Saturday, June 15, 2019

Rhubarb Pecan Tea Bread

This yummy springtime tea bread provides the perfect answer to what to make with the fresh rhubarb harvest. Sweet and pretty with the pieces of rhubarb in the bread, it's a delicious addition to the tea table.

Rhubarb Pecan Tea Bread
1-1/2 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 c. vegetable oil
1 egg
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 c. flour
1-1/2 c, raw rhubarb, diced
1/2 c, pecans, chopped
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. lemon balm, fresh, snipped fine
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
1 T. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 2 - 8" x 4" x 3" loaf pans. In large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, oil and egg. In a large measuring cup, combine buttermilk, baking soda, salt and vanilla. Add the milk mixture to the sugar mixture alternately with the flour, beating well after each addition. Fold in the rhubarb and pecans. Turn the batter into the prepared pans. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over the batter. Bake for 60 minutes, or until loaf tests done. Cool on wire rack.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Garden Veggie & Herb Terrine

This yummy appetizer was the hit of the recent garden party we hosted for a group of herbal enthusiasts traveling from Ohio. This savory baked cheesecake served with crackers is fairly easy to make, serves a crowd, and provides a beautiful addition to any party. Garnished with edible flowers on top and edged with freshly snipped parsley, it is a feast for the eyes!

Garden Veggie & Herb Terrine
2 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese (feta works well also)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1/2 c. sour cream
2 eggs
2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
1/2 c. fresh garden herbs
 (parsley, rosemary, savory, chives, thyme, basil, any assortment)
1/4 c. snipped spring onion
1/2 c. pimiento, chopped
1/3 c. black olives, chopped
additional parsley to coat sides

Line bottom of an 8" x 4" x 2" glass loaf pan with foil. Grease sides; set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese till smooth. Add Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and ground red pepper. Beat well. Add sour cream, eggs, and lemon zest. Beat just until blended. Do not over beat. Mix in spring onion, pimiento, and olives. Pour into prepared pan; spread evenly. Place loaf pan into a larger baking pan. Pour boiling water into the larger pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake for 50 minutes, or until center appears firm when shaken. Carefully transfer loaf pan to a cooling rack. Cool completely. Cover and chill. Overnight is best so the flavors blend. Just before serving, slide a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen, then invert onto a serving platter. Remove foil. Gently press parsley onto the sides of the terrine. Garnish with edible flowers. Serve with assorted crackers.

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Queen's Tea

Celebrations over the weekend featured an afternoon tea in honour of Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of her 93rd birthday. The menu began with a recipe from Eating Royally (Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen) by Darren McGrady, a Pear and Pecan Salad with an assortment of toppings including fresh pear, parmesan cheese, fresh basil in a balsamic dressing. Lots of good flavor.

The sandwich assortment included an Apple, Carrot & Cheese Sandwich on Raisin Bread, Petite Red Radish Sandwich, 1953 Coronation Chicken Salad, Roast Beef & Tomato with Onion and Chive Spread on Puff Pastry rounds, and a Tomato Basil Pesto Cheese Crostini.

For the scone course, we served Rhubarb Pecan Bread (local, organic and seasonal rhubarb), and a Cream Scone (made from a recipe from the Claridge Hotel in London) with a variety of fresh fruit.

Dessert included a petite icing rose atop a Pineapple Pecan Cupcake, Coconut Lime Shortbread, and White Chocolate Raspberry Cookie. There was also a Raspberry Shrub and Chardonnay Spritzer to toast the Queen.                           Long Live the Queen! Long May She Reign!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Rosemary Pineapple Punch

We welcomed a group of herbal enthusiasts from Ohio this week, and provided a few tasty treats to enjoy under the pavilion on a warm spring (almost summer like) evening. We  served a true Rosemary House original and an all around favorite, Rosemary Pineapple Punch. This is a refreshing drink to quench the thirst on a warm summer's eve. The unique flavor of rosemary offers a delightful balance to the pineapple juice. Jillian, our youngest tea room hostess, cheerfully offered punch to the out-of-state visitors. We're happy to share the recipe here.
Rosemary Pineapple Punch
1/3 c. dried rosemary
2 c. water
1 - 46 oz. can pineapple juice
2 liters lemon-lime soda
1 liter ginger ale
Boil the water, remove from heat, add rosemary and steep for 30 minutes.
Strain. Chill. Add chilled rosemary tea to pineapple juice and let flavors blend overnight. Just before serving, add chilled lemon-lime soda and ginger ale. Pour into large pitcher or punch bowl. 
Yield: 5 quarts

