Happy Thanksgiving! You are invited to the last Victorian Tea Society (VTS) Tea of 2018, celebrating Fall’s bounty!
Lady S. hosted her first afternoon tea for VTS and what a tea it was! Warm and inviting notes of Autumn greeted us, from the beautiful fall wreath on the front door to the beckoning fall colors and decor inside. I just wanted to curl up on her couch in front of the fireplace with a good book and a cup of tea! Never mind that it was 80 degrees outside! 😉 I will let the photos speak for themselves as Lady S. left no detail unturned.
The welcoming Fall table
Every setting had an egg cup with fresh flowers. Lady J., who loves purple, got a purple egg cup!
Unfortunately, Lady K. could not join us but Lady S. set a seat for her anyway (with her tea favor bag) so she could be with us in absentia! Notice the real acorn cap!
Do you love these napkin holders or what?! Lady S. is so creative and crafty–she made all the table decorations.
Lady S. put a lot of thought into the menu, choosing craveable fall ingredients such as sweet potatoes, kale, apples, turkey, mushrooms, cranberries, oranges, pumpkin, cinnamon, and even candy corn! With the exception of one sandwich, the menu was vegetarian friendly!
click to enlarge
Sweet potato soup with cheddar shortbread leaves by Lady S.
The sweet potato soup was delicious and creamy–it was hard to believe there was no dairy in the soup! Lady S. said the secret was in the peels! The cheddar shortbread leaves were a wonderful accompaniment!
Sweet potato soup
(From Cook’s Illustrated)
1 shallot, sliced thin
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 1/4 cups water
2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
Minced fresh chives
Scrub, peel, and chop sweet potatoes, reserving about 1/4 of the peels. Set aside.
In a soup pot, saute shallot and thyme sprigs in butter over medium high heat until shallot is translucent.
Add 4 1/4 cups of water to the shallots and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and add chopped sweet potatoes and reserved peels. Steep 20 minutes.
Add brown sugar, cider vinegar, salt and pepper and turn heat to medium high. Cook 10 minutes.
Remove thyme sprigs. Using a blender (filled no more than 1/2 full), puree soup 45-50 seconds in batches. Serve warm.
Cheddar shortbread leaves by Lady S. (photo by Lady J.)
2 cups finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 (1 stick) butter, melted
1-2 teaspoon water, if needed
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine cheese, flour, and seasonings. Add melted butter and mix with hands to form a dough. Add 1-2 teaspoons water if the dough is too dry to hold together when squeezed into a ball.
On floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes with cookie cutter and place on parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake 12-15 minutes, cool on wire rack. Makes approx. 2 dozen.
Kale and smoked almond salad by Lady T.
Everything about this salad was delicious! Lady T. said it was a big pain to put together but we all thought it was well worth the effort!
2 shallots, thinly sliced
5 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Ground black pepper
1 cup smoked almonds
4 ounces chewy white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 bunches lacinato (dinosaur or Tucsan) kale, stemmed, washed, spun dry and thinly sliced crosswise (10 cups)
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the shallots, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let sit for 10 minutes, so the vinegar can “cook” the shallots. Whisk in the honey, 5 tablespoons of the oil and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
2. In a food processor, process the almonds until coarsely chopped, about 8 pulses; transfer to a large bowl. Add the bread to the processor and process to rough crumbs, about 20 seconds. Add the thyme, the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, the paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Process until incorporated, about 10 seconds.
3. Transfer the crumb mixture to a large skillet over medium and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp and browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
4. Add the kale to the bowl with the almonds and massage the greens until the kale softens and darkens, 10 to 20 seconds. Add the dressing and crumbs and toss to combine. Taste, then season with salt and pepper.
Egg salad, cucumber sandwich by Lady ML, cheddar and apple on pumpkin bread by Lady S., turkey pinwheel sandwich by Lady J., tofurkey pinwheel by Lady S., and mushroom delight (mini mushroom tart) by Lady Henni (photo by Lady J.)
Mini Mushroom Tarts
(From the Kitchen of Lady Henni)
Put all ingredients for the pie crust in a food processor and process until dough comes together. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 mins. Then roll out the dough about 1/8″ thin and cut with a biscuit cutter (2.5″). Place dough in mini tart pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 mins. until light brown.
2 lbs. crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 c. parsley, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 c. vegan cheese sauce
Saute all ingredients except vegan cheese sauce until mushrooms are cooked down. Add vegan cheese sauce to desired consistency. Fill baked pie crusts with warm mushroom filling. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves and/or pie crust leaves. Serve immediately or reheat in microwave before serving.
