Bagel Buffet befits outdoors

13 Jul Bagel Buffet befits outdoors

Fortunate enough to have a seaworthy vessel we do a fair amount of entertaining on, I am always on the lookout for breakout breakfast on the boat ideas. For the last few summers, my signature offering has been Lemon Crepes Suzette with Fresh Huckleberries, throwing the spotlight on that wild and wonderful Montana berry.  Components of the crepe dish can be made ahead and assembled at the last minute creating a carefree atmosphere in the kitchen prior to boarding the boat. 

                A real hit with most, it’s something you might want to try for easy breezy summer breakfast entertaining.  That said, not everyone likes something sweet for breakfast and frankly, it was time to change things up a bit. Just when I was opening my mind to new possibilities, life presented me with one.

                Last spring while in Palm Springs, we enjoyed a lovely brunch buffet which included a bountiful bagel bar complete with all the accoutrements. Genius, I thought, and such a welcome departure from the all-too-tired omelet station or wilted scrambled eggs in a steam tray you so often see on brunch buffets.

                I could hardly wait for the weather to warm up enough for us to get the boat out and lay out a Bagel Bar on the Boat.  Lucky for us, our chance came recently over the 4th of July holiday.

                A big benefit of our Bagel Bar on the Boat for me was being able to prepare almost everything in advance, leaving only the arranging of the serving platters to do just before setting sail.  

                Finding an assortment of fresh mini bagels including whole wheat, cinnamon raisin and plain white bagels already baked and bagged right in the bread aisle of the grocery store makes life even easier, unless of course you’re interested in making your own bagels.

                For now, making your own homemade herbed cream cheeses is a nice touch and something your guests are sure to think is special when making their own bagel creations on the boat. Whip up the flavored spreads beforehand and chill until ready to serve.

                Deli smoked turkey can be thinly sliced and arranged attractively on one serving platter with sliced avocados and bacon. Another platter might feature a refreshing vegetarian selection of thinly sliced cucumbers, freshly snipped chives and sunflower seeds. Smoked salmon, capers and thinly sliced red onion with dilled cream cheese spread on a bagel are a classic combination your guests may enjoy as well. Something for everyone on the guest list, I think.

                The beauty of the bagel bar is its versatility. Do-it-yourself means everyone can customize their bagel to their own individual liking, to suit themselves.  

                Yet another perk is that lovely leftovers can be refrigerated and made into bagel sandwiches the next day, making great use of ingredients and minimizing waste.

                And who says you have to set the bagel bar up on a boat? It would be just as enjoyable as a sunny summer morning brunch buffet on the deck, by the pool, on a beach, on a picnic or just about anywhere.

                This week’s Special of the Day: a list of tasks to tackle yourself or hand out to shipmates before boarding  and recipes for herbed cream cheeses as well as Lemon Crepes Suzette with Fresh Huckleberries.  Bon Voyage!

Bagel Bar on the Boat

                Mateys, the muster list:

                Mix up the herbed cream cheeses ahead of time. (I found a lovely three-domed glass serving tray at Pier     One that worked perfectly to display the three different cream cheeses I had prepared.)

                Make bacon ahead of time and refrigerate.

                Just before boarding the boat: slice avocados, cucumbers and red onions.

                Toast all of the bagels on a baking sheet under the broiler.

                Enlist the help of fellow sailors to lug aboard the rations.

                A little more effort in the planning and prep department pays off with an almost effortless and most enjoyable Special of the Day: Bagel Bar on the Boat Brunch. Enjoy!

Sundried Tomato Cream Cheese, Smoked Turkey, Bacon and Avocado Bagel

Sundried Tomato Cream Cheese

Suggested use with smoked turkey, bacon and avocado

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons sundried tomato paste (canned tomato aisle-top shelf)

¼ teaspoon salt

Using electric mixer, combine all ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Dilled Cream Cheese

Suggested use with smoked salmon, capers, red onions

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon salt


Using electric mixer, combine all ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Pesto Cream Cheese

Suggested use with cucumber slices, chives and sunflower seeds

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

¼ cup prepared pesto

 Using electric mixer, combine all ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Lemon Crepes Suzette with Fresh Huckleberries

Lemon Crepes Suzette with Fresh Huckleberries and Maple-glazed Sausages

Bring breakfast along on the boat and impress your buddies by serving them up in style on the water. The crepes can be made ahead and refrigerated.  Making the lemon butter sauce and glazing the sausages won’t take but minutes the next morning.


Makes about 24 crepes

  1. In a blender combine: 1 cup milk, 3 eggs, 2 tablespoons vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons melted butter (cooled),  2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (orange-flavored liqueur), ¾ cup cornstarch, dash of salt and 1 tablespoon sugar, in that order.  Mix on high speed until blended, about 15 seconds.
  2. Heat a crepe pan (or a small saucepan with nonstick surface) over medium-high heat.
  3. Brush pan lightly with melted butter.
  4. Carefully pour about 2 tablespoons batter from the blender in the pan, swirling the pan around to cover the pan.
  5. Cook until the edges of the crepe begin to lightly brown, about 15 seconds.
  6. Using a small table knife, lift an edge of the crepe so you can pick it up with both hands and carefully flip it. Cook the other side for about 15 seconds.
  7. Remove crepe from pan and cool, layering sheets of waxed paper in between crepes to prevent sticking. Repeat with remaining batter.
  8. Store crepes in a covered refrigerator container in refrigerator until ready to serve.

 Lemon Butter Sauce

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine: ¾ cup butter, 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons lemon peel and ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Fold refrigerated crepes in half and then half again, making quarters.
  3. Slide folded crepes into sauce and heat through.

Maple-glazed Sausages

 Heat 1- 16-ounce package Lil Smokies sausages in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Drizzle with ½ cup maple syrup and simmer until heated through.

To Plate: Serve two or three crepes on a plate, pooling sauce around. Sprinkle fresh huckleberries on top of the crepes and garnish with curls of lemon peel and mint leaves. 

                Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at .

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