Food & dining

From your recipe box to our inbox

Food styling/Sheryl Julian and Valerie Ryan; Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff

At popular restaurants in town, weekend brunch can attract a full house all morning and well into the afternoon. It’s the antidote to a late night out, it’s the ideal celebration for the new grad and a multi-generational family, and it’s a menu that can be lavish, leisurely, savory, sweet, or very simple.

Home cooks, we learned from readers who sent favorite recipes in to The Recipe Box Project, seem to like informal brunches as much as everyone else. Eggy dishes, particularly the eternally popular strata, can be assembled at night and baked in the morning. You don’t have to be a short-order cook and make pancakes or omelets for a crowd. French toast, with a layer of caramelized syrup, is made in a baking dish and also prepared in advance. Coffee cakes or another sweet confection are brunch necessities, and most mellow overnight. A reader sent us a recipe for her simple, dark cinnamon cake. She had clipped it from the Globe’s Confidential Chat column 45 years ago. From her recipe box to our in box. “Daddy muffins” are healthy versions of those sweet favorites, these made with oats, applesauce, walnuts, and dried cranberries.

Add sides to your spread, like soft lettuces drizzled lightly with oil and an orange-juice vinaigrette, cherry tomatoes roasted and sprinkled with fresh herbs, or fruit salad tossed with green apples, cored pineapple, and red grapes.


As a special treat, you might want to bake Globe contributor Lisa Yockelson’s cinnamon-swirl sour-cream coffee cake, a grand confection that would be the highlight of any brunch menu. Place the coffee pot and mugs where guests can help themselves, set the table the night before, have your dishes made or ready to bake, and enjoy your friends, your food, and your time away from the stove.

Debra Samuels can be reached at