Back in January, I hosted a birthday party for my dear friend and roommate Ashley. Ashley is completely obsessed with tea unlike anyone I've ever met before. She can't sleep without drinking her cup of tea. She consciously drinks at least six cups of tea a day for the health benefits. She keeps a pitcher of iced tea in the fridge to quench her thirst when a hot tea won't do. She'll probably live to be 1,000 years old because of all the anti-oxidants. Also, I kind of want to take a picture of our pantry so you can see how many teas Ashley has in there-- like, easily twenty varieties, I'm sure-- but I don't want to get up, so just trust me on this one. Anyway, I decided a tea party would be the best way to celebrate.
The party was pre-London trip, so I was particularly excited to try and put together a menu that was as closely related to a traditional English afternoon tea as a New Yawka could get. I think I did pretty darn good. Finger sandwiches, a selection of teas, scones, clotted cream and jam were all up for grabs for the ten or so guests that moseyed on over that Sunday afternoon.
The scones and fresh Pullman bread came from Silver Moon Bakery, a staple for Morningside Heights residents that has become a weekly stop for me and Dan. Note: go there for breads, coffee and cakey treats. For flaky French pastries, walk two more blocks to La Toulousaine which looks unimpressive from the outside but has the yummiest, most authentically Parisian almond croissants I've yet had in NYC.
Our sandwiches included ham and brie; smoked salmon, cucumber and butter; and egg salad with pea sprouts (recipe to follow!).
So, happy birthday to Ashley! Sorry I didn't have cute little teapots like they do in the UK nor fancy scone towers, but despite my lack of refinement, I hope you had a special day!
Hill's Egg Salad
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
splash of pickle juice (I like using the brine from cornichons. If you don't have pickles handy, just use white vinegar.)
- For the eggs, here's how I get a perfect hard boiled egg every time: arrange your eggs in a single layer in the smallest saucepan possible. They should be snug, but not on top of one another. Add enough water to just cover all of the eggs. Cover and bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat and uncover. Let the eggs sit until the water gets to room temperature. (You can even let them cool while you're out or doing other things for hours on end. Once they get to room temperature, they won't cook anymore.) Once they're cool, peel the eggs and refrigerate until you're ready to make your egg salad.
- Smash the eggs with a fork-- not too fine yet, since you'll continue to smash as you incorporate ingredients. You want some texture to your egg salad.
- Add mayonnaise, mustard, spices, pickle juice, and season to taste. Refrigerate until you're ready to serve!
Note: Traditionally, egg salad sandwiches are served with watercress on bread, but I prefer the earthy sweetness of pea or alfalfa sprouts!