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A Better Brunch

A nice hearty brunch is the ultimate comfort on a lazy Sunday.

"Early Show" contributor Katie Lee prepared her perfect brunch made from recipes from her new cookbook, "The Comfort Table: Recipes for Everyday Occasions," which hits stores Tuesday.

Each chapter of Lee's book is broken up into different occasions. She provides the menu, wine pairing and even a music playlist for your guests.

Lee made dishes on "The Early Show" from the chapter called "Breakfast with Friends." Her menu includes:

Grapefruit Brulee
Nutella French Toast Sandwiches
Breakfast Hash with Poached Eggs
Big Pitcher of Bloody Marys


Grapefruit Brulee

My grandma makes these for breakfast all the time. I think she started serving grapefruit this way just to get the kids to eat it, but everyone liked it so much that it stuck.

1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3 or 4 ruby red grapefruits

Preheat the broiler. Position the oven rack in the top third of the oven. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Halve each grapefruit. Using a paring knife, cut around the edge of the grapefruit and between the segments.

Arrange the grapefruit halves on a baking sheet or broiler pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the grapefruit halves. Place under the broiler for about 5 minutes, until the sugar is golden brown and bubbly. Keeping the oven door open a bit will help prevent burning. Be sure to watch closely, the sugar will burn quickly.

Nutella French Toast Sandwiches

This recipe is truly decadent -- it's borderline sinful. I love baking French toast in a casserole dish because it's way less work and can even be assembled the night before. I leave a Post-it on the oven with baking instructions. Whoever gets up first is in charge. When the smell of chocolate and hazelnut starts flowing through the house, everyone rouses out of bed.

8 large eggs
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 loaf brioche bread, sliced about 3/4-inch thick
3/4 cup nutella
3 ripe bananas, sliced on a diagonal

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, sugar, salt, orange zest and vanilla. Set aside.

Grease a baking dish. Spread half of the bread slices with Nutella and top with bananas and remaining bread slices. Place in the baking dish. Pour egg mixture over the bread and allow it to soak in, at least 20 minutes. (I like to make this the night before, cover it, and store it in the refrigerator until the next morning.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until bread is golden brown and puffy. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Breakfast Hash with Poached Eggs

This recipe was inspired by my friend Todd Thompson, who happens to be the other half of one of my favorite chefs, Giada de Laurentiis. Todd and Giada were staying with us in the Hamptons when he decided to take all of the leftovers in our refrigerator and mix them together in a skillet. He used hamburger, hot dogs, and all sorts of stuff. We all had a little bit of a hangover from the night before, and Todd's breakfast was just the cure.

For the Hash:
2 pounds unpeeled potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 pound bulk breakfast sausage or Italian sausage
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 red onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated asiago cheese

For the Hash:
Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and reserve.

In a large skillet, brown the sausage over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the meat. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from skillet. Add the butter to the pan and melt over medium heat. Add the onions, red bell pepper, and scallions. Sauté until onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the potatoes and gently stir to mix. Cover and cook for 5 minutes without stirring until the potatoes from a nice golden crust. Remove the cover and stir in the parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove cover and stir in sausage. Continue cooking, if necessary, until potatoes are fork tender. Sprinkle with the Asiago. Spoon mixture onto each plate and top with one or two poached eggs.

For the Eggs:
2 quarts water
1/4 cup white vinegar
8 eggs

For the Eggs:
In a large pot, combine the water with the vinegar. Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to a bare simmer. Crack an egg and, holding the shell close to the surface of the simmering water, slide it into the pot. Moving quickly, repeat with the remaining eggs. Poach for 2 minutes. Remove each egg with a slotted spoon and drain on a clean, dry dish towel.

Bloody Marys
Nothing cures a hangover like a Bloody Mary! This recipe makes a large amount, but if your friends are like mine, they probably won't have just one drink over the course of a long weekend brunch.

One 45-ounce bottle low-sodium vegetable juice (I like V-8)
1 1/2 cups vodka
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons prepared white horseradish
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Tabasco sauce
Celery sticks, green olives and lemon wedges, for garnish

In a large pitcher, combine the vegetable juice, vodka, lemon juice, horseradish, celery salt, kosher salt, onion powder, and Tabasco to taste. Chill until serving time. Pour over ice and garnish with a celery stick, olive, and lemon wedge.

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