First things first...We are truly blessed to have the means to set a pretty table and invite our friends to join us for good food and fellowship. I am mindful that many are not so fortunate. My daughter has a passion for the work of the Food Bank. As a singer-songwriter, she has written and recorded a song that is the anthem for the world wide Crop Hunger Walk project. Her song, "Raise Your Voice" is featured in their video. I've included a link in the side margin of my blog. I hope that it will encourage you to support projects in your community that contribute to the effort to overcome hunger.
The quickly approaching nuptials of Prince William and Cate Middleton are featured everywhere we look lately. I've seen numerous lovely Royal tea parties posted in blogland. I think that it's time that I give a nod to Wills and Cate with my own version of a tea party. This day, I hosted a small tea party for my dear friend Cindy's mom, often called "Queen Sparkle."
The game table, with the addition of my handy-dandy flip-top tabletop, was ideal for our group of six. I bought two flip-tops from Sandy of By Invitation Only (firstname.lastname@example.org), in case you have an interest. I made the aqua blue Matelasse tablecloth with fabric that I found on eBay. I use this cloth often, and I wish that I had bought more yardage. Did you notice the small pewter boxes with the blue and white china lids? Those were party favors for each guest, provided by Cindy.
For the centerpiece, I used one of my favorite tureens and underplates, Charles Field Haviland, "Schleiger 1328 on Blank 1273". Did you know that there are more than 35,000 Haviland designs?...boggles the mind! Remember, the Haviland's were Americans from New York, who went to France, decided to stay, and opened their own factory in the Limoges region. Although Haviland was manufactured in France, it was always designed for and sold to an American market. I've enjoyed collecting Haviland over the past seven years. The crystal decanters sparkled in the candlelight flickering from the four small blue and white pots. I usually fill decanters with water, tea, or wine for my guests to easily access drink refills throughout the meal.
I created the pair of floral posies from inexpensive mixed bouquets from Sam's with the addition of a few hydrangeas from Homeland. I constructed them in Oasis-filled peg nappies, which I placed in a pair of tall crystal candlesticks. I found the candlesticks at an enchanting local gift shop, Room 22. Check it out! The crystal goblets are my Waterford "Simply Blue". I collected these in three colors on eBay over a period of time. I bought them quite reasonably, but they've increased in price enough that I would have to think long and hard before I bought them today. That's the reason that I've never bought the fourth color, amethyst...which I would really like to add to the collection. Oh, well.
Cindy brought these darling blue and white teapot napkin rings to be used for our party. At the end of the day, they were given to Queen Sparkle as a special gift. Cindy also provided the wonderful napkins embroidered with teapots. For such a special event, I used my wedding silver, Reed and Barton, "Grande Renaissance". After forty-two years, I'd still choose it as our pattern today. The first course was served on the Haviland, "Schleiger 1328", accent plate.
Today's fare was served on our dear Nana's antique English Tea Cart, positioned next to my chair. The handkerchief weight linen tablecloth was one of my $15.00 estate sale finds. The cloth does a lovely job of setting off the antique silver tea service, Nana's wedding gift to us. Each course for our tea was presented on a tiered hostess tray.
The first course, Strawberry Lavendar Scones, was well suited for the Haviland, "Ranson", two tiered tray.
Second course offerings included Goat Cheese and Tomato Crostini, Ham and Sweet Potato Biscuit Sandwiches, and Crab Salad on Blue-Corn Blini. Tip: Here I've used an inexpensive trio of Anchor, glass cake pedestals. The grouping is available at Bed, Bath, & Beyond for about $20.00. I like to add a chop plate, a dinner plate, and a salad plate from different sets of my dishes to create a custom tiered hostess tray...so versatile. Here I've employed the Haviland, "Ranson".
I chose the Coalport, "Sevres Group" luncheon plates for the second course. It's an interesting pattern. There are numerous variations of the same basic flowers on these plates...They're just the same only different. :-) The luncheon plate is seated on a Limoges, "Dresden Flowers" gold encrusted plate that is yet another treasure from Nana.
