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How to Host Weekend Brunch

An invitation to a weekend brunch signals relaxation, celebration, indulgent food — and a good time ahead. A bonus? Brunch rarely absorbs an entire day. The host can “chill out” after the goodbyes or finish a project before Monday.

Brunch is more relaxed than most parties because much of the work is done ahead, maintains Greg Utsinger, the Denver-based regional visual-merchandise manager for Furniture Row. Utsinger, who once cooked professionally, enjoys entertaining when he’s not on the road for business. His spring brunch menu for six may sound ambitious, but you don’t have to stay up half the night to prepare it. His indulgent, yet fuss-free, version of the classic eggs Benedict, for example, features scrambled eggs instead of poached which simplifies last-minute assembly.

Add excitement to your brunch table with creative presentations. Serve various sizes, shapes and textures of muffins and fruit or nut breads made from zucchini, blueberries, lemon, orange and dates. Put breads, muffins and pastries in attractive baskets for easy passing. Within convenient reach of each guest, place ramekins of flavored butters and dips such as sweetened orange-flavored cream cheese or soft goat cheese with fig preserves.

Use fresh fruit as a palate refresher.

Instead of a mixed-fruit salad, serve one made with various melon chunks. A cut-crystal bowl of ripe, glistening strawberries can also double as a centerpiece. Toss the berries lightly with sugar, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with freshly crushed black pepper.

Keep beverages simple. Offer a variety of juices — grape, tangerine, lemonade, cranberry, pineapple — with sparkling water.

HELPING HANDS

The festive brunch table.

Choose a color scheme for your brunch table that’s inspired by gardens bursting into bloom, the seasonal fruits and juices on your menu, or even the color of your china and serving dishes. Serve beverages that match your napkins and tablecloth. Add a small vase or two with a single flower and scatter small votive candles around the table.

Or, pick a theme for your brunch and decorate accordingly. Utsinger recalls a memorable brunch that had a Breakfast at Tiffany’s theme, complete with napkins and tablecloths close to the jeweler’s signature Tiffany blue.

Whatever you do, Utsinger says to make sure that you and all your guests have a great time.

“The fun of brunch is to be informal and offer a variety of foods on an interesting table,” he says. “If you don’t have enough flutes or plates of the same size or color, that’s fine. Mismatched plates add to a casual atmosphere. Let your colorful food stand out. At weekend brunch, anything goes.’’

Hungry for more? Check out these last minute brunch recipes.

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