I decided to have a tea party for my mother for Mother’s Day. She came over and enjoyed the different things that I prepared, and we had a lovely tea time on the patio! If anyone wants to repeat this, I would recommend getting someone to help so there is not as much work for each of you.
For the Scones, I made a recipe that I have made a few times before. I love this recipe, from Alton Brown. I have made it with a couple of variations (craisins and/or chocolate) but have found that I like plain the best. This particular time, I burned the bottoms (gasp!) so I just cut them off and we had scone tops! They were delicious with lemon curd (Thanks, Trader Joe’s) and some homemade strawberry jam. Although this was not a new recipe, I wanted to share the link because the scones are always so good!
Elegant Artichoke Cups
- 24 square wonton wrappers
- 1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts in water, drained and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 2 T finely snipped fresh parsley
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 garlic clove, pressed
- 1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Press one wonton wrapper into each cup of a mini muffin pan. Lightly spray wontons with vegetable oil. Bake 6 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. [Do it about 2-3 minutes to try to avoid edges that are too crispy!] Remove pan from oven and set aside, leaving wontons in place.
2. Meanwhile, coarsely chop artichokes, dice bell pepper, finely chop parsley, zest the lemon, and put all in a medium bowl. Add mozzarella, mayonnaise, pressed garlic, and half of the Parmesan. Mix well.
3. Fill each wonton cup with a small scoop of the artichoke mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake 8 minutes or until edges of wontons are golden brown and cheese is melted. Remove from pan, and serve immediately.
From The Pampered Chef Season’s Best Recipe Collection Fall/Winter 2003. Recipe edited so does not have instructions such as, “using Classic Batter Bowl”, etc.
Notes: The artichoke cups were tasty and pretty, but the edges got too brown. (See picture above.) I should not have cooked them as long with no filling, and kept a better watch on them after adding the filling to make sure they didn’t get so dark. Of course I burned the bottoms of the scones, so at least these weren’t burned!
I found a unique recipe for Tuna Salad Sandwiches. I varied a little bit from the recipe. I didn’t have any more red bell peppers since I used up what was left in the artichoke cups, so I left them out of the tuna salad. I didn’t want to use raw onions, as my mother can’t eat them, so I added one stalk of celery instead. We didn’t have any tomatoes and I forgot to put that on the list, so no tomatoes. As it was, it was very unique and tasty! I’d recommend this tuna salad as something a little different from the norm.
I stumbled upon this recipe for Cucumber Sandwiches on The Paupered Chef’s blog. Although they are not traditional cucumber sandwiches, we found them delicious! I made the “Best Cucumber Sandwiches” version, which is recipe number two on the blog post. The apple cider vinegar changed the flavor and texture of the cucumbers, and really made the flavor pop. What a great recipe! My only comments are to peel the cucumber and to be sure you make the slices thin, as we preferred the thin slices to the thicker ones. (My knife skills are still somewhat lacking, so the slices weren’t exactly even.)
Raspberries and chocolate are one of our favorite flavor combinations, and this voluptuous new recipe well deserves the Cockaigne name. If you like cakey brownies, mix the batter in an electric beater. If you prefer fudgy brownies, mix everything by hand with a whisk. Cutting these brownies can be messy, so we chill the cooled slab in the refrigerator for about 1 hour before slicing.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing it to overhand the two narrow ends of the pan by about 2 inches. Grease the foil or coat with nonstick spray.
In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt:
- 12 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) unsalted butter
Stir constantly until the chocolate melts. Remove at once from heat. Using a wire whisk, beat until smooth. Cool to room temperature. In a separate bowl, beat or whisk until well blended:
- 6 large eggs
- 3 cups (21 ounces) sugar
- 2 t vanilla
Fold in the cooled chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Sift over, then stir to mix:
- 1 1/2 cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
When the batter is just mixed, turn out into the pan, spreading to edges. Drop by teaspoonfuls evenly over the top:
- 2/3 cup (7 ounces) raspberry jam
Insert the tip of a knife 1/2 inch into the batter, then evenly distribute the jam by swirling the knife.
Bake on middle oven rack for 30-35 minutes, or until the center of the top is almost firm when lightly tapped and a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean except at the bottom, which will look a little moist. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand until completely cool. Using the overhanging foil as handles, lift the brownies to a cutting board. Carefully peel off the foil. Using a large, sharp knife, cut into bars, wiping bits of brownie off the knife with a damp towel as you work.
Yield: 24 bars
From Joy of Cooking, Christmas Cookies
Notes: These were deliciously rich and decadent! I followed the instructions about mixing by hand to make more fudgey, and it must have worked. They were moist and fudgey, which is what I prefer. I did not have any raspberry jam, but I have lots of strawberry jam, so that is why my version is strawberry. The instructions were great and the foil came right out of the pan onto the cutting board. I was able to just peel it right off, as I had sprayed with non-stick spray before putting the batter in the pan. I didn’t have any trouble cutting them, and didn’t even need the fridge trick.
Lace cookies are a good old-fashioned American favorite. Since much of the appeal of these see-through wafers is in their brittle, caramelized appearance, prepare them on a dry day. Have all ingredients at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheets, or line with well greased aluminum foil.
Spread in a baking pan and toast in the oven, stirring constantly, 5-6 minutes, until very lightly browned:
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely chopped pecans
Set aside to cool. Raise the oven temperature to 375°F. Bring to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat:
- 2/3 cup (5.25 ounces) unsalted butter
Adjust the heat and boil butter gently, stirring occasionally, for about 3-4 minutes, or until the solids on the bottom of the pan turn light brown. Remove the pan from the heat. Add to the butter, stirring to blend well:
- 1 cup (8 ounces) packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 T milk
- 1/4 t salt
Stir in until well combined:
- 1 1/2 cups (4.75 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 T all-purpose flour
- 2 t vanilla
Stir in the reserved nuts. Drop scant measuring teaspoonfuls of batter onto sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Do not make the cookies too large, as they spread a great deal. The batter will stiffen as it cools; this is okay. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 6-8 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown all over and just slightly darker at the edges. Transfer sheets to wire racks and let stand until the cookies firm up slightly, about 1 minute. Then, using a spatula, gently transfer the cookies to wire racks until cool. If they become too cool and brittle to be removed easily, return them to the oven a minute to soften. Grease the sheets before baking another batch.
Yield: About 6 dozen wafers
From Joy of Cooking, Christmas Cookies
Notes: These were very elegant and delicious! They were also very time consuming. I cooked 6 minutes, then cooled about 4 minutes, so I could take them off the pan in such a manner as they retained their shape. I would HIGHLY recommend using a silpat to cook these cookies! I have one, and it worked like a charm. I did not have to grease the pan, just wiped the silpat between each batch. I tried to bake one batch on a greased pan, and they all burned after cooking the same amount of time as the ones on the silpat. Also, I could only make 6 at a time. There are five in the picture, but I found that I could make 6 without them running together. Do not try to make them big when putting on the pan! They really spread out and if you don’t make tiny scoops, you will get a big mess. If I make these again, I’m only going to make a half batch. We had so many we took them the next day to lunch with Gray’s family, and they were a hit! Everyone who tried them said they were delicious, and they thought the cookies were unique!
Gray: I joined Katie and her mother for tea, and it was very nice. Although none of these recipes are difficult in and of themselves, taken all together the preparations take a bit of time. I would recommend that you make as much in advance as possible.