Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Cup of Tea ... and Rather a Bit More

Today, I held a Celebratory Tea. This is a particular tea party that I throw for the cast and crew at Covenant College after the show's all done and everyone has pried themselves up off the floor where they collapsed after strike.

I've done this for a few shows now, and have a bit of a framework for the menu, which is mostly different each time but there are a few favorites that always show up. However, despite the framework and the favorites, I feel like I'm always scrambling to remember what I did last time - did I double that recipe or triple it? How much food is enough food? So I had the happy thought of just recording everything here, to be inspiration to you, gentle reader, in planning your own celebratory teas, for aiding me in planning the next one, and to serve as a simple way of getting recipes to all those who requested them.

Such an inelegant, non-magazine-worthy photo, but I barely remembered to take one at all, so there you go
Clockwise from bottom:

- Various paraphernalia for making tea. With this particular crowd, black tea, preferably Earl Gray, was universally preferred.
- Gramercy Tavern's Gingerbread Cake, by smitten kitchen. I baked it in 2 loaf pans instead of a bundt pan. Completely delicious, very dark and spicy. Though only one pan is pictured, we consumed both.
- Easy Devonshire Cream, by I made a triple recipe.
- Simple Scones (recipe to follow). I made a triple recipe, minus 6 or 8 scones that we had for breakfast
- jar of lemon curd. The combination of scone, Devonshire Cream and lemon curd is sublime. (Devonshire cream is also called clotted cream.)
- ham, Brie, and mustard sandwiches. I used only a little mustard because I wanted the Brie to really stand out. I did 8 sandwiches, cut off the crusts, and cut them into triangles.
- [on the same plate as the ham and Brie] cucumber sandwiches. I used 1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced, and spread the bread with a mixture of 8 oz cream cheese, 1 clove garlic, 2 tbsp dill and 1 tbsp mayonnaise. This made 7 sandwiches and I cut off the crusts and cut them into squares. (Pro tip: use the smaller ends of the cucumber, and 4 slices will fit perfectly onto a piece of bread, so when you cut them into squares, each square has one perfect slice of cucumber.)
- plain slices of bread with the crusts cut off, for use with:
- butter mixed with sugar and cinnamon
- Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake, by smitten kitchen. Amazing. Also, I was very fearful that I had over mixed, but it turned out fine.
- Twice-Baked Shortbread, by smitten kitchen. Just lovely.

I realize that there are three smitten kitchen recipes here, which seems a bit excessive even to me, but smitten kitchen has never not once steered me wrong. Wonderful recipes.

This menu more than adequately fed a medium-sized crew and a cast of 4. I made the gingerbread the night before, because it's better the second day, apparently, and I made the dough for the twice-baked shortbread the night before because that's what the recipe told me to do.

Simple Scones

1 cup heavy cream
2 cups self-rising flour

Mix thoroughly and knead several times, adding flour if necessary to keep it from being sticky. Roll it out to half an inch. Cut as you desire. Bake for 10 minutes (or until turning golden at the edges) at 450 degrees.

Incidentally, the next Covenant show is Waiting for Godot, directed by Cacey Williams. The preview is November 12th at 8, and performances are Nov 13, 14, and 20 at 8pm, with a matinee performance on November 21st at 2:30. Waiting for Godot is absurdist and thought-provoking. More information here

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