Sunday was one of those magical days in LA when it rains and pours yet in proper California style the weather channel didn't even know it was gonna happen. It just started raining all of the sudden right after we had lit our fire pit and fired up the grill out in the backyard. So our Belcampo x #bennettbrunches became anything but ordinary!
We created a grilling station on our fire pit, threw some cast iron pans on it, grilled bacon, then zucchini, asparagus, carrots in the bacon fat. We ended up having to create a cover with a blanket over the tree to cover the bacon were grilling that rained on.
Head over to the kitchen and we had our friend Besha from LA Weekly making a berry loaf that was to die for! We also had pomegranate citrus salad being made from scratch, an apple tart and fresh rolls! Let's just say the the kitchen smelled amazing!
I made two different frittatas, which is my favorite thing to make for brunches. So easy, just thrown in a bunch of ingredients with eggs whipped up in a cast iron pan and pop it in the oven. I did one with onions, peppers and a bunch of herbs from the back yard. I put a ton of chives in towards the end so it was sprinkled with a green confetti on top. Then I did another one with the asparagus we cooked in the bacon fat from the bacon we grilled on the fire! Mmmmm so good. Honestly you can throw together an amazing meal by making a frittata from left over veggies in your fridge! Scrappy but so good!
So in addition to all this cooking, when we had thought it had stopped raining, our friend Raychel from Rolling Greens came by with succulent stuffed pumpkins for the perfect friendsgiving table decor! We decorated the tables outside with our table runners but put them across the tables crossed over each other to add some spice to our regular table setting. Annnnnd of course after we had this beautiful table setting all decorated, it started pouring rain!!!!! So we all quickly grabbed what we could fit into our hands and brought everything inside. Oliver of course grabbed some of the mini pumpkins which he thoroughly enjoyed eating as his lunch!
We piled all the food onto the table, our hair frizzy and smelling of smoke and enjoyed our home cooked friendsgiving brunch. Just goes to show that you can still have a good time despite a rainy day in LA!
One of the best things to have on the table waiting for guests is a charcuterie board! Meats, cheese, fruits, veggies... basically something for everybody! Our friend, Joy Cho, who is an incredible super human and mamma to the two best babies, shares her method for putting together a mini spread!
The best kind of brunch is: colorful/tasty/fun/easy/filled with great conversation. So how do you pull it all off seamlessly? For every great brunch you need a few essentials, music to set the tone, flowers or plants for the tables, places for people to hang out and or sit at.
Starting with the charcuterie... Meats, cheeses, fruits, olives. Think textures and flavors of all varieties. Balance out the salty cured meats with the sweetness of the fruit and the crunchy textures of crackers and tomatoes. More is better, we say! Colorful, tasty and easy to throw together. Peep that Papaya Table Runner working it's magic as the backdrop!
We had Howlin' Rays and boy, was it amazing. Spiciness at every level and the crunchy tangy pickles that were the freakin' "cherry" on top. Lots of different kinds of food is essential. It is a brunch after all!
Also, don't use all the same types of serving platters. We use everything from cutting boards to napkins to hold the food or bread etc. You don't end up having to worry about every dish being the same style because you are adding height and texture to the whole damn table with all these different plates!
A photo posted by Ellen Bennett (@ellentheapronlady) on
When it comes to color palette, it's best to pick just a couple colors. We went with blush pink, turquoise, grey and whites. They balanced one another out very well and kept the shower looking festive but not gaudy. From there, we incorporated those colors and paired them with our table runners to bring color to places you wouldn't necessarily expect it!
On a sunny day in April, our Apron Lady gathered some friends (Evan Funke of soon-to-open Felix, Farley Elliott - Senior Editor at Eater LA, Rebecca Merhej of Love & Salt, chef & recipe developer Julie Beth Tanous, Chris Oh of Hanjip, Jeni of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, Lily of Kale and Caramel, Chef Fabián Gallardo of Petty Cash, and food lover & writer Heather Platt) and had them over at her Echo Park home to cook their hearts out, play with Oliver the Apron Pig and have one of her epic #BennettBrunches. Fresh pasta was rolled out, a tomahawk steak was being grilled out on the deck and fresh salsa was being mortar-&-pestled... every kind of brunch dish imaginable made it's way to the crazy colorful table (take a sneak peek at those linens!)
As morning slipped into a hot afternoon, Jeni's ice cream was immediately plucked from the fridge, dug into with spoons... who has time for a bowl?
Catch the entire story in the latest issue of C Magazine, in newsstands now!!