With Love From
Darling's Kitchen

38. Brunch for
The Queen of Hearts

Renny Darling

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The Recipes
-Champagne Orange Punch
-To make Pretty Ice Cubes
-Smoked Salmon with Creme Fraiche & Toast Points
-To Make Toast Points:
-Smoked Salmon Mold with Toast Points
-Scrambled Eggs with Brie, Currants & Pine Nuts
-Spiced Baked Apples with
Raisins, Orange & Cinnamon
-Banana Chocolate Chip Bread and 0Cream Glaze
-Apricot & Walnut Cinnamon Muffins
-Petite Breakfast Crescents with Walnuts & Raisins


Dear Fans,

"Come for brunch on Mother's Day... and spend the afternoon with us."... is a delightful, informal way to celebrate Mother's Day with family and friends.  It is an especially warm and friendly time, for brunch is a leisurely meal that slowly drifts into the afternoon, giving everyone a chance to relax and spend some good time together.  Our very lovely family brunch should be unhurried, so linger awhile over the strawberry-studded Champagne Orange Punch, served with a choice of Salmon Mold or Smoked Salmon with delicate toast points. 

Depending on the number of guests you are entertaining, choose any combination of the recipes above. Start with a Champagne Punch, and then buffet your choices. Before servng, add the  Champagne into the punch.

Planning is the key word for any party, but especially for brunch.  As guests will usually be arriving around 11, it is important that linen, silver, serving pieces and table decorations be out and ready the day before. Table should be set. Eggs can be made 1/2 hour before the guest arrive andkept warm in a chafing dish.  Other than that, everything cam be prepared the day before, placed on serving platters, covered with  plastic wrap.  Allow only making the eggs on the day of your party.


Enjoy with Love,
Renny Darling

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Champagne Orange Punch

            2        quarts orange juice
            1/4     cup lemon juice
            1/4     cup sugar
                      orange slices, lemon slices, strawberries
            2        bottles (25 ounces, each) Champagne, chilled

Combine orange juice, lemon juice, sugar and fruit in a large bowl and refrigerate.  (If your punch bowl fits in your refrigerator, it can be used.)  Just before serving, add the chilled Champagne and stir.  Float the fruit and some Pretty Ice.  Serve in a lovely stemmed glass with a strawberry floating on top.  Yields 1-gallon punch.

To make Pretty Ice Cubes:
1.  Fill 1 quart orange juice in ice cube trays.  These ice cubes will not dilute the punch.   Place 1 Maraschino cherry in each compartment of an ice tray and freeze.
2.  To unmold, let stand for a few minutes or dip bottom of ice tray into warm water for a few seconds and cubes will easily slip out.


Smoked Salmon with
Creme Fraiche & Toast Points

          6      ounces smoked salmon, cut into 1-inch squares
          1/4   cup chopped chives in a small bowl
          1      cup creme fraiche in a small bowl
         24    toast points, made with 6 slices very thinly sliced bread

Creme Fraiche:
            1/2    cup sour cream (can use low-fat sour cream.)  Non-fat
                       sour cream cannot be used.
            1/2    cup cream (can use half and half)

In a jar, stir together sour cream and cream.  Cover jar, and allow to stand at room temperature for 2 hours.  Refrigerate untll ready to serve.  Can be prepaared several days in advance.

To Make Toast Points:
Use thin slices of white bread.  Remove crusts and cut bread into 4 slices on the diagonal.  Spread with the thinnest smidgen of butter and toast in a 350-degree oven until lightly crisped but not brown.


Smoked Salmon Mold with Toast Points

       2            packages (8 ounces, each) cream cheese.  (Can use low-fat .)
       3            tablespoons lemon juice

   1/2            cup finely chopped chives or green onions

   1/4            pound smoked salmon, cut into 1-inch pieces

   48            Toast Points made with 12 slices bread

Beat cream cheese and lemon until blended.  Beat in chives until blended.  Beat in salmon just until blended.  Do not overbeat.  You want the salmon to be chunky, not pureed. 

Line a 2-cup flower-mold with plastic wrap.  Add cream cheese mixture into the mold and cover with another sheet of plastic wrap.  Press gently on top to spread evenly and for the filling to take the shape of the mold.  Refrigerate.

