Hurricane Irene is a real party-pooper. It’s just wet and miserable looking outside. Crappy enough that no one wants to go out, but not dramatic or exciting enough to tweet endlessly about. The worst of the storm so far was at 10am, right before my planned brunch with friends at 11am. Seeing the weather, I decided to cancel the brunch. However, I had already prepared everything, so I had no choice but to sit down and eat all that delicious food myself. I know, my life is soo hard.

I was primarily motivated to host a brunch because I’ve been craving a bloody mary. Mike makes a really killer mix with tomato juice, grated horseradish, tobasco sauce, Worcester sauce, and black pepper. This time the mix literally cost Mike and I tears to make though. We saw fresh horseradish at the supermarket so we decided to grate our own. It turns out, if you pulverize horseradish in the food processor and then lean over it to take a big sniff, your stomach will churn such that you nearly vomit and your eyes will feel like they are endlessly bleeding tears. At least now I know what my substitute is for pepper spray. What is that, rapist? You want to rape me? Please hold on while I whip out a horseradish and a grater from my purse, grate it into a bowl, and then throw it your eye. HA! TAKE THAT!

On the menu was a quiche lorraine with caramelized leeks, diced ham, and a egg-y filling topped with melted swiss cheese. The quiche came out very well, though sadly a lot of the filling leaked out. I used Michael Roux’s recipe for my tart base last night. He suggests forgoing using any instruments and making the whole crust by hand. I found it actually very therapeutic to spend the evening creaming butter and eggs on counter with my fingertips. And there’s something very relaxing about quietly kneading and rolling out dough.

Mike and I recently invested in a stand mixer and I wanted to prepare something yeast-y for brunch that wasn’t just boring old bread to get more use out of our stand mixer. Hence we decided to make our own pecan rolls. Using the stand mixer, I made the dough last night and let it rise overnight.

Pecan rolls, right before I popped them into the oven

In the morning I rolled out the dough and slathered butter, sugar, and cinnamon on top. Then I rolled up the dough and cut it into 1″ thick slides. I spread a glazing, consisting of an unspeakable amount of butter, brown sugar, and pecans, at the bottom of a pyrex dish and then carefully placed the rolls on top. I popped them into the oven at 350F for about 35 minutes, pulled them out, and immediately flipped the rolls over on a rack. That was the trickiest part because I didn’t have muffin tins and only some of the glazing and pecans stayed on top of the rolls. That was better for me though because I find glazings and toppings too sweet anyways. The dough came out great though! Really fluffy, light, and bread-y — just what I wanted.

Finished pecan rolls

Finally, we served (ourselves) all this with a bloody mary with a healthy dose of vodka for our lonely, guestless brunch. We still have half a pitcher of the mix left! But I’m sure that won’t last long. Hope everyone is staying safe and dry through this hurricane!