Although fall is my favorite season for inviting friends over for an autumnal afternoon tea party, this cool season tends to get quickly filled with invitations and activities. This fall, we are hosting the first annual “Biscuit Off!” competition in which invitees will compare their biscuits and biscuit creations against other entrants. Biscuits and their close relative the scone have long held a special place in our hearts and on our tables. Those of us with Southern roots have experienced great biscuits first hand from grandma’s kitchen or have heard tales of the daily mountains of biscuits cooks made for the family and field hands. If one is described as having ‘a good biscuit hand,’ it is high praise indeed. Visiting various breakfast places while traveling to sample different versions of biscuits and gravy is a time-honored activity in the Murdock family and always a great excuse to go out to breakfast any ole time.
While waiting for the seemingly endless Northern California summer to end, I muse on the menu for my afternoon tea party. My starting place is our Autumn Tea menu, here: myteaplanner.com But fall flavors are so alluring that I have to keep recombining them in even more delicious new ways. Can I pack more pumpkin in somehow? Can I use ginger or mace in a different way? Can I finally put poached pears in there somewhere? And is there enough maple?! These burning autumn questions swirl together as I create a menu for my fall tea party. I love to tinker and adjust until I’m happy with the result. Ta-da!
Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs on Microgreens
Savory Hand Pies
Bacon and Rosemary Skewers
Baked Mini Pumpkins Stuffed with Root Vegetables and Couscous
Maple Leaf Sugar Cookies and Spiced Pinwheel Cookies
Lattice Apple or Pumpkin Pies
Port-Poached Pears in Ginger Cupcakes
I can’t get enough beet pickled eggs! I’ll use any pretext to put them on a menu. The color is so wonderfully vibrant and the taste is zippy from my home-pickled beets, made with fresh dill and garlic. Popular microgreen mixtures combine sprouts of kale, arugula, endive, radish, and or beet greens. They would make a pretty and complementary bed for the deviled eggs.
I recently made mushroom soup when we were gifted with an abundance of sliced mushrooms. That week, we had mushroom scramble, mushrooms in salad, mushroom pâté, and we’d barely made a dent in our mushroom trove. I figured mushroom soup would use up the most mushrooms, so I dove in. I’d forgotten how delicious this creamy, earthy soup can be. I added the tiniest bit of cream to lend it the most velvety finish. You’ll recognize my favorite vintage custard cup attractively holding the soup. For the savory hand pies, a filling could be any of several different flavors. At myteaplanner.com, we have recipes for potato pasties and mushroom piroshki, either of which would do nicely. A spicy ground beef or minced root vegetable filling would also be yummy.
Wait a second! Suzi just informed me that we made pumpkin soup and served it in the miniature pumpkins several years ago. Oops, forget I mentioned it.