Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hosting My First Tea

A long, long time ago in a state far, far away, I entertained a group of ladies for the very first time.  My dearest friend from childhood through high school was to be wed.  Margaret Ellen was choosing marital bliss over higher education and her mother suggested that I might like to entertain her at a tea.  Why didn't I think of this?  Well, as I said, it was a first for me.

I'd seen my mother and grandmother entertain quite often.  How hard could it be?  Well, without the aid of experience and the internet, it turned out to be quite a challenge.  Mother said I could have the tea at home.  My grandmother said I was welcome to use her tea set.  For the rest, I was on my own.

Betty Crocker and I chose the menu.  Egg salad sandwiches, ham salad sandwiches, deviled ham sandwiches (I did say it was my first time and I had plenty of ham) and cucumber sandwiches (which no one ate).  Plain brownies, frosted brownies (the same brownie for both), pecan sandies (from Nabisco if I remember correctly) and chocolate pudding (Jello) in mother's Lenox crystal wine glasses.  And Luzianne tea.

The ladies (eight of us under the age of nineteen) were invited for 2 p.m. as I had ascertained that was an appropriate time for tea.  Everything was ready, including the hot water, a little before 2 p.m..  The first two guests arrived around 2:15 p.m..  The other six straggled in for the next half hour or so.  The guest of honor who was always very late (and the main reason why I am ALWAYS on time and have no tolerance for people who are late) arrived a bit after 3 p.m..   By the time everyone arrived, the bread on the sandwiches was very dry because I didn't think to cover them.  Hmmm, maybe that's why no one ate the cucumber sandwiches.

My grandmother's tea set was ready.  I did reheat the water and read the directions for steeping the tea.  I had arranged for the bride-to-be's sister (who was equally late) to pour.  The conversation was lively and we oohed and aahed over the gifts.  I picked up my tea cup to have a sip and noticed an unpleasant "scum" on top of the hot brew.  I believe there was a unanimous "yuck" from all the young ladies.

After the shower participants had left and I was cleaning  trying to talk my mother into cleaning up, I mentioned the problem with the tea.  My mother took a look--after all, no one had hardly taken a sip--and asked me if I'd washed the tea set before using it.  Well, no!  Why should I?  It was sitting in the china cupboard with the doors closed.  My mother, stifling a laugh, pointed out that it had been sitting there for years and dust and grease and whatever else was in the air had collected on the cups and serving pieces.

And she didn't even help with the cleanup!

RePa* Recipe-Salmon and Pasta

*Refrigerator/Pantry Recipe

Well hello Autumn!  You arrived in a deluge of needed rain that lasted through the night.  I hope you will hurry up and dress the oaks and maples and serviceberries in their fall finery.  I can't wait to crunch through your fallen leaves and gather masses of chrysanthemums for the table.  Now if you'd just cool off enough for me to don my fall wardrobe and put away summer.  

It has been awhile since I've posted a RePa recipe.  We have had plenty of leftovers but none met my requirement of having everything on hand and putting it together in a tasty way.  Last night's dinner ended that drought!!

We had delicious wild salmon filets for dinner on Sunday.  They were prepared very simply with a little salt and pepper and quickly sauteed in butter and oil then sprinkled with fresh lemon juice.  There was a nice-sized piece leftover to turn into last evening's dinner.

Salmon and Pasta
(From my refrigerator, pantry and me) 

1/4 package of angel hair pasta (I used whole wheat)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
small onion, halved then thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
8 ounces (or so) coarsely flaked cooked salmon
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

Prepare pasta according to package directions 

Saute the onion in the olive oil over medium heat for about two minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for one minute longer.  Add the white wine and simmer for two minutes.  Stir in the butter.  Add the salmon and just heat through.  

Drain the pasta and add to the skillet.  Top with the parsley.