Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Morning Tea

Breakfast

  • Please log in to reply
38 replies to this topic

#1 Snadra

Snadra
  • legacy participant
  • 564 posts
  • Location:Edge of the Outback, NSW

Posted 03 March 2012 - 09:09 PM

So, I'm a newly minted teacher and am now living in a very small town some 600km inland from Sydney, slowly getting into country town life and working out how to survive teenagers in the wild. At my new school (like at all the schools I've done professional experiences at) there is a weekly morning tea for teachers. Here it's hosted by a different faculty every Friday recess on a four week rotation and it's something we all look forward to.

I would love to hear any ideas or suggestions you might have for things to bring. In the common room we have an oven and a microwave, so I can do some limited reheating, but i prefer to keep it fairly simple and not too messy, as forks and plates are at a premium! I also don't have a fully equipped kitchen here yet (most of it is still in Sydney), although I do have my kitchenaid and a mini-processor and most of my baking pans, including a brand new mini muffin tin.

Some of the things I have seen here and elsewhere include sausage rolls and party pies, mini quiches, purchased biscuits/cookies and cakes, cut-up chicken, chips or crackers and dip, cut up fruit (there's been watermelon every Friday at the moment as it's grown here), cheese and a few simple cakes. And someone brought curried egg sandwiches last week which disappeared in a flash.

I also have a faculty meeting every second Tuesday afternoon which I'd like to bring something too, as we are usually all starving by then!

They are all interested in the fact I'm originally from Canada, so I'd especially like any suggestions that seem particularly Canadian or at least north American. Keep in mind that I can't get many north American products here (ie graham crackers, flavoured baking chips, jet-puff marshmallows) but I can usually find a substitute. Mind you, considering all roads east of us are closed due to flooding, I may not be able to get any products at all if the rain keeps up!

On my list of potential candidates so far are:
  • Buttertarts
  • Nanaimo bars
  • Brownies (already a hit in my staff room and at a pre-deluge BBQ)
  • Blondies
  • Chocolate chip cookies (I use Abra's recipe in recipe gullet)
  • Devilled eggs

Any good suggestions? Ideally I'd like to take two things along each turn, plus something on ocassional Tuesdays. In return I'm happy to let you know what does turn up on the menu (fairy bread, honey jumbles, etc).

#2 heidih

heidih
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 10,825 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles

Posted 03 March 2012 - 09:43 PM

My first thought was chocolate chip cookies. To me they are the cookie of the US at least, generally embraced when served, and simple to make. Can be done ahead and frozen for example.

#3 Beebs

Beebs
  • participating member
  • 704 posts
  • Location:Vancouver, BC, Canada

Posted 03 March 2012 - 10:11 PM

Tourtiere. Mini or full-sized, and they taste good at room temp.
Sugar pie, apple pie, pecan pie.
California rolls.

#4 andiesenji

andiesenji
  • society donor
  • 9,414 posts
  • Location:Southern California

Posted 03 March 2012 - 10:29 PM

I spend a lot of time on Forum Thermomix, with mostly Australian members.

Besides the numerous Thermomix recipes, the forum includes a list of Non Thermomix recipes, many of which may be helpful to you.

See the three pages here.

Also many of the recipe that have been converted to Thermomix, began life as regular recipes and the friendly folk on the forum are always happy to PM a copy of the recipe to other members.

It doesn't cost anything to join and I'm sure you will find kindred spirits there. A large proportion of members are mums (and a few dads) with kids in schools and I'm sure will have excellent suggestions as they already know what goes in your situation.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#5 haresfur

haresfur
  • participating member
  • 1,157 posts
  • Location:Bendigo Australia

Posted 04 March 2012 - 02:04 AM

How about pumpkin pie? Aussies don't seem to do pumpkin as a sweet. I got good response to pineapple upside down cake.
It's almost never bad to feed someone.

