Monday, July 27, 2009
Tea Time in No Time At All!
A few weeks ago when I had so many wonderful friends and family in town I made scones four times. Some were plain and used for strawberry shortcakes, some were sprinkled with Vanilla Sugar and some had chocolate chips. All were yummy. Too yummy!
I did a quick tea time with my darling niece to enjoy one afternoon after we made lipbalm and while we watched "Anne of Green Gables". She thought the lipbalm smelled like tea as we were blending it. Too cute! It had peppermint, lavender, and clove oils so it did smell like tea.
I asked if she'd like some tea like it. She agreed so I blended plain black tea with lavender and mint from the garden and added a few whole cloves. It turned out great! I whipped up a batch of scones and we watched our movie together.
The second batch was made a few days later when a dear, sweet friend from high school came over for a visit while she was in town. I made us a salad with grilled chicken. I had mixed up the scones and just asked if she wanted currants or chocolate chips. Chocolate chips it was! We sat with our scones and a pot of Earl Grey and visited while the boys napped.
The third batch were turned into strawberry shortcakes for all the family gathered together for dinner at my Mom's. Whipped cream and strawberries and scones are wonderful.
The fourth batch came the next day when I had a last minute teatime with a friend who I used to teach with that was just in town for the summer. The picture above is one I snapped before they arrived. (She brought a former student of mine as well.)
How does this all relate to the post title? Several ways! By having basic tea things on hand, I am able to just spend a few minutes assembling things and serving others. Using tried and true recipes helps, too. The scone recipe is one I've used for years with excellent results. I know I've posted it before, but just wanted to share it again. It's from If Teacups Could Talk by Emilie
Barnes, one of my favorite tea books.
Not letting perfectionism ruin things is another way I can put a tea time together in a hurry, but not feel rushed. Believe me, I wrecked too many times for myself worrying and fretting about every little detail. Besides, fresh flowers and herbs make anything look and taste better!
When I left the house on Sunday morning, I didn't know what to expect with my friend for that afternoon. I made sure the house was picked up and brewed some iced tea to have on hand. I also cut some fresh herbs from the garden and defrosted a loaf of squash bread. We then spent the morning at my Mom's and with my sister's family before they had to leave town. While I was there, I got the message finalizing the details with my friend.
When we got home, I put the boys down for their naps and went into the kitchen. I put the scones together first. While they were baking, I took out a beautiful tray and sliced the squash bread onto it. I assembled two kinds of sandwiches from things I had on hand--tomato and chicken with herb cream cheese and topped with fresh herbs. I arranged everything on the tray and tucked in sprigs of herbs and edible flowers.
I then filled the kettle with water and the teapot with tea leaves. I got out plates and napkins and even had a few minutes to spare before they arrived. All told, I had everything ready to go in about thirty minutes. It was so nice to just then sit and visit.
How I wish I could have each one of you over for tea! Until then, I will just write to encourage you to let tea and hospitality enrich your life. Just use what you have, served with love it'll be better than you can imagine and will bless you and your friends.
2 cups Flour (I usually use whole wheat bc we buy wheat in bulk & mill it ourselves. All-purpose works great, too.)
1 TBL Baking Powder 2 TBL Sugar 1/2 tsp Salt
6 TBL Butter, cut into small pieces.
Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks like coarse cornmeal.
Add any other things you want. I've done these plain, with fresh berries, with dried fruit, and my favorite--chocolate chips. I usually add about 1/4 cup of whatever. Sometimes I add herbs and spices to taste. Gentle mix everything together.
1/2 milk or buttermilk
Stir the milk in gently and form the dough together. The less you mess with the dough the better. Gather the dough into a round shape about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Cut the scones into wedges or with cookie cutters. I like hearts.
You can brush the tops with beaten egg and even sprinkle them with a little sugar, if desired. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden.