I hosted our book club meeting this month. We read “Miss Buncle’s Book” by DE Stevenson and I was delighted at the prospect of holding an “Evening Tea” on our front porch in keeping with the London setting. Because the boys and I had just picked about 20 lbs of Strawberries, I just had to incorporate them into the menu. I hadn’t made Strawberry Mango Salsa since last season and although chips and salsa are a decidedly modern addition to a tea menu, the salsa is so finger-lickin good that I couldn’t resist. If you can’t find Champagne mangoes, well-ripened regular mangoes work just as well. The basil balances perfectly with the sweetness of the strawberries and mango. And if you have any leftovers, it’s awesome with chicken or fish.
It was very warm and a bit humid so hot tea was out of the question. Starbucks makes an amazing floral-fruity concoction called Passion Tea Lemonade and I found a great knock-off recipe that is not only delicious but super-easy to make. I also set out a bottle of vodka for the ladies who wanted their tea with a little kick.
Since you can’t have tea without tea sandwiches, I chose an apple-chicken salad that balances creamy mayonnaise with a little mustard and sweet apple chunks as well as a Goat Cheese Tomato Bruschetta. I found a great little mix of “gourmet” yellow and red tomatoes in various sizes which added a pretty touch to these super-easy toasts. These are amazing warm but also work well at room temperature. I assembled the sandwiches about an hour before the party and they kept quite well in the fridge.
This fresh and summery menu was a perfect opening to “porch season”. Happy Summer All!
Strawberry Mango Salsa
2 Cups Strawberries, finely diced
5 Champagne Mangos (about 1 ½ cups), finely diced
1/2 Cup Red Onion, finely chopped
6 Large Basil Leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
½ tsp. Black Pepper
Pulse strawberries and mangos until finely diced, stir in remaining ingredients and allow to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours, covered. Serve with tortilla chips or over chicken or fish.
Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches
6 chicken tenderloins, poached (about 2 cups finely chopped)
kosher salt freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
1 celery stalk, diced
1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp yellow mustard
dash hot sauce
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped parsley
In a large bowl, add the chopped chicken, onion, celery, apple, mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, lemon juice, and parsley. Mix well until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Taste and add salt and pepper, if desired. Place 1 tbsp chicken salad on top of small pumpernickel toasts.
Tomato Goat Cheese Bruschetta
1 loaf rustic bread (ciabatta or sour dough)
3-4 vine tomatoes in different colors, sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 clove garlic
Goat cheese for spreading (herbed or plain)
Salt and pepper to taste
Place 1 tbsp olive oil in a small shallow dish. Press one side of bread lightly into oil and place on preheated grill pan or grill set to medium heat. Grill until golden and crispy. Cut your garlic clove in half and rub it right onto the crispy bread (2-4 times should be well enough). Spread on goat cheese, top with tomatoes and sprinkle over thyme and salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temp.
Passion Tea Lemonade
2 Tazo Passion Tea Bags
16 oz Water
4 oz Lemonade
2 tbsp simple syrup
Boil water. Remove from heat add tea bags and simple syrup. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove tea bags and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Add ice to a tall closeable container. Add 8 oz tea and 2 oz of lemonade per serving. Add simple syrup to taste. Shake well to mix. Also delicious with just shy of 1 shot vodka per serving.