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On Sunday we hosted the second Brunch at the Table. This month’s brunch benefitted City Fruit, a Seattle based group that “promotes the cultivation of urban fruit in order to nourish people, build community and protect the climate. They help tree owners grow healthy fruit, provide assistance in harvesting and preserving fruit, promote the sharing of extra fruit, and work to protect urban fruit trees.”

I remember visiting Seattle, years ago, and walking down a tree lined street. Above me, green branches hung heavy with fruit begging to be picked. Below my feet the pavement was littered with plums, some whole and perfect, others cracking and oozing. Purple and green stained the sidewalks. I remember wondering if anyone gathered this seemingly unwanted fruit or if it rotted on the ground, a beautiful gift bursting with potential, discarded.

Now, living in Seattle, I cherish these urban fruit trees and am grateful for those who make sure their produce doesn’t go to waste.

I look forward to hosting these brunches each month because they give me a chance to serve in an actionable way. Through these brunches I am able to donate my time, energy and passion for food to create a memorable and enjoyable experience for others while also raising awareness and supporting worthy non-profits.

I took a cue from Local Milk and decorated the tables with white ceramics, blue striped napkins, and amber bottles of eucalyptus. We served French press coffee, fresh squeezed citrus, blood orange olive oil cake, the cheesiest gougeres, a luscious winter fruit salad (recipe below), creamy braised collards with plenty of smoky paprika, and red pepper and baked egg galettes (recipe also below). And to top it off I made little sachets of robust herbal tea for our guests to take home.

I’m finally figuring out how to shoot tablescapes but still haven’t mastered the art of photographing a full brunch table scene. Things I’ve learned: I may need to specify a dress code of neutral colors for future events. For now I hope the table settings inspire you and I invite you to recreate a few items from our brunch menu to celebrate the bounty in our lives.

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WINTER FRUIT SALAD + STAR ANISE AND VANILLA

From Kari Brunson

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

½ cup honey

3 star anise

1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise

2 meyer lemons

4 cups water

24 dried apricots, cut in half

½ cup dried cherries

20 dried figs, cut in half

1 pomegranate, seeds removed

2 cups red grapes, cut in half

2 tart apples, cubed

1 Asian pear, cubed

4 cups greek yogurt

PROCEDURE

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the lemons.

Combine the honey, star anise, vanilla bean, lemon zest and water in a medium pot.

Bring the syrup to a simmer.

Meanwhile juice the peeled lemons.

Add the lemon juice and dried fruit to the syrup, cover and refrigerate over night.

When ready to serve strain the dried fruit from the syrup.

Combine the pomegranate seeds, sliced grapes, apple and pear.

Serve the soaked dried fruit and fresh fruit salad with the yogurt.

*If you’re feeling fancy, assemble the fruit salad in a glass bowl or parfait glass and layer the dried fruit, yogurt and fresh fruit.

RED PEPPER AND BAKED EGG GALETTES

Adapted From Jerusalem

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

4 red bell peppers, halved, seeded and cut into strips

3 red onions, halved and cut into wedges

1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

4 thyme sprigs, leaves removed

6 tablespoons olive oil

9 ounces puff pastry

1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

2 tablespoons sour cream

4 eggs

salt and freshly cracked black pepper

chopped fresh parsley and cilantro

PROCEDURE

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the red peppers, onions, coriander, cumin, and thyme with the olive oil and roast on a lined baking sheet until soft and beginning to brown.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Turn the oven to 425 degrees.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the puff pastry into a 12 inch square about 1/8 inch thick. Cut the puff pastry into four 6-inch squares. With a sharp knife score around the edge of each square creating a border. Prick inside the border with the tines of a fork. Place the squares on a lined baking sheet.

Brush each square with the egg wash. Spread 1 1/2 teaspoons of sour cream inside the border of each square and top with some of the roasted red pepper and onion leaving a well in the center for the egg.

Bake the galettes for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and crack an egg into the center of each galette. Bake for another 5-10 minutes until the eggs are just set. Remove from the oven and garnish with salt, pepper and the the fresh herbs.