#6 Snadra

Snadra
  • legacy participant
  • 564 posts
  • Location:Edge of the Outback, NSW

Posted 04 March 2012 - 02:50 AM

Some excellent ideas here! I'm especially looking for savouries too, so tourtiere might hit the spot (and Aussies love a meat pie!).

And tarte au sucre and and and... I'll cast my net wider into other forums too when I get a few moments - thanks for the tip, Andie!

I actually hadn't thought of freezing the cookies in advance, but I think that's a perfect idea - let's me make something on the weekend. Choc chip cookies here tend to be drier and shorter, so when I make the flat and chewy ones they're really popular (the issue of course is making them rather than just eating the dough myself).

California rolls would probably work really well, but they are a step or two beyond what I can easily get my hands on. I'm living in a town of less than 3,500 and while the local grocery store is pretty good (a surprisingly wide range), it's also fairly small. The nearest big grocery store is over an hour away and right now the roads are all closed due to flooding. I should probably start a thread on living in isolated communities. :laugh:

#7 baroness

baroness
  • participating member
  • 880 posts
  • Location:New York City

Posted 04 March 2012 - 05:26 AM

Savories:
Cheese straws can be baked ahead, and eaten with or without reheating. They go well with grapes, apples, pears....
Gougeres - see notes above.
Dip with cut-up vegetables
Nachos

Can you buy a 'Rice Krispie' sort of cereal? If so, I have some non-marshmallow bar cookie recipes that you could use.

#8 Panaderia Canadiense

Panaderia Canadiense
  • participating member
  • 2,074 posts
  • Location:Ambato, Ecuador

Posted 04 March 2012 - 05:33 AM

What about stuffed bannocks? They can also be made ahead and then ovened if you wish them hot, and it doesn't get more Canadian. Also, they're both a sweet and a savoury, depending on what you stuff them with. I'm very fond of lightly seasoned ground pork with blueberries or strawberries.
Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.
My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

#9 Darienne

Darienne
  • participating member
  • 4,718 posts
  • Location:Rolling Hills of Cavan, Ontario

Posted 04 March 2012 - 06:43 AM

Muffins. Canadians seem to be the chief muffin eaters in the world. My favourite is Orange muffins made from the entire orange. Muffins freeze well.

Empanadas of almost any kind would be my other thought right away.

Good luck. :smile:
Darienne


learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

#10 Keith_W

Keith_W
  • participating member
  • 578 posts
  • Location:Melbourne

Posted 04 March 2012 - 01:43 PM

Actually you can get North American products here if you know where to look. Try USA Foods. You will have to mail order though.

I don't know what the tea time culture is like at your place, but I have stopped bothering with mine. I used to try to bring nice things in for tea - but you will find that half the people will bring in Tim Tams or carrots and dips or open a pack of biscuits or corn chips. Bad food is the norm in much of Australia :)
There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

#11 haresfur

haresfur
  • participating member
  • 1,157 posts
  • Location:Bendigo Australia

Posted 04 March 2012 - 08:05 PM

What about stuffed bannocks? They can also be made ahead and then ovened if you wish them hot, and it doesn't get more Canadian. Also, they're both a sweet and a savoury, depending on what you stuff them with. I'm very fond of lightly seasoned ground pork with blueberries or strawberries.

Stuffed bannock?? Never had that. Just the basic fried dough. What do you stuff it with?

Edited by haresfur, 04 March 2012 - 08:05 PM.

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

#12 Snadra

Snadra
  • legacy participant
  • 564 posts
  • Location:Edge of the Outback, NSW

Posted 05 March 2012 - 02:36 AM

Savories:
Cheese straws can be baked ahead, and eaten with or without reheating. They go well with grapes, apples, pears....
Gougeres - see notes above.
Dip with cut-up vegetables
Nachos

Can you buy a 'Rice Krispie' sort of cereal? If so, I have some non-marshmallow bar cookie recipes that you could use.


Gougeres is a brilliant idea! And they're quite quick too.

We absolutely get rice krispies here and I'd love a recipe that doesn't rely on marshmallow. I'm not that fond of local ones, although they do the trick, and rice krispies squares are uncommon here.

