Mediterranean Harvest Tea Party
Both Sukkot and Thanksgiving are fast approaching, and I'm more or less settled in my new kitchen and lab and are getting back into the game of whipping up old and new recipes. Eve better - I'm beginning to feel inspired to create new things, and to share my menu for this fall's harvest tea party. This time I'm surrounded by my family, and although I miss my friends and customers in Vancouver very much (some of which have become a second family) - it is so exciting to finally be able to share my treats in person with my nieces, sisters in law, brothers, mom and grandma.
This year's menu is taking its inspiration from the abundance the Mediterranean has to offer during harvest season and holiday of Sukkoth, and is centred on decorative (and tasty) local fruit such as pomegranates, grapes, citron, dates and figs.
Eggplant + Pomegranate open faced sandwiches
Tomato + Pesto Feta Cheese Sandwiches
Tuna or Anchovy Salad + Preserved Lemon + Capers Tea Sandwiches
Plain scones will serve as the perfect backdrop for exotic seasonal jams, such as guava or Moroccan-style eggplant confiture.
If you prefer more interesting scones, my favourite for the season are butternut squash with sage or pumpkin scones. Or you can break the tradition and opt for the very autumnal coronation grapes and blue cheese muffins!
Desserts and Confections:
Candied Etrog and/or Mini Eggplants (Moroccan-style Eggplant Confiture)
Etrog Shortbread Cookies
Apple Mini Cakes or Apple Financiers
Varthemia-scented chocolate truffles
Recipes and resources:
For the Dolmades (stuffed grapevine leaves) - buy good quality ones from the deli, or make your own by following my recipe.
For the Eggplant + Pomegranate Sandwiches, create open tea sandwiches, spread with smoky babaghanoush balanced with the sweet tartness of pomegranate molasses, and top with fresh pomegranate seeds. A leaf of fresh spearmint could also add an interesting flaour.
For the Tomato + Pesto + Fetsh Tea Sandwiches make your own homemade pesto or purchase a good quality one. There is still enough sun for lovely, flavourful fresh basil in my garden - and it keeps coming. I also like to use the fresh green seeds in their pods inside my pesto, as well as my pasta sauces (by the way: the dried seeds and their pods are also used as a spice, by the way, used to flavour kebabs for example). Mush up the pesto with some feta cheese to create a spread, and place thin slices of seedless tomato in the middle (the slimy seeds will eventually make the sandwich too soggy and messy to eat).
Vegan variation: You can make this sandwich vegan by omitting the parmesan cheese from the pesto, and creating open faced sandwiches spread with the pesto, topped with a slice of tomato and garnished with a black Moroccan olive (the shiny, wrinkly ones that are cured in coarse salt).
For the Tuna Salad + Capers Sandwiches I do not have my own recipe yet, so use this tuna salad with preserved lemons, capers and pickled fennel recipe or this Tunisian preserved lemon and tuna salad or your own favourite.
For the Pomegranate cupcakes, Use your favourite recipe of either vanilla or chocolate cupcakes, and cover with either vanilla buttercream or chocolate glaze, dipped into pomegranate seeds for a juicy pop of colour.