Nina’s Tips and Techniques: Mother’s Day Brunch Made Easy!

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Whether you love to be in your kitchen or could think of 10 things better to do, EVERYONE has a place in their busy lives for simple, quick, and easy to execute meals. Here are my tips and techniques for creating all things delicious and FAST!

I want to make a great Mother’s Day brunch for my amazing mom/wife/sister/friend/cousin/daughter/etc, but I am overwhelmed by the idea. What can I make that’s easy, but still impressive?

There is no reason why cooking any meal has to be overwhelming. Simplify! Well executed, simple dishes are far better than elaborate ones gone awry. Focus on one dish and do it well. No one can really eat eggs, pancakes, bacon, juice, coffee, AND home fries . . . pick one or two and make it well! As for the recipe selection, don’t pick anything outside of your comfort zone. For instance, if you’re not a great baker don’t take on making croissants from scratch. Instead, find an exciting muffin recipe and try your hand at a simple morning bake. Pair it with a great cup of coffee and you’re golden.

I really like cooking breakfast but to make all the things I love I’ll have to set my alarm super early. Is there any way to shorten the prep time?

There’s no reason to get up at the crack of dawn in order to make a great brunch. There are lots of steps you can take the night before that will save you time in the morning. Here are a few examples: If you are cooking any savory egg dish you can cut and cook veggies from the recipe ahead of time. You can also crack and mix your eggs the night before. If you are making French toast you can make the batter and store it overnight, and slice your bread ahead of time, too. If pancakes or muffins are on the menu, measure all your dry ingredients into one container and all your wet ingredients into another container to store overnight. In the morning just combine, portion, and bake. Think of each dish as a series of elements. Evaluate each element and if it can be made ahead of time and stored you’ve just earned yourself 5-10 more minutes of sleep.

Recipe – Polenta and Eggs

1 cup polenta

2 cups water

3 cups milk

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp butter

1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp chili flakes (optional)

eggs

Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

In a large sauce pot bring the water and milk to a simmer. Slowly pour in the polenta, whisking constantly. When the polenta boils, turn it down to a very low simmer. Let the polenta cook slowly for about 15 minutes, whisking frequently to make sure it is not clumping or scorching. When it is thick (like porridge) and the grains are cooked through, remove it from the heat. Whisk in the parmesan. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper or more cheese. Finish by whisking in the 2 Tbsp of butter.

To cook the kale, heat the olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the kale and sauté just long enough to wilt the kale, about 2-3 minutes. Add the chili flakes and season with salt and pepper.

Cook the eggs any way you like them—poached, fried, scrambled . . . yum!

Scoop polenta into bowls and top with kale and eggs.