Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Rooftop Brunch Barbeque

My roommates and I all love to cook and entertain, so we decided to host a brunch for our friends. We eagerly brainstormed menu ideas. Visions of fatty egg casseroles, strata, and quiche were dancing in our minds. We have a small apartment and knew that there wouldn’t be adequate space to accommodate our large network of DC 20-somethings. Luckily, our steep rent includes accommodations such as a “club room” with ovens, a stovetop, a pool table, and plenty of space – or as we call it, a “party room.”

Invitations were extended, and weeks went by. Then we received a notice that the “club room” would be undergoing renovations for the rest of the summer. At first, we were somewhat excited that perhaps we could use this as leverage to negotiate a discount on our rent. Our apartment complex owners quickly sent us a copy of the clause in our rental contract stating that this was not an option.

Then the disappointment set in and panic ensued. Where will we host this rager-of-a-brunch? We would have to do it on the outdoor patio attached to our building. What kind of dishes would fare well outdoors? Certainly not fatty egg casseroles! What if it thunderstorms, or worse, what if it’s humid?!

The pluses were that we would have access to a grill. But what kind of brunch barbeque would this be? What is a brunch barbeque? Here are a couple of recipes we tried:

Grilled Peaches and Yogurt

5 large peaches cut in half, pit removed
Cooking spray
Nonfat vanilla yogurt

Prep the peaches and turn the grill on medium low. Spray the bottom of the peaches with cooking spray and place directly on the grill. Close the grill and let them cook for about 15 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork. Remove from grill, drizzle with honey, and top with a scoop of yogurt and sprinkle of honey. These were DELICIOUS!

Cinnamon Buns (recipe courtesy of Lucy Rothlisberger, my boyfriend’s fabulous mother)

1 c of warm milk
1/4 c butter
1 egg
3 1/2 c of flour - I usually use bread flour but regular flour works
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
3 rounded tsp of regular active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in your bread machine in this order. Then select the dough cycle. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Once the dough is done rising, roll it out on a flowered surface until it is a large rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Then rub butter all over the dough - just enough to coat it. Sprinkle the dough generously with brown sugar and cinnamon (be VERY generous). Then just roll the dough up into a long sphere. Take a piece of thread and slide it under the sphere then cross it over the top to cut the dough into separate cinnamon rolls. Bake the rolls on a cookie sheet for about 15 minutes. I baked them several days before our brunch, let them cool, and froze them. I took them out of the freezer the night before brunch, heated them in the oven for 10 minutes at 200 degrees, whipped up a quick icing with milk, butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar, and voila!

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