Honey joys are something I've seen a few times at morning teas, and I understand they used to be a mainstay at school fetes.

#13 Snadra

Snadra
  • legacy participant
  • 564 posts
  • Location:Edge of the Outback, NSW

Posted 05 March 2012 - 02:53 AM

Actually you can get North American products here if you know where to look. Try USA Foods. You will have to mail order though.

I don't know what the tea time culture is like at your place, but I have stopped bothering with mine. I used to try to bring nice things in for tea - but you will find that half the people will bring in Tim Tams or carrots and dips or open a pack of biscuits or corn chips. Bad food is the norm in much of Australia :)


It's middle of the road here - a few rather nice home made things and a few packets of random stuff. On my first prac my faculty put on hot chip butties and the next week it was pizza hut. On another prac it was a competition to make the most fabulous thing on the table, and on my last one there was barely anything at all laid out. I don't want to make the most amazing things, but I enjoy cooking, and it makes a good excuse (plus ensures few leftovers!). And there are definitely those who appreciate it. Ask me how I feel in October!

I've gotten a couple of things from USA foods, but I find it pretty pricey for anything but a treat, to be honest. Or to share with the hordes...

#14 Darienne

Darienne
  • participating member
  • 4,718 posts
  • Location:Rolling Hills of Cavan, Ontario

Posted 05 March 2012 - 06:01 AM

Honey joys are something I've seen a few times at morning teas, and I understand they used to be a mainstay at school fetes.

Right away, I'm adding some kind of chile powder, ancho or chipotle, to the mix.

Edited by Darienne, 05 March 2012 - 06:01 AM.

Darienne


learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

#15 Panaderia Canadiense

Panaderia Canadiense
  • participating member
  • 2,074 posts
  • Location:Ambato, Ecuador

Posted 05 March 2012 - 06:05 AM


What about stuffed bannocks? They can also be made ahead and then ovened if you wish them hot, and it doesn't get more Canadian. Also, they're both a sweet and a savoury, depending on what you stuff them with. I'm very fond of lightly seasoned ground pork with blueberries or strawberries.

Stuffed bannock?? Never had that. Just the basic fried dough. What do you stuff it with?


My woodland Cree friend Wendy, who taught me how to make them, swears by sweet ground venison with a hint of garlic and brown sugar, and wild blueberries. They turn out sort of like a Canadian take on pasties - which is to say, delish! When I want sweet ones, I use wild strawberries all on their own, and fold the bread into triangles before frying it. The plain fried barnbrack style bannocks are good as well, but my fave remains the stuffed.
Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.
My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

#16 annachan

annachan
  • participating member
  • 1,137 posts
  • Location:Melbourne, Australia

Posted 06 March 2012 - 02:13 AM

I worked in a school last year and was in charge of quite a few teas. Though people love sweets, the savory items were usually the first to go. Here are some popular items:

*Tea sandwiches - chicken salad and smoked salmon with cream cheese are good. For vegetarians, maybe a grilled vegetable.
*Quiches/frittata
*Mini sausage rolls/pies
*Savory bread rolls/pull apart bread - bacon and cheese, spinach and feta, etc.
*Cheese and crackers
*Dips and vegetables
*Guacamole/salsa and chips
*Cheese straw/pinwheels
*Sweet of just about any kind (just thought, mini cheesecakes/fruit tarts would be lovely)

Rice bubble treats without marshmallow: http://www.food.com/...lo-slice-224560
Instead of dried fruit, I use shredded or dessicated coconut (try both as they give you different texture and you may prefer one over the other). Also, I find the recipe too wet so I generally add some more rice bubbles.

I know it's hard to get graham crackers here, and the ones at USA food is ridiculously priced. I did come across this recipe: http://www.kitchenko...raham-crackers/
Haven't tried it yet though

#17 Snadra

Snadra
  • legacy participant
  • 564 posts
  • Location:Edge of the Outback, NSW

Posted 08 March 2012 - 03:31 AM

Thanks again for all the great ideas. It's our turn again tomorrow, so I've made browned butter cocoa brownies, simply because I had the ingredients in the house and knew they would work. The shelves looked pretty bare ar the market last night - I gather the roads are still flooded. We haven't reached the peak flood yet - it's due Tuesday.

