OK, where were we? Oh yes, The Frugal Hostess spent a giant amount of time on decorations and has thus not even told you what earns this brunch its name. Why is the brunch Exploding?
Ah, Fair Readers, it's all about the menu. Just as the Fourth of July is filled with the sounds of exploding fireworks overhead, your guests' mouths will be filled with the tastes of exploding taste sensations.
Spinach Salad with Poached Egg
Potato Nests with Caviar
Melon Fruit Kabobs
Chocolate EclairsGet it? Everything either explodes in your mouth (Pop Rocks, caviar) or has something hidden inside that will explode out! Like fire works!!!! On the Fourth of July! The Exploding Brunch!!!!!! Yes!
Ahem. The Frugal Hostess will now tell you how to do this menu. But only partially. She's really an ideas person, more than a chef. So, you know, take these recipes with a grain of salt. HA! Did you get.... Um, OK, no more Grandpa-esque puns. On with the show....
Spinach Salad with Poached Egg: TFH has no idea how to poach an egg, so you're on your own there. Just make sure that yolk is runny so it explodes when you cut it. If you're more comfortable with fried eggs, that would also be delicious with this.
IngredientsSpinach – one handful per guest
Pound of bacon – one slice per guest
Package of mushrooms
Croutons or bread to make croutons
White wine vinegar*
Dry mustard - optional
Salt and pepper
*Honestly, any vinegar is fine; use what you have.
1. Wash and DRY the spinach. Seriously, dry it. You can layer it with a paper towel to soak up some water in the bowl while you're doing the rest of the steps.
2. Fry some bacon, about one strip for each person plus four extra strips in case you eat too much while you're cooking. Chop coarsely, and toss in the bowl.
3. Slice about two mushrooms per person, and sprinkle those in.
4. Add croutons. You can use the kind in the box, or you can easily make these yourself out of stale bread. (Stay tuned for instructions on an upcoming Make It Yourself Monday.)
5. Make dressing. Put into a jar one heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard + two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar + two tablespoons of white wine vinegar + salt & pepper + sprinkle of dry mustard + tablespoon of honey + half a cup of olive oil. Shake, shake, shake. (See cautionary note here.)
6. Toss all ingredients, and plate. Top with poached or fried egg. Voila - explosive!
Potato Nests with Caviar: You could also do this with frozen hash browns or with halved fully-cooked new potatoes. Those Peruvian blue/purple potatoes would look really cool for Independence Day.
Ingredients2 medium-large potatoes
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Small container of sour cream or two little cups of plain yogurt
Little jar of caviar, red for Fourth of July
A 24-cup mini muffin tin
1. Boil potatoes until partially cooked. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. When cool, peel the potatoes and coarsely grate them. Toss the shredded potatoes to evenly distribute the cooked and uncooked shreds.
3. Grease the muffin tin cups with melted butter. Line the cups with shredded potatoes. If there are extra potato shreds, don’t worry.
4. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes. Season with pepper.
5. Using a table knife, remove the potato nests. Fill with a spoon full of sour cream or yogurt and top with caviar. Put two or three on each plate.
Melon Fruit Skewers: OK, so this doesn't really explode, per se, but The Frugal Hostess firmly believes that brunch isn't brunch without fresh fruit.
Star fruit (OK, so star fruit isn’t the most organic, local, or frugal thing in the world, but it would look cool for this. If you’d rather not, use honeydew melon or apple slices)
One metal skewer
1. Cut the watermelon into the largest whole slabs you can, about ¾ inch think. Maybe an inch. You may need to test it out, since different melons have higher or lower water content. Cut the slabs with a circle cookie cutter, about 1½ or 2 inches in diameter. You need two or three per person.
2. Cut the star fruit into relatively thick slices. If you want to use another fruit, cut it into slices that are thick enough to cut with a star-shaped cookie cutter.
3. Using the steel skewer, pierce each piece of fruit where you plan to thread it onto the chopstick. (You’re making a guide hole).
4. Thread the fruit onto the chopstick in this order: grape, star, circle, grape, star, circle, grape. Add more as needed, but that usually fills up a chopstick. Put it on the side of the plate.
And, the piece de resistance, Pop Rocktails!!!!!
1 ½ oz vanilla vodka (or, 1oz vodka, ½ oz vanilla extract)
½ oz Chambord
1oz pineapple juice
Martini or red wine glass
1. Mix vodka, Chambord, and pineapple juice in cocktail shaker or pitcher full of ice.
2. Squeeze in the juice of ¼ of a lemon per drink. Set aside peels.
3. Shake or stir vigorously.
4. Squeeze lemon juice onto shallow plate.
5. Open packages of Pop Rocks and pour onto another shallow plate.
6. Dip glass rims into juice, then Pop Rocks. Please note: it is ridiculously difficult to get the Pop Rocks to stick. If you come up with a good method, please comment!!!
7. Garnish by floating a twist of lemon peel in the drink.
Happy Fourth of July!
photos: Seph Swain, idealisms, DeusXFlorida, Saquan Stimpson