The inimitable Lady B. hosted a Victorian Valentine’s Day Tea to start off our first Victorian Tea Society tea for 2014.
Lady Henni’s Red pepper heart pinwheels
(yield: 12 servings)
1 sheet of puff pastry
1/2 c. Boursin or herbed cream cheese
1/2 c. finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
Chopped green herbs (parsley, scallions, oregano, and/or basil)
Spread herbed cream cheese evenly over puff pastry. Sprinkle red pepper and Parmesan cheese over the cream cheese layer. Carefully roll long edges of dough to meet in center like a double scroll.With a sharp knife, cut dough into 1/2-inch slices. Place slices, cut sides down, on greased cookie sheet. Slightly pinch the center between the rolled edges (base of heart) into a point. Sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese on tops (optional). Bake at 400 degrees for 15 mins. until golden brown.
After the sandwiches, savory, and scones courses, we migrated out into Lady B’s inspired English garden to have dessert in her gazebo.
While we were waiting for dessert, Lady T. shared a great Valentine’s Day story that made us laugh. Lady T.’s husband once bought her a small white teddy bear with a heart on its belly for Valentine’s Day. She gushed about how much she liked it and her husband was so happy! In fact, he was so happy that Lady T. has has received a white teddy bear at Valentine’s Day every year for the past 10 years! She now has a closet full of them but she doesn’t have the heart to tell her husband that she’s really not that into the bears. Lady T. said that the moral of the story was to be careful about telling little white lies. 😉
Lady L. related a similar story of a new wife who once made a special meatloaf for her husband’s lunch. Her husband thought the meatloaf was horrible but didn’t want to hurt her feelings so he ate it all up and said it was delicious! The wife made him meatloaf for lunch everyday after that …!
Lady B. was behind the scenes, working fast and furious, decorating and putting together a strawberry ice cream brownie birthday cake to surprise Lady T. who turned 70 this day! Lady B. makes her own ice cream so this was a special cake indeed. Happy birthday T.!
Sweetheart shortbread cookies
(From the kitchen of Lady B.)
1 c. walnuts, toasted
1/2 c. plus 2 T. sugar
1 1/2 c. butter (3 sticks), slightly softened
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. salt
3 c. cake flour (not self-rising)
6 oz. milk chocolate
1. In food processor with knife blade attached or in blender at med. speed, blend walnuts and sugar until nuts are finely ground.
2. In large bowl, with mixer at med. speed, beat butter, vanilla extract, salt & ground-walnut mixture until light & fluffy. With wooden spoon, stir in flour until dough forms. If necessary, with hands, press dough together. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces; wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough until easy to handle, about 2 hrs.
3. Preheat oven to 375 F. Sprinkle 15-inch long sheet waxed paper with flour. Place 1/3 of dough on floured waxed paper (keep remaining dough refrigerated). Lightly sprinkle dough with flour. Place another sheet of waxed paper over dough. Roll dough between waxed paper 1/4 inch thick, sprinkling dough with more flour if necessary to keep from sticking.
4. Remove top sheet of waxed paper. With floured 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out as many hearts as possible from dough; reserve trimmings in refrigerator. With floured pancake turner, place hearts, about 2 inches apart, on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake cookies 10 to 15 min. until golden. Allow cookies to remain on cookie sheet 2 min. before removing to racks to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough and trimmings.
5. When cookies are cool, melt chocolate. Dip or drizzle chocolate onto cookies. Let chocolate dry about 1 hr. or until firm. Store cookies in tightly covered container. Makes 28 cookies.
For my Valentine love letter, I shared the excerpt of a poem that D. once sent me:
Love, is it day that makes thee thy delight
Or thou that seest day made out of thy light?
Love, as the sun and sea are thou and I,
Sea without sun dark, sun without sea bright;
The sun is one though day should live and die.
–Algernon Charles Swinburne,
Thank you Lady B. for a wonderful Valentine’s tea! Happy Valentine’s Day!