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Book Brief: Essentials of Breakfast & Brunch

Book Brief: Essentials of Breakfast & Brunch
The tradition of entertaining with a hearty morning repast was made fashionable by 19th-century English gentry, who invited guests to share in lavish hunt breakfasts and leisurely brunches. Today, we continue that legacy with Essentials of Breakfast & Brunch, Williams-Sonoma's complete guide to morning entertaining.

Featuring more than 130 recipes and a wealth of practical advice, the book makes it clear that morning meals are among the most versatile and relaxed ways to share good times with family and friends. You can host your gathering in a cozy kitchen, a formal dining room or a sunny backyard garden, varying the setting and menu choices to suit the occasion and the season. The timing of the meal is equally flexible, making it easy to accommodate different schedules.

Because breakfast and brunch menus are well suited to buffet service, the book offers tips for setting up buffet stations where guests can mingle and help themselves, be it self-serve smoothie and juice bars or a tempting bagel bar. You will also learn how to orchestrate a restaurant-style omelette station, where diners can enjoy omelettes made to order.

To start your gathering on a festive note, offer guests a Champagne cocktail garnished with fresh blackberries. Other spirited brunch beverages include a frothy ramos fizz and spicy bloody Mary. The book also features recipes for coffees and teas, as well as fruit smoothies and other refreshers.

For the main course, treat guests to a homey Southern-style grits soufflé prepared with greens and two kinds of cheeses. An ethereal brioche pudding enriched with Gruyère cheese and prosciutto is another comforting option. Also featured are a wide assortment of tried-and-true morning specialties, from homemade oatmeal and granola to pancakes, blintzes, waffles and French toast. Lighter fare includes delicate tea sandwiches filled with lemony chicken salad.

The book devotes an entire chapter to eggs, a perennial morning favorite. You will master the art of preparing individual and family-size omelettes, along with creative variations on scrambled, boiled, poached and fried eggs. Among the delicious recipes: fried eggs dressed up with roasted asparagus, smoky pancetta and buttery bread crumbs.

No morning meal is complete without home-baked breads and pastries, served warm from the oven. Irish soda bread is a satisfying choice, as are coffee cakes and muffins. To round out your menus, the book offers enticing accompaniments, from salads and soups to breakfast meats and vegetable side dishes.

Whether you seek inspiration for a leisurely brunch with friends or a quick-and-easy breakfast with the family, this beautifully photographed volume is guaranteed to make mornings brighter than ever.