This is a snap to unmold.  Remove the top piece of plastic wrap, invert mold onto a platter and then remove the remaining piece of plastic.  Surround with parsley or green leaves, cherry tomatoes, chive-sprinkled lemon slices or green onion frills.  Place Toast Points on a bread tray close by.  This is a gorgeous mold and lovely to serve with the Champagne Punch.  Serves 12.


Spiced Baked Apples with
Raisins, Orange & Cinnamon

This is an incredibly delicious way to serve baked apples.  Whenever I serve these, they are gobbled up to the last drop of juice in the bowl.  You can bake,  these in a porcelain baker.  In this way, they can be stored and served in the same pan.  Apples can be prepared a day before and stored in the refrigerator.

6   medium apples, cut in half crosswise and cored.You will have 12 halves.
1/2    cup yellow raisins
  1     cup orange juice
  3     tablespoons grated orange.  Use fruit, juice and peel.
12     teaspoons cinnamon sugar

Place apples, cut side up, in a 9x13-inch baking pan.  Fill cored centers evenly with raisins.  Pour orange juice on the top and sprinkle tops with grated orange and one teaspoon cinnamon sugar.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.  Spoon tops with the juices in the pan.  Continue baking until apples are tender, not mushy, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Serves 12.


Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

1            teaspoon baking soda
4            tablespoons sour cream

4            ounces butter (1 stick) at room temperature
1 1/4      cups sugar

2            eggs

1 1/2     cups sifted flour

1           cup coarsely chopped bananas (about 2 medium bananas). 
Do not puree.
1            bag (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1            teaspoon vanilla

In a small bowl, stir together soda and sour cream and set aside.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs until blended. Beat in flour and sour cream mixture until blended.  Do NOT overbeat. Stir in bananas, chocolate chips and vanilla until blended.

Divide batter between 4 greased mini-loaf foil pans (6x3x2-inches), place pans on a cookie sheet and bake at 325° for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester, inserted in center comes out clean. 

Allow to cool in pans for 15 minutes, and then, remove from pans and continue cooling on a rack.  A faint sprinkle of powdered sugar is nice.  Or brush tops with Cream Glaze.  Yields 4 loaves.  

Cream Glaze:
            2            tablespoons cream
            1            cup sifted powdered sugar
            1/4            teaspoon vanilla

Stir together all the ingredients until blended.  


Apricot & Walnut Cinnamon Muffins

         1             egg
         1            small thin-skinned orange, grated (about 4 tablespoons)
         1/2            cup milk
         1/2            cup sour cream
         1/3            cup oil
         3/4             cup sugar

            2 1/4            cups flour
            1            tablespoon baking powder
            3/4            cup chopped dried apricots
            1/2            cup chopped walnuts

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together first 6 ingredients until blended.  Stir in the remaining ingredients until blended.  Do not overmix.

Divide batter between 12 paper-lined muffin cups and bake at 400° for 25 minutes, or until tops are browned and a cake tester, inserted in center, comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes, and then remove from pan and continue cooling on a rack.  Brush tops with Apricot Glaze when cool.  Yields 12 muffins.

Apricot Glaze:  Stir together 1 tablespoon orange juice, 2 tablespoons minced dried apricots and 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar until blended.


Petite Breakfast Crescents with Walnuts & Raisins

These delicate little crescents are assembled in minutes and look and taste as if they were made with yeast.  The dough is easily handled and very easy to work with.

            1            cup cottage cheese
            3            ounces butter (3/4 stick)
            1            cup flour

Filling Ingredients:
            1/2            cup finely chopped walnuts
            1/2            cup finely chopped raisins
            1/2            cup sugar
            1            teaspoon cinnamon

                        cinnamon sugar

Beat together cottage cheese and butter until blended.  Beat in flour until blended about 1 minute.  Shape dough into a ball and sprinkle with a little flour to ease handling.  Cut dough into thirds.  In a bowl stir together filling ingredients until blended.

Roll each third out on a floured pastry cloth to measure a 10-inch circle.  Sprinkle 1/3 the filling ingredients over the dough, and cut dough into 8 triangular wedges.  Roll each triangle from the wide end toward the center and curve into a crescent.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and place on a lightly buttered cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake at 350° for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.  Remove from the pan and allow to cool on brown paper.  Yields 24 crescents.

To make Cinnamon Sugar:
In a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake together 1/2 cup sugar with 2 teaspoons cinnamon until blended.  Unused Cinnamon Sugar can be stored indefinitely.


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