If you’ll be hosting friends and family to honor Easter this year, make your gathering as simple as it is scrumptious with a decadent brunch menu.
If you’re daunted by the diversity of dishes a brunch menu demands, remember that quality ingredients – not complex preparation – is what makes dishes truly stand out. Fresh produce and superior products instantly elevate a recipe from good to great.
These brunch staples all start as basics, but get a boost with the right combination of quality ingredients:
Made-to-order omelets are always a hit because they guarantee you’re serving up exactly what your guests enjoy. Use a few winning ingredients to create an easy and quick omelet base, then offer an array of toppings, including unexpected flavors such as Jarlsberg Brand Cheese. Best known for its classic wedge, this nutty, mild cheese is also available in slices – perfect for the ooey-gooey factor everyone loves in an omelet.
A classic French quiche combines fresh and flavorful ingredients, is easy to make and tastes delicious hot or cold. The quiche is simple enough to make that you can prepare several varieties, giving guests plenty of options and handily filling a buffet spread. Simply prepare your crust and filling base then mix in fresh, crisp veggies that are steamed or lightly browned. Or create a savory, meaty quiche with your favorite sausage or bacon. Add some cheese before filling the crust and sprinkle some more cheese on top before baking.
Finger foods bursting with flavor simply make brunch better. This recipe uses ready-rolled puff pastry sheets, rosemary and the distinctive taste of Jarlsberg Brand Cheese for a mouthwatering dish that can be featured at a tasting station or as part of a larger meal.
Find more recipes for your Easter brunch at jarlsberg.com.
Make Brunch a Breeze
Skip the stress this Easter with these tips to make preparing your holiday brunch simply delicious.
1. Choose several make-ahead dishes that you can prepare well in advance, such as quiche or a breakfast bake.
2. Skip time-intensive pancakes and instead serve up a French toast casserole.
3. Prepare recipes using the highest-quality, freshest ingredients for the best results.
4. Give your meal a boost with unexpected but impactful touches, such as specialty butters, homemade jams and delicious cheeses.
5. Create beautiful and tasty accents for your buffet in minutes with pretty bowls or platters filled with colorful, seasonal fruit.
Easy Brunch Omelet
Makes: 4 portions
chorizo, bacon or ham
8 tablespoons water or milk
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons butter
8 slices Jarlsberg Cheese
8 slices ham
Prepare toppings. Fry mushrooms and chorizo, bacon or ham; cut cherry tomatoes and spring onions.
To make omelet, crack eggs in bowl and add water, salt and pepper. Whisk eggs until they turn a pale yellow color, about 25-35 whisks.
Heat frying pan on medium heat and melt butter. When butter is bubbly, add about one quarter of the egg batter. This will make one of four omelets. When batter starts setting, move hardened parts toward the middle, enabling the rest to get direct heat as well. Use a gentle hand to avoid scrambled eggs. When batter starts to look cooked, add cheese and meat and flip omelet over. The omelet should be slightly golden on fried side and a little runny and soft in the middle.
Finally, put omelet on plate and add garnish before serving.
Puff Pastry Swirls
Makes: 4 portions
4 ready-rolled puff pastry sheets
1 cup grated Jarlsberg Cheese
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
Heat oven to 400 F.
On lightly floured work surface, roll out pastry sheets into 8-by-4-inch rectangles. Mix grated cheese, rosemary and pepper. Spread mixture over puff pastry. Roll up each pastry rectangle from short end. Press edges firmly together to seal roll.
Slice each roll into 2-inch thick slices. Place face down on baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Tip: To make swirls rise more, don’t roll out pastry with rolling pin.
Cheesy Bacon Quiche
Makes: 4 portions
1 cup butter
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons water
1 cup bacon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup Jarlsberg Cheese, plus additional for topping, grated
3 tablespoons parsley
4 tablespoons cream
Heat oven to 400 F.
In large bowl, mix butter, flour, water and salt together. Knead thoroughly to make firm dough. Pack dough in plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Press dough into full surface of pie plate and cover with aluminum foil. Prebake in oven 10 minutes, then remove aluminum foil and bake another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in frying pan on medium heat, saute bacon. Add leek at end of cooking time.
In bowl, whisk eggs and cream together and add grated cheese, parsley, bacon and leek. Pour filling into crust and top with grated cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, or until edge is golden brown and center is set.
Tip: To save time, use premade pie crust and bake according to package directions.
