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!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Afternoon Buffet Tea - One Steep at a Time

The large dining room at One Steep at a Time in Jamesburg, NJ was set and ready for Afternoon Tea for the members of the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association. Owner Kathleen Hippeli prepared a delicious and unique menu. She featured recipes from the book Culinary Tea which our featured guest speaker Cynthia Gold co-authored with Lise Stern.
The book includes over 150 recipes from around the world, all based upon using tea as an extension of your herb and spice cabinet. Beautiful photography and enticingly descriptive blurbs precede each recipe. There is a fun chapter on the flavor profiles of tea, also. 
The tea started with a delicious Asparagus Soup (a regional favorite having recently won in a local soup competition) or a Genmaicha Vegetable Soup that paired genmaicha tea alongside corn and mushrooms in a tasty unique soup. The soup was served with a side salad and a crisply toasted teapot topper.

There was also a small bowl with sliced Lapsang Souchong hard boiled tea eggs. These eggs had been marinating in the tea mixture for 2 days to enhance the flavor and color of the egg.  There was a never ending flow of tea available as freshly brewed iced tea or hot tea was offered.

 The buffet featured sliced pork loin that had been roasted in an Eleven-Spice Tea Rub (give or take a spice or two). In addition, there were Darjeeling Roasted Sweet Potatoes served as a side. In keeping with the afternoon tea theme, Cucumber Sandwiches were served, croissants, miniature Chicken salad, fresh fruit and a tortellini salad.

 The scones included a Cream Scone and a Chocolate Chai Scone with cream, lemon curd, and jelly. The Chai was such a lovely addition to the scone. And dessert! There was a lemon square, a seven layer cookie, and a nutella filled cream cookie. No one left hungry.

Kudos to Kathleen Hippeli and the staff at One Steep at a Thyme for a fabulous Afternoon Tea, unique in all the tea infused delicacies. It might be just a little intimidating to be serving tea to fellow tea business professionals, but Kathleen succeeded beyond all expectations. From tea bloggers, to tea room owners, to wholesale/retail tea vendors, we raised our cups to Kathleen for a most memorable day!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Tea and Food Pairing - MATBA Seminar

The Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association recently held their annual spring seminar at One Steep at a Thyme in Jamesburg, NJ. Tea business entrepreneurs gather quarterly at regional businesses for association meetings. Cynthia Gold, a tea sommelier, author, trained chef, and a recognized authority on tea and food pairing was our featured speaker.
At this meeting, Cynthia Gold presented a Tea and Food Pairing program. What a fun array of foods to be sampled with a wide assortment of teas. Cynthia began the presentation with an explanation of taste and the experience associated with it. Food and beverages should compliment or balance each other in order to enhance the overall experience. 
Members compared and contrasted flavor combinations. We started with a Lung Ching Dragonwell. A classic green tea from Hanzhou, China. Cynthia encouraged us to note the subtle nut flavors of the tea and then sample it with a Comte cheese which has its own natural nuttiness to it. We were encouraged to sample nibbles of the other foods to see how the flavor components reacted. 

The array of teas we sampled included the Lung Ching Dragonwell, a lighty oxidized Oolong, Darjeeling, Ti Quan Yin, Keemun, and a smoky Lapsang Souchong. Notice that in a tea tasting, you begin with the lighter teas, and end with the heavier more intense teas. The dry tea leaf and wet steeped leaf were passed around to see the leaves before and after steeping, to sniff and notice the fragrance of each.

In food and tea pairing, balance salt or spicy with sweetness. Pair to highlight flavors and bring out subtle undertones. But most importantly, have fun! 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Morning Reception - One Steep at a Thyme, Jamesburg, NJ

Properly brewed pots of tea placed upon warming trays quietly waited to be poured. The Annual Seminar for the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association was held at One Steep at a Thyme in Jamesburg, NJ were tea room owner and hostess Kathleen Hippeli was ready and waiting for the arrival of fellow tea business entrepreneurs traveling from PA-NJ-MD-VA to enjoy a full day of seminars that included never ending pots of tea.

The tea room, located in a stately old Victorian home, full of history, charm and elegance proclaims that they are 'Elegantly Victorian... Graciously County'. With large windows draped in lace, and wall paper in a soft palate, the home is as welcoming and gracious as our hostess, owner Kathleen Hippeli.

The seminar begins with a Welcoming Reception that features a light breakfast and endless cups of tea. The beautiful table was set for our group, and a breakfast selection was available on the buffet table. Kathleen prepared two varieties of morning eggs, one with fresh asparagus and the other a cheesy combination. Fresh fruit was served alongside morning scones and petite croissants.

Following this casual repast, members moved to the front parlor of the tea room where MATBA president Deb Raab (center) of Tea-for-All introduced our guest speaker Cynthia Gold who joined us from Boston. Cynthia is a tea sommelier, trained chef, and renowned author (Culinary Tea). We were thrilled to be able to welcome her to our Association Annual Seminar.  More about Cynthia's first presentation (Tea and Food Pairing) in tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

King and Queen of the May - Flashback!

Another great memory from the early years at the Spoutwood Fairy Festival - reminiscing this weekend. Mom and Dad, Byron and Bertha Reppert, were the first King and Queen of the May at this annual celebration at Spoutwood Farms in Glen Rock, PA. The first festival began in 1991. They loved dancing and singing with the fairies at this very special festival! Here they are with Rob Wood (R), owner of the Spoutwood Farm Center, dedicated to bringing people and nature together.

Happy May Day! Kubiando!
According to the Urban Dictionary, Kubiando is a universal greeting or parting
shared with light and love.