Friday, May 7, 2010
urban garden party IV
Tea sandwiches- These seemed key for a proper garden party, so I started with a simple radish and butter tea sandwich, partially because radish is springy, partially because I intensely love these little sandwiches. It's on a rustic wheat bread that I made (crusts intact) simply covered with farmer's market butter, french breakfast radishes from my garden, scallions and a bit of sea salt. The french breakfast radish is long and skinny and I like the way the little slices look almost like petals. I threw in some strawberry blossoms just in case the radish petals weren't floral enough though. The orange colored sandwiches are inspired by another recipe out of Martha's hors d'oeuvres handbook. It's just carrots cooked until soft mashed with cumin and orange flower water. (Martha's used broth) I garnished them with an almond for some crunch and salt. The radish sandwiches are on one of the two wooden plates that I made for this party- they are another sculpture building castoff. It's a giant piece of bark from a huge stump that someone discarded that I sanded and sanded until smooth on the inside and then finished with carnuba wax. I left the bark side natural. I absolutely love the way they turned out!
Pansy cookies- I actually found several recipes for these-- you could use any favorite sugar cookie recipe really. You bake it about halfway then take it out of the oven, brush with egg white, lightly lay down the pansy, (they sort of stick to the warm cookie) brush on a little more white and then dust with sugar. They look adorable and aren't really much more trouble than regular sugar cookies.
May Wine Syllabub in tulip cups- this is another crabtree & evelyn inspired dessert-- there is a recipe for may wine, a traditional german may day drink. It is basically wine infused with sweet woodruff, a sweet little shade loving plant that pops up in early spring. There is often a strawberry or raspberry floated in the drink as well-- which is why I decided to incorporate rhubarb as well. Rhubarb is the quintessential spring flavor for me. Rather than make the traditional drink I used my sweet woodruff infused wine and rhubarb syrup to make a traditional British syllabub. A syllabub is essentially sweetened whipped cream with wine or liquor so it seemed like the perfect translation. I used real cream, in spite of my lactose issues because it really needs to be whipped, mixed with the rhubarb syrup for sweetness and then added the infused wine. (add a few tender sprigs of sweet woodruff to some white wine a few days in advance and allow to steep) The result was delicately pink and delicious although a little thinner than I would have liked, I think I could have whipped it a bit longer. I did actually purchase these tulips because mine were spent after a particularly hot april. I removed the stamens and piped in the syllabub for a beautiful little (edible) vessel. I put a little spring of the sweet woodruff on each as well. The tulips are resting on a curved piece of stainless steel that was another of my sculpture building finds.
Flowers are hydrangeas, lavender, wild indian strawberries and some pink weeds I found.