One woman's foray into cooking for herself, for her family, and for her friends. It's not always picture-perfect, sometimes a little messy,
but it's always delicious. Join me in exploring new recipes, savoring the "résultats" and learning from the "erreurs".

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Darling Baker's Tea Party

The Darling Bakers are hosting a tea party this weekend. I invited my sister-in-law and my niece for high tea. It was all very "lady-like". My sister-in-law, Amy, doesn't mind trying new recipes - I love cooking for her! I made a few old standbys and tried a few new things, too.

We started the meal with soup shooters: three different soups in 2-ounce glasses. All of these recipes were new to me, but all turned out delicious. We had Broccoli Bisque, Gazpacho, and Corn Soup. All were surprisingly easy and quick to make. The Broccoli Bisque was full of fresh broccoli flavor, tempered with leeks and just enough potato to really smooth out the flavor. The Gazpacho was the best gazpacho recipe I've ever had - bright and fresh-tasting. The Corn Soup was as sweet as mid-summer corn on the cob! Delicious!

We also had individual shrimp cocktails. I bought "easy-peel" shrimp to save a little time - they were already headed and deveined. I only had to boil them for a couple of minutes (I add a few black peppercorns, black mustard seeds, and nigella seeds to the boil), then move them to an ice bath to stop the cooking and keep them tender. The sauce is an easy recipe of ketchup (or chili sauce), prepared horseradish, Worcestershire, fresh lemon juice, and a dash of cayenne.

I decided to make individual cheese balls. Cheese balls are kind of a retro thing - there was always a cheese ball for people to nibble on when my mother had people over for dinner! I changed it up just a little by making little ones for each person, placing them on paper grape leaves, and putting a little spreader and crackers on each plate. It was a hit!

My other standby recipe is for chicken puffs, miniature profiteroles filled with chicken salad. I change up my chicken salad all the time. This time I minced some roasted red bell pepper for the salad, which turned it kind of pink - something I knew my niece would love!

We enjoyed Celestial Seasons' Tangerine-Orange Zinger iced tea with lunch. It was fruity and pretty - perfect with our meal.

For dessert, we had mini fruit tarts. This is the first time I've ever made them, but they were not as difficult or as time-consuming as I thought they might be. I used a Martha Stewart recipe for the pate sucre and for the pastry cream. The raspberries were just the right amount of tart-sweet and the blueberries were juicy and sweet, just right to top these little 4-bite morsels.

With our desserts, we had Twinings Lady Grey tea, a lighter, more floral version of Earl Grey. It was the first time we'd tried that tea - it was really delicious and Amy proclaimed it her favorite hot tea.

It was a wonderful tea party! I really love cooking for my family and friends, and this was no exception!


The recipes:

Broccoli Bisque With Gremolata Garnish
Autumn 2008

By: Lucy Waverman

"Broccoli soup is much more tasty than you might give it credit for. It is full flavoured and interesting."

2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced
1 head broccoli, cut into florets, stem peeled and roughly chopped, about 4½ cups (1.125 L)
½ cup (125 mL) peeled and chopped Yukon Gold potatoes
4 cups (1 L) chicken stock
¼ cup (50 mL) whipping cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper

¼ cup (50 mL) finely chopped parsley
1 tsp (5 mL) finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp (25 mL) grated lemon rind

1. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté for 3 minutes or until limp. Add broccoli and sauté another minute. Add potatoes and toss together. Pour in stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until broccoli and potatoes are very tender.

2. Using a hand blender, process vegetables until smooth. Add cream, bring to boil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes to amalgamate flavours.

3. Combine parsley, garlic and lemon rind in a mini chop or food processor. Process until well combined. Dot on top of soup before serving.

Serves 6




Prep Time: 1 hr 0 min

Inactive Prep Time: 0 min

Cook Time: 0 min

Level: 0

Serves: 3 quarts, 6 to 8 servings

  • 2 pounds, about 10 Roma tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2-cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the soup. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until almost pureed, leaving a little texture. Season with salt and pepper. Return to bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. Prepare topping mixture. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients until well blended. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until needed. To serve: Ladle 10 to 12 ounces into chilled soup plates. On a large serving spoon, place 1/4 cup of the topping mixture, top with 2 shrimp, and garnish with a sprig of cilantro. Carefully place in the center of the plate of soup. Place a wedge of lime on the rim of the plate.