However, I am collecting the ideas presented here and will let you know how things go!

Any more ideas? Let me know!

#18 Snadra

Snadra
  • legacy participant
  • 564 posts
  • Location:Edge of the Outback, NSW

Posted 05 April 2012 - 01:34 AM

Well, last day of term today (two weeks off school!!! Wooooooo!!!) and my faculty put on morning tea again. This time I made a proper effort, although unfortunately I used none of the suggestions here - I went with what I had available.

It's the fifth day of autumn (and a balmy 30C!) so there is still some stone fruit around, and plums were on sale at the IGA. I made Pille's Estonian Rhubarb Cake, replacing the rhubarb with plums and not mixing them with sugar. I LOVED it, but it wasn't the most popular dish on the table and probably would have been better made this morning instead of last night. Next time I make it I will use closer to 500 grams of fruit, but it may well be my new standard fruit cake.

I also made a Lighter than air chocolate cake as we have a few gluten free people and can't have things with nuts in them at school. It was a huge hit (chocolate, say no more) and still manageable with a handheld mixer, although it was a huge amount of batter to put together.

Finally I made a stack of cucumber and herbed cream cheese (parsley, basil and green onion cause thats what i had) finger sandwiches which flew off the plate. There was a lot of sweet stuff this morning, which probably helped. I will definitely make more savouries from now on. Of course,I rushed out leaving a total disaster in the kitchen to come home to. Sigh...

Next term I will definitely make some mini tourtière and more sandwiches!

#19 ChrisTaylor

ChrisTaylor
  • host
  • 2,113 posts
  • Location:Melbourne

Posted 05 April 2012 - 02:00 AM

Check out USA Foods. They probably stock a lot of the products you miss.

For the last teachers' morning tea I was responsible for I served everyone lots and lots of icecream.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between


#20 Darienne

Darienne
  • participating member
  • 4,718 posts
  • Location:Rolling Hills of Cavan, Ontario

Posted 05 April 2012 - 06:44 AM

I made Pille's Estonian Rhubarb Cake, replacing the rhubarb with plums and not mixing them with sugar. I LOVED it, but it wasn't the most popular dish on the table and probably would have been better made this morning instead of last night. Next time I make it I will use closer to 500 grams of fruit, but it may well be my new standard fruit cake.

Hi Sandra. About the 500 grams thingy...would you also use 500 grams of rhubarb. I am thinking of trying it for the Easter weekend and don't want to mess it up time #1.

Thanks. :smile:

ps. My DH just pointed out to me that I am somewhat lacking in sense. :raz: It's only the 5th of April and we live in the far frozen north. There is no rhubarb ready to eat. It snowed here just last week. Oh well...Margarita pie it is.

Edited by Darienne, 05 April 2012 - 07:18 AM.

Darienne


learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

#21 SylviaLovegren

SylviaLovegren
  • participating member
  • 1,087 posts
  • Location:Toronto, ON

Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:08 AM

Well, last day of term today (two weeks off school!!! Wooooooo!!!) and my faculty put on morning tea again. This time I made a proper effort, although unfortunately I used none of the suggestions here - I went with what I had available.

It's the fifth day of autumn (and a balmy 30C!) so there is still some stone fruit around, and plums were on sale at the IGA. I made Pille's Estonian Rhubarb Cake, replacing the rhubarb with plums and not mixing them with sugar. I LOVED it, but it wasn't the most popular dish on the table and probably would have been better made this morning instead of last night. Next time I make it I will use closer to 500 grams of fruit, but it may well be my new standard fruit cake.

I also made a Lighter than air chocolate cake as we have a few gluten free people and can't have things with nuts in them at school. It was a huge hit (chocolate, say no more) and still manageable with a handheld mixer, although it was a huge amount of batter to put together.

