WAKING up on a Saturday morning at your own time is one of the best parts of the weekend. You stretch your arms and stay in bed just a little bit more, unfazed by time. Once you’re ready to go about your day, it’s likely way past breakfast. And that sweet spot is called brunch, the love child of breakfast and lunch.
No doubt, brunch has become a favorite time for families and friends to hang out and catch up, usually during weekends, long holidays, or special occasions.
Over the years, it became so popular that restaurants started offering special menus and options to accommodate its loyal diners.
But here’s an idea: Instead of going out, why not whip up your own brunch spread at home? The Maya Kitchen (www.themayakitchen.com) brought New York-based caterer, culinary instructor, and personal Chef Noel dela Rama to show foodies how it can be done with little effort and maximum enjoyment.
In his 19 years in the industry, Chef Noel has catered to Manila’s most prominent names at private dinners—sometimes, at his own home—and served as a personal chef to New Yorkers who want to elevate their gatherings at their homes with bespoke menus that carefully blend specific food requirements and his own brand of farm-to-table dining experience.
At The Maya Kitchen’s Brunching in with Chef Noel dela Rama, Chef Noel proves that creating an appetizing brunch spread, especially when entertaining at home, is not an impossible task.
The menu combination here of savory and sweet provides a good base with room for more if you’d like to add to the selection. Best of all, these are recipes that anyone can easily recreate at home.
“You don’t have to be a pro to create a great brunch spread for your friends and family. Cooking may seem complicated, but it’s really a matter of practice and finding dishes that you’re comfortable with,” Chef Noel says.
CHORIZO BREAKFAST CASSEROLE
500 grams chorizo, hubad
2 tablespoons olive oil
250 grams fresh mushrooms, sliced
200 grams onions, small diced
200 grams red bell pepper, small diced
8 pieces large eggs
2 2/3 cups milk
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 tablespoons black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons dry mustard powder
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped fine
12 oz day-old baguette, cubed into 1/2” pieces
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup gruyere cheese, shredded
chopped parsley and chives, for garnish
Sauté mushrooms in olive oil and cook until dry and caramelized. Set aside.
In the same pan, render chorizo in oil and cook until cooked through. Drain and set aside.
In the same pan, sauté onions until translucent. Add peppers and cook until soft. Combine with mushrooms and chorizo
In another bowl, add eggs, milk, salt, black pepper, mustard powder, parsley. Whisk together until well mixed. Combine both cheeses.
Toss bread cubes with chorizo mixture.
Add 1/2 bread mixture into buttered 9×13 pan, top with 1/3 cheese mixture, add remaining bread, add 1/3 cheese mixture.
Pour custard mixture over top. Using wooden spoon, gently press down to soak all custard. Top with remaining cheese.
Allow to rest at least 30 minutes, or cover in foil and place in refrigerator overnight. If you place it in the fridge, allow to sit in room temp before baking.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until set and no longer runny in a 350˚F oven.
500 grams ground pork/chicken
2 tablespoons garlic, crushed and minced
1.5 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
30 ml red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Combine all ingredients and chill one hour to overnight.
BANANA BREAD WITH STRUESEL TOPPING
1 1/4 cups Maya All-Purpose flour
2 tablespoons Maya Cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
2 pieces large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 cup very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup Maya All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup rolled oats
Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir in butter, pecans and oats until coarse crumbs form. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
Mash bananas, cover and allow to sit in refrigerator up to overnight. You want it to be very dark.
Butter and line a 9×5 loaf pan. Line with parchment paper and allow a 1-inch overhang.
In a large bowl, whisk together: flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, mix sugar, eggs, vanilla and yogurt until combined. Stir in mashed bananas. Make a well in the flour mixture, pour in the wet ingredients. Stir just to combine. Do not over mix!
Spoon half of batter into prepared pan, add some streusel. Top with remaining batter. Cut batter with a knife. Top with remaining streusel topping.
Bake at 350˚F oven for about one hour and 10 minutes or until tester inserted comes out clean. If it’s browning too quickly, cover with foil. Cool in pan 20 minutes before inverting on a wire rack. Cool completely before serving.
HAM AND EGG CUPS
12 slices ham
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
12 pieces eggs
3 tablespoons butter, cut into quarters
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cu thinly sliced chives
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
Coat a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
Press a slice of ham into each muffin well.
Divide the cheese evenly among the cups.
Crack an egg into each cup, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a knob of butter in each cup.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until yolks are at desired level of doneness.
Right before serving, top with tomatoes and chives.