Let’s Celebrate with Brunch

This mid-morning meal is perfect for any festivity

A celebration of food. That’s my definition for brunch. While Merriam-Webster might define it as a late morning meal sandwiched between breakfast and lunch, I see it as a way to savor a meal with friends or family.

This meal might seem complex, a full spread if you will. For me, it all boils down to basics — eggs, bread, fruit and salad.

Quiche Lorraine is the perfect egg dish, sophisticated and tasty.

For bread, Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins have a lovely, fresh lemony flavor that is elevated with the addition of Fiori di Sicilia.

For fruit I like the rainbow of color from skewers of strawberries, diced pineapple, kiwi, red seedless grapes, melon and blueberries. 

A salad? My Aunt Anne’s Nameless Salad is cool and fruity.

For a libation I like a Bellini, which I make with Prosecco and a scoop of a sorbet that can be raspberry, lemon or another flavor that fits the party theme (or what you can find in the cooler of your favorite grocery store). If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic beverage, try Hibiscus Tea Lemonade.

So, plan a celebration, pick a date and develop your grocery list. Time for a food celebration. Let’s meet for brunch!



  • 1 9- or 10-inch deep-dish frozen pie crust
  • 4-5 slices of thick bacon (5-6 slices if bacon is thin)
  • 1 c. shredded Swiss cheese (about 4 oz)
  • 1/2 c. onion, diced
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 c. heavy cream or half and half
  • ½ t. kosher salt
  • ¼ t. nutmeg
  • ¼ t. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Defrost pie shell for 10 minutes. Prebake pie shell for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.

Fry bacon in a skillet until crisp. Drain the bacon well and crumble. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Sauté onion until soft. Sprinkle grated Swiss cheese over the bottom of the pie shell. Add the crumbled bacon and onion.

Beat the eggs and salt, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Add cream and mix well. Pour into pie shell. (Place pie pan on a cookie sheet to catch any overflow.)

Bake 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake 30 to 40 minutes longer or until knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve in wedges.

NOTE: I recommend grating a block of Swiss cheese, since packaged shredded cheese has additives to keep the cheese from clumping, which can hamper the melting process.


  • ½ c. unsalted butter, melted and cooled (1 stick)
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • ½ c. milk plus 2 Tbs
  • 1½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 t. poppy seeds
  • ¼ t. Fiori di Sicilia
  • Turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Zest the lemon (you should get about 1 Tbs of zest). Juice the lemon and reserve (you should get about 3 Tbs of juice).

Line muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, poppy seeds and salt in a large bowl and whisk together.

In a separate bowl, mix the butter, milk, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and Fiori di Sicilia.

Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix with a spatula or fork just until blended.

With a standard ice-cream scoop or large spoon, scoop batter into the prepared cups, filling them three-quarters of the way full. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and bake at 450 degrees for 5 minutes to get a nice peak on them. Turn the temperature down to 350 degrees and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer until toothpick comes out clean.

NOTE: If you can’t find Fiori de Sicilia you can omit it, but it adds such a subtle floral note to the muffins. Zest in downtown Billings has carried this in the past and you can order it online from King Arthur Baking Company.

To make Lemon Raspberry Muffins, eliminate the poppy seeds and add six ounces of fresh raspberries after blending the wet and dry ingredients.


  • 1 can (10 biscuits) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • ¾ t. cinnamon
  • ½ stick (4 oz) melted butter

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray parchment paper with cooking spray and set aside.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

Separate the biscuit dough into individual biscuits. Roll each into a 12-inch pencil-like strip. Dip in melted butter and roll in cinnamon sugar. Fold each strip in half and twist. Put on the lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until golden. Makes 10. These are best served warm.


  •  2 pkgs (3 oz. each) lemon Jell-O
  • 2/3 c. cinnamon hearts (Red Hots)
  • 2 c. boiling water
  • 3 c. apple sauce
  • 1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese
  • 1/3 c. mayonnaise
  • ½ c. coarsely chopped toasted nuts (I prefer pecans)
  • ½ c. diced celery

 Dissolve the cinnamon hearts in the boiling water. Add lemon Jell-O and stir until dissolved. Add the apple sauce and mix well.

Put ½ (about 3 cups) of the mixture in a square 9 x 9” cake pan — glass or metal — that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray for easier removal. Place in refrigerator until set.

In a small mixing bowl, cream the cream cheese and mayo. Mix in the chopped nuts and diced celery. Mix well.

After the Jell-O mixture is firm, spoon the cream cheese mixture over the Jell-O layer, being careful not to disturb the Jell-O layer. Be sure to spread evenly over the bottom layer and to the sides of the pan.

Pour the remaining Jell-O mixture over the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight until completely firm.

Loosen sides with wet knife. Cut into squares and serve.



  • 6 bags hibiscus tea
  • 52 oz. bottle store-bought lemonade

Boil one quart of water. Remove from heat and add the tea bags, cover and steep for an hour. Discard the tea bags and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Combine the chilled tea with half of the bottle (around three cups) of the lemonade in a punch bowl. Lemon slices and raspberries are a nice, colorful garnish.



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