Thursday, February 19, 2009

The First Foodie Friday - A Tea For My Valentine
Many thanks to Michael at Designs by Gollum for hatching an idea that bloggers can 'sink their teeth into', and not gain an ounce! Can't wait to see what everyone has cooked up for their inaugural posts, but guess I'd better share my humble offering first..

On Valentine's Day, this was my gift to my husband. The poor dear loves tea, but had never experienced a proper afternoon repast. I thought it was time.
I polished the good sterling flat ware, (Damask Rose), and pulled some china, (Old Country Roses), out of the cabinets. I found the best lace in the linen closet, bought a lovely potted plant, and set the table.

Early Saturday morning, I made lemon curd, from a recipe that I had spotted on the Joy of Baking website. If you try it, I promise that you'll never buy another jar...
While the lemon curd set, I went on to make scones, using Alton Brown's recipe from the Food Network archives. There was a moment of panic when my biscuit cutter became unusable, but I rolled the dough a little thinner and used a deep cookie cutter. I was about to have a breakdown, when the scones didn't rise as high as I would have liked, but I did make them thinner, and a certain amount of twisting the cutter occurred because of using the wrong tool. (I really do know better than to twist the cutter when making rolled biscuits or scones, but I was under the gun and improvising. I will own a new set of cutters within the next few days.)

Despite my 'cutter problem', the scones were sinfully delicious, which is the hallmark of a superb recipe. I may have to go to confession. Yes...I ate that many, and they are that wonderful. Buttery, yet light, and filled with currants, they were the best scones that I have ever tasted. Thank you Alton, and God Bless! You have earned your place in heaven. PS: I do own your salt cellar, and I love it!

Next on my work list was to make short bread tarts to fill with the lemon curd. But wait...I didn't have that much time. Left with no alternative, I pulled out a half dozen of the mini puff pastry shells that were stashed in the freezer and threw them into the oven.

Once they cooled, I filled them with the lemon curd and topped them with fresh raspberries. Voila! Instant sweet treat.
Next stop...Savoryville! I needed tea sandwiches that surpassed the ordinary. What's a girl to do??? I had been disappointed by cucumber sandwiches in the past. Was a solution at hand? Yes, yes, yes! I merged several recipes to come up with a tasty alternative to the usual blah tea sandwich fare. I mixed mayonnaise with horseradish, chopped capers and minced scallion. Then, I sprinkled thinly sliced English cucumber with white vinegar and kosher salt and let them sit in a bowl to contemplate their existence for one hour. (Fortunately, they ultimately decided that they needed to become one with slices of bread and they continued on their journey to becoming the centerpiece of a sandwich.)

The cucumbers were drained, patted dry, then nestled between crust less slabs of thinly sliced bread that had been buttered and slathered with the mayonnaise mixture. The results were spectacular.

Next up, deviled egg triangles. Egg salad mixed with a touch of Grey Poupon made a delightful morsel.

Last, but certainly not least, were rye bread rounds smeared with scallion enhanced cream cheese and topped with smoked salmon and fresh dill. (Note to self: If you sneak a sandwich off of the pedestal, fix the one that's falling over. You can commit the perfect theft with a little forethought.)

I've always loved afternoon tea. As a child, my grandmother settled us down in the late afternoon with 'tea', (it was really just milk in a tea cup with a splash of tea), and cookies or a small slice of cake. Later, in high school on trips into NYC, I discovered the Charleston Garden Restaurant in Altman's department store. It was one of the hot spots in Manhattan where ladies from the suburbs "did" lunch or tea while they were in the city shopping. The room had a full replica of the facade of a southern style mansion on one wall. You really did feel like you were having tea in a garden. Our parents felt that it was a safe place for young girls to go when they were on their own in New York and encouraged us to go there. We didn't mind one bit. Decked out in our Sunday best, which included hats, gloves and dresses or suits, we would approach the maitre 'd as if we had done this all of our lives.

Then there were the mother/daughter teas at church, in high school and during my college orientation. This picture is from my Senior Tea. The Junior girls were obliged to serve the graduating class and their Moms every year.
Will my husband and I have another tea that's this elaborate in the near future? Probably not. There was enough butter on that table to clog thousands of miles of arteries! We will, however, make a pot of tea in the old Rockingham tea pot sometime in the afternoon. We'll cut up a lemon, break out the clover honey and toast life.

15 comments:

  1. Now I am officially starving! Oh, how good that tea looks! I am going to be pouring tea this weekend at a party for my best friend's daughter. It should be fun! And your tea for two looks like it was a lot of fun, too!

    Happy Foodie Friday!

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  2. My mother still drinks her afternoon tea, and she would love your menu. Your idea of mixing horseradish and scallions into the mayonnaise is nothing short of genius! I think the British have the right idea about tea, whether it is "High" or regular. Thank you so very much for this joyful teaparty!

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  3. I would have thoroughly enjoyed this tea. If you do it again, invite me!!

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  4. I'm sure your hubby felt so special knowing you did all of this. It looks wonderful!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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  5. Yummy table! I made my mini puff pastry goodies with maple cream cheese filling and topped it with blackberries! I'll share it next week!

    Thanks,
    Carolyn

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  6. not sure I like this theme you all have for Friday....makes me crave foods....and lot of them!!!!
    glad to have you back posting.....missed ya and the beautiful photos!

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  7. Oh that looks wonderful! Pretty AND delicious..
    I just made scones, new recipe very good..
    I will have to see how Alton says to do it!
    Kathleen

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  8. I just read your bio! I have lived on L.I. all my life...now on the east end in Southampton...small blog world..:)

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  9. wonderful tea!

    Happy Foodie Friday!

    Susan

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  10. Hi Nancy! Thanks for seeing my blog; I guess Blogger's messing up with my pictures because it's not the first time it happened. It was worst yesterday... Sorry about that. Visit again soon!

    Carolyn of What Now? Tablescapes

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  11. Everything looks and sounds wonderful. I've ready so many making scones lately, will definitely have to try them!

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  12. Your man musy have felt so loved and special for you doing all that just for him.Mine would faint. LOL

    Hugs,
    Chris

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  13. Hello Nancy Jane

    Your tea was lovely! I adore scones so I'll have to try Alton's recipe.

    I'm glad you enjoyed my post on Auden. He was a remarkable poet, wasn't he?

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