Tea Party, Just Because (With Recipes)

Breakfast for dinner is a beloved classic, why not tea party for dinner? Zhi Tea is one of the first places I really fell in love with in Austin. My first encounter with Zhi Tea came from a pot of their “Austin Breakfast” blend black tea that accompanied a hearty English breakfast served at the quirky British cafe, Full English in Austin, Texas.IMG_20223_editedBut here in San Antonio, Zhi Tea is still accessible at Central Market or Rosella Company in loose leaf form. If you really don’t want to commit to a whole box, Bird Bakery in Alamo Heights serves Zhi Tea, including the Austin Breakfast blend, at their bakery and cafe. But you should just commit to a whole box.

I recently chose to try their version of Earl Grey. Unlike your guilty pleasure Bigelow tea bag variety, Zhi Tea’s blend is more floral like a rose or orange blossom than moody like bergamot of lavender. Bergamot admittedly is a type of orange, but it seems more wintery in most blends as opposed to Zhi Tea’s summery version. I’ve never tasted a fresh Bergamot orange so I cannot speak to which is more true to taste.

However, I chose to have my little tea party as an excuse to bake more than as a reason to make tea. IMG_20224_edited

Using only what was already in my pantry, the menu consisted of:

Lime scented Apple and Blueberry Corncakes

Lavender Blueberry Drop Biscuits

Flourless Coconut Shortbread Cookies

Tamago Sashimi drizzled with Yamasa Sashimi Soy Sauce

Kumato Tomato Sandwiches

Crackers with Goat Cream Cheese and Pepper Jelly, and Hummus

Fresh Watermelon and Cherries

The tamago, or egg omelet, sashimi and accompanying sauce were purchased at Minnano Japenese Grocery. It was probably the most eclectic menu choice and it’s the only one we finished in one sitting.

All of the crackers and dips came from Trader Joe’s, adorable napkins from IKEA, and fruit from Central Market.

Below are the three other recipes.

Lime scented Apple and Blueberry Corncakes

Adapted from a Better Homes and Gardens recipe for “Upside-Down Apple-Corn Cakes,” my version adds lime, changed the caramel, and is probably a lot less messy.

Ingredients
For Faux Buttermilk:
  • 2/3 cup milk (I used Horizon Organic Lactose-Free 2%)
  • Juice of one lime (approximately 2 tsp – 1 tbs)
For Corncakes:
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh lime zest
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup shredded apple such as gala, fuji or jazz (I used jazz)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 tbs blueberries (I used TJ’s frozen wild blueberries)
For Drizzle:
  • 2 tbs apple jelly
  • 3 tbs King’s Cupboard Organic Caramel Sauce (or any other brand or homemade recipe that uses real cream and butter as primary ingredients – King’s Cupboard is carried by Whole Foods)
Instructions
  1. PREP: Preheat oven to 400F. Generously spray or butter muffin pan for 6-8 muffins. (I had six but still made a whole additional little cake in a separate ramekin).
  2. FAUX BUTTERMILK: Combine milk and lime juice in a bowl about 5 minutes or until it has visibly curdled.
  3. CORNCAKES: In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients, including lime zest. Stir and set aside. In another bowl add remaining (wet) ingredients as well as prepped buttermilk. Stir wet ingredients then combine both mixtures together.
  4. BAKING: Pour mixture into muffin pan, filling almost to the top. It should be a fairly moist batter. Set timer for 15-20 minutes and remove when a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. DRIZZLE: While corncakes are baking, add jelly and caramel to a saucepan over medium heat and stir until melted together. Be careful to not overheat and burn the sugar.
  6. ASSEMBLY: Let cakes cool for about ten minutes before moving them to the serving dish. Drizzle the apple caramel sauce over the top.
Notes-
I baked my pictured batch of corncakes in muffin liners which made it impossible to drizzle. I did have a ramekin that I filled with extra batter and then baked as described in the recipe above. I was still not as generous as I should have been with greasing the ramekin, so be mindful to use either cooking spray, parchment paper or another reliable no-stick method.
IMG_20221_edited

Lavender Blueberry Drop Biscuits

The recipe below features a quick and easy way to elevate a ready to go baking mix. I used HEB brand All Purpose Whole Wheat Baking Mix. Most baking mixes have similar prep instructions, but if you don’t live in Texas or near an HEB, it is best to follow your brand’s drop biscuit recipe. Just add in about a teaspoon of dried lavender per 1 cup of mix, and two tablespoons of fruit per 1 cup of mix, or to taste.

Ingredients
  • 2 and 1/4 cups All Purpose Whole Wheat Baking Mix
  • 1 and 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tsp dried lavender
  • 1/4 cup blueberries (I used TJ’s frozen wild blueberries)
Instructions
  1. PREP: Preheat oven to 450F. Lightly spray a baking sheet or lay down parchment paper.
  2. BATTER: Combine baking mix and milk in a large bowl and stir until a dough forms. Add in lavender and blueberries, being careful to not overstir blueberries or the mix will turn purple.
  3. BAKING: Drop the mixture by the spoonful onto the baking sheet. I used about 2 tbs worth of batter per drop. Bake 10-12 minutes or until tops are lightly brown and toothpick comes out clean. (Mine baked past the “lightly” stage but were still very moist inside.
  4. SERVE: I enjoyed my biscuits with jam and sweet cream butter
IMG_20222_edited_edited

 

Flourless Coconut Shortbread Cookies

Gluten-free and texturally comparable to Filipino style polvorone cookies (dryer than Mexican style polvorone), these flourless shortbread cookies are delicate, simple, and almost more candy than cookie-like. I sourced my recipe from Kristen in between, but have included my adapted version below. This makes just five small cookies.

Ingredients
  • 6 tbs coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup (4 tbs) butter (I used TJ’s imported French butter. Using a good butter is important because it will be prominent in the flavor profile).
  • 1 and 1/2 tbs agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. PREP: Preheat oven to 350F. Set aside an ungreased or parchment paper lined baking pan.
  2. BATTER: Soften butter or let it sit until room temperature. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir or lightly knead with hands.
  3. BAKING: Shape batter into little balls in your hand. I got five. Press with a fork after placing on baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes.
    Notes-
    Be mindful of how delicate these little cookies are. They are especially vulnerable until fully cooled.
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