Easter Brunch at Grace-Marie’s Kitchen

by Lynne on March 21, 2010

Post image for Easter Brunch at Grace-Marie’s Kitchen

Savory- Clafouti-with-Swiss-Red Pepper-Mushrooms

Today I went to the most amazing Easter Brunch at Grace-Marie’s Kitchen Cooking School at Bristol Farms in Manhattan Beach. The dishes she prepared were just beautiful and delicious. We had Asparagus and Tomato Salad with Warm Easter Ham Vinaigrette, Springtime Strawberry Muffins, Mushroom and Pepper Brunch Clafouti, and Lemon Curd Meringues.

Grace-Marie’s classroom is the most welcoming place and I arrived with anticipation for the wonderful time I was about to have. For me this means great food and the opportunity to photograph that great food. And listen to and watch Grace-Marie as she deftly prepares her dishes for all of her guests. And eat a lot!


We started off with the Asparagus and Tomato Salad accompanied by the Strawberry Muffins. This salad was the best salad I have had in a long time. The asparagus were fat and slightly crisp, with the very tasty ham, honey and Dijon mustard vinaigrette. The goat cheese really put the finishing touch on it. It was gorgeous.

Asparagus-Tomato Salad

Asparagus-Tomato Salad 1


While we were eating our salad, Grace-Marie prepared the savory Clafouti with Mushrooms and Peppers. Sautéing mushrooms, peppers and onions smelled so good!

Clafouti 1

First she made the crust mixture, poured half into the quiche pans and baked until it was set. Then she topped the crust with the Swiss cheese and vegetables, and poured over the rest of the crust mixture.

Clafouti 2

Clafouti 3

And finally it was baked until it was puffed and browned and topped with more of the mushroom mixture. It was so beautiful, as you can see by the photo at the top of this post. I was starving at this point because I had been photographing everything instead of eating. The sight and smell of this dish was making me crazy, especially the melted Swiss cheese that was oozing out of the center.

Clafouti 5

While everyone was eating their Clafouti, Grace-Marie was demonstrating how to make the meringue shells.


And finally, the perfect ending to a perfect brunch…Meringues with Lemon Curd and Whipped Cream! And I got to eat!! Yea!!


While we were eating, Grace-Marie told us about some new adventures she is looking into for the near future. The first is Three to Four-Day Weekend Trips to various places like the Santa Inez Valley (wine tasting, shopping, eating, farmers markets, cooking classes); Temecula (wine country, antiques); Napa-Sonoma; and maybe Santa Fe. These trips would be affordable and fun, with one price which would include the bus, hotel and two meals per day. With Grace-Marie at the helm, you would be sure to have the time of your life!

She was also thinking of making the “Weekend Entertaining” class on Saturday a participation cooking class. You can count me in – me and my camera, that is.

Also in the works is a Summer Cooking Camp for 7–15 year olds. These are hands-on, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, from 10 to 1 o’clock, one week per month in June, July and August. I photographed the kid’s cooking class for St. Patrick’s Day and it was absolutely fantastic. Check out the photos here.

Friends-for Easter-Brunch

Friends for Easter Brunch at Grace-Marie’s Kitchen

Click to continue below for the printable recipes for Asparagus and Tomato Salad, and the Mushroom and Pepper Clafouti. Here is the recipe for the Lemon Curd Meringues.

Grace-Marie Johnston

Grace-Marie Johnston

For more information about the cooking classes visit Grace-Marie online at Bristol Farms or email her at  gmj@bristolfarms.com.

Asparagus and Tomato Salad

8 servings


2 pounds asparagus spears, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Kosher salt

4 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced into thin wedges

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the asparagus, oil and salt. Cook until the asparagus is blanched crisp tender (1.5 minutes). Drain through a strainer and run cold tap water over the asparagus until cooled down. Transfer the asparagus and tomatoes to a serving bowl.


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

8 ounces ham (any favorite), diced small

½ cup red onions, diced small

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons coarse Dijon mustard

Kosher salt & ground black pepper, to taste

Warm the oil in a large skillet. Add the ham and onions. Sauté until the ham has browned slightly and the onions are tender (2 minutes). Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.

Stir in the remaining oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened slightly (2 minutes).


1 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons tarragon, roughly chopped

6 ounces goat cheese, chilled then crumbled

Toss the asparagus and tomatoes with the parsley, tarragon and vinaigrette. Serve garnished with a sprinkle of the cheese.


Mushroom and Pepper Brunch Clafouti


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup onions, diced small

1 large red bell pepper, diced small

2 tablespoons garlic, minced or sliced thin

Kosher or sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

2 pounds mushrooms (any favorite or mix), sliced into thick portions

Kosher or sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

¼ cup dry sherry

¼ cup chives, minced

1 teaspoon thyme leaves, minced

Warm half of the oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions, pepper and garlic until tender (5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a strainer over a bowl and cool to room temperature.

Warm the remaining oil and butter in the skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until tender (3 minutes) then stir in the sherry. Continue to cook until the sherry has been completely absorbed by the mushrooms. Stir in the chives and thyme. Transfer to the strainer with the previously cooked vegetables.


1 ½ cups whole milk

1 cup all purpose flour

4 large eggs

½ teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9”-10” quiche or pie pan with cooking spray.

Combine the milk, eggs, salt and pepper in a blender. Process until smooth. Pour half of the mixture into the pan. Reserve the remaining portion in the blender. Bake the crust until set (10 minutes).


8 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded or thinly sliced

4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated

chives, sniped for garnish

Remove the crust from the oven. Scatter the cheese over the top, then repeat with all but one cup of the mushroom mixture. Blend the crust batter once again, then pour over the mushrooms. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake until puffed and lightly browned (35+ minutes). Cool 10 minutes (it will deflate slightly) before serving. Scatter the reserved mushroom mixture over the center and garnish with the chives. Cut into wedges to serve.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim Friedman April 7, 2010 at 10:38 pm

I’ve been attending Grace-Marie’s “Lunch with Friends” cooking classes faithfully for the past 2 – 3 years, and it’s wonderful!! Can’t tell you how many great recipes I’ve been able to re-create at home with RAVES from my family and friends. Grace-Marie is always entertaining, very knowledgable, and full of spunk! Bristol Farms is one of my favorite places to shop, and they’re very lucky to have her running their cooking school.

K Schaffer July 15, 2010 at 2:37 pm

I’m made the Asparagus and Tomato salad (delicious) and Meringues with Lemon Curd (just right combination of tart and sweet). Great recipes.

I count on Grace-Marie to furnish me with recipes to impress my extended family and friends. Her classes offers useful tips and is always a fun way to introduce me to some new foods and ideas.


Astrid Naviaux April 12, 2014 at 10:57 am

I would like to subscribe to your news letter.

Lynne April 12, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Hi Astrid ~ On the top of the right hand column is a box that says: Enter your email address… subscribe. Type your email address in the box and click on subscribe. That will do it. I am so happy to have you visiting. Lynne xo

Lois September 1, 2014 at 6:51 am

thanks for sharing all your fabulous recipes….I consider you a trusted source.

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