Since the beginning of 2009, and with only a short break in July and August, we’ve held a roughly-monthly brunch at our apartment on a Sunday afternoon. I cook, and people sometimes bring things, and we’ve had as many as 24 people show up. (Our apartment is a 500-square-foot studio, so that is always cozy.)
Yesterday it was raining out, so the group was smaller but more varied, with about half the people never having been to brunch before. Here’s what I made:
• A crockpot roast. (I got a nine-pound pot roast, browned it briefly in a skillet with a little oil, then put it in the crock pot with two cups of water, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and cooked on high for six hours. It was fabulous.)
• Egg noodles to go with the roast.
• Jamie Oliver’s squash soup (sans croutons, for time’s sake).
• Jamie Oliver’s mushroom bruschetta (though I made lots of substitutions with the herbs because I only had rosemary and sage, and I didn’t make it into a creamy sauce at the end).
• Real Simple’s chickpea bruschetta (totally fabulous and really easy).
I also got a few parbaked baguettes and ciabatta and set out some raspberry peach champagne jam from Stonewall Kitchen and a pear jam from the farmer’s market. I purchased a rather stinky Camembert at Murray’s on my way home. Attendees contributed various wines, Peche Lambic, champagne, yummy cupcakes with cream-cheese frosting, and two tiny fruit pies from Rocco’s.
Cooking for a large crowd isn’t much more difficult than a small one – even if you have severely limited space and modest resources. And people are nearly ecstatic to walk into the apartment and smell a roast. No one makes roast anymore. And why not? It’s easier than making macaroni and cheese from a box.