I've always been fascinated by high teas and casual luncheons with coffee service, so I decided to serve one of my own in honor of those grand ladies from long ago. We didn't play bridge or wear hats or anything, but we did wile away a lovely Sunday afternoon with a few good friends over recipes from the 50's, 60's and 70's--and at least a few bottles of white wine, namely Pouilly-Fume, Sancerre, and Viognier.
Sunday Luncheon Menu
Rum Punch--What is lunch without punch? I concocted this on my own. Get a good rich rum and ply it with pineapple and orange juices. Throw in a splash or two of lemonade to balance it out as well as a liberal dose of maraschino cherry juice. Gild with scoops of good old orange sherbet.
Beef Consomme--This was extraordinary, gaspingly good, from an old copy of Reader's Digest's Secrets of Better Cooking.
2 quarts cold strained beef stock
1/2 pound lean beef, chopped, not ground
1 chopped carrot
2 chopped cleaned leeks
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
Add beef to stock with vegetables and egg whites. Bring slowly to a boil while stirring. Reduce heat and simmer for 50 minutes. Skim and then strain through a sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth. Return to boil and serve, with chives as garnish.
Ham & Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches--Nothing but cream cheese lightly slathered on white bread with the crusts removed. Do buy nice, thinly sliced French ham from the deli.
Deviled Eggs with Caviar & Olives--Baby's recipe; mashed hard-boiled yolks with a little mayo, mustard, and Sriracha sauce. Inexpensive paddlefish caviar and sliced cocktail olives make a gorgeous adornment. The secret to making perfect hard-boiled eggs may be found here. Boil the eggs as instructed but you needn't bother about all the ice; just rinse them in cold water for a while and let them be before you peel them.
Green Beans with Anchovy Dressing--Michael Lomonaco's Shallot Champagne Vinaigrette linked here, with a few teaspoons of anchovy paste and topped with chopped prosciutto.
Madeleines, Orange & Banana Pudding Cake, linked here.
Before I started futzing with the powdered cake:
And after, draping it with simmered apricot jam, and some chocolates around the base and Entenmann's buttery, petite madeleines close by:
With all due respect to Stephen Sondheim, here's to those ladies who lunched!
Soundtrack: Donna Reed's Nick at Night Dinner Party; Lawrence Welk, A-Wunnerful; Personal 50's Christmas Collection; Bing Crosby, White Christmas; Rosemary Clooney, Blue Rosie.