Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It's Tea Time.....

"Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors. "
~Alice Walker~(photo source)

I have been AWOL from La Tea Dah's (Gracious Hospit
ality) tea time posts for the past few weeks so I am planning to make it all up in one post! Grab a cup, settle in, 'cause it is tea time, my friends!
For the week of April 20-26 the tea time challenge was The-Sweet-and-Savory-of Yummy tea time recipes. Afternoon Tea contains three S's for me ~ the savory sandwich, the scone, and something sweet. (photo source)
First the savory sandwich! Below are recipes for two of my favorites, Baco~Dilly Sandwiches and the Seafood Tea Sandwich.


8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 Cup mayonnaise
5 bacon slices, finely chopped (real bacon bits can be substituted)

1 TBSP chopped green onion
1 tsp dill weed
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Cup toasted slivered almonds

Mix ingredients until well combined. Spread half the bread with a thin coating of mayonnaise. Spread the other half of the bread with the cream cheese mixture. To make each sandwich, cut off crusts, and cut into three parallel sections, or four triangles.


Shrimp, crab, or lobster may be used in this tea sandwich recipe, or any combination thereof.

3/4 Cup soft butter or cream cheese
1/4 Cup finely chopped chives
20 slices of bread, your choice
2 Cups finely chopped crab, shrimp, or lobster
1/2 Cup mayonnaise
1 TBSP lemon juice

1 tsp prepared horseradish (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the butter (or cream cheese) and the chives; spread the mixture onto 1 side of each slice of the bread. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl, then evenly spread the mixture over 10 of the bread slices. Top with the other 10 slices, remove crusts, and cut. Makes 40 quarters or 30 fingers.

Now on to the scone of Afternoon Tea! I'd like to share with you some lemony goodness, but first a story of how I got the recipe. In our house we a strange tradition called, Cooking off the Wall. My daughter started this tradition when we converted a small 6'x4' hallway into a kitchen pantry.At the time, storage space in our small cottage kitchen was a desperate need so I came up with a solution. Off the kitchen was a door that led into a small hall, to the left was the master bath, straight ahead was a walk in closet, and to the right was the master bedroom. I really disliked the lack of privacy this door provided and we needed more kitchen storage. I asked Handy Hubby how hard it would be to move the bathroom and bedroom doors over, creating a new hall space in the front of the walk in closet, build a new closet wall, close off the old doorways, and convert the old hall into a pantry. My darling said, "Doable!", so we did.We carefully measured and designed the pantry for maximum efficiency . I chose a color palette of a deep rich green for the walls with cherry stained shelving. After so much construction, which we did ourselves, our budget was running really tight and we needed to cover the pantry walls, I originally wanted bead board but it was too costly so once again I put on my thinking cap.

We had a stack of new doors that were closeouts handy hubby had purchased at a ridiculous price of $80.00 for both solid wood and fifteen panel glass doors. Most of them he resold at a profit but we had some left over. With a bit of trimming and measuring we made them work. Three walls are covered with the fifteen glass panel ones and one wall was covered with a solid paneled one. To cover the glass panes I collected cookbooks from the 1920's and 1930's for their great graphics from various flea markets and decoupaged the pages over the glass. Some of the recipe bundles I found even had handwritten recipes which further enhanced the homey feel of the pantry.
After what I thought was an eternity of gluing, the walls were done, the brackets were designed and cut by Handy Hubby, shelving was cut, edged, stained, and installed, and a special spice cupboard was designed, built, hand painted, and hung. All that was left to do was to fill it up with homey goodness.I had always wanted a pantry, ever since reading the Little House books where Almonzo built Laura a pantry. It seemed such a romantic gesture for him to want her work space to be comfortable and inviting. Hers even had a window where she could look outside and not feel closed in. My pantry has a little romance to it too. We replaced the modern door with one that we salvaged from and eighty something year old house. I refer to it as my romantic door. The little town the house was in is called Romance!My daughter kept going in there and moving the food to read recipes off the wall. She popped out one day and said, "Mom, how about we do some cooking off the wall?" A tradition was born. She picked a recipe, one that you could fully see and we bought the ingredients to make White Water Cake. Now, in the recipe books of this era there is a bit of confusion as to cooking times and temperatures. Most of them have instructions that say, "Cook in a slow oven." or they instruct you to stick your arm in the wood stove to see if the temperature is right so we guessed on time and temperature for this recipe.The cake came out beautifully but it felt a bit heavy. Hmmmm, a little hard to get out of the pan and onto the plate. Perhaps it needs chocolate frosting? We make some and slather it on. We decide that dad will be the guinea pig. Cut (sawed off ) a heaping helping and serve it with a flourish. One bite told the story, it was downright nasty! Yes, we tasted too, yuck! We went to scrape it off the plate and it stuck! You could turn the whole thing upside down and it stuck! After a fit of giggles we managed to pry the thing off and get it into the trash. With a twinkle in her eye, my daughter said, "When can we do that again?"

