Ladies’ Spring Brunch

To kick off spring, I thought it would be fun to gather some of my girlfriends together for a spring brunch. Given our dependably beautiful weather here in southern California, it seemed appropriate to move the celebration out of the house and into the backyard.

The first thing I did was develop a color palette. Inspired by a set of vintage chartreuse placemats from my collection, I decided to use this color as my foundation. For contrast, I used bright fuschia cloth napkins and sprinkled in other happy spring colors. For example, I couldn’t resist a pair of whimsical carrot candles in bright orange!

A bowl of cucumber lime tequila punch got the party started.

I set up an appetizer table topped with baskets of petunias, roses and primroses. To add more texture, I added some fun white paper flowers. My punch bowl was filled with a refreshing cucumber lime tequila cocktail that carried the green color theme to the appetizer table. (Of course, I made a non-alcoholic version for my friends who abstain.)

To get the party started,  I offered colorful Vietnamese spring rolls with peanut ginger dipping sauce, goat cheese and walnut encrusted grape truffles, and individual granola fruit yogurt parfaits.

Guests were invited to take their egg placecard holders home with them.

About two weeks ahead of the party, I made placecard holders by using real egg shells as tiny planters. The egg carton was cut into individual holders and each egg was planted with assorted lettuce and herb seeds.  I printed each person’s name on card stock and made little “flags” by gluing them to a toothpick which was inserted in each plant. A menu was placed on each plate and the egg placecard holder was set on top.

Generous doses of white were added to keep the table from getting too busy. I used a white damask tablecloth as a base and placed the chartreuse placemats on top. The table was set with white plates and the fuschia colored napkins were folded into a cute bunny shape. I spray painted an old urn with more white and fashioned a few fallen branches into an “egg tree” for my centerpiece. A nest of pink Easter grass and more eggs were added to the base of the urn, along with a wicker rabbit sporting a pink and green plaid bow. I wanted the brunch to be a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach! I found a beautiful floral watercolor printable download that I used to create menus for each place setting. The dishes on the menu were inspired by the colors and bounty of spring. 

The Peruvian Eggs Benedict is a creation I came up with years ago based on my love of the Peruvian yellow pepper called aji amarillo.  It is a take on the Peruvian appetizer Papas a la Huancaina.  I’ll share the recipe on a separate blog at another time but here’s a picture to give you an idea of what it looks like.

Peruvian Eggs Benedict has a slice of crispy prosciutto, an over easy egg, and a slice of avocado on toast topped with Huancaina sauce and an olive.

The grand finale was a Robin’s Egg Coconut Cake decorated to look like a speckled robin’s egg, complete with a phyllo dough “nest” and malted eggs. It wasn’t difficult to make and I thought it would be a memorable way to end the event. Here’s the recipe. http://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/recipes/a37729/speckled-malted-coconut-cake-recipe/

I changed up the recipe slightly by substituting half of the shortening with coconut oil and adding a teaspoon coconut extract to the icing. I also brushed each layer with simple syrup to add moisture.

Each guest took home a small parting gift as a reminder of our time together.  I love EOS lip balm and recently discovered that there are interesting ways to use them as party favors. I printed out this free download onto card stock and cut out a circle into which I inserted the EOS lip balm. To make it a bit more festive, I put some paper shreds in the bottom of a clear cellophane bag, placed the card with lip balm inside, and tied it up with a raffia ribbon. A basket filled with the favors was passed around at the end of the brunch and each guest could take their pick of assorted flavors.  Here’s the link for the printable with instructions.  http://tatertotsandjello.com/2015/04/eos-lip-balm-spring-printable-gift-idea.html

It was so much fun to put this brunch together for this special group of ladies.  I knew I had invited a sophisticated group who would appreciate all the details and special touches. I’m already looking forward to next year!

Not only did we have delightful weather, but our neighbor’s tree just happened to be in full bloom providing a beautiful backdrop!
My thanks to everyone who helped out with serving and the refilling of coffee cups.

 

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