Cookbook Review: Brunch

Orange Date MuffinsWhat I appreciated about Gale Gand’s Gale Gand’s Brunch!: 100 Fantastic Recipes for the Weekend’s Best Meal cookbook are the wonderful menus she put at the end of the book. Not only are there lots of interesting recipes in her book, but she included ideas for pulling them all together for the host/hostess. Regardless of how I eventually choose to put menus together, I love all the added suggestions I can get.

One of the great things about brunch (the meal) is that it totally encompasses two meals. You can get away with serving pancakes and gazpacho or donuts with macaroni & cheese. I often get so caught up in the mainstream ideas of what foods are proper for what meals, that I lose the creativity that brunch allows. Is there a such thing as “dinfast?” How about “lundin?”
Okay, back to this book. Brunch starts out with great drinks; fancy ones for kids and adults. She includes coffees, teas, cocoas, smoothies, juices and “acceptable” alcoholic drinks. (As a non-drinker, I have often wondered why champagne is okay in the morning, but wine isn’t…aren’t they almost the same thing? What about a Bloody Mary versus a Cosmopolitan?)
Back to the book….again. After the drinks, comes egg dishes which including a couple variations after each one. For instance, Ms. Gand included a basic strata recipe followed by five options: bacon-cheddar-mushroom-tomato, chicken-corn-chile-broccoli-jack, veggie-bleu cheese, ham-swiss-asparagus, and fontina-spinach-roasted garlic-salami. What great choices!! She did the same thing for her omelets, fritatta, crepes and quiche.
The rest of the breakfast half of Brunch includes pancakes, waffles, muffins and other basic breakfast fare. Thrown in for good measure are some not-so-normal items like Pineapple noodle kugel, Blackberry bread pudding, Spiced apple-raisin turnovers, Peanut butter and jelly turnovers and Goat cheese cake with slow-cooking quince. I didn’t quite know how to think of Fried quail eggs on eggnog French toast. There is definitely something for all palates.
 Orange Date Muffins
I think now is about the time to tell you I think lunch is pretty boring. The last part of Brunch didn’t catch my attention as much as the first. Perhaps Ms. Gand knew that would be the case for most people as she only included one chapter of “lunchy” foods. Tuna salad, potato salad, gazpacho. The only thing that kept me turning the pages until the end of the book were the gorgeous photos. They are most definitely worth looking at.

I made Orange Date Muffins from the book.  They were delicious, though the batter was a bit thick.  I used gluten-free all purpose flour and ended up adding more liquid.  I am giving you the ingredients as written in the book, but in the notes I am adding the changes I would recommend if you want these gluten-free.

Orange Date Muffins
  • 1 medium orange, washed, but unpeeled
  • ½ cup dates, chopped
  • ½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Line muffin tin with 12 liners.
  2. Chop the whole orange (remove seeds if there are any) and put into a food processor.
  3. Combine orange with dates, nuts butter, orange juice, sugar and egg in a large bowl.
  4. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the orange mixture.
  6. Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tin.
  7. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
To make gluten-free, use 1 to 1 gf all purpose flour, gf baking powder.
I also used coconut sugar instead of white sugar.

I received no compensation for this review and all opinions are mine alone.

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