• Monday, November 30, 2020

Brunch Buffet Recipes

Friends Who Brunch
By , Food Editor
December 30, 2014

It may be the cold weather.  It may be the much-needed rest after the holidays.  Or maybe it’s the marathon of Cupcake Wars you saw over the weekend.  Regardless, there’s something about January that inspires warm, home-baked meals.  It doesn’t have to be complicated either; the breakfast Strata can be made the night before, and is a crowd pleaser with savory ham, gooey cheese and spinach for good measure.  Panettone is a seasonal sweet offering, where we found the best at Emporio Rulli, hailing from San Francisco. Our favorite is the Panettone Paradiso, a Milanese classic with a modern twist of added bits of Valrhona chocolate, walnuts and golden raisins.  All you need are friends, who can stop by at their leisure and help themselves to your brunch buffet.

Breakfast Strata


2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small onion, yellow, small dice
8 ounces Black Forrest ham, small dice
1 baby spinach, 10-12 ounce package
4-6 slices bread, batard or plain Italian loaf, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes, about 2 cups
8 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
6 ounces Monterey Jack, shredded
8 eggs, large
2 cups half and half
kosher salt  to taste
¼ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, grated


Yield: 6-8 servings

In a large 12-inch sauté pan, set on medium high heat, add canola oil. Add onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until translucent. Add diced ham and continue to sauté for 3 minutes. Add baby spinach, season with salt, toss cook until spinach wilts.  Transfer ingredients to a bowl and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl add eggs and whisk together with the half and half, white pepper and nutmeg.

In a second large bowl, add the cubed bread, the cooked onion, ham, spinach, and the two shredded chesses, toss together. Pour the egg and cream over the bread mixture. Gently mix all ingredients so that the bread soaks up the liquid.

Transfer mixture to a 7 x 11 inch baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.

In the morning, pre-heat oven to 325° F. Remove strata from refrigerator, and discard plastic wrap. Place baking dish in middle rack of oven and let cook about 20 minutes.  Rotate baking dish and cook another 20-25 minutes or until top is browned and the strata is cooked through.

Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes, serve


Panettone Muffins


1 Panettone Paradiso, 11/2 pounds, crust trimmed, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 cups half and half
6 eggs, large
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted, room temperature


Yield: 12 muffins

In a large mixing bowl add the cubed Panettone, set aside.

In a second mixing bowl add the eggs and whisk until blended, add half and half, sugar and mix well.

Pour the liquid over the Panettone bread. Gently push down the Panettone cubes so it soaks up the liquid. Let mixture sit for about 30 minutes. If mixture looks dry add a ½ cup half and half. 

Grease the inside of the muffin tin with butter.  Using a large spoon transfer enough Panettone mixture to fill one muffin cup. Fill remaining muffin cups. If extra Panettone mixture remains repeat with a second muffin tin.

Cover muffin tin with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, pre-heat oven to 325° F. Remove muffin tin from refrigerator, and discard plastic wrap. Place muffin tin in middle rack of oven and let cook about 20 minutes. Rotate muffin tin and cook another 10-15 minutes or until muffin tops are golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes, serve. 



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