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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sage's Sweet Sixteen

We try to do what we can, and at best, inspire. When my sweet cousin turned 16, (my, children grow up so quickly, don't they?) she came into town for a visit with her mother and Baby and I threw a party for her all weekend, whisking her about all over the city.

What to do but have a Croquet Lawn Party upon their arrival, even though we don't have a lawn or a croquet set! I had been itching to make recipes culled from a Gourmet magazine issue all the way back from 1994 but never really had the proper moment. So here it was for our celebration: A few pitchers of Southside vodka cocktails with mint were served, but I didn't squeeze my own limes or make simple syrup--adding Simply Limeade did the time-saving trick! We made a dried sour cherry and cream cheese spread with pecans and bought a jar of salmon rillettes (sort of a salmon pate) for starters. Chicken salad tea sandwiches (recipe below) were absolutely fabulous with crushed smoked almonds. Cheddar chutney tea sandwiches and minted radish tea sandwiches with lemon mayonnaise further fed our small crowd.

To celebrate the sweet event, we set a Peppridge Farm lemon cake afire with blueberries, edible flowers and sparklers, as you do. Cheers, girl!

Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches with Smoked Almonds
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
3 cups chicken broth
2 whole boneless chicken breasts with skin (about 1 1/2 pounds), halved
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup minced shallot
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
24 very thin slices Pepperidge Farm bread
1/2 cup finely chopped smoked almonds (about 2 ounces)

In a deep 12-inch skillet bring broth to a boil and add chicken breasts in one layer. Reduce heat and poach chicken at a bare simmer, turning once, 7 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and cool chicken in cooking liquid 20 minutes. Discard skin and shred chicken fine.
In a bowl stir together chicken, 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, shallot, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste.
Make 12 sandwiches with chicken salad and bread, pressing together gently. With a 2-inch round cutter cut 2 rounds from each sandwich. Put almonds on a small plate and spread edges of rounds with remaining 1/2 cup mayonnaise to coat well. Roll edges in almonds.

Sandwiches may be made 2 hours ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap, and chilled.

Makes 24 tea sandwiches.

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