanted foods that appealed to the Id and the child in all of us.

My proposal for Foodbuzz's January 24x24 was to create the ultimate fantasy brunch, full of naughty foods you would dream to eat. To throw it over the top, I made it pajamas-optional for my guests, and showed discs of The Simpsons all night long. It was deliciously casual fun.

But what sets this apart from other dinner parties?

I recently got to thinking about my favorite charity, Camp Heartland. Have you heard of this? They are a summer camp for children with HIV/AIDS. Is there anything more heartwarming? In the spirit of Camp Heartland, which makes children with extraordinarily difficult lives feel like they're living in a normal kid's fantasy, I am made this breakfast-for-dinner themed meal. I decided to donate the majority of my $250 stipend from Foodbuzz to Camp Heartland after the meal, and also encouraged my guests to donate whatever they felt they "would pay for this meal in a restaurant."

Due to Foodbuzz granting me with this wonderful opportunity for a second time, and my extraordinarily generous guests, I will be sending a donation of $266 to Camp Heartland.

It should be noted that my coworker Kathy's 9-year-old daughter, Erin, sent along a $1 donation in this totally amazing homemade envelope. Are you tearing up yet?

So, what was on the docket for this fantasy brunch, you might wonder?

-Bloody Marys and Mimosas
-Baked Eggs with Kale, Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese
-Caramelized Bacon
-Cheddar-Garlic Biscuits
-Gingerbread Croissant French Toast with Homemade Lemon Curd
-Berry Parfaits with Orange Curacao Whipped Cream

I don't know about you, but my heart seized just reading that.

Bloody Mary (from Over the Hill and on a Roll--whose recipe I intended to make, but didn't get a chance to. Kathy brought over a jug of her amazing Bloody Mary mix. BUT, I believe that what Kathy made would be quite similar to this recipe.)
-1 quart tomato juice
-2 1/2 cups vodka
-1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon horseradish
-1/4 cup + tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
-1 1/2 teaspoons salt
-1 teaspoon tabasco
-1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons lime juice
-1/4 teaspoon celery salt
-1 teaspoon grated fresh onion
**I know Kathy added some dijon mustard to hers, too, for a bit of extra kick!


1. Mix all ingredients together in a large pitcher and pour over ice in a cocktail glass. Add a stick of celery, olives, dilled green beans, and/or pickles to garnish.

-Makes 8-10 cocktails

Bloody Mary taste testers, Greg and Kathy.

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits (modified slightly from Barefoot Contessa)
-2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
-1 tablespoon baking powder
-1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
-1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-12 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, diced
-1/2 cup cold buttermilk, shaken
-1 cold extra-large egg
-1 cup extra-sharp cheddar, grated
-1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or water
-Sea salt to garnish

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Place 2 cups flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. With mixer on low, add the butter and mix until butter is the size of peas.

3. Combine buttermilk and egg in a small bowl, and beat lightly with a fork. With the mixer still on low, quickly add the buttermilk until just moistened. Mix cheddar and a small handful of flour together in a separate bowl, then add to the dough with mixer still on low. Mix until just combined.

4. Dump dough onto a well-floured cutting board and knead lightly, about 6 times. Roll the dough out to a 10x5" rectangle. With a sharp, floured knife, cut the dough lengthwise in half, then across in quarters, making 8-10 rectangles. Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle with salt. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until browned on top. Serve hot or warm.

-Makes 8-10 generously sized biscuits

Verdict: Before last night, I'd never made biscuits before in my life. I *love* buttermilk biscuits, but I found them vaguely terrifying. What if they were too dry or not flaky enough? Well, let me lay all similar fears out there to rest. THIS is your biscuit recipe. They are tender, flaky, a little crunchy, and totally delectable. I honestly think this was the crowd favorite all night long. That really says something.

Baked Eggs (method from
-8 large eggs
-8 teaspoons heavy cream
-1 large tomato, seeded and diced
-1-2 tablespoons olive oil
-Approximately 1 head kale, leaves only, roughly chopped
-About 3 ounces soft goat cheese (or crumbles)
-Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Powder for sprinkling
-Unsalted butter to grease the dish

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. When hot, add freshly washed kale to pan and wilt. Remove from heat.

3. Grease a ramekin or custard cups with butter. Divide kale evenly among the cups. Crumble a bit of goat cheese on top of the kale. Crack 1 egg into each dish. Add chopped tomatoes, drizzle a bit of cream on top, season lightly with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Top it off with a few more crumbles of goat cheese.

