Recipes and Guide to Serving an Elegant At-Home Brunch

Our guide to an elegant DIY Mother’s Day brunch.
Special thanks to Flowers of Edina, Paper Source and Cooks of Crocus Hill for our beautiful brunch display.

Mother’s Day is right around the corner—one of the busiest days of the year at many of Mom’s favorite restaurants. So if you’ve forgotten to make a reservation, dread a crowded dining experience or simply want to do something a bit different this year, take note of this exceptional guide to hosting an elegant Mother’s Day brunch right in your own dining room.

Chef Mike Shannon from Cooks of Crocus Hill has created a delectable DIY brunch menu. Combine these great eats with Solerno Prosecco cocktails from Edina Liquor, handmade menu cards and/or place cards from Paper Source and a fragrant floral centerpiece from Flowers of Edina, and Mom will feel beyond special this Mother’s Day.

Spring Green Salad with Strawberries and Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. onion finely diced
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. salt
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
6 cups spring greens
1 cup strawberries thinly sliced
¼ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

Combine sugar, juice, onion, mustard and salt in a blender and blend until well-blended. With blender running, add oil in a slow stream until emulsified. Add poppy seeds and pulse to combine.

To serve, toss greens with dressing, top with strawberries and almonds. Serves 8.

Pain Perdu (French Toast)

½ pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
3 Tbsp. Grand Marnier, divided
6 extra-large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
2 Tbsp. honey
1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. grated orange zest
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 large brioche loaf or challah loaf
Unsalted butter
Vegetable oil
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Combine the sliced strawberries, 1 Tbsp. of the sugar and 1 Tbsp. of the orange liqueur in a small bowl and set aside. Preheat the oven to 250˚ F.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, milk, honey, 1 Tbsp. of sugar, 2 Tbsp. orange liqueur, vanilla, orange zest and salt. Slice the bread in ¾-inch slices. Pour egg mixture into a large shallow dish and soak a few slices of bread for 4 minutes, turning once.

Heat 1 Tbsp. each of butter and oil in a very large sauté pan over medium heat. Take each slice of bread from egg mixture and place in sauté pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until nicely browned. Place cooked bread on a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Wipe out the sauté pan with a dry paper towel, add more butter and oil, and continue to fry remaining soaked bread until it’s all cooked. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve hot with sliced strawberries. Serves 6.

Individual Egg Bake with Ham and Swiss Chard
Adapted from Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

2 Tbsp. pure olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
1 large bunch Swiss chard, rinsed, stemmed and chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme minced
2 cups cooked polenta, see below
8 slices prosciutto, torn into pieces
6 ounces Gruyere, grated
8 large eggs
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Butter inside of eight 6-ounce ramekins and place on a baking sheet. Prepare polenta per below recipe. 

Preheat a large sauté pan over medium high heat, coat with oil, add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add chard and sauté until wilted and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with thyme. Reserve.

Divide polenta and prosciutto among the ramekins and layer the chard and two-thirds of cheese on top. Make a slight depression in the center and carefully crack an egg into the ramekin. Season with salt and pepper and divide remaining cheese on top of each.

Bake about 15 minutes, until eggs are just set, or up to 3 minutes more for a more firm egg.

Remove from oven and cool for 3 minutes, then serve. Makes 8 servings.

Cheesy Polenta

½ cup dried polenta
4 cups water
2 Tbsp. butter
¾ cup shredded cheese such as cheddar, jack or Gruyère

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Just before boiling, slowly whisk in polenta and cook 8-10 minutes, stirring continuously as it thickens. Lower heat, cover and continue to cook for 10-12 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add cheese and stir well. Taste, season and reserve.

Perfect Biscuit Scones

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. kosher salt
10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, diced
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 cups mixed raisins, cherries, or other dried fruit
¾ cup buttermilk
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. almond extract

¼ cup flour
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 425 ˚ F.

Combine flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest, and salt in medium-sized bowl. Cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture resembles cornmeal. Add almonds and dried fruit; combine. Add buttermilk and extracts. Do not over-mix. Pull dough into 12 biscuits or flatten into a round disc and cut into wedges. If using streusel, combine streusel ingredients in a small bowl with fingers. Press streusel mixture on top of scones. 

Bake for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 350°F and bake for 15-18 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 12 scones.

Fruit Smoothie Parfaits
2 cups mixed berries or peaches, frozen
1 peeled frozen banana
2 cups nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup peach or vanilla kefir
1-2 Tbsp. honey
2 cups fresh berries or sliced peaches
3 Tbsp. sliced almonds toasted

Combine frozen berries, banana, yogurt, vanilla, kefir and honey in a blender and blend until smooth.

Divide half of yogurt mixture between 8 serving glasses. Add a layer of fresh fruit, the rest of the yogurt and top with remaining fruit and almonds. Serves 8.

Solerno Prosecco Cocktail

1 ounce blood orange juice
2 ounce Solerno Blood Orange liqueur
3 ounces Champagne or sparkling white wine.

Combine juice and liqueur in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into Champagne flutes and top with the sparkling white wine or Champagne.

DIY Menu Cards & Place Cards
Tools available at Paper Source:
•    Paper Source heat tool, $23.95
•    Quickie glue pen, $2.95
•    A9 Flat Cards in one of Paper Source’s three new colors (mint, coral or royal), $5.75-$6.50
•    Pre-Scored Place Cards, $7-$11.50
•    Rubber “Menu” stamp, $5.95-$7.50
•    Embossing powder in preferred color, $4.95
•    Versamark ink pad, $8.95
•    Blue Tray Mate or paper plate, $6.50


  1. Coat “Menu” stamp with Versamark ink pad and apply to the top center of A9 card.
  2. Sprinkle stamped area with embossing powder.
  3. Dump excess powder onto Blue Tray Mate.
  4. Hold heat tool 2-4 inches away from card until the text takes on a raised, sheened texture. Heat embossing is a good activity for older children with an adult helper.
  5. Younger children can help by writing out the menu items or adding other decorative elements.
  6. Repeat with each card.
  7. Use the Quickie glue pen to write out menu items on menu cards and each brunch guest’s name on place cards.