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Brunch, Booze and Bagpipes

September 17, 2012 by Joan Nova in Appetizers, Beans/Legumes, Breakfast + Brunch, Fruit, Italian, Meat, Menu Planning, Party Food, Pasta, Recipe Development, Savory Pie | 18 Comments

My friend, Gail, said “Father Time is knocking on my door again“. She wanted to get together with the gals for a birthday brunch on Sunday. Here, in South FL, we have lots of brunch choices from waterfront casual to high-end hotels. We generally tend toward the high-end, like the Four Seasons, for these special celebrations. But, hey, they’re expensive, a little stiff, and you can’t hang out ALL day. Wouldn’t it be more fun to do a brunch at home?

I volunteered to host the brunch at “Casa Nova” and the gals readily agreed.

And, it was some brunch!

9 hours long and 10 ‘dead soldiers’

Since we weren’t getting together until 1:00, I decided to make brunch – stilo Italiano. Here’s the menu along with some food and party photos – and our surprise guest!

We started with some bubbly and a few light and ladylike appetizers. (Well the first two are light and ladylike; the other two are salty and start to set the tone for what follows.)

Bubbly + Hors d’ouevres
proscuitto-wrapped melon with white balsamic glaze
watermelon caprese with basil and balsamic glaze
oil-cured olives

The scrolls in the back are copies of the menu – we’re all foodies and thrive on those touches. :)

Hot Antipasto
sweet + savory stuffed mushroom
proscuitto-wrapped grilled shrimp with lemon-parsley sauce
parmesan-crusted baby zucchini
baked mini sweet peppers stuffed with goat cheese with honey + black pepper

First Course
pesto spaghetti pie with artichokes, peas and romesco sauce
cauliflower giardinera

Second Course
braised pork belly with candied tomatoes on creamy cannellini (recipe will be posted later this week)

fruit, cheeses, crackers, chocolate, nuts with creative centerpiece made by Christine

At some point in the afternoon, Lynn asked if I’d like her friend John (a fireman-bagpiper) to stop by and play Happy Birthday. Duh? Yeah!

Before John left, we took advantage of his being there to pose for a group photo.

Lynn, Maude, Christine, Moi, Jenn, April, (seated Patti and Gail)

And a few silly photos with his props.

Regretfully, over the weekend, Gail got word that she’ll be transferring to New Orleans for work so our brunch was twofold: Happy Birthday and Fare-thee-well! We’ll miss you!

P.S. Thought the foodies out there might like to see my gift for Gail. (Available on Amazon)

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. too-too fun! you truly captured the essence of the day through your photos

  2. Dorothy says:

    Wow, what a great party and sad that Gail is moving. Oh well, it just means planning another trip for you to visit her.

  3. Brunch and a tiara. What a fabulous get-together Joan. How could it get better than this. Just remember you could visit Gail in New Orleans. That’s a town that knows a thing or two about brunch too.
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Monday Musings – Alpacas at our Farmer’s MarketMy Profile

  4. I always miss the big ones…boo hoo…You did a wonderful…jealous!!!!
    Platanos Mangoes & Me! recently posted..Té para Dos o Más- Tea for Two or MoreMy Profile

  5. bellini says:

    An excellent feast with great friends!! These are where memories are created.

  6. OMG. OMG. OMG. Now this is one perfect feast, Joan. Every element is perfect. PERFECT. The food looks so wonderful and the guests so full of fun. And the gifties–fois gras bublegum and bacon gumballs??????? How good is that? Wonderful post.
    Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Class Fun, Puptides, and a RecipeMy Profile

  7. Wow. DId you make all that yourself? What a lovely feast. So I take it your friend is not coming to Nashville. New Orleans is a great food town, though.
    angela@spinachtiger recently posted..Old Fashioned Coconut Cake with Buttercream FrostingMy Profile

  8. Fabulous! Brunch as it SHOULD be and beautifully captured in photos! Bravissima, Joan!

  9. Peter says:

    Great spread Joan but without good company its just another dinner. You’ve got great friends, looks like lots of fun!
    Peter recently posted..Walnut SkordaliaMy Profile

  10. Katie says:

    How do I score an invite to one of these parties at Chez Joan? ;)
    Katie recently posted..Sightseeing Bus Tours in Necochea and QuequénMy Profile

  11. bellini says:

    what an amazing celebration joan. you ladies really know how to celebrate.

  12. Marie says:

    Amazing Joan, this beats out any stuffy hotel brunch! You have a beautiful group of friends and you guys really know how to eat!I’ll be waiting for that second course recipe with the creamy cannellini!!!

  13. Liz says:

    Looks like a great feast and birthday celebration. Very creative, as usual!

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