This simple recipe is a great Sunday brunch idea (April 6, 2011)

In our circle, these meals are usually preceded by a wave of sound: the rhythmic scampering of children hungry for a treat; the sonorant whine produced when domestic animals are begging for the same.

In other words, a slow, relaxed approach to fixing a meal just won’t cut it. The host or hostess has to whip up something in no time at all.

That being the case, brunch – a word coined in 1890 to define a meal that serves as breakfast and lunch – is a most salient solution. We keep it simple: a sandwich that combines the best of breakfast and lunch; an easy tossed salad; a good, canned soup, and fresh fruit will do it.

Such a meal certainly lends itself well to the concept of a Lenten Simple Supper.

My great friend Pat, a master of many culinary skills, suggested a simple supper fare that’s sure to please: open faced grilled cheese sandwiches on English muffins; a tossed salad; a bowl of clam chowder – red or white – and fresh fruit.

Though Pat prefers to compose her sandwiches with Monterey Jack covering well chopped baby vegetables, cheddar, Swiss or Munster will do.

Pat’s sandwiches are a hit with her 9-year-old son, a budding gourmet who often suggests ingredients he’d like her to add. To make this menu especially cool for him, she creates one of her popular “fizzy” drinks – a healthy mix of grape juice, spring water and flavored seltzer.

Pat’s Simply Super Supper
serves 6
– 6 English muffins
– 12 thick slices of Monterey Jack cheese or another of your choice
– ¼ stick of butter
– two cups of your choice of chopped vegetables – tomatoes or sautéed minced onions, fresh asparagus and mushrooms are good.

Separate the English muffins into halves – I like to use whole wheat ones – and toast them lightly and spread a little butter on them. Lightly sauté the vegetables of your choice and layer them on each muffin slice, then top with a big square of Monterey Jack and place in the toaster oven at medium heat until the top is golden brown.

Pat serves the sandwiches with a tossed salad composed of romaine lettuce, red onions, Kirby cucumbers which she favors for their sweetness, a handful each of chopped walnuts and dried cranberries, all topped with vinaigrette dressing, bottled or home-made.

For the “fizzy,” in equal amounts in an eight-ounce glass, mix plain grape juice, mandarin orange seltzer and bottled water.

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