I LOVE brunch!  I love it so much that when my husband and I got married, we had a morning wedding so we could serve brunch for our meal at an afternoon reception.  Yeah, yeah, there were other contributing factors, but it does not diminish my love of brunch!  I think it’s the flexibility of it that I like.

This Sunday we invited a couple over.  It was my friend’s birthday a few weeks ago and I didn’t get to see her so this is her celebration brunch.  I had a tough time coming up with something to make though.  She doesn’t like eggs. Or tomatoes.  So, eggs cooked in tomato cups was off the menu – but just as an fyi, they are delish.  I needed to come up with something easy and not too heavy since I baked her a Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake for dessert – and it is rich!  Stuffed French Toast was a serious contender, since that’s one of her favorites, but the meal had to be uber easy since mornings can be pretty crazy around here at the best of times, let alone when we have to prepare for company too.

Finally I settled on a variation of the Banana Oat & Bran Pancakes we had last week, with a fresh fruit salad tossed with a little Star Fruit Syrup (I was SO excited to have finally found a use for it!) with lemon yogurt cheese*.  I did throw a couple slices of back bacon on the grill, too, at the last minute.  An interesting selection to some degree, I know, but yummy all the same.  I threw the fruit salad together the night before so the flavours could all meld together with the star fruit syrup.  That Star Fruit Syrup was such a great addition to the fruit salad – and you really don’t need a lot but it just gave the flavour a boost and the taste of the star fruit is nice and subtle.

For dessert, I attempted, for the first time, a Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake.  A two layer chocolate cake, with a thin layer of chocolate ganache and some of the peanut butter icing as the filling.  Then, I iced it with the peanut butter icing and poured some chocolate peanut butter ganache on the top and sprinkled on some peanuts.  See the bottom of the post for the recipes I used.

Now the fun stuff.  The politics of the brunch.  You know that girl, that you’ve known for over 20 years (holy crap!) and you used to be best friends, but then things, and life, got in the way.  You’ve each moved in your own directions but still you maintain a relationship, though over time it has become more strained and superficial than anything else?  That’s who we were having over for brunch, her and her husband of almost 2 years who we hardly know.  The couple who has yet to meet our 8 month old daughter.  That speaks volumes about our relationship I think.

A lot of people would ask why I bother, why either of us bothers, trying to hold onto this relationship.  I don’t really know how to respond.  I can tell you that over the years, particularly the last 10-12 (again, WOW!) I have gone back and forth from, “That’s it, I’m done!” to reaching out ‘one last time’.  I have a lot of good memories from my relationship with her, and some not so great ones but I am working hard at trying to focus on the good ones.  I hope she is doing the same.  She, and her family, was there for me at a time in my life when I really needed it and I’ll never forget that.  But, such is life, and we’ve each made some mistakes along the way.

I guess, if I had to answer the question today, of why I bother, my answer would be because to consider actually letting that relationship go makes me immensely sad.  Because I hope, that by holding on to this thin thread of connection, that one day, perhaps we’ll circle around again and we will come back to having a closer relationship as the people we are today, instead of the people we were yesterday.  If I let go of the thread now, I feel like any chance we may have is gone and beyond our history, I think she is worth the effort.  I hope she would say the same.

So, we invited the them to brunch.

Peanut Butter Frosting

Taken from: Bon Appetit

  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup creamy (smooth) natural peanut butter (made with only peanuts and salt)
  • 3/4 cup chilled mascarpone cheese

Beat powdered sugar, 1 1/2 cups chilled cream, and peanut butter in large bowl just until blended. Add mascarpone; beat frosting just until thickened (do not over beat).

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze

Taken from: Smitten Kitchen

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 8 ounces seimsweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half

1. In the top of d double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

Yogurt Cheese

*To make Yogurt Cheese, line a colander with cheese cloth and dump in yogurt of choice.  Put the colander over a pot or bowl for the liquid to drain into, cover the yogurt with the cheese cloth and put it in the fridge.  The longer you leave it, the more firm your ‘cheese’ will be, 6-24 hours.