Anatomy of “Puttin On A Tea Luncheon” – Third of Four Posts

All the prep is done!  Guests arrive at noon.  My remaining work is primarily “assembly only.”  This is my favorite part of food preparation – assembly and plating.

Before going to bed last night, I quickly scribed a list of “things to do” in the morning.  This way I went to bed feeling in control.   Here was my list…

  • Finish setting the table – add a few fresh flowers from the yard
  • Make scones
  • Assemble salad with the washed belgian endive, watercress, bleu cheese – add spicy toasted pecans at last minute…dressing is ready
  • Assemble prosciutto & asparagus finger sandwiches (asparagus is already blanched and chilled in fridge)
  • Make mascarpone cream cheese frosting and top mini mayo cupcakes
  • Chill the sparkling wine (chose a Napa Valley 2000 Anderson Diva…one of the last few bottles from before they sold to Clif Lede)
  • Whip heavy cream and fill vanilla cream tarts (shells and cream are done – top with coconut…toast with brulee torch
  • Set out the teas and infuser and teapots – put milk and sugar on table
  • Get myself cleaned up and ready for company

While snipping a few alsteroemeria (Peruvian lilies) I spied my Mexican sage and rogue mint and snipped a few of those for two small wall vases in my powder room.

Below…table set with Alstroemeria (Pervian lilies)…nice table flowers as they have no fragrance, (doesn’t compete with food aromas)…and low vases, easy to talk over.

Everything was coming together perfectly when a minor glitch occurred…as I prepared the sprouted wheat toast for the proscuitto and asparagus finger sandwich…oughto…the bread looked weird, a white mold or something…so, I could hear my mother’s voice saying..”when in doubt, throw it out!”  Also, as a culinary friend of mine recently told me, “when in catering, you have to improvise.”  I really wanted a finger sandwich to go with the potato leek soup first course, I had roasted some tomatoes for a caprese bruschetta I am taking to an open house later this week…I decided to scrap the first sandwich and make a caprese.

Salad ready to toss with dressing and toasted pecans just prior to serving:

I was working through my list well…then got a little stressed due to the finger sandwich glitch…I hadn’t made my scones yet and still needed to get myself ready…I could hear my sister saying, “go get yourself ready!”…so I did, thinking while doing so that my friends could help me make the scones, they’d like that if I ran out of time…and thought, scones are a quick bread…they should be easy to pull together in 10 minutes… well they were.  I sometimes forget that scones really really really are a quick bread.  Ten minutes and they were done, on the tray ready to bake off just before serving with the salad course.  All worked out.

My sister came a bit before to help put the finishing touches on Mom’s mini mayo  cake cupcakes and plate with Mom’s petite oatmeal with pecan cookies…

We decided to filled the vanilla cream tarts just before serving and top with the coconut for those who love coconut and toast them in front of guests…


Table setting...powder room flowers...Mexican sage and mint in wall vases.

Table setting…powder room flowers…Mexican sage and mint in wall vases.

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Time to start…..

All right…am set to go…the doorbell is ringing… my next post will finish off the tea luncheon.  See you then.

Drink tea…

Roasted tomato crostini

Roasted tomato crostini


Part of the food

Part of the food



    • Thank you, we had a lot of fun to prepare for a wonderful group of friends.

  1. Wow! I’m amazed you had time to take all the photos with so much going on. Excellent job Linda, I can’t wait for the final instalment! I love the powder room flowers, by the way, that was a lovely touch.

  2. Thanks Lorna, it is such a joy for me to be in my kitchen preparing dishes for friends and family that I don’t even think of the time. What helps is that I break it down into various time slots…a couple hours here, a couple hours there and its “all done” with seemingly little effort and the best part…I even get to enjoy the event. I have learned from experience to select items that are easy to serve on the day of the event so I can have fun too. Oh and the powder room flowers were such an afterthought but looked so sweet…thanks for noticing. The final installment is coming 🙂

  3. Wow-how does one get an invitation to one of your lovely teas? Only kidding-I have been the lucky invitee before and know how special it is!

  4. Thanks Janie…will have to do a tea together soon and here all about Italy (and the tea shop you went by too)…