Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wild Thyme Tea Party

Penn Cumberland Garden Club recently hosted their 48th Annual Bertha P. Reppert Herb Tea Party. This is a wonderful event and always one of the most well attended meetings with over 100 attending! Every year the Herb Tea Committee selects a different theme and creates a menu and decorations surrounding that theme.  Our theme this year was wild weeds as food. It was called a Wild Thyme Herb Tea. The flower arrangers of the club used garlic mustard and spring onions in the centerpieces and all the foods featured edible plants we often call "weeds" but that are most nutritious. Our speaker was Tina Sams of The Essential Herbal Magazine and her topic was "Making Friends with Your Weeds".   Tina shares her thoughts about the tea and additional photos on her blog, linked here.  The featured tea sandwiches were:  Toasted Weed Sticks, Tansy Egg Sandwich, Chickweed Mini Pie and  Red Clover Bread with blackberry spread.
The Nettle Soup was probably my favorite part of the menu.  Nettle stings when you gather it so it is a challenge to make this soup but it was sooooo good!  I could even see this soup used as a sauce on pasta.  Nettle is amazingly rich in iron, nourishing for the blood and often used for seasonal allergies.
Nettle Soup Recipe
1 pound stinging nettles
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, diced
1/4 cup basmati rice
4 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 2 teaspoons of salt. Drop in the stinging nettles, and cook 1 to 2 minutes until they soften. This will remove most of the sting. Drain in a colander, and rinse with cold water. Trim off any tough stems, then chop coarsely.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat, and stir in the onion. Cook until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, chicken broth, and chopped nettles. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Puree the soup with an immersion blender, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Here's a fun way to serve veggies and dip for a crowd.  No need to worry about double dipping with this serving method! The Watercress Dip was served in an individual glass votive with celery, carrot and asparagus sprigs.


Linda J. said...

I had no idea you could make soup from stinging nettles. But, of course you gals could do it! What a wonderful event! Beautiful plates of food, too.

Victoria Mische @ Your Chair Covers said...

Love you set up the whole thing, so pretty! Also, thanks for sharing the Nettle Soup. I'll be trying this idea one of this days co'z it seems to be very interesting to do.

Bernideen said...

You are a genius Nancy. I don't think anyone knows more than you about using herbs in cooking and baking!

Antiques And Teacups said...

What an inventive tea menu! Amazing that the soup is so good...I guess it had better be after what you go through to get it! LOL!

Angela McRae said...

AWESOME idea about serving the dip! I'll be using this for sure!

Marilyn said...

I have heard of the benefits of stinging nettles. Love the menu and the dip idea. This is a tea party I would have certainly enjoyed.

parTea lady said...

The Wild Thyme Tea Party photos are great. The food looked delicious. Thanks for the veggies & dip serving idea - I really like that.