We have cooked off the wall many times and some things we like and some things not so much, but here is a delicious keeper that is a perfect sweet and savory yummy scone for a tea time treat.(photo source)

3 Cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking power
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP sugar
6 TBSP shortening

Grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 Cup lemon juice
3/4 to 1 Cup buttermilk
1 egg, separated
Sugar for sprinkling (I like to mix a bit of white granulated sugar with a touch of lemon flavoring and yellow food coloring for a bit of color and extra flavoring.)

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in shortening and lemon rind. Combine lemon juice, buttermilk, and egg yolk. Add to flour mixture. Knead on floured board for 20 seconds. Roll to 1/4 inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut into 2 in. x 3 in. diamond or triangle shaped pieces. Brush with egg white and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Place on greased baking sheet and bake in a 425 F oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes about 24 2 in. x 3 in. scones.

Combine this with a yummy Lemon Curd recipe and you have a winning combination!
Lemon Curd is a thick, soft, spreadable cream that has a wonderful tart yet sweet flavor. Traditionally it was used to spread on scones but today it is also used to fill tarts, pies, cakes, and as part of trifle. You can also use it on toast, biscuits, bagels, etc.


2/3 Cups fresh lemon juice
3 TBSP finely grated lemon zest
2 Cups sugar
1 Cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter - no substitutes
4 eggs

A room temperature lemon provides more juice, after squeezing, strain the juice to remove any pulp.

Zest is the yellow, sweet flavored outer rind of the lemon. A zester or a fine grater can be used to remove the rind. Cold lemons are much easier to grate. Grate lemons just before using the as the zest will lose moisture if it sits too long.

Mix juice, zest, and sugar in a 2 quart microwave safe casserole dish, add butter and cover with waxed paper. Microwave on HIGH for 4 1/2 minutes, whisk, microwave for another 30 seconds on HIGH, whisk.

Beat eggs until frothy and blend in 1/2 Cup of the hot lemon mixture, stir back into the casserole dish and whisk well. Cover with waxed paper and microwave on MEDIUM for 2 minutes, whisk.

Microwave on MEDIUM for 2 more minutes, whisk, microwave on MEDIUM-LOW for 1 minute, whisk, mixture should be as thick as mayonnaise, if not, continue to microwave on MEDIUM-LOW for one minute intervals until it is.

When lemon curd is done, whisk well and ladle into hot sterilized half-pint jars. Cover and cool at room temperature and then refrigerate. Makes 4 half-pints.

You cannot serve scones, even scones with Lemon Curd without Devonshire Cream! Originally from Devonshire County, England, it is a thick, buttery cream often used as a topping for desserts. It is still a specialty of Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset as this is where the right breed of cattle are raised with high enough cream content to produce clotted cream. It is also known as Devon cream and clotted cream. Clotted cream has a consistency similar to soft butter.

Before the days of pasteurization, the milk from the cows was left to stand for several hours so that the cream would rise to the top. Then this cream was skimmed and put into big pans. The pans were then floated in trays of constantly boiling water in a process known as scalding. The cream would then become much thicker and develop a golden crust which is similar to butter. Below is a mock recipe without the milking of cows, skimming the cream, or the scalding process!


3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 TBSP sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 Cup whipping cream

In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, and salt; stir until well blended. Stir in whipping cream. With an electric mixer; beat until stiff. If you want this to have a bit of yellow color just add a drop or so of yellow food coloring. Store in the refrigerator.

