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Late Summer Afternoon Tea “Al Fresco”

August 12th, 2010

Although those of you in the eastern parts of the country may be longing for the cooler weather of fall, summer’s not over yet!  In fact, after an unseasonably cool summer all along the West Coast, California’s hottest season is still ahead, and we’re looking forward to gettin our summer just a bit late!  Actually, we have a saying out here in California: “Spring comes in summer, summer comes in fall, fall comes in winter, and winter not at all.” 

As we all enjoy the weeks ahead, why not do something different and host an Afternoon Tea outside on the patio?  Brew up a nice pot of Earl Grey, make or buy some miniature scones, get yourself some clotted cream (available at import shops), and make these delectable tea sandwiches, then wow your guests with a chilled blueberry soup, adapted by one of our chefs from a similar recipe by Thomas Keller of The French Laundry.


Smoked Salmon and Herb-Buttered Tea Sandwiches on Whole Foods Seven-Grain Bread

Herb Butter
2 1/2 pounds Unsalted Organic Butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoons Garlic, minced
5 tablespoons Scallions (white and green parts), minced
5 tablespoons Fresh dill, minced
5 tablespoons Fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
5 teaspoons Freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 1/4 teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper

5 loaves Whole Foods Seven-Grain Bread
40 slices Smoked salmon

1. For the herb butter, combine all the butter ingredients in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat until mixed, but do not whip.

2. For the sandwiches, have the store slice the bread lengthwise on a meat slicer into 1/4-inch-thick slices. (If that isn’t possible, you can slice it crosswise with a very sharp knife.)

3. Lay out 40 slices of bread and spread them all with a thin layer of herb butter. Place smoked salmon on 20 of the slices. Top with the other 20 slices of bread, butter side down. Place the sandwiches on a baking sheet and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate until the butter is very cold. Place the sandwiches on a cutting board. With a very sharp knife, cut off the crusts, cut each large sandwich in half crosswise, and then cut each half diagonally twice to make a total of 40 small triangles. (If the bread was cut crosswise, follow the assembly directions, then cut off the crusts and cut diagonally, twice, to make 20 small triangles.) Serve chilled.

Chilled Blueberry Soup with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

1 1/2 quarts Organic Blueberries
1/2 cup Blueberry Preserves
1 cup Water
1/2 cup Dried Blueberries
1 quart Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

1. Place the blueberries in a food processor with the preserves and water, then puree until smooth.

2. In the center of a bowl, spoon a generous dollop of creme fraiche ice cream; ladle the blueberry liquid around it.

3. In a spice grinder, grind the dried blueberries until they become a powder.

4. Sift the powder around the side of the bowl for garnish and flavor.

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