LJ-Picturing Food, 3.31.06: tea party potluck, and how my friends rock my world

I'm so lucky to have friends who are big into eating and cooking food, too (I like the word "foodies," but I know it's not for everyone).

My housemate Carole learned to cook by watching Julia Child. She makes an awesome pasta dinner with shrimp, broccoli, and red bell peppers. You have to cook the add-ins really well--the broccoli was crisp and clean, the shrimp was tender and sweet, and the bell pepper had a nice sweet snap. We added some red pepper and parmigiano reggianno, and it was like dessert. This was dinner the night before the tea party. I got to enjoy it while I was taking a break from my baking jag:

Terry's vegan apricot almond bread--so tasty--it tasted earthy and natural without being dull. The apricot gave it just enough sweetness and the almonds gave it a satisfying texture*:

Wendy's cucumber and Italian cream cheese on rye sandwiches were perfect. I'm not a huge rye fan, and I wondered about the combination, but the seasoned cream cheese kept it from being bland, and it seemed like the light rye kept the seasoning from overwhelming out taste buds*:

Terry's falafel with pickle, tahini, and lettuce in mini pitas. I love Terry's creativity--falafel pitas may not show great ingenuity, but at a tea party, it was a nice change in texture--something you could really sing your teeth into--and the flavors were exotic without being obnoxious in the context of everything else on the table*:

Chris bought "petit fours" from AJ's. He opted for chocolate instead of butter cake, and went for the big "petit fours" instead of the tiny ones because they were the same price. It was like glorified and delicious Ding Dongs without the preservatives; there were no complaints*:

I baked bread. It was just the regular white sandwich bread from the Joy of Cooking (yeah, I only own a few cookbooks outside of my makeshift collection--Joy, one from Moosewood, a science food book with recipes, and a Filipino recipe collection). I'd volunteered to make eggless egg salad sandwiches (Terry's a vegetarian and isn't fond of eggs), so I wanted herbs and spices that would compliment the filling. I finally picked to use dill weed in one and paprika and the other. I just sprinkled it over the dough before I shaped it. I put a little too much paprika around the edges and it prevented the dough from cooking together a bit:

They went really well with eggless egg salad sandwiches. I walked around Wild Oats, finding stuff to make the salad. I split a cube of firm tofu to make two different salads, and in the end, one had miso mayo and the other had veganaise, stone ground mmmmustard (emphasis on "mmm" is mine), and curry powder. It worked out really well--it tasted close to egg salad, but the unique spices freshened up the "old" recipe. I'd never had miso mayo, but whoever marketed that stuff is a genius (it came in a squeeze bottle near the cream cheese). I used some onion powder, garlic salt, and fresh ground pepper to season both salads to varying degrees, then sprinkled dill weed on some sandwiches and paprika on others after quartering them*:

I also made poppy and sunflower seed scones, and ginger scones--the regular recipe. The seed scones were nice--the batch with sunflower seeds tasted almost like peanut butter without being heavy or overdone so you could still taste the kinda springtime flavor from the poppy seeds. The ginger scones used chopped candied ginger and a few dashes of ground ginger. All I can say is that scones and tea are friends*:

The blueberry scones stayed home--half the batch used dark chcolate chips, the other half used white chocolate chips. They're good for breakfast, dessert, or eating in your sleep:

*Terry is an awesome food photographer, especially when everyone's running around, getting food on the table, and it's dark.


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