By AJ Dronkers. Photography by Raisa Aziz.
Even though the spring equinox came with snow flurries across the eastern seaboard - soon the warmer, longer days of April will nudge the landscape to that bright green and and the only reasonable course of action is to be outside, soaking it all in. What better way to celebrate this sweet time of year than to host brunch al fresco?
We recently gathered friends on a Sunday for a brunch with a beer pairing theme, which was a nice twist on the expected brunch beverage offerings. In partnership with Tröegs Brewing company, we designed our menu by using their "food notes" (which we love!) to create the perfect meal.
With the release of Tröegs First Cut IPA and Perpetual IPA, we paid special attention to getting the contrasting and complimentary flavors just right for our brunch. First stop, a swing through our local bakery to pick up the perfect bread for avocado toast - a Levain loaf made from freshly milled flour - the bag still warm as we carried it home. There's nothing more rewarding then the sturdy crunch of a great loaf of bread as you slice it. A quick drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and of course red pepper chill flakes and this crowd pleaser is ready to go.
The best part about this menu was how easy it was to build. Lightly salted cashews, dried mango slices, delicious cheese, crackers and some freshly baked scones rounded out the offerings. Oven cooked bacon was the most effort besides styling our tablescape.
One hack we brought back from last year's Fancy Food Show in NYC that we can't get enough of is buying a soft-ripened goat cheese, sprinkle some turbinado or raw sugar on top, and then use your culinary torch to caramelize the sugar on the top. Minimal effort, major wow points from your guests (especially if you use the torch tableside!) - never mind that its delicious.