Meet the Sullivans: Birthday Brunch

November 6, 2012

Birthday Brunch

Sunday afternoon I met my closest girlfriends for brunch at one of my favorite local restaurants, Town. Town offers not only a delicious and unique menu, but also a bottomless mimosa brunch! Right up our alley.

Jen, Allison and Rosanna. 

Kath, me and Anne. 

Hilary and Jackie were running a little late, so I didn't get a picture of them when we got there and got so wrapped up in all the fun that I forgot to get a group picture later during brunch. 

My friends are so sweet and spoiled me with a few gifts. I absolutely love my new ring and haven't wanted to take it off since. Isn't it beautiful?

How fun is this "busy mom survival kit" a couple of my friends put together? Love the gray polish. 

Oh my gosh. This salad does not look even close to how AMAZING it tastes. It's the Warm Napa Cabbage Salad. I always get it when we go to Town for dinner as a starter salad, but at brunch they offer it with grilled chicken. My favorite part is the crispified mushrooms. You can get the semi-complicated recipe below.

This recipe makes 4 entrée-sized servings or 6 – 8 starter salads

2 cups homemade croutons (store purchased works fine as well)
1 stick butter
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of chopped fresh garlic
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped shallots
½ tsp freshly cracked pepper
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
1 cup of canola oil
10 slices of your favorite bacon
2 tbsp of reserved bacon fat
1 pound of medium-sized mushrooms (Button or Crimini)
5 ounces of your favorite blue cheese
1 head of Napa cabbage (approximately the size of a football)

To make the Warm Napa Cabbage like we do at the restaurants, follow these little “secrets” and you’ll look like a pro!
  • Read the recipe thoroughly.
  • Room Temp Cabbage works the best.
  • Don’t let the blue cheese melt completely.
  • After the dressing is poured over the cabbage, work fast!!! or it will wilt
  • Have warm plates (not hot) ready to go.
Preparing the salad:
  1. Make some sourdough croutons by cutting the bread into a one-inch dice (makes about 2 cups). To make the croutons, Melt 1 stick butter with 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan. When melted, add 1 tbsp chopped fresh garlic and remove from heat. Let set for 5 minutes. Pour the butter mixture through a strainer over the croutons, toss well, and place the croutons on a pan in a 375 oven until golden brown. About 15 minutes. Watch them like a hawk, or they may burn.
  2. Make a simple Red Wine Vinaigrette: In a blender, pour 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp chopped shallots, ½ tsp freshly cracked pepper, 1 tbsp whole grain mustard. Turn on the blender and slowly add 1 cup of canola oil. You will probably only need ½ of this dressing. 
  3. Cut ¼ inch and saute10 slices of your favorite bacon. Drain the most of the fat off the bacon leaving the bacon and 2 tbsp of fat in the pan.
  4. Slice 1 pound of medium-sized mushrooms and set aside.
  5. Measure about 5 ounces of your favorite blue cheese, crumble and put aside.
  6. Cut 1 head of Napa cabbage (approximately the size of a football) into quarters, then slice each quarter into ¼ inch slices and put into a stainless bowl.
You will be ready to make the salad when the cabbage is at room temperature. It is VERY important that the cabbage is not cold, or the salad will steam and wilt when you add the hot vinaigrette.

Making the Salad:
Make sure all your components are ready to go and are within reach.

Here We Go !
  1. TURN YOUR EXHAUST FAN ON HIGH…Turn the pan with the bacon on medium-high heat. When it starts to sizzle again, add the mushrooms and sauté. This will only take about 1 minute, because the mushrooms will soak up all the bacon fat. Add ½ cup of red wine vinaigrette. 
  2. Pour the blue cheese into the pan, then immediately pour contents of pan into the napa cabbage. Add the croutons.
  3. Put the metal bowl on the stove over medium-high heat. Use an oven mitt because the bowl will get HOT. Toss the salad until warm (not hot), about 30 seconds. 
Serve on warm plates.

The girls and I all decided that we need to get away from the husbands, kids and other responsibilities together more often for some girl time. I don't remember the last time we all got together to have some quality time. Don't get me wrong, we love the time we get to spend together with all of our families, but we just had so much fun at brunch. SO, we decided to start a "book club" (books not necessarily included) that will meet once a month. I am so excited about "book club"!!
Kath and I on our way to brunch! 
I'm not usually a bog fan of my own birthday. I love other people's birthdays. I look forward to showering them with gifts, love, attention and fun.

I just don't really like all the attention on me and the expectation of it being any different than any other day. Similar to how some people feel about Valentine's Day. But this year it was really really wonderful and I enjoyed every minute of every celebration! I might even be looking forward to turning 32 next year. Maybe birthdays aren't so bad after all.


Jess at Just Rainbows and Butterflies said...

Happy belated birthday! xo

Emily said...

Hope you had a great birthday! Time with girlfriends is the best! Glad you had a great time!!