For the love of tea!
Today is the 4th of July, so I thought I’d color patriotic and do a red, white, and blue tea. However, my blues aren’t quite what you’d call the traditional blue, so YOU, my trusty reader, will just have to deal with it. 🙂
With fresh strawberries from the local farmer’s market and fresh blueberries, it doesn’t get anymore American or summery than that. One simply must have strawberry shortcake on the 4th of July weekend. I had picked up whipped cream, but didn’t have any sauce. Ironically, as I was sitting in the sun on the boat yesterday reading the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine, she had a recipe for strawberry sauce and it was so simple, so I made some. Easy and delicious!
I was thankful the sun wasn’t as prolific today as it was yesterday and a nice breeze kept things comfortable for my “photo shoot”. I think these are some of the best photos I’ve taken as a result of the cloud cover. Some preparation had to go into the event though.
I needed to iron the tea-patterned table-cloth and my linen napkins and clip some flowers from my garden in the appropriately themed colors for the day. I only had red and white flowers at the moment, but took the opportunity to place the white astilbe flowers in the lovely hand-painted wellie boot my sister-in law Nancy had given me a few years ago. They looked beautiful there.
The red roses I cut are sooo difficult to photograph because the red is so brilliant. Most times they just come out as red blobs where the petals are difficult to distinguish, but today because the sun wasn’t fully out, they photographed relatively well.
Then I needed to assemble the savory sandwiches which are simply black forest ham slices, havarti cheese and stone ground mustard with a wee sprig of fresh rosemary from my container plant on the deck as a garnish.
Attempting to keep the blueberries on the food tray from rolling around was fun. I had to assemble them delicately for the trip out to the deck. The mini macaroons were delicious and also picked up at the farmer’s market.
Then came the assembly of the strawberry shortcakes. Split a biscuit, used an ice-cream scoop for the whipped cream, positioned cut strawberries on top, then sauce, and once the tray was moved out to the deck, I placed a few fresh mint leaves from my container on the deck on top for garnish.
Oh…and the most important part had to be prepared: the tea! I chose the pu-erh tea I bought last weekend from Green Tree Coffee & Tea here in Maine. I love pu-erh. It’s so earthy and robust. Kind of like fireworks in your mouth! Dave even tried some as he joined me for festivities outside after the photography session was complete. He said it had an “after bite to it” and tasted like “coffee”. His words, not mine! I’d never drink something that “tasted” like coffee since I’m not a coffee drinker. I think he simply meant it’s strong…which it is.
This pu-erh is a wonderful brew. I let it brew longer than necessary due to the photo session, but I like my tea very strong anyway and enjoyed several cups of it from my all-white teapot and in my dainty, blue-flowered teacup from Rosina bone china made in England. Probably not appropriate for OUR independence day, but I don’t have any American-made china! I did the best I could with what I had…and isn’t that the backbone of what they call the “American spirit”?