Monday, July 07, 2008

Jan & Tom's Tea Party

Jan & Tom are hosting a virtual tea party today! This will be a lot of fun, getting to see how everyone will decorate, where they will hold their party, and what they will be wearing! Some people may even be sharing recipes, so be sure and go check out the other parties listed at Jan & Tom's.
What I'm goiong to wear is always a big consideration when I am hostessing something. I have to think about preparing food, running in and out of the house, and what may look good on me right now. I am going to wear a floaty blue cotton dress. It covers my shoulders and the top of my arms and is very cool for running in and out of the house. It's jazzy enough for a party, yet casual enough to wear my Birkies with it and be comfy! Of course I won't be getting dressed until right before the guests arrive, since I am know for making a disaster of my nice clothes, whether I wear an apron or not!
Here in the Boston area it is extremely hot and muggy today. I am going to hold my tea party later in the day, when there is less sun in my south-facing yard. This way my friends who work will also be able to attend. I know there will be laughing into the later hours out there, and someone will be splashing from the pond! I'm so glad I also invited the neighbors, so we don't disturb them.The thing I like best about the yard are the different "rooms" there are for people to congregate. There is the fence-enclosed part of the property, where we have a couple of tables and easy chairs, and then outside the gate we have a more natural setting with a pond and garden. I love to find garden art to place among the greenery. I don't have a particular collection, some are found objects, and some are carved statues. Many have been gifts. Sometimes out on the pond we have Canada geese that stop by during their seasonal migrations, and there are ducks who come from somewhere to spend the summer.
I've been planning my menu and deciding what new or unusual things I want to pull out of my hat to go along with the tea. I'm going to serve many things besides hot tea, of course! But it is definitely a tea party, so I will be putting out all of my mis-matched tea cups. No matter what they decide to drink, I know my guests will want to put it in tea cups. Most of my cups are from "junk" stores, a few are family pieces. They are really just things that have caught my eye over the years. I went through and actually looked at the manufacturer's markings a few years ago, and there were some I had heard of, but mostly they were from companies unknown to me. I like to rotate the display I keep out in the kitchen. This way each cup gets attention instead of a big jumble where things may not be appreciated. For beverages, I'm going to have iced tea, lemonade and raspberry lemonade along with the hot tea. I make the tea myself, of course! For a crowd like I'm expecting I just don't have the time or patience to juice all those lemons! I buy either Newman's or Simply Juice. Then I crush up 1 cup of raspberries per gallon of lemonade, strain them through a very fine strainer, and add the juice to the lemonade. Some people like the raspberry juice in their iced tea, too. Just a little something different! I think I am going to serve a variety of salads! Even the sandwiches will be chicken and crab salad, my 2 favorites. In addition to tossed green salad and a pasta salad, I will pull out a new recipe for Asian Cucumber Salad. I've made it a few times for myself and one or two others and we all enjoyed it. People should love it in the summer time and it's a different take on cucumber salad!
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 green onion, sliced
1/2 carrot, julienned
In a medium bowl, stir together vinegar, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in sesame seeds, and reduce heat to medium. Cook until seeds are brown, about 5 minutes.
Remove seeds with a slotted spoon, and stir into vinegar mixture.
Mix in cucumber, green onions, and carrot.
Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
No tea party is complete without several sweet treats! Normally, I wouldn't consider having desserts that didn't include some chocolate, but it's so hot I can just see the sweaty chocolate melting all over, and it can be heavy to have brownies or chocolate cake in this weather. For the main dessert, I am making a fruit pizza. This is a great summertime dessert because of all the fresh fruit available right now. I'm glad my friend Pauline is allergic to strawberries, because I don't like them, so I don't have to use them! The strawberries around here are bursting off the vines right now, so I'm sure those who enjoy them are not missing out! I've used sugar cookie dough as the crust once or twice, but it makes for a very heavy dessert, almost ruining the lightness of the fruit and poppyseed dressing. Filo dough works well, and is much lighter, so I am going to do several layers of the filo as the crust. I know! I can dip the leftover fruit pieces in chocolate, and include some strawberries. Some people may want just one or two bites. I also found these wonderfully cute cupcakes at a local bakery; I just can't make everything myself! They are lemon cake with buttercream icing. Aren't they so nifty?!
The tea party guests will all be getting a goody basket when they go home. I have included a fun, summery vintage tea towel from
Rick Rack Attack, recipes for the yummies we ate today, a tea cup tote (what a neat idea!) from Sweet Necessi-Teas, and put it all in a Longaberger Horizons of Hope basket, to support a cure for breast cancer.
I'm sorry you're unable to join us in reality for this tea party because you are so far away. I hope the pictures inspire you to have your own tea party soon, and to try some new recipes. You can find more tea parties at Jan & Tom's Place!


