*This post is in partnership with Nugget Markets
Spring is here, and even though the weather is a little bit unpredictable at times, I am so happy for more sunshine and longer days. CJ and I moved into a new home a couple of months ago, and I have been itching to entertain friends in our new space. Because of our busy and sometimes conflicting schedules, we still had things to check off of our list before the house was “presentable.” I finally told myself to let that notion go, and host some ladies for a spring themed brunch! Life is short. Who cares if the pictures are on the wall, right? 🙂
When’s the last time you got together with the girls for Sunday Funday? It’s so easy to default to your favorite local brunch spot, but believe me when I say that it’s easy to host one yourself! When I began preparing my menu, all of my stress went away when I decided to shop for everything at Nugget Markets. The convenience, quality and superior customer service I received empowered me to carry out my duties of hostess, as team members in various departments became my partners in entertaining!
With 12 locations throughout Northern California, Nugget Markets has been committed to providing an extensive selection of quality products, exceptional service and lower prices than any other conventional grocery store for over 90 years. I’ve been going to Nugget since I was a kid! As an adult, I appreciate their commitment to offering their guests both conventional and specialty products. After taking a tour of the store, so many things that I had glanced over in the aisles started to tell a really great story. On your next visit, I encourage you to take a closer look at the tags on the shelves. Items that are organic, local (within 100 miles), gluten-free, non-GMO, vegetarian, vegan, raw, dairy free, fair trade and more, are noted! You can be sure that you are purchasing items that your guests can enjoy, no matter their lifestyle. They take the same pride and care when it comes to their Fresh to Market offerings.
Fresh to Market is Nugget Market’s house brand. Each product is carefully sourced for quality, values, and location. I used numerous Fresh to Market items as I created my brunch spread including the flowers, the vegetables and bread used for my main dish, and the cake from their bakery. As a busy hostess, it made me feel good to know that my guests were getting the very best.
Nugget offers many different cheese board options, including this “build your own” from the Gourmet-to-Go menu. I was able to work closely with the resident cheesemonger to select cheeses and a meat that worked well with my brunch theme. The petite breakfast from Marin County Cheese, an espresso soaked cheddar, and the smoked chorizo was perfect! Because I had a marble lazy susan in my cabinet, and the presentation was already amazing, I just transferred it over… but I’ll take all of the credit. 😉
I threw everyone for a loop when I dropped my Asparagus and Leek Bread Pudding on the table.
Yes, you read that right: asparagus and leeks…in bread pudding!
I can’t lie, it was soooo goood, and there was none left by the end of the day. Would you believe it was my first time making it? I watched my mother perfect her sweet dessert version but never attempted any version of my own before the brunch. I wanted to prepare a main dish that would be full of flavor, rich texture and incorporated the best of the season, and that’s just what I did. My guests went back for seconds!
I couldn’t be stingy, so here is the recipe for you (and for my friends asking for it when they left).
A crowd-pleasing easy brunch recipe. Add your own creative spin by using seasonal vegetables!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
While the oven heats, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet. Once coated, add the sausage and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until browned. Transfer the sausage to a large bowl.
Using the reserved fat in the pan, saute the chopped leek and asparagus, until softened and lightly browned. Add to the bowl with the sausage.
Add your bread cubes, grated cheese, parsley and 1 tbsp of the herb blend and mix well. Once well combined, spread into a prepared baking dish and prepare your egg mixture.
Whisk the eggs, half-and-half, salt, pepper and the remaining 1 tbsp herb seasoning together in a bowl.
Once combined, pour over the baking dish, evenly coating the spread.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top of the pudding is lightly browned and “crusty.”
Spoon, serve and enjoy!
Feel free to substitute the butter with olive oil (or your favorite oil)
If you have issues with texture, or don’t want such a rich dish, pour the batter over the bread/sausage mixture and immediately place it in the oven. If you want to evoke more richness, let it sit in the fridge for an hour+.
If you cannot find a loaf of Brioche bread, you can use the Fresh-to-Market Bakery roll packs (2) and chop them into cubes.
Some may encourage you to remove the crust from the bread. I kept mine on there for an additional crunch and for presentation (it sure looks, pretty, doesn’t it?)
Speaking of bread, you don’t have to use brioche, but if you do, you won’t be disappointed!
I used leek and asparagus because they are in season, but feel free to use whatever vegetables are in season, and handy in the fridge.
Shopping for all of the ingredients at Nugget was super easy, and the Fresh to Market offerings made it that much easier. I hope this post has inspired you to host some friends at your home soon!
Oh! Don’t forget to let me know if you try the recipe. I would love to know your thoughts (and your own spin on it).
Photos by Mae Batista
This post is in partnership with Nugget Markets. Thank you for supporting the brands that support the blog!