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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Weekend Cooking: Tea Sandwiches

We went to a tea party event about a year ago and I LOVED the tea sandwiches that they had there and have wanted to make something similar pretty much since the event ended. I finally decided that today was the day and I was going to use two recipes from the Entertaining Newport cookbook – they held teas all the time, they must have perfected the recipe!
The Tea House is in the lower left with Marble House in the background

Here is a little historical tidbit about Newport and tea parties. Marble House, one of the beautiful Newport Mansions, has a Chinese Tea House on its grounds – which I honestly don’t remember seeing when I toured it, but rest assured it is there. You can even host social or business events there today if you have the funds!

Close up of the Tea House
The Tea House was formally opened on July 25, 1914 and for the next 3 years it served as a local rallying point for the “Votes for Women” movement. Mrs. Alva Vanderbilt Belmont and her daughter Consuelo, 9th Duchess of Marlborough, were vocal supporters of the women’s suffrage movement. She even had special china ordered with the motto “Votes for Women” emblazoned on it. The tea house was closed in 1917 when Mrs. Belmont left the property to never return to the home again.

Some Votes for Women replicas in the Mansion store

Here are a couple of the recipes that accompany this section:

Cucumber Sandwiches
Makes 12 sandwiches

2-3 Tablespoons butter, softened
8 extra-thin slices brown bread or canned brown bread
2/3 cup goat cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 English cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

1) Spread a thin layer of the butter over 1 side of each bread slice
2) Combine the goat cheese, cream cheese, and onion in a bowl and mix well. Spread over the butter on 4 bread slices.
3) Divide the cucumber evenly among the 4 bread slices. Top with the remaining 4 bread slices
4) Trim the crusts from the sandwiches, and cut each sandwich into 3 fingers or your desired shape.

Smoked Salmon Mousse on Toast Points
Makes 20

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2 Tablespoons cold water
¾ cup sour cream
8 oz fresh salmon, poached and flaked
2 teaspoons grated horseradish
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Buttered toast points – white or pumpernickel bread

1) To prepare the mousse, sprinkle gelatin over water in a heavy 1 quart saucepan and let soften for 1 minute. Cook over low heat, stirring, until gelatin is dissolved.
2) Add ¼ cup sour cream and cook over low heat, whisking constantly to prevent clumping, about 3 minutes.
3) Transfer to a bowl and stir in salmon, horseradish, dill, salt, pepper, and remaining ½ cup sour cream. Chill, covered, until firm, about 1 hour.
4) Serve on buttered toast points and garnish with fresh dill

Okay, for us one of these was a hit and the other a total miss. I loved the Cucumber Sandwiches. The only change that I made to the recipe was to use a French baguette instead of brown bread as I’m not a fan of brown bread and had them as individual sandwiches. My boyfriend doesn’t like cucumbers so he had them with just the spread and we both enjoyed them immensely. The spread itself would even be good on a bagel in the morning – we have leftovers and that is what I am planning on doing with them.

The Salmon Mousse was a real miss. First of all, where is the “smoked” in the recipe? I bought smoked salmon to solve that problem. Second, it didn’t come out like a mousse at all. A mousse is supposed to be light and airy, again another problem here since it is nothing like that. The gelatin was weird, however I tried it. It tasted like sour cream and chunks of salmon – nothing like a mouse. Next time I think I will use the same spread as the cucumber sandwiches and just add the flakes of salmon on top of the spread. That would have been very good, and I should have just listened to my first impression when I saw the gelatin. Neither of us enjoyed this sandwich.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Any post remotely related to cooking can participate.

Copyright © 2012 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. Its so funny because right when I read - cucumber sandwiches and salmon mousse, I thought to myself that I would like the cucumber but not the salmon mousse! I don't know why... But, the important thing is that you did it(!) and you put together a very nice and interesting blog post :)

    1. I agree - I just wish the Salmon had been better!

  2. Bummer on the mousse. The idea of it sounds fantastic. Must track down a workable recipe. But cucumber sandwiches and tea sound delicious. I haven't had them in years.

    I love that pottery in the photo. I want it!

  3. The cucumber sandwiches sound so much more appetising than I thought it would when you just think of slices of cucumber between bread!

    I am not a huge fan of salmon at the best of times, but gelatinous mess doesn't sound great.

    1. I know! I love salmon, but this was not working for me!


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