Afternoon Tea Fit For a Bride

August 5, 2011 at 9:00 am 5 comments

As I mentioned in a previous post, my best friends recently got engaged at the beginning of the summer. Little did we know they would be married by the end of the same summer! After finding a great deal that they couldn’t pass up, the wedding date was solidified for the end of this very short summer. I got the news the day before I left for Europe, and we quickly chose the only Sunday I had free for the rest of July and August for the bridal shower (I am quite the busy girl, what can I say?) There was some whirlwind wedding planning that went down while I was gone, but I was able to stay somewhat in touch via email. Amanda’s future mother-in-law, Momma K, took the lead for a tea party themed bridal shower. She had an incredible vision for the event from the start, and was very organized in executing every detail. She made all of the fabulous favors (mini clipboards that held the menu, but would be great recipe card holders for future re-purposing!) and pulled together the prettiest centerpieces. She is starting a craft blog, and is looking to start selling some of her favors! (You can contact her at lifeisaspecialoccasion@gmail.com if you are interested!) Her talent and creativity are truly inspiring, so check her out.

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Sticking inside of my comfort zone, I offered to make a lot of the food. Little did I know how many maid of honor duties would await me when I got back from vacation. Appointments with the florists, picking out music, bridesmaid dress shopping, catching up with the other bridesmaids… all of these events left me with very little time over the weekend to accomplish everything I needed to do! I drew up a checklist for each day and got completely bogged down. I spent my Friday evening making lemon curd and mini meringues (great to do together because one uses only yolks and the other only whites), as well as prepping the components for my tea sandwiches. I planned to wake early on Saturday to make the scones before our florist appointment, but my sister called me out on my craziness. She offered to bake the scones if I left the recipe up on my computer. What a lifesaver!

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I found a great recipe for mini vanilla scones from the Pioneer Woman. Her recipe called for vanilla beans and heavy cream, neither of which we had on hand. I made a few adjustments: vanilla extract for the beans, milk for the cream. No big deal, right? Wrong! The wet:dry ingredients ratio got totally screwed up, and my sister ended up with something closer to pancake batter than scone dough! (Disclaimer: I have mentioned before that I am a cook and not baker! I have to be exact with everything else I do in life, and prefer to have a little more fun experimenting in the kitchen!) I get a frantic phone call from my sister while at the florist, but luckily she is both smart and determined. She figured out the ratio of flour and baking powder, and then added small amounts of that mixture until the dough was thick enough to be rolled. She watched the first batch like a hawk to get the perfect baking time, and we ended up with perfect miniature scones! I would have been lost without her help!

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The morning of the bridal shower, I kicked Amanda out of the house after feeding her a great breakfast. I enlisted the help of my sister again, as well as another bridesmaid. We got to work on all of the finger sandwiches, a quintessential part of any tea party. We covered the kitchen island with waxed paper and set up out own assembly line. My sister, well-trained as a nanny, began cutting all of the crust off the bread. She handed the bread squares to Sarah, who scooped and spread and filled all of the sandwiches. They were then passed to me to be cut from rectangles to squares to triangles, finally to be artfully arranged on the prettiest of my mom’s serving platters. With all three of us at work, we were done making 3 loaves of bread worth of sandwiches in less than an hour, as well as whip a whole quart of whipped cream! Many hands really do make light work, as does an immersion blender with a whisk attachment ;)

Tea Sandwiches

The bridal shower was perfect. The scones were delicious with the lemon curd, whipped cream, or any number of assorted jams. The sandwiches were a hit, and there were many great cookie options provided by Momma K and the other bridesmaids. The spread was rounded out with a store-bought fruit and veggie platter, as well as by some spanikopita (such a fun word to say!) For beverages, there was a wide selection of teas, as well as a fun jug of water filled to the brim with lemon slices. Not only did the water taste really lemony and fresh, but it also looked beautiful! The centerpieces tied the tea theme together with Amanda’s wedding colors, and really transformed the house into a tea room. We had a great time eating, talking, playing games and opening gifts. A special event for a special bride-to-be!

