Thursday, February 4, 2010

The warmer breezes and budding flowers that announce the arrival of spring inspire us to take afternoon tea out of doors. Enjoy the season's beauty as you sip a flavorful green tea and nibble on a sweet treat from your favorite spot on a porch or patio... And since springtime is symbolic of fresh beginnings, why not invite a few close friends to sample several tea blends and to try out new recipes for seasonally appropriate sandwiches, scones, and sweets? Even if a passing shower forces you to take tea inside, as is wont to happen at this time of year, a beautiful bouquet on the tea table is an excellent way to celebrate spring.

Today I’m having tea out on the veranda. You might suspect I am on the veranda because the sun is shining, actually it quite the opposite. It is raining. I feel at home when I am close to the rain. So when it rains I move my tea to the veranda….

There is something sacred, something holy, something deeply personal about sitting on the veranda. So I keep to my own thoughts. Today, my thoughts have not drifted very far. In fact, I am pondering the veranda itself. The word is beautiful and beckoning. "Come out on the veranda" is a warm invitation.

I do love the veranda, I glance over the garden while looking out into the rain and sipping my tea and feel contentment by just being…

Lemon Curd
Makes 2 cups

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces

1. In a double boiler over medium-high heat, whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, and egg yolks. Add sugar and continue whisking for 8 to 10 minutes until lemon curd thickens slightly. Remove from heat, and gradually whisk in butter until melted. Cool mixture slightly; pour into container, and chill.

(Courtesy of TeaTime Magazine)

Enjoy this refreshing treat with some iced tea on a warm, sunny day outdoors.

Cucumber Melon Salata
Makes 24 servings

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 large English cucumber
1 (2-pound) seedless watermelon
1/4 cup ricotta salata, broken into chunks
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Garnish: fresh basil

1. In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer the balsamic vinegar until thick, about 10 minutes.
2. Using a channel knife, score the cucumber; cut into 1/4-inch slices. Cut watermelon into 1/2-inch slices. Using a 1 1/2-inch cutter, cut watermelon into rounds.
3. Layer watermelon rounds over cucumber slices. Drizzle a small amount of the balsamic reduction over watermelon, and top with a second slice of cucumber. Add a chunk of ricotta salata on top, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired. Chill until ready to serve.

(Courtesy of TeaTime Magazine)