On Sunday, a bunch of Shaw residents got together for good food and good conversation in the form of a neighborhood brunch. Because our neighbors Carmen and Aster have a lovely roof top deck, they volunteered to host it at their home. Unfortunately mother nature didn’t care about ruining our plans, so the cold and damp weather moved the party inside. However, that didn’t stop us from having a fabulous time!
I must first start with a dish I was a bit hesitant about trying. I will be frank: I am not a fan of egg dishes and even less so of stratta. But one of our neighbors (I forgot to ask him permission to use his name in the blog, so henceforth he will be Neighbor 1) brought over a stratta made with asparagus (one of my favorite vegetables), so I decided to give it a try. I am very, very glad that I did because it was very tasty! The cheese had a nice sharpness to it without taking away from the taste of the asparagus. And unlike a lot of stratta I have had in the past, this one didn’t have an overpowering taste of rubbery eggs. I told Neighbor 1 that I was pleasantly surprised by his dish (yeah, I admitted to the person who brought stratta that I didn’t like stratta…such manners, I know).
Our lovely host Carmen made strawberry scones, a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa herself. I am always a bit leery when trying homemade scones because they tend to be dry and hard. But I was pleasantly surprised to find Carmen’s scones not only fluffy, but moist and flavorful. Some of the scones were frosted with a delicious icing that I found out was simply confectioners’ sugar and orange juice mixed together (a recipe I will be stealing for future use). Without a doubt, these scones are going on my new rotation of breakfast/brunch pastries. Hats off to you, Carmen!
So what did I bring you may ask? Because the parmesan gouda bread was such a hit with my housemates, I decided to make it again, but with a different filling: Gruyere cheese and carmelized onions. It was met with rave reviews (and it went quickly). Aster tried to keep a loaf for himself, but when the bread went so quickly, he was forced to cut the last loaf up and serve it. I only got one piece (I was enthralled by the scones), but it was very good. As always, the flavors of Gruyere cheese and carmelized onions melded very well together, giving the bread a robust taste.
I also brought along a lemon blueberry pound cake, a slightly altered version of Joy the Baker’s lemon pound cake with blueberry sauce. I threw the pound cake together after Carmen mentioned he loved pound cake (it’s a surprisingly easy recipe to make). And last but not least, I brought a strawberry rhubarb pie…but I will save that for a later entry.
In my humble opinion, the brunch was a rousing success. As usual, the conversation was colorful, lively and engaging (running the gamut from the changes in Shaw to gay dog sex…yes…gay…dog…sex). Hopefully this is the first of many entries on our neighborhood brunches!
6 responses to “Good Neighbors and Good Food…”
Hey, gay dog sex is morally equivalent to straight dog sex!
The brunch was fabulous and fun, and we’re looking forward to our next one and to trying more of your wonderful cooking/baking!! The bread was AMAZING, as was the pound cake and the tart.
Aster and I are going to try the bread recipe – it will be my first time ever baking bread. I credit you, Shaw Girl,with getting me started cooking and baking again. I had long ago given up, thinking myself not a very good cook, when Shaw girl loaned me some cook books (I still have to return those!).
I spent the winter trying out recipes. And now this blog makes my mouth water and has inspired me anew to try new things.
Thanks for your help and inspiration!
Carmen – I am so glad the cook books inspired you to try cooking/baking again! We definitely need to get together for cooking parties so I can use your wonderful gas stove (I’m crying as I write this).
Don’t be intimidated by bread…it’s incredibly easy to make. And of course, if you need any help, I’m only a few doors down!
That is a lot of tasty looking food! The cheese and asparagus stratta sounds tasty. I have yet to try making a stratta. The gruyere cheese and caramelized onion version of the bread sounds really good!
Though I usually love a good egg casserole, I’m definitely not a fan of stratas. I made a Giada strata for Christmas morning this past year and it was YUCK.
There’s nothing I love more than to get together with some good friends and have a potluck (when everyone actually makes a dish to share.)
I want to know about the Strawberry-Rhubarb pie…rhubarb pie is my favorite and considering you had never had it, I want to know what you thought. Was it as yummy as I have been imagining since you told about it……….mmmmmmm, rhubarb…. mmmmmmmmm, pie……
Patience my dear Daphne…good things come to those who wait!