By Libby Roerig, Indiana State University
Touring Indiana State University’s upcoming production of “Company” will be West meets East, as the theater and music departments will take the show to Vietnam this summer.
The Stephen Sondheim musical will take the main stage at 7:30 p.m. April 6-9 and 4 p.m. April 10 at Dreiser Theater. Then in May, the 18 students will tour Vietnam, with at least five performances around the country.
“It’s very exciting,” said Olivia Underwood, a theater major from Paris, Ill. “For a lot of people in the cast, this will be their first time traveling outside the country, and I know for at least a couple of people, this will be their first time on a plane.”
The students and faculty in Vietnam are eagerly anticipating the tour, too, said Chris Berchild, director and theater department chair.
“The Vietnamese are really excited about this, because they have no idea what musical theater is. It’s just not in their cultural context, so they’re ecstatic to see how we work, both artistically and educationally with musical theater,” Berchild said.
“For them, the philosophy of music is different. Music in Vietnam is not necessarily a political thing, but it’s very politically minded. It’s not as tied to entertainment or sheer enjoyment of song,” he added. “They have very few styles that operate like we understand theater to operate. It’ll be a whole new experience for the Vietnamese students and a lot of the Vietnamese faculty as well.”
Underwood stars as Joanne, a cynical middle-aged woman who has been married “three or four times.”
“I really enjoy Joanne,” Underwood said. “She’s a drinker, a smoker. She’s not particularly nice. She has a lot of defense mechanisms, and a lot of those are mocking other people before they can mock her. She’s fun to play.”
A senior, Underwood can’t necessarily relate to Joanne’s hard-scrabble ways, but she aims to bring nuance to her character’s motivations.
“I hope when people are leaving they don’t think, ‘Wow, that Joanne was mean.’ I want for people to think more than that, because there’s a lot to her,” she said. “That’s kind of the challenge to the whole show. We all, to a certain extent, are these stereotypes of married couples. The point of the show is ‘Yeah, you’re a stereotype, but you’re also not.’
“Joanne seems to exemplify why marriage isn’t good. She’s been married several times, it’s always something she jokes about, but I think she has something surprising to say and she surprises Robert, the lead, with what she says.”
While the cast can’t necessarily relate to the challenges of marriage personally, they do understand making big life decisions.
“Whether it’s marriage or getting a job, they will have big things flying at them at every turn. What’s happening next semester? For this group, how are we going to do this in Vietnam? It’s all part of ‘What do I next? Do I do the expected thing? Or is it better for me to do the unexpected thing?’” Berchild said.
“The great thing about these kids is they’re all willing to take a chance and buy into the unexpected. I think they’re enjoying that.”
The story is set in the 1970s, but the themes are still very modern, Berchild said.
“It’s such an interesting story about the relationship between friends who are married and unmarried, the way that couples work versus single people,” he said. “You really begin to realize that a play set in the ’70s is absolutely no different from today. The politics and ideas — the context may have changed — all the basic foundational ideas are the same.”
Sondheim’s musicals — “West Side Story,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Into the Woods” — are as diverse as this Indiana State cast’s wide ranges of experience.
“I really love Sondheim. His work has always been fascinating to me and is extremely challenge for our students, because his vocal parts can be excruciating at times,” Berchild said. “My partner-in-crime, Mark Carlisle, really gets them into the music and hammers on it. They really are confident in what they do because of him.
“They all bring such a great variety of skill sets and ideas to the table that every rehearsal is a blast,” he added. “Finding out where people need to build their skills and what their current skill set allows them to do that is unique and fun has been great — especially anticipating a two-week tour to Asia with them.”
The script by George Furth was supposedly written from the playwright’s experience in marriage counseling.
“It’s a very good play. It has a lot of powerhouse numbers in it,” Underwood said. “I’m a big fan of Sondheim, and he is surrounded by a very good script here. It’s funny, it’s good and it’s touching.”
The audience can also expect subtle use of projection and other technology to tell the story.
“All of it is there to create a world that helps tell the story. In a piece that’s set in the ’70s, you don’t want 21st century technology suddenly screaming its way at the audience, but if we can do it deftly, we can use that technology in ways that people don’t realize it’s 21st century technology.”
Tickets are $20 each, with up to 50 seats available for presale, noon-4:30 p.m. April 4-8 in the New Theater lobby, 536 N. 7th St. All other tickets will be available for purchase beginning 90 minutes before each performance. Indiana State students’ admission is free with a valid student ID.
For more information, call the ticket office at 812-237-3333.