Sunday, November 30, 2014

First Holiday Tea of the Season!

We celebrated the beginning of the holiday season with our Annual Holiday Tea scheduled for the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. The tea room is decorated in red, green, and gold with tabletop trees and two of the dining rooms. The seasonal china has been put into service, and the holiday celebrations at the tea room are in full swing! Once our guests selected the tea flavors for their table, service began. The menu started with a Cranberry Pecan Salad with a Raspberry Vinaigrette. The salad was topped with toasted pecans, Feta cheese, thinly sliced red onions, and Crasins.

The sandwich plate featured Tarragon Egg Salad on whole wheat bread, Orange Hazelnut Sandwich Rounds topped with a Mandarin Orange, Apricot Poppyseed Chicken Salad Triangles, Carrot Cake Tea Sandwich on Raisin Bread, Sun Dried Tomato Basil Pesto in a Phyllo Shell, and a Cucumber Canapé with Lemon Pepper Aioli garnished with a petite toasted Christmas tree.

Scones, always fresh from the oven, included Traditional English Cream and Lemon Pecan served with Sweet Cream, Lemon Curd, and Raspberry Preserves with a touch of fresh fruit.

 And the dessert medley included a White Cake with Cherry Topping, Miniature Chocolate Cheesecake with a holly leaf garnish, and a Gingerbread Cookie.

Oh what fun!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Lenox Village Tea Room Tea Pot

Safely tucked in the curio cabinet amongst a varied assortment of tea related collectibles is this pretty porcelain Lenox Village Tea Room Tea Pot. Offered in 1991 along with the Lenox Spice Village Collection in the Victorian home design and retired in 1994, it was from my mother's collection.

The beautiful tea pot in soft shades of pink and blue with four dormers replicating old Victorian homes matches the smaller spice jars which I also have, but they are not on display. Alas, there just isn't enough room in the cabinet!

Special thanks to Ray and Eileen, volunteer gardeners and longtime friends of the family for finding the matching creamery and confectionary (milk and sugar) containers. Eileen spotted them at a yard sale and remembered that I had the tea pot in the cabinet. She gifted them to me at our end-of-the-season gardening night. What a surprise!

The matched set is now on display along with a wide assortment of tea time collectibles!
In this month of Thanksgiving, today I give thanks for thoughtful friends!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Happy Birthday, David!

Birthdays are good for you.
Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.
~Larry Lorenzoni
Wishing you the very happiest of birthdays!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Downton Abbey Inspired Tea - Winterthur, DE

We recently journeyed to Winterthur, DE to experience the Downton Abbey tea they are presenting in conjunction with the Costumes of Downton Abbey exhibit. We visited the costuming exhibit earlier this year with a Rosemary House traveling herb seminar, but on a crisp Fall Sunday, we returned with family to enjoy the afternoon tea.

Each guest had their own individual 'Tea for One' pot. There was a wide assortment of tea bags on the table, and once seated, the wait staff filled your tea pot with hot water. A petite cup of warm Cream of Cauliflower and Stilton Soup was served as the first course. You were invited to serve yourself at the buffet table when you were ready
  Service was quite efficient with two buffet tables. The menu was quite extensive with a nice variety of sandwiches. The sandwiches included Crème Fraiche Egg Salad on Poppy Seed Brioche with Sweet Pea Sprouts, Smoked Gouda & Pimento Cheese Roll Ups with Arugula, Buttermilk Semolina Tea Sandwich with Goat Cheese, Walnut & Roasted Pepper.

Spinach & Hazelnut Stuffed Mushrooms, Crumbled Sausage & Roasted Vegetable Tartlettes with Fontina, and Mushroom & Brie Strudel with Sun Dried Tomato Aioli.
 Lemon Cucumber Shrimp Sandwich with Chive Cream Cheese, Brandied Crab Salad on a Rice Cracker with Scallion and Charred Corn, and a Skewer of Mozzarella and Cherry Tomatoes with Basil Pesto. Oh my!

And here it is... on the plate. What a variety of sizes, shapes, flavors, colors, textures and more!

The scone course featured Raspberry & White Chocolate Scones and Buttermilk Raisin Scones to be topped with Whipped Butter, Lemon Curd, Orange Marmalade and English Country Cream.

Teapots were refilled as needed, and the opportunity to revisit the buffet was ever present. But with a host of desserts as lavish as the sandwiches, it was time to sample dessert!
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, Du Pont Chocolate Mousse Tartlets, Chocolate Dipped Macaroons, Petit Fours, Berry Mousse Sugared Pastry Horns, the wonders never ceased!

Oh my! So happy to have spent this Sunday afternoon indulging in such a wonderful array of culinary delights!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans Day!

You're the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
~George M. Cohan

A special thank you to all our Veterans for your service to our country.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fall Color in the Herb Garden

This is Leucantha Sage, also often called Mexican Sage. It is an annual for those of us in the North but it grows large during the growing season and provides a wonderful captivating splash of purple color. 
I especially love it with the contrasting colors of the silver wormwood (forefront) and the golden yellow leaves of the witch hazel tree (background). 
 Another salvia -- this one the fragrant Pineapple Sage, provides both a delicious pineapple scent and a splash of bright red color in the fall herb garden. While there are still a few flowers hanging on here or there, a white feverfew or golden calendula, or pink rose these two salvias make quite the statement in the fall and for quite a number of weeks.  
We've been enjoying the cool crisp days and brilliant colors of the garden before the winter snows arrive and blanket the gardens in fluffy white.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Miniature Pumpkin Cheesecake - the flavors of Fall

Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 c. crushed gingersnap cookies (approx. 20)
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. pure pumpkin
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 32 miniature muffin cups with paper cups.
Combine cookie crumbs and butter in small bowl. Press small amount onto bottom of each paper cup. Bake 3 minutes.
Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, spice, and vanilla in mixing bowl until blended. Add eggs; beat well. Carefully spoon into paper cups. Bake 20 minutes until set. Cool on wire rack. Remove tarts from pan; refrigerate.
If desired, garnish with a small dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of zested chocolate or finely chopped pecans.