Wednesday, June 29, 2016

SUMMER TEA TIME

Summer, when everything is in bloom and the scent of herbs fills the air, is a great time for a garden tea party.  Find a nice shady spot to set your table with a tablecloth or placemats and simple decorations such as a rosemary topiary or cut flowers in a vase and small herbal bouquets as place cards.  Party favors can be a small bottle of herbal vinegar or a favorite herb blend.  Ask each guest to bring their favorite cup and saucer to add to the d├ęcor as well as the conversation.

Use easy recipes that can be prepared the day before with an emphasis on flowers both in presentation and ingredients.  Here are a few fun recipes to get you started:

SAVORIES:

TEA SANDWICH FLOWERS:  Choose 6 different spreads and two types of bread to create tea sandwich flowers.  Cut bread into strips, add spread, fold together and place on a plate, alternating breads.  Garnish individual petals if desired plus add an herb sprig to the center.

HERB HAM PETALS: Combine 4 ounces of cream cheese with 2Tbs prepared brown mustard, a dill or sweet pickle, 1c cooked ham and 1tsp HERBAL ESSENCE.  

TEX-MEX CHICKEN PETALS: Combine 8oz cream cheese with 1c cooked chicken, 2/3c shredded cheese, 1/2tsp minced garlic, 1Tbs TEX-MEX, 2 chopped green onions and ½ can Rotel tomatoes, drained.  Refrigerate 1 hour.

FRESH HERB PETALS: Blend 8oz softened cream cheese, 2Tbs butter, 1 minced garlic clove, 1Tbs each fresh parsley, basil, thyme, 4 chopped nasturtium blooms and 1tsp fresh dill until well combined.

CUCUMBER PETALS: Core, peel and finely chop a cucumber then add salt and place in a strainer overnight to remove as much liquid as possible. Blend 8oz cream cheese, 1 chopped green onion and 1Tbs DELIGHTFUL DILLY.  Add chopped cucumber, salt and pepper.

STRAWBERRY-ORANGE PETALS: Combine 8oz cream cheese, 1Tbs sugar, 1/2c fresh strawberries and the zest of an orange.

RAISIN-APPLE PETALS: Combine 8oz cream cheese with 2tsp honey, 1c grated apple and 1/2c raisins plus 1tsp cinnamon.


SWEETS:

FLOWER PETAL ICE CREAM: Soften vanilla bean ice cream and mix in chopped sweet flower petals of your choice. Try Anise Hyssop, Bee Balm, Rose Petals, Pineapple Sage, Texas Tarragon, Violas or a combination. Return the ice cream to the freezer for 24 hours and serve.

BASIC BUTTER COOKIES:   Cream 1c butter and 1c sugar, then add egg and mix well.  Add 2½c flour and 1tsp baking soda, then 1tsp vanilla. Roll into two logs, wrap & refrigerate overnight.  Slice, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 10 mins.
            Sweet Flower Cookies:  Add 1Tbs fresh chopped flower petals to butter mixture.
                    Try Anise Hyssop, Bee Balm, Rose Petals, Pineapple Sage, Texas Tarragon, Violas or a combination.
             Lemon Thyme Cookies: Add 1Tbs fresh lemon thyme/thyme and 1tsp lemon zest to butter mixture.

SWEET STUFFED DAYLILIES:  Blend together 8oz cream cheese, 2/3c powdered sugar, 1/2tsp vanilla, 1-7oz pkg coconut and 1tsp FIVE SPICE gourmet blend until smooth.  Chill 2 hours.  Remove stamens from daylily blossoms and pipe cream cheese mixture into centers.
Variation: Stuff with chocolate mousse


Don't forget the iced tea and this twist on traditional lemonade:

PINK LAVENDER LEMONADE: Steep 1Tbs organic lavender blossoms in a quart of boiling water for 5 mins.  Strain and use liquid to prepare frozen lemonade.

"So whether you eat or drink,
or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God
"
I Corinthians 10:31

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