Now that we have our tea time treats, we must have tea to go with them and The White, Green, Black, and Herb of Tea was for the week of April 27-May3. This is where you tell about your favorite tea, how you serve it, if it is a specialty purchase, etc. For more great recipes, run over to Razzle Dazzle Recipes!

For a summery iced tea with a hint of mint and the zest of lemon try serving Mint and Lemon Iced Tea!(photo source)
Mint and Lemon Iced Tea

3 Cups boiling water
4 black tea bags
2 fresh mint sprigs
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup lemon juice
5 Cups cold water

Fresh mint and lemon slices for garnish

Use the boiling water to brew the black tea with the mint springs for five minutes. Strain or remove tea bags and mint. Add sugar and lemon juice, stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in cold water. Serve over ice, garnish with mint and a slice of lemon.

As for a hot tea choice, well, you pick your favorite! I chose to share an iced tea recipe as it is starting to warm up a bit here and a mint lemony ice tea says summer!
Last but not least, the sweets! I have confessed before that I do not like chocolate, however, I can tolerate it if it is wrapped around a big juicy strawberry! As far as I am concerned you cannot beat the strawberries grown in our state. I grew up going to the berry fields and eating them sun warmed, right of the vine. For my sweets I chose strawberry treats!

Plump ripe chocolate dipped strawberries:
Lemon tarts, made with Lemon Curd filling in a graham cracker crust topped with a ruffle of cream cheese, half a strawberry and a bit of mint for garnish:And a super simple pastry treat of bakery sliced Creme Horns, dipped in powdered sugar, topped with a slice of strawberry, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top. (You can also add a swirl of cream cheese to the top if desired.):You may remember these and the delicious strawberry spinach salad from this earlier post, you will need to scroll down towards the bottom of the post.

We have our savory summery tea time selections now we must Set the Table, Tea is on! This was for the week of May 4-May 10 where you were to set your table for tea, show off your linens, serving pieces, pots, cups, three-tires, tea accessories, etc.

I decided I'd like to have an good old fashioned Hen Party! You know, where you and your favorite sister chicks get together for a good gab. I so wanted to set this up out in the field out by the barn but it has been raining constantly with more in the forecast. I decided an alternative would be in the kitchen, so I moved my picnic inside.
I picked a color palette of red, white, yellow, with a bit of black thrown in to compliment the recipes above. I wanted to show that Afternoon Tea can be fun without all the fancy. I mixed together wicker for texture, tin, silver, crystal, and candle light for shine, and fabric and flowers for softness. Silk daisies with black and white polka dot centers and real lemons scattered about add a little punch.Let's start the Hen Party with a little hot tea service! A large natural wicker bread tray holds a vintage silver tea pot with a red Bakelite handle. The rooster and his mate seem to have a date . He is wearing his best bow tie and she her best apron. I think they plan to dine by egg cup candle light tonight! Lemony posies are perched behind the cute couple. These will be planted outside. I used some black and white polka dot paper to wrap around the pot, securing it with a piece of tape in the back and adding a raffia bow. I chose to use clear crystal cups and saucers with mini silver spoons. Tiny vintage restaurant creamers, a gift from a friend, stand at the ready to be filled. They are adorned with little daisy 3D scrapbook embellishments. Simply peel and stick!
Beside the creamers sits one sweet chick! This little red and white hen belonged to my paternal grandmother, here she is being used to serve sugar! A simple raffia bow is tied around her neck and another stick on daisy with a silk leaf is pressed into the center of the bow.
A chilled tin pitcher holds some of the fabulous Lemon Mint Tea! Two glasses are already poured, one for you and one for me! Another sweet hen rests between the crystal glasses of tea, she is filled with red cinnamon candy! To elevate her I turned a small red tin bowl upside down and placed her on top. Everything rests on a square vintage table cloth that has been folded into a triangle for visual interest.
More silver egg cups hold tea lights as a black wire rooster and fresh lemon hold court and the attention of the two little crochet chick egg covers. Red tin plates add some pop!For serving those yummy savory sandwiches, scones, and sweets I used my three tired server. Using simple natural wicker paper plate holders lined with red and white tin plates for serving trays. Just imagine a stack of savory sandwiches on top, with a ring of scones tucked in the middle, and a slew of sweets piled on the bottom.
Below rest Henny and Penny and their little silver spreaders ready to serve up the Mock Devonshire Cream and the luscious Lemon Curd! Henny and Penny are part of a set of four sweet chicks. They have story but it is best saved for another day. Now we must serve ourselves from these handled wicker plate holders with red and white tin plates. A bright yellow paper napkin is stamped (use permanent ink only!) with a red rooster, folded, and tied with a raffia bow finished off with a flourish of another dainty daisy. Grab some grub and lets gab!
I do sincerely apologize that you have to have imaginary food at this Hen Party. I have all the ingredients and fully intended to have everything ready and even do as La Tea Dah suggested and invite a friend over to share, however, my week has not worked out to do so. It was fun to play anyway!

