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!