Cheddar and apple on molasses wheat bread by Lady S. (photo by Lady J.)
Molasses Wheat Bread
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)
1/4 cup flax seeds
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup toasted wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup oil (canola or grapeseed)
3 cups buttermilk
(vegan alternative: 3 cups almond milk plus 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar)
3/4 cup molasses
1 cup smooth apple sauce
Grind flax seeds in a spice mill until fine (or use pre-ground flax seeds). Set aside.
Heat oven to 375 degrees with rack in center. Lightly grease two 9 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, flax seeds, wheat germ, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add oil, buttermilk, molasses and apple sauce and stir until well blended. Batter will be thick.
Divide batter evenly between two prepared pans. Even out tops with a spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
The bread may be frozen, double-wrapped in plastic wrap, up to 3 weeks, or refrigerated up to 1 week.
Turkey pinwheels by Lady J.
(Tip: Make these roll-ups one day ahead, wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap,
then slice before serving)
1 sheet of Lavosh or 1-2 large tortillas
whipped cream cheese
cranberry relish (you can use canned cranberry sauce)
sliced turkey luncheon meat
2 whole Romaine lettuce leaves
Spread cream cheese very lightly on lavish or tortilla—to the edges. Top lightly with cranberry relish, leaving approx. 2 inches uncovered at one end. Cover cranberry relish with a single layer of turkey. Place Romaine leaf at the end that has all three layers and roll TIGHTLY toward the end with only cream cheese. The cream cheese will seal the roll. Wrap roll tightly in waxed paper or plastic. Slice to make pinwheels before serving.
Extra cranberry sauce for the turkey pinwheels
Cranberry orange scones by Lady S. with lemon curd and Devonshire cream by Lady B.
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/4 teaspoon table salt)
1 stick frozen unsalted butter
zest of 1 orange
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup cold buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, granulated sugar, and salt.
On a box grater, grate frozen butter on medium holes. With your fingers, gently fluff the butter and orange zest into the flour mixture so it is evenly distributed. Add cranberries and buttermilk and stir until just combined. Do not over mix!
Scoop 1/3 cup size mounds of dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced 3 inches apart (the scones do spread a little). Bake until bottoms are golden, 15-20 minutes. Let cool completely on sheet.
Fall Harvest Fruit Cup by Lady MH
Closeup of the beautiful detail on the fruit cup stems
Fall chocolates, candy corn cookie, and pecan sandies by Lady S.
Pecan cookie, apple bundt cake, and candy corn cookie by Lady S.
The food was not only bountiful but really hit the spot! So delicious! We marveled at how Lady S. managed to do so much baking: cheddar shortbread, cranberry orange scones, apple bundt cake, pecan cookies (her grandmother’s recipe!), and candy corn cookies! Even though we were stuffed to the gills by the time dessert rolled around, Lady ML looked over the menu and in a conspiratorial whisper exclaimed, “Oooh, there’s also petite pumpkin pies! Where are those? Did we miss them?” Lady S. had done so much baking that we thought she did not get around to making the pumpkin pies so we did not mention them. 🙂 Well, it wasn’t until much later that Lady S. realized she had forgotten to serve the mini pumpkin pies, much to her chagrin, and much to our regrets!
The forgotten petite pumpkin pies (photo by Lady S.)
Look at these lovely fall tea cozies that Lady S. knitted! I totally would have worn them as hats! Comedian Billy Connolly’s famous quip immediately came to mind, “Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn’t try it on.” 🙂
Knitted tea cozy by Lady S.
Knitted tea cozy by Lady S.
During the tea party, the ladies all took turns writing on thankfulness leaves which we tied to tree frames. At the end of the tea, we read the leaves aloud to share our thoughts of gratitude which covered all aspects of life: family, friends, health, homes, siblings, spouses, and work. It certainly made us feel grateful and appreciate what we had.
Lady S. also knitted beautiful infinity scarves/neck warmers with a leaf pattern as tea favors for all the ladies! Everyone got a custom, personalized color. I love my scarf!Thank you Lady S. for hosting a memorable, unforgettable afternoon of bounty and gratitude! You really outdid yourself and I continually find inspiration from you and your creativity! You’ve given me much to think about and reflect on as the year comes to a close and I am so grateful that you are a part of my Life journey.
“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.”
– John Donne
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