Birthday Brunch

My family is big on breakfast and not in a most-important-meal-of-the-day way, but in a special-occasions-call-for-special-breakfasts way. Every time I go home to Kansas City, my brother makes up a huge breakfast extravaganza for me, which must include at least one item from each of the breakfast groups (egg, meat, bread, potato, and gravy). It was at these extravaganzas that I learned to thicken gravy, flip an omelet, crisp hash browns, and mix pancake batter.

As special as extravaganzas are, I wanted to take it up a notch for my birthday. How can you do that? Have a brunch. What makes it a brunch? Salad. Who wants to eat salad when there’s quiche and potato pancakes and gravy? Lots of people. Trust me. These bowls were licked clean by the end of the morning.

The green salad was nothing special. I just threw together all my favorite ingredients: arugula, red onion, goat cheese, pecans, and dried cranberries. I tossed it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil (not even emulsified, just straight out of the bottle) and everyone loved it.

Hiding behind that green salad is a fruit salad like none other. I have been ogling this salad on Smitten Kitchen for more than a year and finally found the opportunity (and the ingredients) to make it. The fruit soaks overnight in a simple syrup spiced with a vanilla bean, star anise, and lemon zest. In the morning you drain it and toss the fruit with pomegranate seeds. I’m still looking for a use for the leftover simple syrup — a sweetener for tea, perhaps?

Stay tuned for the rest of the brunch recipes — I’ll be posting them throughout the week.

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