Some friends of mine and I recently held a little steampunk tea party at the Denver Botanic Gardens. It’s becoming an annual tradition for us, and one we enjoy greatly.
This time out, I once again prepared Curried Egg Salad and Cucumber with Mint Butter sandwiches. In addition, this time I did Chicken with Mandarin Orange, Brie with Prosciutto, and–at last!–Watercress sandwiches.
Brie with Prosciutto are one of my favorite easy tea sandwiches. Just layer Prosciutto on bread, and arrange thin slices of Brie on top of it.
The trick to getting nice, thin, even slices of Brie is to make sure the cheese is well-chilled to start with. (On hot days, I’ll usually pop it into the freezer for about half an hour before slicing.) Then I use one of those cheese slicers, with the roller and the little wire, to make the slices thin and even. Once the sandwiches are assembled, I often press them down a little using a rolling pin.
Next, Chicken with Mandarin Oranges, one of my Beloved Husband’s favorites:
I always start by cooking the chicken up fresh. It tastes much better than the canned stuff! Here’s the recipe:
Chicken and Mandarin Orange Salad Sandwiches
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 pound chicken tenderloins
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1/8 teaspoon rosemary, crushed
2 pinches ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1 stalk celery, finely minced
1/2 cup mandarin orange, drained and finely minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Twelve slices bread
In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Place tenderloins in pan and sprinkle with half of the spices. Cook for five minutes over medium-high heat. Turn and sprinkle with remaining spices and cook for an additional five minutes, or just until done. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Shred chicken finely, removing any fat, skin, or gristle. Add celery, oranges, mayonnaise, and remaining ground ginger. Mix well. Spread on white or wheat bread. Makes approximately six sandwiches.
Technically, this recipe calls for chicken tenderloins; I think that’s because I’d bought some whole chicken breasts and had used the rest of the meat for something else. You could use meat from any part of the chicken, really; the important thing is that the chicken should be fresh, not canned.
Finally, as long promised, this time around, I actually managed to acquire some watercress and make Watercress sandwiches.
They were really yummy–definitely worth the wait!
1/2 cup watercress
1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
8 slices bread
Layer watercress on half of the bread slices. Chop the parsley until fine. Blend with butter, cream cheese and chives. Spread on the other half of the bread slices, and make into sandwiches. Remove crusts and slice diagonally into quarters.
The original version of this recipe called for chopping the watercress up and mixing it with the cream cheese and butter. But for me, the joy of a watercress sandwich is biting into layers of watercress leaves. So I’ve modified the recipe slightly. (The original also neglected to list bread in the ingredients. I suppose they thought it was obvious?)
It was a beautiful day in the gardens, though it started out cool and a little damp. There was a lovely mist rising off of one of the fountains, making the surrounding gardens look all moody and atmospheric:
Later, after tea, we took lots of lovely pictures of flowers. And, of course, we’re usually there when the iris are in full bloom:
Later (after a brief rain shower sent us running back to the gazebo to pack away the lunch leftovers), we wandered around the gardens some more and came across Mama Goose and her babies:
The babies were fuzzy and yellow and adorable!
As always, we ended up in the Japanese Garden. The late afternoon sun picked out this tree for me:
For lots more pictures of the Botanic Gardens and our tea party, check out my Flicker account. (The set contains pictures taken by both me and my Beloved Husband.)
And that’s all for this week. Next week, I’ll be back with…something yummy. I’m just not sure what, yet!
What a lovely way to spend a day with friends! Thanks for the watercress recipe–I’ve always been curious about those sandwiches. Cheers–Deb (the “good” half of the second hand roses)