Borrowing Barefoot: Brunch Bunch
When I first started thinking about which of Ina Garten’s famous recipes to recreate, I knew I would have to do recreate some of her parties. She is always having guests over to her home, or stopping by someone’s beach volleyball game with a treat. Ina shows her love for people through cooking and entertaining. In these episodes of Barefoot Contessa, Ina seems to be obsessed with having fun. She loves having it, and often, she plans her entire meal around ways she can maximize it. One of her most oft used strategies is to delegate responsibilities in the pursuit of this heavenly “fun.” She tasks one friend to do the table, another to bring flowers, another to bring wine, and then she’ll make dinner (my kind of party). With everyone doing a little bit of something, no one’s doing too much, and, this way she can have fun too.
One of my dearest friends, Courtney, has a birthday in June, yet we always seem to celebrate it in July when all of the girls are together in East Hampton. Last year, her mother hosted a “shopping party” (more on that one later) and we went out to brunch in Sag Harbor afterwards. We had such fun that we decided to do it again this year, but this time in East Hampton. Courtney and I puzzled about where to have the brunch this year, and in our quest, discovered that East Hampton is seriously lacking a classic brunch spot—please don’t suggest Babette’s. So, we decided to re-imagine an episode of Barefoot Contessa titled “Brunch Bunch,” for Courtney’s birthday this year.
I offered to cook brunch for everyone at her mother’s home. They have a beautiful outdoor patio, and I knew we could do something fun that would be easy to serve to 11 ladies. Courtney and I schemed on a menu, and decided that a classic Barefoot Brunch must have three things: an egg dish, a pastry of some kind, and of course, a cocktail. We give ourselves bonus points, for following in the Contessa’s footsteps and “Making it Ahead.”
We decided on a Breakfast Pizza, Banana Bread Donuts, Berry Bowls and a Green Salad. With a side a mimosa. The Breakfast Pizza has a spiralized sweet potato crust, and then is layered with mashed avocado, topped with an egg and crumbled bacon. It is all of your favorite brunch items in one, easy to eat vehicle. The best part is, you can make the crust and the bacon the day before, then on the morning of your brunch, mash an avocado and top it with freshly fried or scrambled eggs. “How easy is that?”
In my own pursuit of this so-called fun, I delegate the Berry Bowl making and enlisted my own team of fabulous lady friends to help with the cooking. Lauren had her first shot at spiralizing, AND made the donuts. Emily was my sous-chef, valiantly making scrambled and fried eggs, slicing berries, and balling melon. And our Courtsie, the birthday girl, set the most beautiful table.
This recipe isn’t a remake of a classic Ina dish, but it is however, an effort to emulate Ina’s spirit and way of life. Why go out, when cooking for your friends and family is the greatest act of love there is? Nothing makes me happier than serving a healthy and flavorful meal to a group of women I care about deeply. I hope we’re lucky enough, healthy enough, and happy enough to continue Barefoot Brunching for many years to come.
What You’ll Need for Two Large Breakfast Pizzas:
- 4 Large Sweet Potatoes or 6 medium ones
- ½ cup coconut flour
- 1 lb bacon
- 12 eggs
- 4 avocados, mashed
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup dried parsley
What I Did:
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Using a spiral cutter or a vegetable peeler, spirlize your sweet potatoes. Place the strings in a colander, and generously salt them. This helps the water come out more quickly. Allow the salted sweet potatoes to sit for 20 minutes. Then, using your hands, squeeze out as much water as possible. If you skip this step, the crust won’t get crispy.
- Once the potatoes are drained, mix in four eggs, the coconut flour and the dried parsley. Mix with your hands until the sweet potato noodles are starting to form a ball.
- Layer a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
- Using your hands, press the sweet potato noodles in to the crust shape you prefer—I’m partial to rectangular because it’s easy for a crowd, but if you’re doing small ones, mini round pizzas would be adorable.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. Carefully, using a second baking pan, flip the crust and bake for 20 more minutes. Allow the crusts to cool completely before trying to move. They will become crispier as they cool.
- While your crust is baking, cook your bacon. If you have two ovens like Courtney’s mother, go for 425 for 20 minutes. If you don’t, I’d suggest the good old-fashioned bacon in a frying pan method to make sure it gets crispy.
- Just before serving, mash your avocados and add salt and pepper.
- Next, prepare your eggs to your preferred style. We had some fried and some scrambled on our pizzas. I used about 1 egg per person.
- Spread your avocado mash on your potato crust. Top with eggs and sprinkle with crumbled bacon.
- Use a pizza cutter to slice it up!