4. Bake in the oven tor 13-15 minutes, or until set. Serve hot.

-Serves 8
Verdict: Well, I overbaked mine a bit. One actually looked like a hard boiled egg's center! Whoops. So, as long as your eggs are still jiggly and not hard to the touch, you're good. :) This was a super tasty dish. It looks impressive and fancy to guests, but it's certainly not difficult. It's a keeper!

Caramelized Bacon (from Allrecipes)
-1 pound sliced bacon
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Cut each bacon strip in half widthwise. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a shallow plate or bowl. Dip bacon strips in the mixture and twist. Place on a broiler pan.

2. Bake at 375 for about 15-20 minutes, or until as crispy as you like your bacon. Serve hot or cool/freeze in an air-tight container for up to 1 month.

Verdict: This was the OTHER crowd pleaser. As I was snapping admittedly crappy photos of the bacon, there were many groans of utter joy coming from the living room. Caramelized bacon is something everyone should have in their life.

Gingerbread Croissant French Toast with Lemon Curd (partially from me, Pepperidge Farm, and Epicurious)
For the French Toast:
-1 1/2 cups milk
-3 eggs
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
-1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-8 slightly stale croissants

1. Beat the milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg together in a bowl with a fork.

2. Heat a griddle to 350 degrees. Once hot, dredge the croissants in the milk mixture and place on the griddle. Cook until browned on each side. You may want to press the croissants firmly with your spatula to get more even browning.

3. Serve hot with fresh lemon curd.

For the lemon curd:
-1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (NOT from the bottle!!)
-2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
-1/2 cup sugar
-3 large eggs
-3/4 stick unsalted butter, cut into bits

1. Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and eggs in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of the whisk and first bubbles appear on surface (about 6 minutes).

2. Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and chill, covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour.

-Makes 1 1/3 cups.

Verdict: Amazing. Lemon curd is truly a thing of beauty. While the croissant french toast was good and all (kind of like a flaky sugar gingerbread donut), the lemon curd is what really made it shine. A tip for you: If you're like me (that is, totally incompetent at making custard) and end up with scrambled egg bits in your curd no matter what precautions you take, you can strain them out! Use a mesh sieve and pour a bit of the finished product in at a time. Use a spoon to tap the curd into the receiving bowl. It takes a while, but you won't have egg bits in your curd. :)

Berry Parfaits with Orange Curacao Whipped Cream (from me!)
-Approximately 3-4 cups mixed berries (it's really up to you to decide how many berries you want)
-1 pint heavy cream
-1/4 cup sugar
-2 tablespoons orange curacao

1. Put cream, sugar, and orange curacao in a frozen stand mixer bowl fitted with a balloon whisk attachment. On speed 4-5, whip until desired consistency, about 5 minutes.

2. Assemble parfaits as whipped cream, fruit, cream, and a garnishing fruit piece.

Verdict: Delicious, delicate, and the epitome of 'dessert for breakfast.' This was an excellent accompaniment to the french toast!

When all was said and done, we had a great and gastronomically delightful evening! Here are some of my guests, discussing the finer points of The Simpsons. :)

Thanks to Foodbuzz for allowing such a wonderful evening take place!


ceecee said...

sounds like a great evening with really great food!

Joy (The Herbed Kitchen) said...

What a wonderful evening and your choice to donate the money to Heartland really is beautiful. I love lemon curd and since I've learned how to make it my lemon meringue pies are amazing, just ask my sister-in-law who asks for one all the time!

Tiffany said...

Gingerbread Croissant French Toast with Homemade Lemon Curd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!

Susan said...

What fun! Everything looks top shelf breakfast fare! Love the caramelized bacon ... doh! And Gingerbread Croissant French Toast pushes donuts far to the side! Double-doh!

Nice contribution too! Kudos all around!

Ang said...

Holy smokes, I'm coming to your house for weekend brunches. Looks like a great time. I feeling a bit parched though now that I saw that outstanding bloody Mary:)

Simply Life said...

Oh this is too fun and what a GREAT idea! I love it! Thanks for being so thoughtful with your food and resources :)

Megan @ FeastingonArt said...

What a dream breakfast! Any meal starting with a bloody mary will be delish. I especially like the baked eggs and croissant french toast.

emiglia said...

Everything looks amazing, but I have to say it's the croissant French toast that got me. Wow!!

Courtney said...

I'm totally drooling after reading this post. Everything looks so delicious! I love the idea of breakfast for dinner, and you clearly pulled it off. I think it's awesome that you donated to Camp Heartland, too. :)

Rachel Kluber said...

HEY! i didn't know I was in this!! This dinner was phenomenal!

All Things Yummy said...

Wow, everything looks so delicious. I love the idea of having everyone coming in their jammies. So cozy and fun.

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