Another holiday tradition that I enjoy, is having tea with my girlfriends.
I usually host this gathering when all the work for Christmas is done. When the gifts have all been given and when the shopping has been completed. I like to host this gathering because it means that I can enjoy my friends’ company without worrying that I forgot anything to prepare for before Santa arrives.
This year, I was smart. I hosted this holiday gathering right after my cookie swap. That meant I didn’t have to prepare any desserts or cookies myself. All I had to do was bring out the cookie loot that my baker friends lovingly prepared for our annual #MnMCookieSwap.
I always try and serve a variety of tea sandwiches different from the year before, although there are always a couple of repeats simply because they are requested by the girls, or they are my favorites as well.
This year, I received a holiday gift set from Basilur and I was happy to give the ladies a choice as to what tea they would like me to serve with our savory sandwiches and sweet treats.
Here are the sandwiches that I whipped up before they arrived at my home this past Monday afternoon:
Chicken Salad with asparagus, Fuji apples, camote, and green beans is always a winner. This is my mother in law’s recipe that I just changed up by using all fresh vegetables. She would normally use canned veggies for this, and I find that lightly steamed veggies gives the chicken salad that extra crunch and texture I am looking for.
I almost always have Smoked Salmon in the freezer. I put this out for breakfast with capers and sour cream. Sometimes I mix up a cream cheese pasta sauce with dill and throw it over pasta with the Smoked Salmon laid on top of the hot pasta. For this tea sandwich I used fluffy white bread and paired it with organic alfalfa sprouts and vine ripened tomatoes.
I found this mini egg pandesal in the supermarket and thought it would be lovely to serve a ham and queso de bola mini. By adding a Watermelon Chia Jam with Tequila, I added contrast to the rich saltiness of the cheese. Thanks Pastry Armoire for sending over the yummy jam!
Years ago, I hosted a bridal shower for my best friend. Together with her bridal party, we planned an afternoon tea for her as well. One of my favorite tea sandwiches that one of the bridesmaids came up with had orange butter. Since then, I have made orange butter for our pancakes, and tea sandwiches as well. Toasted raisin bread with orange butter was simple to serve, and Gelli kept coming back for more because she LOVES raisins.
This mini sammie almost always makes an appearance on the afternoon tea table because it’s a crowd favorite. Of course, if my girls requested Truffled Egg Salad, I most certainly will oblige. It’s easy. Can keep well if there are leftovers, and even makes it into the lunchbox of the kids, because they love it too. I love the fact that French Baker has these mini croissants if you go early enough. Luckily, I was able to snag all 12 pieces before anyone else bought them, that morning.
Special THANKS to my friend Michelle, who gifted all my guests a take home pack of her Spicy Angus Tapa to enjoy at a later date. It was an added treat to our time together. It’s wonderful to have friends who enjoy giving as much as I do. We both share a fondness not just for good food, but for travel. Hopefully, we can take one of those food trips that I’ve been dreaming of together with some other friends as well. It’s on my bucket list for 2017.
Another reason I enjoy having holiday tea, is making use of my silver tea set that was gifted to Nino and me when we got married. It’s one of those things that cannot be replaced. It has more sentimental value than anything else on the table. (Unless I’m serving pasta in my Nana’s pasta bowl…)
During out time together we would switch from light hearted laughter, to the realization that all of us are happy to say goodbye to 2016. While every year is a blessing, we all agreed that this year was a challenge for many of us. It’s been challenging as a country, and even globally, we have seen some things that were saddening and frustrating. One thing we did all agree on is the fact that we are ready for 2017 and the many blessings it may bring to our doorsteps and into our homes.
We are ready.
So bring it on 2017!
PS. If something challenging shall come our way, I think catching up over a nice cup of tea, perhaps even with some cookies can certainly calm any of our worries or our fears especially when that cup of tea is shared with some girlfriends.