Make-Ahead Christmas Brunch
Twas' the Night Before Christmas
My husband, Kane, and I have always enjoyed a fireside brunch on Christmas Eve morning while listening to A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on National Public Radio. This menu is mostly make-ahead―so like us, you can relax and enjoy the beginning of the holiday.
Follow this timeline for a stress-free Christmas morning brunch. Up to two months ahead:Bake Cranberry-Orange Tea Bread Muffins, but leave them unglazed. Freeze in a zip-top plastic freezer bag.Day before:Make Candied Kumquat Slices for muffins. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature.Make Gruyère Cheese Sauce for Gentlemen's Casserole. Cover and chill.Make Winter Fruit Compote, and chill.Bake puff pastry shells for Gentlemen's Casserole. Store at room temperature in a zip-top plastic freezer bag.Day of:Make Kane's Peppery Bloody Mary.Make Orange-Cream Cheese Glaze.Thaw muffins at room temperature; top with glaze and kumquat slices.Reheat puff pastry shells on a baking sheet at 350° for 5 minutes.Microwave Gruyère Cheese Sauce.Scramble eggs, and fold in Cheese Sauce.
Continue to the next slide for recipe links.
Take a Casual Approach
Now that you have a timeline for prepping your make-ahead Christmas brunch, here's how to make the mains. When serving, be casual! You don't have to sit at the dining room table to break out your best. Gather around a merry fire and make some holiday memories. Recipe Links:Gentlemen's CasseroleChicken-and-White Cheddar CasseroleGruyère Cheese SauceCheddar Cheese SauceWinter Fruit CompoteWhite Grape Winter Fruit Compote
Kane's Peppery Bloody Mary
Recipe: Kane's Peppery Bloody Mary
It's hard to beat the spicy bite of a good bloody mary on holiday mornings. Seasoned with fresh basil, cilantro, and chives, this drink received the highest rating from Southern Living's test kitchen.
Pass It Down
As our family grows, so do our traditions. Old ones become new again when they are passed to the next generation. Here are a few traditions that my family treasures; yours may enjoy them also.
Start a themed ornament collection for your children. Each year my father gave me a silver ornament. Last year I began my daughter's collection.
Serve a signature dish at each holiday. My mother is famous for her scalloped oysters. One year oysters were sold out at the grocery, and my brother complained that it just didn't feel like Christmas without that dish on the table.
Celebrate each addition to the family with personalized stockings. This is the perfect way to mark the birth of a child or make a new daughter-in-law feel like a member of the family. All of our stockings are hand-knitted and have our names on them.
Use your holiday china for the entire season, not just one day. Mom always used her Christmas china the entire month of December. This was our first clue that Santa was on his way.
"Christmas Eve Fun" is from the November 2008 issue of Southern Living.