Cooking with Bwog: Afternoon Tea
Written by Bwog Staff
After a brief hiatus during which Bwog’s cooking expert performed brilliantly on her chemistry exams (extracting DNA is a lot like making mayo, yo), Cooking with Bwog is back, bringing you recipes and wisdom for the dorm kitchen. As always, if you have questions for the culinary team or have recipes you’d like to share, please send your tips to [email protected] This week’s theme: tea time!
Planning a formal tea in your dorm is a daunting task, but absolutely necessary in the cold months when the heightened darkness means watching the sun set in afternoon. As Bwog’s tea and cheese expert Leora points out, in order to make your tea as elegant as possible, it’s important to understand the three major components of a tea party. Traditional tea has three parts: the finger sandwich, the scone, and the dessert. If at all possible, set the table in white (you can purchase plastic or paper table cloths at Morton Williams) and buy flowers.
The Finger Sandwich
Finger sandwiches should have the crusts cut off. The sandwiches should be neither too small or too large – a regular loaf of white bread will yield 2 sandwiches per two slices of bread. It’s wise to butter the bread before applying variable toppings as it will keep the bread from becoming soggy. Always prepare the sandwich by applying the fillings to bread before removing the crust as this will be much easier to do and produce a more attractive end product. Bwog usually makes the sandwich, cuts the crusts off, and then cuts the sandwich diagonally to make 2 small triangles. If you want to make very small squares, toothpicks are necessary.
Cucumber and Mint: Mix 1/2 stick of butter with 1 tablespoon of fresh crushed mint. Apply to bread and add thinly sliced cucumber.
Goat Cheese and Watercress: Mix one 5 1/2 oz. log of soft goat cheese in a bowl with 1/4 cup of chopped watercress leaves. Salt to taste and spread over raisin nut or wheat bread.
Another option is to buy herbed cheese or cream cheese to put on sandwiches – Bwog likes Nussbaum’s lox spread. The herbs and cheese described above are available at Fairway and Morton Williams.
If you have the baking tools to make scones, this is the best choice since you can make bit sized versions for a larger party. Here is a nice recipe. If serving for a smaller party, scones from a bakery are appropriate, just make sure you warm them up before serving – place them in the oven for 5 minutes at 250 degrees or microwave them for 35 seconds or so. Serve scones with clotted cream and jam.
If scones are out of your budget, you may replace them with either a shortbread cookie or a thick cracker with jam.
Mini pastries are available at many bakeries in the area, or if you’re up to it, you can make them here. They are expensive and complicated, though, so it might be best to put together a plate of cookies, some nice chocolates, and strawberries with whipped cream. If the chocolate is in a wrapper, remove it and arrange it nicely on a plate with a napkin over it. To prepare strawberries with whipped cream, cut the stem end off the strawberry and then, placing it on that end, cut an X in the other end of the strawberry and squirt some whipped cream on them. Alternatively you can make a bowl of whipped cream for dipping.
Photos of tea party courtesy of Leora Kelman.
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