Thursday, September 11, 2014

Herb Club: Tea Talk & Luncheon

The first meeting of the new year for The Partners In Thyme Herb Club took place last Friday.  Our year began with a tea talk, business meeting, and tea luncheon.  The half-hour tea talk was given by the owner of Cherie Anne's, a tea bar and craft boutique in the city.  She shared a jam-packed talk about tea terminology, types of tea and infusing tips, as well as several samples of teas and chocolates infused with tea.

My favorite tip that Cherie Anne gave was one that I immediately went home and put into practice: how to decaffeniate your own tea.  To remove caffeine from black tea, infuse (steep) your tea for 30 seconds and remove leaves or teabag.  Pour that cup away.  Place your tea back into your cup and pour fresh water over the tea.  Steep for as long as desired.  Caffeine is infused into tea the first 30 seconds that the water hits the tea.  Pouring away that first cup is pouring away the caffeine.  Perfect!

At the end of our business meeting, one of our members gave the Herb-of-the-Month presentation on lavendar.  Below you'll find the recipe for the delicious lavendar-sugar-coated cookies that Karen passed around after her talk:

Lavendar Sugar Cookies

1 C. butter
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 C. flour
Lavendar sugar

Cream butter and sugar.  Gradually add in salt and flour.  Form into 1" balls and roll in lavendar sugar.  Place balls of dough on ungreased cookie sheets and gently press thumb into center of each. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.  Makes 3 dozen.

After our meeting was our annual tea luncheon.  Each member brought a food item to share and, Suzanne, our Hospitality chair,  prepared several beautiful tea pots of tea.  There was hot Cream of Celery Soup, cold Vichyssoise, Olive and Pimento Sandwiches, Eggplant Companade with crackers and bread, skewers of fresh fruit, scones with jam and lemon curd, and a variety of desserts.  You'll find the recipe for my contribution of Cherry-Pineapple Bars below.

Cherry-Pineapple Bars

1 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 C. butter, melted
10 oz. maraschino cherries, drained, patted dry and halved
8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained and patted dry
1 1/2 C. white chocolate chips
1 C. flaked coconut
1 C. slivered almonds
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Combine crumbs and butter; press into 13x9" pan.  Sprinkle cherries, pineapple, chips, coconut and almonds over crust.  Drizzle with can of milk.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until edges are golden brown.  Cool on wire rack.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Cut into bars.  Makes 2 dozen.

And I must include one more recipe.  These old-fashioned cookie bars called Hermits were made by a member of our club and shared at one of our monthly meetings in the past.  They reminded me so much of a cookie that I would treat myself to 20 years ago when I worked in the city before my babies were born.  On Tuesdays or Thursdays when the market house was open, I would walk down the street to buy one of these comforting and delicious bar cookies to eat on the walk back.  When I tasted the Hermits that Jeanne made, I could hardly wait to get the recipe.  You'll find it below:

Hermits (makes 36)

1 1/2 sticks butter (12 tabl.)
2/3 C. sugar
3/4 C. packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 C. dark molasses mixed with 1/8 C. warm water
1 C. golden raisins
1 C. chopped nuts

1 egg, well beaten

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease 2 cookie sheets.  Cream the butter with the sugars, then beat in the eggs.  Toss the flour, salt, baking powder, and spices together, then add to the butter-sugar mixture along with the molasses mixture.  Fold in the raisins and nuts.  Plop one-quarter of the batter onto a cookie sheet, and shape it with floured hands into a strip about 10x3"; repeat with another quarter of the batter, spaced several inches apart.  Do the same with the remaining batter on the second cookie sheet.  Paint the tops of the 4 strips with egg glaze.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your Hermits.  While still warm, cut each strip into 9 bars.


Anonymous said...

Who guarded the red cherries? You know what to do with these for Christmas:)

Julie said...

Marty liked your comment!