Finally I made a stack of cucumber and herbed cream cheese (parsley, basil and green onion cause thats what i had) finger sandwiches which flew off the plate. There was a lot of sweet stuff this morning, which probably helped. I will definitely make more savouries from now on. Of course,I rushed out leaving a total disaster in the kitchen to come home to. Sigh...

Next term I will definitely make some mini tourtière and more sandwiches!


It all sounds fabulous. Did you make the chocolate cake in layers or roll? And how soon before serving did you add the whipped cream? I just wonder how long it holds before it starts to sog. I was thinking of a layer of raspberries or some such in there...

#22 Kouign Aman

Kouign Aman
  • participating member
  • 2,653 posts
  • Location:San Diego

Posted 05 April 2012 - 01:50 PM

disclaimer as I know nothing of availability or expense to you, so feel free to laugh.

Maple syrup, blueberries, cranberries all say 'north america' to me.
Looking for a savory angle for those:
My mom used to baste spareribs with a maple syrup glaze. Could be adapted maybe to another cut of pork, for buns?
(Oh dear, now I want to make maple-glazed rib bao. And I dont have the skill nor the time.)
Chicken salad sandwiches w curry and (dried, chopped)cranberries and chopped apple in the chicken salad
blueberries just dont do savory to me - they are so sweet on their own, so its the classic: blueberry muffins
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

#23 Snadra

Snadra
  • legacy participant
  • 564 posts
  • Location:Edge of the Outback, NSW

Posted 05 April 2012 - 02:29 PM


I made Pille's Estonian Rhubarb Cake, replacing the rhubarb with plums and not mixing them with sugar. I LOVED it, but it wasn't the most popular dish on the table and probably would have been better made this morning instead of last night. Next time I make it I will use closer to 500 grams of fruit, but it may well be my new standard fruit cake.

Hi Sandra. About the 500 grams thingy...would you also use 500 grams of rhubarb. I am thinking of trying it for the Easter weekend and don't want to mess it up time #1.

Thanks. :smile:

ps. My DH just pointed out to me that I am somewhat lacking in sense. :raz: It's only the 5th of April and we live in the far frozen north. There is no rhubarb ready to eat. It snowed here just last week. Oh well...Margarita pie it is.


I probably would use 500 grams of rhubarb as well, but I do like a "fruity" cake! It really was a lovely cake, and I think she suggests apples work well too. But anyway, aren't you diligently forcing rhubarb in your secret snow-covered hothouse? My mum just sent me pics of the spring she's experiencing...snow, snow and more snow, while here it is 30 degrees at the start of autumn....

#24 Snadra

Snadra
  • legacy participant
  • 564 posts
  • Location:Edge of the Outback, NSW

Posted 05 April 2012 - 02:41 PM

It all sounds fabulous. Did you make the chocolate cake in layers or roll? And how soon before serving did you add the whipped cream? I just wonder how long it holds before it starts to sog. I was thinking of a layer of raspberries or some such in there...


I baked the layers (I used a sheet pan and cut each rectangle in half) the night before and kept them in the freezer following the smitten instructions. The next morning at around 7am I whipped 500ml of cream with a little vanilla (no sugar) and layered the cake with that. I kept in the freezer until just before I left at 8.15 then in the fridge at school. We have morning tea at 10am. It kept really well, BUT the only cream I now have access to is thickened cream, which has gelatine stabilisers in it, so that could be part of it.

I have made the cake before from epicurious as a roll and it is great that way too - but for almost no more work people were wowed by the layers - and it was easy to cut into squares. As a roll it keeps overnight reasonably well, so if you're using it the same day and you've stabilised the cream I think it would be okay. The layers weren't as airy as when I made the roll, but it was probably due to mixing issues on my part - the big bowl was really full!!

