Brunch is probably one of the most relaxing meals. It tends to be long and leisurely, stretching from mid-morning into the early afternoon. It’s the perfect type of meal to kick off a lazy Saturday or Sunday.

Brunch is probably one of the most relaxing meals. It tends to be long and leisurely, stretching from mid-morning into the early afternoon. It’s the perfect type of meal to kick off a lazy Saturday or Sunday.

In my humble opinion, brunch is not brunch without mimosas. If your brunch does not involve champagne and orange juice then, really, you’re just eating breakfast at a weird time.

That being said, it can sometimes be a pain to make individual mimosas when you’re serving friends. Just as one person’s champagne flute is filled another is emptied, and it’s easy to find yourself in a revolving door of drink making.

My solution is to make a pitcher of brunch sangria and place it on the table for self service. Brunch sangria is a hybrid of a mimosa and the ever-popular fine and fresh fruit drink sangria. The fresh-sliced fruit gives the orange juice an extra punch of flavor and a bit of pineapple vodka adds a boozy kick and depth of flavor. This punch is easy and dangerously delicious.

I think I’ve mentioned in this column that I worked at a coffee shop throughout high school and college. What I haven’t mentioned is that one of the perks of that job was the free meal each shift, which could be made using on-hand ingredients. Many delicious concoctions resulted from that free reign. One of them was a breakfast sandwich served on an English muffin that featured wilted spinach, caramelized red onions and a scrambled egg mixed with pesto. I dubbed it the green monster, but could never convince anyone to put it on the menu. I have now translated that sandwich into a frittata. All the flavors that I loved are still there, but in a slightly more grown-up package.

My banana bread French toast adds that little bit of over-the-top decadence every brunch needs. I bake a fresh loaf of banana bread, allow it to cool, slice it and give it the French toast treatment. The surface of the bread gets golden and crispy, but the interior remains moist and fluffy. I recommend making the bread the night before so this treat is ready in a snap when you want to serve breakfast.

I’m hoping these recipes will serve as a perfect accompaniment to the Dover Post and a cup of coffee.


To contact Sarah Barban, email her at


Brunch Sangria

1 mango, diced

8 ounces strawberries, sliced

10 ounces fresh pineapple, cubed

1.75-liter bottle orange juice

750-milliliter bottle champagne

1/4 cup pineapple vodka


Place the fruit in a gallon pitcher or large drink dispenser and pour in the vodka. Allow the fruit and vodka to soak for about 20 minutes. Pour in the orange juice and then the champagne. Allow the sangria to chill for at least an hour. Serves 8


Pesto Frittata

5 eggs

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup cream

1/2 cup parmesan

1/4 cup pesto

1/2 a red onion, diced

4 ounces fresh spinach


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, cheese and pesto. In a skillet, sauté the onion and spinach until the spinach is wilted and the onions have softened. Stir the vegetables into the egg mixture. Grease a 9-inch pie pan and pour in the egg mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Serves 4


Banana Bread French Toast

Banana Bread
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas
1 3/4 flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon,

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup hot water


French Toast Batter
4 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the oil and honey together. Add the eggs and mix well. Stir in the bananas and vanilla, and then stir in the flour, salt and cinnamon. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then add it to the batter. Spread the batter into a greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before slicing. Once the bread has cooled, slice it into half-inch slices. Start on the batter by mixing the eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon in a shallow casserole dish. Take each slice of banana bread and dredge in through the batter. Melt a pat of butter in a frying pan over medium heat and place the bread in the pan. Fry until the bottom is golden brown and then flip. Top French toast with maple syrup, whipped cream and sliced bananas.