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Rose Petal Witch Hazel Astringent

Rose Petal Witch Hazel Astringent --
It is so easy to make a lovely facial toner/astringent. Simply fill a jar 1/3rd full with dried organic rose petals or 1/2 full with fragrant fresh organic rose petals. We like to use the old fashioned rosa rugosa roses. Pour your favorite Witch Hazel astringent over the petals and allow the petals to steep for about a week. The Rose Petals will be mostly white by then.  Strain them out and they get added to the compost bin. Label your lovely witch hazel and use as a skin toner/astringent.   We make small batches and use it up. It is very fragrant.   Calendula petals are very healing for the skin. Aloe Vera is lovely.  Rose feels very cooling to us and we like to wipe our faces with a cosmetic pad dipped in Rose/Witch Hazel Astringent on hot summer days.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

An Explosion!

The water iris in our backyard pond have simply exploded in all their glorious color! It is a real burst of color and sparks a smile and a pause to admire them every time someone walks past the pond. 
Flowers whisper "Beauty!" to the world, even as they fade, wilt, fall. ~Dr. SunWolf

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day - with Remembrance and Respect

And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
~Lee Greenwood

Friday, May 24, 2019

Seasonal Salads with Marcella

We welcomed Marcella Paraskevas Ramirez from NJ to the tea room this week as our guest chef instructor. As a Personal chef, she tailors special diets suitable for vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, allergies, macrobiotic diets, etc. For our event, she shared creative healthy salads representing the four seasons and demonstrated assorted dressings to sample with them. In addition to her culinary skills as a chef, she is a holistic practitioner and consultant for humans and animals specializing in aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, and clinical herbalism.

The Spring Salad featured spring greens and edible flowers. The edible flowers were harvested from our herb garden and included rose petals, white violets, horseradish blossoms, sage blossoms, and pansies, all organic pesticide free of course. A rice vinegar and oil combination with fresh ginger comprised the dressing and a delicious homemade artisan bread was served alongside this pretty salad.

The Farmer's Market Salad with a Tomato Basil Vinaigrette represented Summer. Veggies such as zucchini, yellow squash, radishes, shallots, and cherry tomatoes all topped with feta cheese completed the plate. A creamy cilantro dressing was offered to complement this salad.
Celebrating Autumn, Marcella's Fiesta Salad was served. This salad included a combination of cucumber, sweet orange peppers, onion, garlic, jalapeno, corn, tomatoes, and black beans. Soaked cashews, blended with avocado, cilantro and coconut milk created a nice thick creamy flavorful topping. For a lighter dressing, rice vinegar, lime juice, olive oil and a combination of spices (cumin and cayenne) were blended together to create an alternative choice.
The winter salad featured kale and mixed greens with a Ginger Carrot Dressing. It was an evening of flavors to sample! Tastebuds were dancing all night long! A special thank you to Marcella for sharing her enthusiasm, knowledge, humor, and culinary talents with our group.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Itoh Peony 'Garden Treasure'

This beautiful peony blossom, Itoh Peony 'Garden Treasure' was presented to us and proudly shared from a fellow gardener. At first glance, this blooming treasure looks silken, but only upon touching the supple petals it is confirmed to be a real life specimen. The large golden yellow double flowers are 6" across with soft red centers. The plant blooms May and June, and the stems are notably strong as the peony stands proudly upright. The pretty little cakes are being served in the tea room today. They feature fresh raspberries, freshly zested lime, and lime curd atop a white frosted white cake. Such a lovely burst of spring color, both in the garden and in the kitchen. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Strawberry Tree Tea Room, Curwensville, PA

We found a new reason to enjoy Afternoon Tea! In celebration of the successful completion of Angelica's freshman year at Penn State, we headed to The Strawberry Tree Tea Room in Curwensville, PA. Mikayla, a new found friend from the university and a resident of Curwensville joined us for tea.

Several in our group ordered the iced tea. For hot tea drinkers, a tea-for-one pot with hot water is provided along with a wooden box full of tea bags to make your selection. Hot Cinnamon Spice was the tea of choice for this rainy and chilly PA day. We all decided to include the Broccoli Cheese Soup as an add-on to our menu.
Each guest received their own individual tiered tray which was fun! Shown below are the two options available. The tiered tray on the left is their standard 'So Sweet Sampler' which includes tea sandwiches (Cucumber, Ham & Swiss and Turkey & Provolone), cheese triangles crackers, cheese ball, carrot and celery sticks with ranch dip, tea cookies, fresh fruit cup, mini cheesecake and a scone with a dollop of cream. We requested a vegetarian option and received cucumber sandwiches. On the right is the other Afternoon Tea Sampler. This menu changes seasonally.