#25 Snadra

Snadra
  • legacy participant
  • 564 posts
  • Location:Edge of the Outback, NSW

Posted 05 April 2012 - 02:52 PM

disclaimer as I know nothing of availability or expense to you, so feel free to laugh.

Maple syrup, blueberries, cranberries all say 'north america' to me.
Looking for a savory angle for those:
My mom used to baste spareribs with a maple syrup glaze. Could be adapted maybe to another cut of pork, for buns?
(Oh dear, now I want to make maple-glazed rib bao. And I dont have the skill nor the time.)
Chicken salad sandwiches w curry and (dried, chopped)cranberries and chopped apple in the chicken salad
blueberries just dont do savory to me - they are so sweet on their own, so its the classic: blueberry muffins


Maple syrup care packages arrive ocassionally and I hoard them like a really greedy girl! We do get camp syrup here, which would be fine for ocassional sharing (my turn comes every four weeks), so I might have to come up with some kind of porcine maple goodness! In fact, one of the teachers is slaughtering her pigs next term, and I'm in discussions regarding getting some kidney lard, belly and cheeks (I do not have the equipment or stomach to make a head cheese like my mother used to). I might see about getting a pork neck as well and do that with maple glaze, and then maybe into some buns?

Chicken curry sandwiches is a great idea for next time! Blueberries are pretty available frozen, so some mini blueberry muffins might work well. And now I'm hungry too!

#26 Jaymes

Jaymes
  • participating member
  • 7,410 posts
  • Location:Houston, Texas

Posted 07 April 2012 - 01:27 PM

In a previous life, I entertained a great deal more than I do now, and here are some ideas that always went over well.

(Keep in mind that I have no idea as to what you can find locally, so I realize some of these ideas may not be practical. Also, I know that much of this you probably already know, but figured the best thing was just to toss it all out there, and you can take what might be helpful, and ignore what's not.)

Tea sandwiches: First, the bread. Keep in mind that you can use a variety of breads (white, wheat, rye, cinnamon and raisin, pumpernickel, mini-croissants, etc.), and that alone makes it look like you're offering up a large selection, even when you're not. A favorite trick in the US is to spread your sandwich filling on a flour tortilla (I like to grill them briefly first, just to get rid of that raw flour taste), then roll it up and slice into pinwheels. If you don't have flour tortillas, then take slices of white bread, flatten them, spread on your sandwich filling, roll them up and slice.

As for fillings: almost anything using cream cheese as a base can make a tasty tea sandwich but I had particularly good luck with cream cheese & sliced olives (with and without pimentos) (and with and without chopped nuts); minced candied ginger and rum; chopped eggs with minced green onions and a bit of mustard and capers or rinsed caviar; chopped dates and walnuts; sliced cucumbers of course, but don't overlook other vegetables. Very thinly-sliced or minced sweet red onions with cream cheese, a little mayo, and grated Parmesan is terrific. Truthfully, it's impossible to list all the potential combinations. If the mixture seems too thick, thin it with a little milk or cream or mayo. For seasonings, in addition to the obvious salt and pepper, try a favorite blend of seasoning salt, celery salt, bottled salad dressings (or mixes like Good Seasons "Italian"), various paprikas, favorite herbs like tarragon, oregano, basil, Tabasco or other hot sauces, lemon juice, rum or brandy or liqueurs (orange liqueur goes with many things; Khalua is good with cream cheese and chopped nuts), Worsty, soy sauce, Thai sweet chili paste, jarred pickled ginger, or any of the other thousands of Asian sauces, pickles, chutneys (I really adore Major Gray), pastes, whatever. Stand at the "Asian sauces and seasonings" section in your grocery store and just let your imagination run. As someone said upthread, a sprinkle of curry powder makes many things seem more interesting and tasty and I'm never without it. Think like a mad scientist in your laboratory and mix up small batches of whatever sounds appealing or whatever you have on hand. Peruse recipes for various dips, spreads, cheese balls, etc., that aren't specifically "fillings for tea sandwiches," but that would work perfectly.

