Tea for Thirty

16 Apr

I’m always looking for excuses to try new recipes. One of the best excuses I’ve found is playing host to friends at my apartment. I usually make my events potlucks rather than full-fledged meals, largely because I like baking more than any other form of cooking. And even though the point of a potluck is technically to share responsibility for making the food, I always end up making at least three things for a potluck at my house.

I love giving my events themes to help inspire creative menu planning. Most recently, I declared that my next party would have a tea party theme. My family has gone to various high teas over the years, and it’s always felt like a very special occasion. From the dainty teacups to the delicate cakes to the tea itself, there’s just something lovely about the art of high tea. And so, a few weeks ago, I found myself surrounded by thirty friends, lots of tea, and a very large assortment of tea-time foods.

A sample of our spread

A sample of our spread. A selection of chocolate cookies, scones, blood orange cake, goat cheese sugar cookies, and the lemon blueberry cake.

Between the food I made and the food my friends brought, we truly had a feast. I personally made 5 recipes, inspired by what you’d find on a traditional tea service menu: goat cheese and red pepper finger sandwiches, dark chocolate chip scones, zucchini carrot bread, goat cheese sugar cookies, and a lemon blueberry layer cake with cream cheese frosting. Add in the dishes my friends made, and we had everything from gluten-free chocolate doughnuts to eggplant dip to a blood orange loaf cake. There was tea too, of course, though I’ll admit I personally spent more time planning out my food menu than I spent on the drink menu!

Someday I hope to own teacups like this beautiful service at a Chinatown, NYC tea salon. Until then... cups!

Someday I hope to own teacups like this beautiful service at a Chinatown tea salon in NYC

In my dream world, I’d own dozens of beautiful teacups and intricate, tiered serving platters, and I would have decked out my tables with beautiful floral centerpieces. In my real world, my friends drank their tea out of paper cups and I decorated my table with a ceramic teapot I bought at a Daiso $1.50 store. But still, the theme was fun to plan around, and I’d call the party a success. I’m already scheming for my next themed potluck… you’ll have to stay tuned to see what I do next!

 

Here are links to a few of the recipes used for the party. Enjoy!

  • These goat cheese cookies do not taste like cheese at all, but they are the softest sugar cookies you’ll ever have. Absolutely delicious.
  • I’ve been wanting to make a lemon blueberry layer cake ever since I had one during tea in St. Louis many years ago. This recipe turned out wonderfully, and it really wasn’t that hard to make. My finished cake was a bit lopsided, but taste trumps appearance in my book.
  • I spent some time debating which scones to make. I ended up choosing this dark chocolate chip scone recipe and was really glad I did. They were a big hit with my guests… and my coworkers certainly didn’t mind eating the leftovers the following day.
  • I’m not a big sandwich person in my everyday life, but a tea party has to have finger sandwiches! So I made these goat cheese and red pepper sandwiches. Very easy to make, and a great flavor combination.
  • This last cake wasn’t actually on my own recipe list, but it was such a hit that I have to share it with you. A friend found this blood orange loaf cake on Pinterest and decided to try it out for my party. It’s utterly scrumptious.

 

A peek at the inside of the lemon blueberry layer cake

A peek inside of the lemon blueberry layer cake

 

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3 Responses to “Tea for Thirty”

  1. dosirakbento April 16, 2014 at 12:31 PM #

    I love these kind of gatherings where everybody brings some food. You always end up with big variety and new dishes to try out!

    Like

    • Felicia April 16, 2014 at 1:30 PM #

      Isn’t it the best? I never make people stick to the theme though, because I don’t want to discourage them from coming. Still… I love it when they humor me!

      Like

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