This little miniature salad came with the tray on the right. It is a crispy little cup filled with lettuce and a touch of veggies all dressed with Italian vinaigrette. Such a fun way to serve a miniature portion of salad. It would have been a perfect addition to the vegetarian tea tray!

And what's a celebration without an incredibly delicious dessert!? We shared a slice of the mile high peanut butter pie that sat atop a rich chocolate brownie coupled with garnishes of whipped cream and chocolate drizzle. Yum!

 The walls were covered in a wide variety of eye catching decor. And several rooms upstairs were full of tempting options for the shoppers in the group.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Celebrating Their Love Today

Today, May 19th, marks our parents wedding
anniversary. They were blessed with 54 years together before mom passed away.  Dad counted an additional 12 years as a widower.  Although he found joy with his grandchildren, greatgrands, and loving daughters, there was a broken heart that would not heal.  This precious little wedding booklet, Wedding Flowers from God's Garden  used on the day they were married, encompasses their love. It  includes the Order of Marriage, a spot to record the nuptials,

a section for the guests to sign, and several pages to record the wedding gifts which included simple gifts such as brass candlesticks from her sister, $3.00 from her brother,  pillow cases from a sister-in-law, 8 glasses and carrier plus $10.00 from an aunt, a candlewick bowl from a friend, and a complete dinnerware service for 12 from her father.  

                                                          With a check mark beside each person's name, I can only assume it means that a thank you note was sent.  A simple wedding. Simple gifts. Although the war had ended, my father's four brothers were not in attendance, still fulfilling their military commitments at the time.

The last section of this booklet features the Wedding Flowers from God's Garden by Rev. H.E.Studier.  Symbolism of the flowers are attributed to the aspects of marriage. 
The Rose, symbolizes the word 'kindness'.  Its bright colors and delicate fragrance may well symbolize the virtues of kindness and friendliness. May these graces adorn your conduct toward each other as well as toward your kindred and friends, and toward all men. Another flower, quite different from the rose, is the Violet. It is modest and inconspicuous. May it be to you a symbol of humility as you start out in life together. Cultivate this virtue.
The Lily-of-the-Valley, symbolizes gentleness and meekness in the Christian life.  The Carnation is especially suited to adorn the groom.  'Long-suffering" is the word which we would symbolize with the carnation.  The Passion Flower and the Forget-me-not are also included in God's Garden. And now that we have gathered these flowers from God's Garden, let us tie them together with a bright red ribbon, that they many not become scattered but may be kept together. Take these flowers that we have gathered from God's garden; let them adorn your matrimonial pathway.Happy to have this little remembrance of their wedding day, reading the symbolism of the flowers and knowing my mother's love of flowers, it simply ties it all together.  The pretty glass tussie mussie holders pictured above are part of my mother's collection.  She loved to share the flowers from God's Garden.
 (This post is a reprise of a previous post. Remembering mom and dad with God's great love.)

Monday, May 13, 2019

Happy Mother's Day Afternoon Tea!

Our Mother's Day celebration featured Afternoon Tea in Sweet Remembrances. A very wet rainy day didn't keep our guests away for this special annual event. It was a veritable bouquet of flowers for mom starting with colorful bouquets of flowers that graced the table, a perfectly formed rose napkin thanks to Angelica, and a cascade of flowers highlighted the menu of the day. One guest invited her dolly Emilu, dressed in 'Happy Mother's Day' attire, to join in the tea time fun. Thank you, DK! What fun!

Once our guests had their teacups filled, we served the appetizer which featured Spring Greens and Granny Smith Apples drizzled with a Balsamic Glaze coupled with a Fruited Cheese Ball and Assorted Crackers.
The sandwich plate featured a ring of savories that included Strawberry Chicken Salad with a heart shaped cutout top, Spinach Artichoke Crostini, Earl Grey Honey Butter Apple Sandwich, Cucumber & Mint Butter with a little heart top, Mayflower Sandwich, and Sliced Turkey with Parsley Shallot Mayonnaise.

For the next course, we served a Cinnamon Praline Scone, Triple Lemon Tea Bread and Orange Slices alongside a Strawberry filled with Basil Mascarpone Lime Cream.
Dessert was a trio of delicate sweets that included rose topped Italian Cream Cake, Frosted Poppyseed Cookie, and a Blueberry Cream Tartlet. It appears that Emilu enjoyed her first tea time experience at Sweet Remembrances!