Various salads: ham salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, Asian pork salad made with minced pork leftover from last night's dinner and some finely-chopped green onions and water chestnuts. Try various fruits, fresh or dried, mixed in - apples, grapes, raisins, craysins, chopped dried apricots, etc.

Meats: all sorts of potted meat spreads can be really good and an excellent way to use up leftovers of whatever was your main protein course the night before. If you want to do small sandwiches with sliced meats - ham, roast beef, turkey, whatever, it works much better to use those shaved "deli-slices." If you have a meat slicer that will slice it that thinly, that's best, but if you don't, buy it sliced that thinly. Nothing is worse than trying to take a bite of a ham or other meat sandwich, and getting a piece that you can't bite through, and you pull the whole slice of meat out and it flops onto your chin, dripping honey mustard sauce all over your tatas.

A wedge of tasty cheese always puts smiles on faces. Offer a selection of sliced cheeses, or put out a chunk of bleu, drizzled with honey and chopped walnuts. Serve one of those impressive brie or Camembert wheels baked in pastry.

In the American South, you're always going to get Pimento Cheese (most people just mix it up without a recipe, or buy it already made at their local market, and you can google for a plethora of recipes, but here's a start: Pimento Cheese ) either in small finger sandwiches, or spread into celery stalks, or scooped into bell pepper boats or something. But it's ubiquitous.

Also ubiquitous are Pecan Tassies for a sweet: Pecan Tassies. For many years, I seriously don't think I went to a single coffee or tea where there wasn't a pretty plate of Pecan Tassies set upon the table. The quintessential Southern ladies' gathering dessert.

Don't forget fresh fruit. It's always welcome. Cut up some apples or melons or pineapples or other seasonal fruit and put it into a Tupperware or other plastic container, toss with 7-Up or Ginger Ale or lemon juice or Fruit Fresh, or something to keep it from turning brown, chill and offer with a smooth dipping sauce made of yogurt or sour cream or Nutella or something. I don't know if you can get Bisquick over there, but good ol' American shortbread takes about 12 minutes to make with that recipe on the box, and it's not too sweet (similar to scones), and they're easy to slide off of your baking sheet, put into a ziplock bag, carry to the party, and then plate up with a ladle of sliced strawberries over, and a squirt or spritz or dollop of sweetened whipped cream on top.

Don't overlook "Pigs in a Blanket" - which for years, I admit I shied away from because it seemed sorta "low rent" or something, I don't know exactly, but the truth is that people love them. Again, most folks just make them up without a particular recipe, but in case you're not familiar with them, here's a recipe: Pigs in a Blanket

And many seafood options, too. Salmon spread is always good, but smoked oysters, sardines, etc., can produce great snacks as well. Here's a crab spread that is great on tea sandwiches, or with crackers, or spread into celery stalks:

Crab Spread

8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temp
1 can crab meat, drained, carefully picked through, or you can use some chopped imitation crab meat
1 tsp horseradish
2 T mayo
chopped green onions to taste
Salt & pepper & paprika & hot sauce & garlic powder & lemon juice or other seasonings to taste.

Combine everything and put it in a tightly-sealed container. Chill until firm. You can either mold this onto a plate for serving, or pat it into a log, or whatever other shape you find attractive, and surround with crackers. You can roll it in chopped parsley or almonds or something if you'd like. Or, as I said, you can serve it in celery stalks, or stuffed into cherry tomatoes, or as a filling in tea sandwiches.

Here's another seafood-based spread:

Shrimp Butter

8 oz cream cheese
1 US stick of butter (1/4 pound of butter, not "light butter" or margarine or other butter substitute because it won't work)

Put the cream cheese and the stick of butter into a med-sized mixing bowl and allow to come to room temperature. Combine well. Add:

1 can cooked cocktail shrimp, drained
1/4 C mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt & pepper & white pepper & Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste
1 Tbl grated onion.

Blend thoroughly and chill until serving time, to let the flavors marry.

To serve, you can either allow it to come to room temperature and serve with spreaders and crackers or toast points or crostini, or spread chilled onto bread for tea sandwiches.