To close out this post and to get me up to date on the blog-a-thon Tea Room Ventures and Venues is for the week of May 11-May 17. This is where you post on a favorite tea room, its menu, decor, gift shop, etc. I had planned a field trip to a small town about forty five minutes from here that has a tiny tea room and gift shop on the town square. Due to the illness and passing of my grandmother I was unable to. I still plan to check it out in the near future and I'll share about it then.

The last tea room I visited was last year with my two best friends, Pam and Sharon. Sharon's daughter told us about a tea room called, Victorian Garden, in a nearby town. While it is touted as a "tea room", it turned out to be a tiny intimate restaurant. While I found the decor a bit simplistic and lacking that cozy tea room feel, the food was excellent!

Our choices consisted of:
Victorian Fruit & Cheese — Chutney cheese spread, Brie cheese, Gouda cheese crepes, seasonal fresh fruit and crackers.
Soup Du Jour — Cup - which happened to be a cheesy concoction that was heavenly.
Chicken Salad — Poached all white breast meat, apples, almonds, celery and green onions tossed with our special sauce on a croissant. A house specialty. (This was Sharon's choice.)
Orange Nut — Mixed greens, fresh oranges, sautéed walnuts, and red onion topped with goat cheese and a sweet and sour dressing, topped with sautéed chicken strips. (My choice, can you say melt in your mouth, happy dancing taste buds delicious!)
Quiche Du Jour — Served with choice of seasonal fresh fruit, Victorian side salad, or cup of soup.
(Pam's choice.)

We closed out the meal with a shared pecan tart, when divided into three pieces, which left us each with am ample portion. We did have a cup of hot tea with the tart, so tea was a part of the experience. I found the above photo on the internet, this is the exact table we sat at, as you can see the decor is pretty sparse and the colors a bit dull. To me it lacked atmosphere but the company I kept and the scrumptious food more than made up for it. We can be pretty colorful characters and we decided it was a bit too stuffy for us as every time we burst into laughter we got a frown from the stiffly starched wait staff.

Our waitress was grumpy, I think her chef jacket thingy was buttoned too tight at the collar. I am hoping that my little field trip to The Tea Room will unearth a charming little spot that I can slip away to from time to time. (Hopefully it will be a real tea room this time!) For my birthday I want to go The Peabody for high tea. I'll let you know how that turns out.

If you have made it to the end my friend, then I thank you for bearing with me as I totaled up tea posts. Each highlighted link for the blog-a-thon titles will take you to a specific post where there are links to others who have posted on the topic also. I encourage you to visit each one of these wonderful ladies who are as warm as hot cup of tea on a cold morning and as sweet as Southern iced tea!

Miss Sandy

P.S. There is only one more week in the blog-a-thon and it will sadly draw to a close, be sure and check back in here next week to sign up for a special tea give away!


La Tea Dah said...

What a lovely and charming post! I totally LOVE your pantry! Cooking off the wall. . .what a wonderful tradition! And those paned glass doors --- awesome! I love your tea table, and your chat about the tea room you visited with the starchy, coated waiter! You have done a superb job of catching up!

I'm sorry about your grandmother's death. I know you will miss her, but remember, her legacy lives on through you.

I'd love to hear from you. My email is "the name of my blog" and I'm at gmail.

Thanks for sharing!

Lori said...

