November 10, 2010

It's Our Tradition!

Brunch at The Maine House is about family, friends, choices and leisure!

Brunch is a turn of the 19th/20th century meal/tradition, which originated in Britain. History time lines show this culinary experience was at first just for the wealthy who could afford to spend extended time and expense on the pleasure of food. The longer the time frame and menu selections of the brunch, spoke to the wealth and riches of the family.

The word Brunch is a combination of the two words breakfast and lunch, which most Americans are familiar. But, Brunch first appeared in Hunter’s Weekly, 1895, by Mr. Guy Beringer, indicating a meal combination of breakfast and lunch after arriving home from hunting.

For Americans, the idea or practice of brunch did not become popular until the 1930’s. Today’s brunch is commonly buffet style, served in many restaurants and hotels.

According to Guy Beringer, as he wrote in a "Brunch: A Plea," found in Hunter's Weekly dated circa 1895...

Instead of England's early Sunday dinner, a postchurch ordeal of heavy meats and savory pies, why not a new meal, served around noon, that starts with tea or coffee, marmalade and other breakfast fixtures before moving along to the heavier fare? By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday-night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well. Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.

Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon
3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon prepared Dijon-style mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white sugar
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 dash hot pepper sauce
8 eggs
8 slices rye bread
8 ounces smoked salmon, cut into thin slices
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
1 teaspoon capers, for garnish

To make the sauce: In the top of a double boiler, whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, egg yolks, mustard, salt, sugar, pepper and hot sauce. Cook over simmering water while stirring constantly, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.
In a large stock pot heat 2 quarts of salted water to a boil. Carefully break the eggs one at a time into the boiling water. When all the eggs have been added, reduce the heat to medium. When the eggs float to the top, remove them with a slotted spoon and let drain briefly.
To assemble final dish: Toast bread slices and place on warm plates. Top each piece of toast with a slice of smoked salmon and a hot poached egg. Drizzle with yogurt sauce; garnish with parsley and capers.

Poached Autumn Fruit Compote
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange
1 lemon
4 brown pears, quartered and cored
4 plums, halved and stones removed
4 figs, halved
Plain or Vanilla yogurt, to serve

Place sugar and water in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat to dissolve sugar. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Use a vegetable peeler to peel a thin piece of skin from the orange and lemon. Add to the pot with the other aromatics. Reserve the citrus fruit for another use. Place the pear quarters in the poaching liquid and gently cook over low heat for 15 minutes, until the pears are soft when pierced with a sharp knife. Add plums and figs and cook for a few minutes more, until the fruit is softened. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly in the poaching syrup. Estelle's serves with a dollop of yogurt in crystal stemmed compote glass.


"She lifted her hands from her eyes - her face was wet with tears and her eyes were haggard - and said....
'I cannot any longer endure being served breakfast in bed by a hairy man in his underwear.'"
John Cheever, 'The Chimera' (1951)

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