And here's a personal favorite Tea Sandwich recipe (from Afternoon Tea at the Empress Hotel): Empress Hotel Shredded Carrot & Ginger tea sandwiches

Mini-muffins, of course, and cookies. Oatmeal cookies always went over well. Not so sweet as some. And the various "breads" that are more like cakes: zucchini bread, banana nut bread, brown molasses and raisin bread, carrot bread, applesauce bread. Take some softened cream cheese for spreading over.

You can even serve soups. Cold, smooth soups seem to work best - the ones that you can basically sip without needing a spoon. Take it in a thermos, and then serve by pouring into those small clear plastic cocktail or wine glasses. Cold avocado soups are so wonderful, as are fruit soups - cherry, peach, etc. I had a great cold apple soup served just that way, from a thermos, while attending a "formal picnic" (I know that sounds like a contradiction, but that's what it was) while visiting an apple hacienda in Mexico.

A few general tips: if you're serving tea sandwiches with some sort of mayo-based filling, like chicken salad, tuna salad, ham salad, etc., spread a thin layer of butter on the bread first to seal it and keep it from becoming soggy. White bread, in particular, can be difficult to spread with a thick filling. It can be easier if you freeze the bread, and work with it while frozen.

You know, I envy you. I haven't done this sort of entertaining in years, but I always thought it was so much fun. You can basically just mix up anything that suits your whimsy, that flits across your fancy, and give it a try. You're not investing much time, money or energy in it and if something doesn't turn out great, you can toss it away without a second thought. It's not like you've ruined an entire $50 standing rib roast and now you have nothing to serve the 12 hungry dinner guests becoming restless in your living room.

So have fun, and report back!

:rolleyes:

Edited by Jaymes, 07 April 2012 - 02:21 PM.


#27 Darienne

Darienne
  • participating member
  • 4,718 posts
  • Location:Rolling Hills of Cavan, Ontario

Posted 07 April 2012 - 04:35 PM

Wonderful post, Jaymes. It was so much fun reading it.

Best part: I hadn't thought about pimento cream cheese in decades. As I recall, my Mother used to buy it premade. I loved it in sandwiches. :smile: With chopped walnuts on it.
Darienne


learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

#28 Snadra

Snadra
  • legacy participant
  • 564 posts
  • Location:Edge of the Outback, NSW

Posted 07 April 2012 - 05:03 PM

You know, I envy you. I haven't done this sort of entertaining in years, but I always thought it was so much fun. You can basically just mix up anything that suits your whimsy, that flits across your fancy, and give it a try. You're not investing much time, money or energy in it and if something doesn't turn out great, you can toss it away without a second thought. It's not like you've ruined an entire $50 standing rib roast and now you have nothing to serve the 12 hungry dinner guests becoming restless in your living room.

So have fun, and report back!

:rolleyes:


Thanks Jaymes for all the ideas! It's so true what you say about giving anything a try - that's pretty much my attitude. It gives me a chance to try out lots of new things without expanding my own waistline too much, and if the staff don't like it either Year 8 or the chickens can have a go.

#29 andiesenji

andiesenji
  • society donor
  • 9,414 posts
  • Location:Southern California

Posted 07 April 2012 - 05:53 PM

Wonderful post, Jaymes. It was so much fun reading it.

Best part: I hadn't thought about pimento cream cheese in decades. As I recall, my Mother used to buy it premade. I loved it in sandwiches. :smile: With chopped walnuts on it.



I make my own pimento cheese but with the addition of a few spicy (preserved) peppers to perk it up a bit.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#30 rod rock

rod rock
  • participating member
  • 292 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 05:00 AM

I make my own pimento cheese but with the addition of a few spicy (preserved) peppers to perk it up a bit.


Me too, but without peppers. :)

Edited by heidih, 10 April 2012 - 08:13 AM.
Fix quote tags

"The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live."

 

Franchise Takeaway
 

 






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Breakfast