Miss Sandy, what a beautiful tea:) your recipes sound so yummy!!! i am thinking a nice summer lunch out~doors would be perfect to try some of these...your pantry is delightful, i love the door too!!!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Oh I just loved it! Every single word. Your pantry is marvelous and your henparty tea in the kitchen is positively inspired. I love the birds nestled in among the foods...there's too much to comment on!

Were you up to all hours getting this posted? No wonder that you were giggling!


Terri said...

Oh my! What wonderful sounding recipes. I will HAVE to try some for my next tea party.

I really like your pantry too.
God bless.

ellen b. said...

Miss Sandy! that does it, I'm coming to your house to live so I can help you use that marvelous pantry!! Yikes. I so love your catch up post every bit of it. The recipes, the photos, the stories are all great. Thanks for catching up and sharing...

Bonita said...

What a fun post to read! That pantry is nothing short of incredible and what memories you have to go along with it. A one of a kind treasure! The food looks so tasty and thank you so much for sharing the recipes. Your table decor reminds me of tea on a farm and I almost expected you to serve gravy and biscuits. What fun! Thank you so much for taking time to catch up and let us in on your wonderful tea experiences.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

What a beautiful pantry. It would surely inspire me. I just love the cooking off the wall story. Isn't it funny how we make such beautiful memories while living life.

Kathy at Shocking Pink Thread said...

What an incredible pantry! How creative! Thank you for the terrific post. ~Kathy

ceekay said...

Wow! Your post is incredible! That pantry is the greatest! I love the door. Thanks for coming by my blog. Hope you come visit again soon. Have a great weekend!

Carrie said...

Talk about a fabulous post! This was great reading. It provides so much for someone who loves the tea experience.

The Rose Cottage said...

Hi Miss Sandy :) A beautiful post today as always. I can see you put a lot of love and hard work into that amazing pantry, it is just wonderful , I love every part of it.

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Miss Sandy! WOW! I'm hungry now! Everything looks so wonderful!
Hugs SHerry

Linda said...

This is a fabulous post! Great photography and thanks for sharing the recipes. I always include the "3 S's" of Afternoon Tea, but never thought of it in that way! I will think of your beautiful blog when I plan future tea menus!

HisBeloved said...

You have a lovely blog and beautiful pictures! I can't wait to try your lemon scone recipe.


Kari & Kijsa said...

Great post! Love the strawberries...they are selling them down at the farmer's market!

Have a blessed and wonderful day!

smiles, kari & kijsa

Lisa said...

Wow! What a wonderful long post - you are amazing for including everything. Yum to the recipes and I enjoyed your stories. Thanks for catching up!

Miss Rhea said...

Wow, I am now Starving and Drooling. ( Sorry, lol ) I have to try each and every recipe and I LOVE your pantry. Did I tell you, I LOVE your pantry ? :)

Judy said...

Wow...incredible tea-time post!

Your pantry is wonderful...and tea treats all look so yummy! I am going to try your lemon scones with mock Devonshire cream (that looks more appealing to me than the real thing!) You and I are among the few who do not care for chocolate!


The Feathered Nest said...

My goodness Sandy!!!! This blog post is a work of art!!! And your pantry, oh my goodness, it's absolutely wonderful! It should be in a magazine, what a great idea to do this! I love that you say "cooking off the wall". Plus your bacon sandwiches sound soooo good...need to try those! I just want to tell you Sandy that it's friends like you that have encouraged me to create my artwork and actually have the confidence to send it in to be published!!! Thank you for always cheering me on, Sandy..and don't think that I've forgotten my seaside assemblage...coming soon to a blog near you!! Have a wonderful rest of the weekend, love & hugs, Dawn

kathi~lavender, lace and thyme said...

Miss Sandy,

When you catch catch up! Everything is wonderful, from your recipes to your tea rooms, precious, thank you for taking the time to catch up.

JamieLee said...

OH, I am SO craving a scone and some lemon curd right now. YUM! Thanks for stopping by my blog, too... come again soon!

Charm & Grace said...

I think this is one of my favorite blog posts of all time. It's filled with wonderful stories, lovely delicious things, and all things tea. You have a way with words, Miss Sandy, but you also have a way with the camera. Thank you for sharing your giftedness with us.

Blessings and prayers for your health,

Vee said...

Five years later and I have returned based on my fading memory of your pantry! True! It's a great one.

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