Love and Brunch in a Desert


Not too long ago my little sister got married.  It was a wonderful ceremony.  Our entire family traveled from all over the country to share in the festivities in Tucson – a beautiful place with a unique local cuisine.

My gift to the happy couple was an extended brunch at their home the day after the wedding – everyone together at the newlyweds’ home sharing in delicious food.  Being Christians their ceremony was on Saturday and the brunch started early the next morning.  My sister wanted to serve fresh, healthy foods that were distinctly not Southwestern style, as their rehearsal dinner was at a local Mexican restaurant as well as the theme for several other meals.

Months before the big day I began planning her menu.  I would test recipes during my dinner parties and on unsuspecting friends.  The hardest part was not knowing what was local or in season – while they were in the desert and I was in NYC.  I resigned myself to telling her I would make a “fruit salad” and a “vegetable salad” and realized I would mostly have to wing it when I got there.

The wedding, of course was a beautiful.  My sister looked gorgeous and everything went off without a hitch.  Their reception was held in a historic mansion with cocktails, dinner, dancing – the evening was classy and fun.  But when the fun was done though I had to get to work.  Although there had been days of prep work, but now it was time to step up.  Late into the night, I kneaded dough and my date chopped jicama (what a great friend!).  But after only a few hours of sleep I was awake and baking the cinnamon buns and washing vegetables for the grill.

The guests who arrived early were put to work – family members arrived and immediately threw themselves into the last minute prep, making the coffee, squeezing citrus for juice and acir (a citrus drink cut with seltzer or sparkling wine).  An aunt managed the grill while another washed dishes.

They say you don’t remember your wedding – after all the planning and the prep the actual event goes by in a flash.  I’m not sure how it was for my sister, but that was how the brunch was for me.  They say sixty people came and went.  I filled and refilled serving dishes and made sure everyone had enough to eat (since there were leftovers that afternoon I guess everyone did).  But in retrospect I wished I had remembered to take pictures!

A Tucson Wedding Brunch Menu

Coffee and Freshly Squeezed Juices
Cinnamon Buns
Cantaloupe, Black Grape and Mint Salad
Grapefruit Marinated Jicama, with Cilantro, Golden Tomatoes and Grilled Pineapple
Argentine Empanadas (a Lagomarsino Family Recipe)
Asparagus Parmesan Frittata
Mini Summer Squash and Feta Pies
Grilled Seasonal Vegetables
Freshly Baked Whole-Wheat Challah Rolls

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3 Responses to “Love and Brunch in a Desert”

  1. Nina Budabin McQuown Says:

    The menu sounds great, and like a lovely gift to your sister. How did you make your marinated jicama, if you can disclose?

  2. Mia Rut Says:

    Quite simply when Peter (my date to the wedding who would be furious if I took credit for this) sliced up the jicama I juiced up a couple of grapefruit and a splash or two of orange juice (from a carton) and a couple of pinches of sugar and a tablespoon or two of grapeseed oil. We mixed it all up together with the jicama (plastic bowl with airtight lid allowed me to mix by shaking) and left it in the fridge overnight. The next morning there was more shaking until it was ready to serve.

    I halved some golden cherry tomatoes and roughly chopped a big bunch of cilantro. Canned pineapple rings were grilled until dark grill marks appeared on both sides and a few grapefruit pieces were added for good measure.

    Tossed all together it made a slightly tart but very satisfying salad

  3. MIa Rut's Mom Says:

    I can only add that it was a wonderful brunch – and a wonderful gift! The food was delicious.

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