Bear Makes Brunch: Fall Break

Let’s face it: sometimes you just want to stay home. I know I do. The weather is getting crisper, just like the leaves. New York can be an absurdly expensive city that you can’t afford. Plus, thanks to Sandy, my favorite neighborhood (Union Square) is a little un-brunch-able today. However, instead of wallowing in misery, take this sunny Saturday to make brunch at home, like I did!

Saturdays are the perfect day to make brunch, especially in the fall. Sleeping in means waking up at the perfect time for both breakfast and lunch, and after starting the day with some warm and delicious food, anything feels possible!

If you’re not very skilled at cooking, don’t worry. I’m not exactly an experienced chef, but going out is scary (see The Full Story) and getting to know your kitchen will make you feel a lot safer. This meal is a one-skillet-stop on the brunch train, and there are a lot of ways to make it a more gourmet meal, if you are so inclined.

In terms of grocery shopping, I generally get all my groceries at Trader Joe’s. I grew up near one of the original Trader Joe’s, and I love them! The branch on 72nd and Broadway is friendly, organized, healthy, and relatively inexpensive. Plus, they rotate a lot of products seasonally so there are always new treats available! For this particular brunch, I picked up some eggs, their frozen shredded hash browns, arugula, and chicken breasts.

The eggs are easy. Crack them, whip them, cook them. Eggs are so universal, and yet so personal. I personally like mine scrambled with salt only, but it’s incredibly easy to customize for friends, roommates and guests! If you want to get really fancy, this is an opportunity to show off your omelet skills.

scrambled eggs

Trader Joe’s also has these great shredded hash browns that are a no-brainer to cook. Heat some oil and spread out the raw, pre-cut potatoes evenly. Add the desired salt and other condiments. After about five minutes or so, flip them and cook the other side. Voilà! Drain them on paper towels. Again, if you want to add some variations, I’ve seen shredded carrots make their way into these things.

Because I felt like brunch should include breakfast and lunch, I also added a salad to go with it. The best part is that it only has two ingredients: chicken and arugula! Salad intimidates me, so I tend to stick to really basic ingredients, but other add-ins of choice would have been avocado, dried cranberries, Mandarin oranges, or other fruity options.

Grilled chicken is notoriously easy to make, and it is very versatile for several meals. Simply slice chicken into strips and coat with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes on both sides. If you cut into your chicken, and it’s raw in the center, it’s not done yet!

Arugula is one of my favorite greens for a salad, along with baby spinach. If you are like me and you dislike eating a lot of green foods like vegetables, you may like arugula. It has a very unique and complex taste that makes it much more interesting than any lettuce. Plus it has a cool shape, which gives it instant bonus points on the salad scale. Add a little balsamic vinaigrette and it gets even better!

I topped off the meal with a honeycrisp apple and a big glass of orange juice, true to my California roots. With the temperature dropping and exams coming up, it’s the perfect day to curl up with brunch, a book, and Bear. Happy Fall!