Independence Tea

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Hello!  Please come in and join me for a tea in celebration of Indedpence Day.  Yes, it’s hot outside.  But as long as we have a bit of shade, you will find our tea refreshing.  It’s been a while and I’d love to hear your news.  Are you planning a vacation this summer?  How about something special on the Fourth?
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While I was growing up, the 4th of July was one of our “big” holidays.  In other words, cousins, aunts and uncles gathered at our home for unlimited soft drinks (remember bottles of Strawberry, Grape, and Pineapple Crush?), watermelon, homemade ice cream (I, as the youngest, got to sit on the ice cream maker while others turned the crank), and a barbeque.  All of these things would have provided enough excitement, but my father added fireworks in the driveway after dark to complete our event.  To this day, some of my cousins count their memories of the 4th as their best childhood experiences.

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Now, fireworks are illegal in most areas of California, so we stick to viewing the professional shows.  We still do a barbeque and fill an ice chest with soda pop.  The drinks aren’t the once-a-year treat for my kids as they were for us, but I allow them to have as many as they want.  Gone is the large crowd of relatives, replaced by one or two relations.   But, we still have a roaring good time.

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I want to recapture some of that fun with this late afternoon Independence Tea.  In honor of our Founding Fathers, I’ve brewed a pot of blueberry blend from James Madison’s Montpelier, where I visited several years ago.  It smells and tastes wonderful!

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I hope you enjoy our miniature steak and goat cheese salads.  Mixed greens, sliced New York steak, chèvre, and pecans provide a delicious bite.  Cold, roasted red pepper soup with a hunk of cheese and chives will tickle your palate, while stuffed miniature heirloom tomatoes provide another colorful and tasty treat.

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In the spirit of summer, our sweet course includes rhubarb and strawberry jam stuffed lady fingers with raspberry cream cheese filling.

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Tips:

  • Find a shady spot, preferably where a light breeze flows, to serve tea.  Schedule the event later in the afternoon to avoid the day’s highest temperatures.  I chose a covered patio featuring a fountain.
  • Set aside steak from a prior barbeque for use in salad.  I just grilled an extra cut the night before.
  • Utilize a melon baller to remove the insides of mini-tomatoes.  Save the top of each tomato for garnish.  Beat cream cheese, cream, and fresh herbs together for filling, keeping in mind taste and consistency.
  • For cold red pepper soup, drain a bottle of roasted red bell peppers.  Place peppers in blender with a quarter cup of cream.  Blend.  Add more cream until desired consistency is reached.  I add a splash of hot sauce for an extra zing of flavor.  Pour into cups and add a hunk of soft, white cheese (I used chèvre).  Insert two, inch-and-a-half long chive pieces into cheese as garnish.  Serve.
  • I froze the lady fingers back in January and thawed them for this dessert.  If you cannot find lady fingers, you can always substitute sponge cake.  Spread with jam of your choice.  If desired, add mixture of cream cheese, marshmallow cream, and seedless raspberry jam.  Sandwich together and serve.
  • When enjoying hot tea in the summer, consider keeping the accompanying food cold.
  • Add a festive arrangement in sync with the occasion.

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Thank you for joining me. Please share your favorite Fourth of July or summer memory!
Happy 4th to you all!

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COPYRIGHT 2016. VICTORIA BENCHLEY ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

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