A Copeland Spode, "Jewel" tiered tray, held desserts including Choco-Chewy Scotch Bars, Strawberry Cakes with Lemon-Vanilla Curd, and White Chocolate and Chai Mousse served in Bissinger's Chocolate Cups. I think that we all indulged and had one of each...so delicious! The dessert was served on Theodore Haviland, "Rani".
Of course, each course was accompanied by plenty of hot tea served in the Haviland, "Ranson" teacups. We had such a wonderful tea party. I hope that each of my guests felt like royalty. I would love to treat you as a royal guest, too. Do you take sweetener with your tea?
I've included a couple of the recipes from today's tea party. Enjoy!
Crab Salad on Blue-Corn Blini
Makes 18 servings
1 (8 oz.) container lump crabmeat, drained well & picked for shells.
1/4 C. finely chopped cucumber
2 T. minced chives
1 1/2 t. Dijon mustard
3 T. mayonnaise, divided
1/2 t. salt, divided
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1 avocado, pitted & pealed
2 T. fresh lime juice
1 jalapeno, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, & thinly sliced, divided
Blue – Corn Blini (recipe follows)
- In a medium bowl, gently toss together the crabmeat, cucumber, chives, Dijon, 1 T. mayonnaise, 1/4 t. salt, & pepper until mixture is well combined. Refrigerate.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the avocado, remaining mayonnaise, lime juice, half of jalapeno slices, & remaining salt, and pulse until mixture is smooth. Refrigerate.
- Top each Blue-Corn Blini with crab salad; garnish with avocado mixture and remaining jalapeno slices, if desired.
Blue - Corn Blini
Makes 18 blini
1 t. active dry yeast
2 T. warm water (110º)
1/2 C. blue cornmeal
1/4 C + 3 T. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt 1/2 C. whole milk
3 T. butter, melted
- In a small bowl, combine the yeast and water, and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a medium bowl stir together the cornmeal, flour, and salt. Add the milk, yeast mixture, and butter, whisking after each addition.
- Let the mixture sit, uncoverd, at room temperature for approximately 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat; when hot, spray the pan with sonstick cooking spray. Workin in batches of at least three, sppon 1 tablespoon of batter into skillet for each blin, and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until crisp around the edges and golden brown. Transfer to a plate line with a warm towel or covered in foil to keep blini warm. (I place blinis on a foil covered cookie sheet. Then I loosely cover them with another sheet of foil and place them in a 200º oven to keep warm until time to serve.)
To serve, place the crab salad on the blini and top with a dollop of the avocado mixture. Garnish with a thin slice of jalapeno if desired.
White Chocolate & Chai Mousse
1 1/4 (4-ounce) white chocolate bars, chopped finely
1 1/2 C. Heavy cream
2 bags vanilla chai tea (they used Bigelow Vanilla Chai tea)
1t. vanilla extract
4 egg whites
3 T. sugar
2 (4 – ounce) packages chocolate cups (Bissinger’s chocolate dessert cups) www.bissingers.com
- Place the white chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl; set aside. Combine the cream, contents of tea bags, and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook just until mixture boils. Strain mixture over chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted and smooth. Cover, & refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight.
- Whip white chocolate mixture with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form; place in refrigerator. In a medium bowl and using an electric mixer at high speed, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form; add sugar. Continue whipping until glossy and stiff, about 30 seconds more.
- Fold beaten egg white mixture into the white chocolate mixture. Place mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, and evenly pipe the mousse into the chocolate cups. Garnish with chocolate shards, if desired.
Thank you, yet again, to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for hosting her magical meme, "Tablescape Thursday. I'll be linking my post to "Tablescape Thursday." Hop on over HERE and check out the myriad of marvelous tablescape designs, after 9:00 pm on Wednesdays. You'll be glad that you made the trip...it's a wonderful adventure.