Tea Party

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I made a lot of food for the event, stocked with recipes and inspiration from many of the blogs I read! My scones were a failure, but I am sure that the Pioneer Woman’s original version would not have the problem if you stick with it! My mini meringues, while tasty, also gave me a problem, but that was likely the high humidity. (Instead of being light and crunchy, they were a little sticky…) If you are interested in the original recipe, you can check it out here. For the lemon curd, I followed Alton Brown’s method exactly. The whipped cream is also simple, as I have pointed out before. It is literally whipped cream, which I lightly sweetened with table sugar and vanilla. So fresh and so simple! If you are having your own tea party, check out those recipes, or look below for how to put together three different types of tea sandwiches! If you do make the sandwiches, save the crusts… you can use them later for croutons! (Hint: look forward to a future post.) Waste not, want not!

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Creamy Dill Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

1 loaf pumpernickel bread

8 oz Neuchâtel cream cheese

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

2 tbsp dill

2 large English cucumbers

Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature. Mix the softened cream cheese with the plain Greek yogurt and dill. This can be done a few days ahead of time, or right before putting the sandwiches together. Peel the cucumbers with a vegetable peeler. Slice thinly into rounds. Cut the crusts off of the pumpernickel bread. Spread each side lightly with the cream cheese mixture. Spread one to two layers of cucumbers and top with the other slice of bread. The cream cheese will help the cucumbers to stick to the bread. Slice the rectangle in half to create two squares. Slice each square in half to create triangles. One loaf of bread will yield about 48 finger sandwiches.

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Turkey Cranberry Tea Sandwiches

1 lb turkey breast

1 can whole cranberry sauce

1 1/2 oz dried apricots

3 tbsp orange juice

1/4 cup cranberry juice

1 loaf seedless rye bread

Thinly slice the dried apricots. Cover with orange juice and allow to soak, covered in the fridge, for several hours. Combine in a small sauce pan with cranberry juice and bring to a boil. Spoon in a can of whole cranberry sauce and allow to simmer. Allow to reduce for 20-30 minutes, until the sauce is thick and the apricots are well combined. Return to the fridge and allow to sit overnight. When ready to prepare the sandwiches, slice the crusts off the bread. Spread a spoonful of cranberry sauce on one side of the sandwich, and layer the turkey on the other. Combine. Cut into squares, and then cut the squares into triangles. One loaf of bread will yield about 48 finger sandwiches.

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No-Mayo Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 dozen eggs

3 tbsp Greek yogurt

4 stalks celery

2 tbsp chives

Salt and pepper to taste

1 loaf wheat bread

Place 12 large eggs in a large pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, and then set a timer for 7 minutes. After the eggs have boiled for 7 minutes, immediately submerge the eggs in an ice water bath. Shell the eggs; separate the yolks and egg whites but keep in the same bowl. Add the yogurt, finely chopped celery, and chives. Mash with a fork until the eggs are broken into pieces and all of the ingredients are well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To assemble sandwiches, cut off the crusts of a loaf of whole wheat bread. Spoon egg salad onto one piece of bread and top. Cut into squares, and then cut the squares into triangles. One loaf of bread will yield about 48 finger sandwiches.

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Cinque Terre Homemade Croutons

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide  |  August 5, 2011 at 10:07 am

    What an awesome spread!

    Reply
  • 2. Scavenging the Interweb  |  August 5, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Oh my gosh, the person who commented me had the exact same reaction! I was thinking of writing ‘What an amazing spread! Like something in the movies.’ Oh wait. I just did. :)

    Reply
  • 3. Amanda Dolly  |  August 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    I love this post sooo much! Thank you girls for all the work you put into it! You really did an amazing job. I can’t even tell you how much I loved all of it! It was seriously the perfect bridal shower ;o)

    Reply
  • 4. Cooking in Croatia « homemadeadventure  |  September 1, 2011 at 7:14 am

    […] weekend, I will back home in NJ for the wedding (you may remember her engagement celebration and bridal shower!) I am fortunate enough to be hosting her rehearsal dinner, so will be busy this evening tonight […]

    Reply
  • 5. Crafty Wedding Gifts « homemadeadventure  |  September 9, 2011 at 8:07 am

    […] always amazing us with her scrapbooks, centerpieces, ornaments, and other fun crafts. Remember her centerpieces from the bridal shower? Well, she really outdid herself with the favors for the […]

    Reply

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