Topping mixture:

1/4 cup red bell pepper, cored, seeded, trimmed, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, trimmed, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/4 cup red onion, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/4 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/2 cup red and yellow pear tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3 ripe avocados, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


12 to 16 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, butterflied, poached, and chilled
6 to 8 sprigs fresh cilantro
6 to 8 wedges lime

Source: Wolfgang Puck's "Pizza, Pasta and More!", copyright 2000

Shrimp and Corn Bisque
(I omitted the shrimp this time.)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, very finely chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups fish stock (I used chicken stock this time since I omitted the shrimp.)
1 cup milk
1 cup peeled cooked small shrimps, deveined if necessary
1-1/2 cups corn kernels
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill or thyme (I used basil as that was what I had on hand - it was wonderful!)
hot pepper sauce (I omitted)
1/2 cup light cream
sprigs of fresh dill, to garnish (optional)

1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pan. Add the onion and cook over a low heat for 8 - 10 minutes until softened but not browned.
2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium pan. Add the flour and cook for 1 - 2 minutes, stirring. Stir in the stock and milk, bring to a boil and cook for 5 - 6 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Cut each shrimp into 2 or 3 pieces and add to the cooked onion with the corn and fresh herb(s). Cook for 2 - 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside.
4. Add the sauce mixture to the shrimp and corn mixture, and mix well.
5. Remove 3 cups of the soup and puree in a blender or food processor (I used an immersion blender and pureed the whole batch.) Return the puree to the rest of the soup in the pan and stir well. Season with salt and hot pepper sauce to taste.
6. Add the cream and stir to blend. Heat the soup almost to boiling point, stirring frequently.
7. Divide into individual soup bowls and serve hot. Garnish with sprigs of dill.

Source: 400 Best Ever Soups, copyright 2005, 2006


Brenda's Cheese Ball

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room tempreature

8-ounce can of crushed pineapple, drained well

1/4 cup minced red bell pepper

2 tablespoons minced onion

seasoning salt

Mix all ingredients well, seasoning to taste. Roll in chopped pecans.



1/2 cup water

1/4 cup butter

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup flour

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Bring water, butter and salt to a boil. Add flour all at once and stir with wooden spoon over low heat until mixture forms a ball and pulls away from sides of pan, 1 - 2 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in eggs, one at a time.

Spoon or pipe tablespoon full of dough onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon of water) or cream. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and pierce sides of profiteroles with tip of knife to release steam (this keeps the profiteroles crispier than if not pierced). When cool fill with sweet or savory fillings.


Pate Sucre
Makes one 11-to 12-inch or two 8-to 9-inch or two 14-by-4-inch crusts

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

2 large egg yolks

1/4 cup ice water

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and sugar. Add butter, and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, 10 to 20 seconds.
  2. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolks; add ice water. With machine running, add the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator, and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.


Pastry Cream
Makes about 2 1/2 cups

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved

Pinch of salt

4 large egg yolks

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  1. Bring milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Whisk egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Whisking, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into yolk mixture. Slowly add remaining milk mixture until incorporated. Pour mixture back into the saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking, until it begins to bubble in center and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; discard vanilla bean.
  3. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add butter; beat on medium speed until butter has melted and mixture has cooled, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Just before using, beat on low speed or whisk by hand until smooth.



Thank you again to the Jain and The Darling Bakers for scheduling another fun event!


chow and chatter said...

looks like a lot of fun

Anonymous said...

Oh Lori, I just ate and I thought I was full, but I would love a trio of soup. I'm not sure which one I would start with since they all sound so delicious.

The perfect Afternoon Tea.

Thank you for sharing all the recipes.

theUngourmet said...

What a spread! Everything is so beautiful! I love the soup in the shot glasses!

La Table De Nana said...

I am going to print it all! Except the broccoli soup:) I was lucky enough to find thsi recipe thsi yr and make it already..Keeper I agree.
I love your little cheese balls and the profitéroles sammies..
The roses.. the tarts..
What a beautiful post..this could have been one of my fave DBs..but I had Max's Bday and Baptism yesterday ..and am working today..

Jut perfect Lori!!

MaryBeth said...

Everything looked simply wonderful, I bet everyone had a blast at the party. I know I would have!

Boo-Bah AKA Iris said...

I absolutely love the idea of soup shooters. All of the soups sound wonderful.
The little individula cheese balls sounds so good. Your whole menu is just delightful. I will definitely try the brocolli soup recipe.


Sand Hill Art said...

I never thought of using red zinger for iced tea.
What a clever idea.

akawest said...

What delightful recipes! In the cheese ball, does minced onion refer to dried minced onion, or fresh?

Lori (All That Splatters) said...

Lisa, use fresh minced onion. Makes a big difference!!

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