Jan & Tom's Place said...

Good to see your Tea Party is under way!! Can't wait to sample all the goodies...but that will be later!!


Bella said...

Wow, are those vases that you have the cold drinks in? So pretty! Your backyard is gorgeous! What time should I be there? ;)

Jan~Feather Your Nest Antiques said...

Happy to see you thought of us iced tea lovers! I'll take mine with sweetener and lemon please.

Justine said...

Ooh girl, just tell me what time and I'll be there! Your back yard is glorious! Who does all the landscaping for you?

Justine :o )

Deborah said...

What a lovely spot for a tea party!

Katy Lin :) said...

what a delightful tea party! the raspberry lemonade sounds just perfect for a hot summer day, and i adore chicken salad sandwiches, but i can never seem to get mine right. what recipe do you use?

Shelia said...

My My My! What a wonderful time I'm going to have at your tea party today! Thanks for the sneak peak! Your yard is just gorgeous with lots of room for all the visitors. The drinks are so beautiful in those glass servers. Where in the world do you store these gems? The recipes sound so tasty, can't wait to try them. Well, I'll be back at tea time with my hat on. You're invited to come to my tea party today, too!
Shelia ;)

marye said...

everything looks fabulous

ceekay said...

Your tea in the yard looks so inviting. Would really love to be there! I want one of those beverage decanters, just like those!

Stephanie ~ Angelic Accents said...

Beautiful teaparty ~ you are such a thoughtful hostess. Everything looks picture perfect.

Thanks so for sharing with us today!

Angelic Accents

Sweet Necessi-Teas said...

I wish I could come to your tea party. I think your outdoor rooms are such a lovely place for an afternoon tea! I love your tea cup collection--you have some beautiful pieces!

Thank you so much for the mention. How sweet of you!

Enjoy your guests!

Hugs, Karen

Shelia said...

Elizabeth, thank you so much for attending my tea party. Oh, I'm so glad you like the lemon tea pot and tray...wish I had more pieces to it. Wasn't this fun today?
Come back to see me any time. I'll have your cup of tea waiting.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

The Apron Queen said...

Hey. This looks like fun. I might just have to pop over there myself & join in. Thanks for mentioning me too! :D

For your daily dose of vintage goodness & a bit of silliness, stop by Confessions of an Apron Queen

Kathleen Grace said...

Your garden is gorgeous and that fruit pizza looks fantastic! Great party, thanks for the cool favors too:>)

Theresa @ Take A Sentimental Journey said...

Hi Elizabeth, I am so glad to meet you.I love your pretty yard and pretty dishes.And the rashberry juice sounds like it is to die for!Makes me want an ice cold glass of rashberry lemonade right now.

Thanks for comming by for tea. Come again dear.

Scooterblu's Whimsy said...

Elizabeth, Great post! Your yard is absolutely beautiful! What a wonderful place to host any kind of gathering! Thanks for stopping in for a visit! Come back anytime! :) ~Rhonda

Sincerely Yours said...

Hi Elizabeth! Wow!!!! What a great tea party you put on! Right down to the departing gift! Well done! Your teacups are gorgeous and I love your beverage containers! Simply Lemonade is the only one I buy now!!! I'm originally from the Boston area and miss home! Have a great day and thanks for having me to your party! - Jeannette

French said...

Your yard is gorgeous! I so wish I enjoyed gardening but I know so little about it and well it scares me!(lol) Hope you are doing well;) French

hautemommy said...

Mmmmm that cucumber salad looks delish, so summery!! :) Love your tea party... sorry I am a day late visiting with everyone, but I was attending to Mr. Broken Leg yesterday haha! Thanks for your sweet comment! xoxoxox

quitecontrary1977 said...

lovely, lovely.. thanks for stopping in to check in on me.. you're a sweetie!

Rue said...

Hi Elizabeth :)

Your tea party looked fabulous. I'm sorry I was late ;)

You have a gorgeous yard! wow!!

Oh and I DO love that pedi-egg ;)


Ronda's Rants said...

It looks beautiful...I know you had a lovely time!