Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I love Tea Sandwiches

So, not everything that I blog about on this site will be a recipe from Nana's Drawer. The food I make is still made in her kitchen and I use many of her bowls, utensils, and all of her ancient appliances. So, I guess you could say that this post fits what Nana's Drawer is all about, it just didn't come directly from there!

My sister is having a BABY! Yes, another beautiful little girl will be born in the next few months and I am one proud Auntie. So, naturally, I wanted to throw a baby shower fit for a Queen...or Princess. I thought a Tea would be perfect. This party took many months of planning. I have to admit I was nervous to throw a tea. I am not exactly "proper" and I don't know that I have the best manners around. I definitely am nothing like Martha Stewart or Bree Hodge from Desperate Housewives, so what business do I have throwing a Tea? I just went along with it...doing like I do with most things...knowing that with good food, good people, and a good setting, that it would HAVE to be a perfect day... and that it was.

I made Tea Sandwiches...

I had this vision of super soft bread with tastey fillings cut into perfectly triangled pieces. Much like I have seen on movies and TV shows, and have only had once at a tea. I swore up and down as I was planning the menu that I would never do a tea again. Making 4 different fillings, buying different bread, etc....was just overwhelming. But after it was all said and done, I promise I WILL do a tea again! I got these recipes off of www.epicurious.com. Of course, I tweaked them, because I don't like following directions (recipes). So, bare with me. I promise you that all of them are delicious:)

Goat Cheese and Watercress Tea Sandwich

1 large log of soft goat cheese softened(Chevre), ~11oz. log
handful chopped fresh watercress
handful chopped roasted pecans
8 slices cinnamon raisin bread
few tablespoons softened butter

Combine softened goat cheese & watercress. Season with salt & pepper.

Spread on both sides of bread. Put slices of bread together, trim off crusts, and cut into triangles. Place pecans on plate, spread softened butter along edges of sandwiches and dip in pecans. Garnish plate with some extra watercress.

Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches

1 pkg. Smoked Salmon (~6oz)
1 pkg. cream cheese softened
1 spoonful capers
juice of 1 fresh lemon
1 Tbsp. fresh dill (or more to taste)
salt & pepper
~8 pieces of your favorite bread. I used the Tomato Basil bread from http://www.panerabread.com
few slices of red onion

Combine cream cheese, capers, lemon juice, & dill in mixer and combine until smooth.
season with salt & pepper.

Spread mixture on bread, add smoked salmon & red onions. Cut off crusts and cut into triangles.

Cucumber-Mint Tea Sandwiches

1 pkg. cream cheese softened
handful chopped fresh mint
1 cucumber, sliced thin
8 slices of your favorite bread. I used Country Miche from http://www.panerabread.com

Combine creamcheese and mint in mixer until smooth. Spread on bread, top with cucumbers. Remove crusts, and wah-la... a super refreshing bite!

Lemon-Tarragon Chicken Sandwich

~4 chicken breasts (boiled in water ~ 12 minutes until cooked through)
~ 2 Tbsp. fresh tarragon
~ 1/2 cup chopped celery
~ 1/2 cup mayonnaise
juice of 1 lemon
salt & pepper
~8 slices of bread ( I used Rye from http://www.panerabread.com)
Endive lettuce

Cube chicken, and combine with the rest of the ingredients. Spread chicken mixture on bread, add endive lettuce, cut off crusts.

Along with Tea Sandwiches, I served Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Raspberry Scones from a local organic bakery. www.elizabethandesserts.com . My Aunt made a delicious Green Salad with Fennel & Goat Cheese, which I really need to get the recipe for. We also had fruit salad, and yet another DELICIOUS cake made by my Mother.

Oh ya... and we had TEA!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It is time to Sparkle

Living at the beach has it's ups and downs. Mainly ups...but May & June can be depressing here. We get what is called, "May Gray & June Gloom." Right now, it is cold & dreary outside, but if we were to travel 1/2 mile East, the sun would be shining and warming my pale skin. Nana lived in this house for 36 years. She saw many of these gray days. Maybe that is why she found comfort in hunting down recipes and making light out of a dreary day. I am having one of those "lack of motivation" days... I want to make something cool, but don't feel like dragging the kids to the store to get the ingredients. So, I opened the drawer and found a recipe that would bring the summer to my home. You know what the best part about this recipe is?? I can go outside and pick the citrus from the trees. You want to know what is even better about this recipe?.....you can add Vodka to it! And you know that is exactly what I would have done if it wasn't 9:00 in the morning.

Lemon- Lime Sparkler

1/2 c. lime juice
1/3 c. lemon juice
1/3c. sugar

Combine fruit juices & sugar. Pour into tall glass over ice. Fill with Sparkling Canada Dry Water. Garnish with strawberries, cherries, or mint leaves.

Serves 4.

Recipe from the Canada Dry pamphlet. Not sure of the year this came out, but I am thinking it must have been the 50's. Does anyone have another guess?

ETA: My Dad's cousin just pointed out to me that there is a number at the bottom of these vintage pamphlets. It states the date it was printed. This one was 1962.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What's for dinner?

My Nana was the quintessential young woman of the 40's. She took pride in cooking for her husband and her children. These were the times where communities were driven by the depression and World War II. Rationing was the name of the game and recipes started to consist of canned, packaged, and powdered foods. These types of foods were staples throughout her life. My Nana passed away in 2008 and left behind a drawer in her kitchen full of the recipes that, I believe, defined her and the life she lived. I moved into her home a few months ago, and when sorting through her things, my Mom asked me what I wanted to do with all of those recipes. I said, "Just leave them Mom, I will figure out something to do with them."

Well, here I am...inspired by my good friend, Sara, of Culinerapy. (http://culinerapy.blogspot.com) Although I do not have the writing skills that she has, I am hoping to bring my Nana's old recipes to life. My goal is to pull from this drawer weekly and recreate a recipe. Maybe even tweak them a bit to bring them up to date, nutritionally. I guess since I am a Dietitian, I have a hard time eating foods with Crisco being the main ingredient!

I have opened up yet another can of worms in my busy life! So when my family asks me what is for dinner, they may be getting Beef Stupendous with Green Bean Casserole and will have to wash it down with a Tomato Cocktail! I hope they don't disown me!