Brunch exists in a strange, beautiful place that allows breakfast, appetizers, and lunch to coexist on the same table. I love everything about brunch. I love the food and the cocktails and blowing off afternoon plans. I even love waking up disoriented after an accidental booze-induced nap.
I have spent many a pretty penny searching for the best late-morning delights that my city has to offer, yet I realized that it wasn’t quality food that made me drag myself out of bed at 10 AM. It was the camaraderie in eating with good friends and copious amounts of liquor that I came to love. The next time brunch is on your radar, invite your friends over and show them a delicious spread with a tropical twist.
The following recipes and ideas will turn your brunch from basic to bananas.
In lieu of biscuits, toast, or English muffins, I am going to offer you an Indian carbohydrate that will not last long on your table: fried naan.
Naan with Peanut Butter & Bananas
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup curds
- 1 tbsp butter
- ¼ tsp onion seeds
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ tsp dry or fresh yeast
- 2 tbsp milk
- ½ tsp sugar
- 16 oz whipped topping
- 3-4 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 2-3 tbsp powdered sugar
- Sliced Bananas
- Warm the milk a little bit, maybe in a sauce pan or by microwave, and then add the sugar and yeast.
- Cover it and set in aside and in 10 minutes, it should be very frothy.
- Sieve your flour and salt and rub in the butter.
- Afterwards, mix in the onion seeds and yeast mixture and mix it all as well as you can.
- Last, you will add the curds and knead all of this into a moderately firm dough.
- Cover with a wet muslin cloth for 2 hours.
- Punch down your newly risen dough, dust it with flour and roll it into some nice oval shapes.
- Heat a well-oiled frying pan at medium-high and fry that naan on both sides until they puff and turn light gold.
- Pull that old mixer out and beat the peanut butter into the whipped cream, 2 tbsp at a time. Add more to achieve your desired taste.
- Next, add the sugar and then chill for several hours to allow this mixture to firm up.
- When you serve the naan, garnish with the sliced bananas.
Let’s add something indulgent, savory, and South American inspired to the table. This deep fried comfort food will always satisfy and you can make them small enough to snack on and the bonus is that they’re still delicious when they have significantly cooled down. Have you figured it out yet? Let’s make chicken empanadas!
- 3 cups chopped, cooked chicken
- 8 oz Monterey jack cheese
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup chopped red pepper
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 package of refrigerated pie crusts
- In a large bowl, combine all of the non-pie crust ingredients.
- Unroll the pie crust onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a large circle.
- Using a 3 inch cookie cutter, you can cut out rounds and re-roll the dough as needed until you are out of pie crusts.
- Arrange each round on a clean, flat surface and place a teaspoon of that chicken mixture into the the center of the round.
- Brush the edges with a little water, fold the dough over the filling, and press the edges with a fork to seal. (You can actually make and freeze these ahead of time.)
- Fry the empanadas in 350 degree oil for 3 to 5 minutes.
Waffles are a must for any significant brunch, and the great part is that most waffle irons split the waffle into smaller, shareable pieces. A few waffles can go a long way and in the tropical spirit, let’s top these with cooked pineapples and mangoes with a bit of whipped cream and shredded coconut. However, don’t let your fruit be ordinary.
Tropical Fruit Waffle Topping
- ½ cup of sugar
- 2 tbsp butter
- Heat the butter in a large nonstick skillet on high heat.
- Coat the fruit in sugar and place in the hot pan with the butter.
- It should take 8 to 10 minutes to get your fruit a nice golden color and when that happens, remove the pineapple and mango.
- Stir a little water in that pan with a touch of heat to make a syrup
- Pour caramelized fruit and syrup over waffles.
Eggs are a cornerstone to any hot breakfast and we shall not disappoint! Instead of scrambling a huge pan of eggs or relying on a breakfast casserole, here’s a vegetarian omelet option with a spicy curry twist.
- 2 tbsp butter
- Baby spinach
- 1 tsp curry powder
- ½ lemon
- Plain Yogurt (just a dollop)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat an omelet pan at medium and melt 1 tbsp of butter and cook the vegetables for 5 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice and spice while cooking for 1 more minute. This will be your omelet filling, so treat it well and set it aside.
- Clean your pan a bit and set it to medium-low and throw on another tbsp of butter and add 1 single scrambled egg.
- Cover the pan and let it set for a couple minutes. When the egg is firm, loosen it from the pan and add your curry vegetable filling and fold the egg around it.
- Heat it for 1 more minute and serve.
- Garnish these with a dollop of plain yogurt and sliced green onions.
In the Dominican Republic, you could buy a chimichurri from a street vendor; have “una fria” and we are going to bring that Dominican spirit and flavor into our brunch with this Caribbean hamburger.
Host the Perfect Tropics-Inspired Brunch for All Your Friends
- 1 onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 bell pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 lbs ground beef
- Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
- ½ cup ketchup
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 onion, cut into rings
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- Mixed together ketchup, mayo, orange juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Chill.
- Pulse everything that isn't meat in a food processor until you have a paste.
- Mix this paste in with the ground beef and make adorable, little slider patties!
- Grill patties or pan fry them to your own burger tastes.
- Cut Hawaiian rolls in half and assemble burgers with onion rings, tomatoes, cabbage, and special sauce. Use a toothpick if sliders seem too slippery.
No matter the meal, there’s always a side of potatoes be they fried, broiled, or baked; mashed, sliced, or diced. Here’s an idea for a Peruvian roasted purple potato that will have your guests astounded.
Peruvian Fried Purple Potatoes
- 2 lbs purple Peruvian potatoes, scrubbed
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp Mexican oregano
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp cilantro
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Halve the potatoes and put them in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano.
- Toss the potatoes in the olive oil mixture and spread them on a sheet pan.
- Roast for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- Sprinkle clinatro on top and serve.
You know what? Go ahead and serve some bacon, too. People love bacon and will resent you for not having it. I just saved your brunch. You’re welcome.
But wait…a brunch without an alcoholic option is merely a shadow of the glory that is brunch. The brunch favorite, the mimosa, is such a brilliantly simple beverage. Traditionally, it’s equal parts champagne and chilled orange juice served in a tall champagne flute, undiluted and without ice. Even if one were to butcher the proportions, the delightful fizz and oncoming buzz will likely persuade you to keep drinking.
To sweeten the experience I offer some alternative tropical juice options that may have you never looking back to orange juice again. Papaya juice is a wonderful option that tastes like a sweet mango, but remember to get the juice and not the nectar. If you’re wanting something a bit lighter, Guava juice may vary in color but the flavor is something between a pear and strawberry. If you are feeling bold and daring, Pomegranate juice can be both sweet and tart, but you will have to be careful with this one since alcoholic beverages and spilling go hand-in-hand. If you want a truly unique experience with a southeastern Asian flair, try Lychee juice. The flavor lies somewhere between a grape, a strawberry, and a watermelon. These mimosas will definitely leave an impression.
If you need a cocktail with more of a punch, let me recommend a twist on one of my most absolute favorite drinks: the screwdriver. In lieu of using regular vodka, use a mango passion fruit flavored vodka and pair it with pineapple juice. Like the mimosa, the measurements are equal parts vodka and juice and be sure to add a splash of orange juice to bring the tropical fruit medley in this cocktail to completion.
Go forth! Eat, drink, be merry and drop me a message when the hangover clears.