afternoon tea

Zucchini Bread

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When we were first married, Ed promised me 50 years. That was in 1969. We were young and 50 years seemed like a REALLY REALLY long time.

Grandparent stuff.

But here we are. A few months short of 50.

Wasn’t it yesterday that I fit into that long white dress?

We wanted to celebrate with two other couples, all close friends, who are also at 50.

But we didn’t want to have a big party. Not even an intimate dinner party for six. Although those are lovely, it seemed like the same-old, same-old. 50 years deserved something special.

So we decided to have a 150th Anniversary Afternoon Tea.

It was festive, fun and celebratory.

We started with champagne and tea sandwiches.

Then: scones, clotted cream and jams.

Finally, dessert: several kinds of cookies, Lemon Buttermilk Cake, Pumpkin Spice Cake and this: Zucchini Bread, (made with zucchinis from my garden!).

Just us 6. It was a good day.

We all talked about how amazing it is at how quickly 50 years go by.

Zucchini Bread

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup applesauce

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups grated fresh zucchini

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9”x5”x3” loaf pan. Place the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk the ingredients until they are evenly distributed. Place the brown sugar, sugar, eggs, applesauce and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer (or use a hand mixer) and beat at medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until thoroughly blended. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Fold in the zucchini. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert the muffins onto the rack to cool completely.

Makes one loaf

Scones

Last week I took Lila, age 8, to afternoon tea at a tea parlor in New York City. I usually meet her after school on Wednesdays and we do something special together. On this particular day she requested tea because she said she wanted “scones and jam and that soft white stuff we had at Zev’s bar mitzvah," (the celebration after the service was an Afternoon Tea).

The “soft white stuff” was, of course, clotted cream.

Who can resist clotted cream?

Lila has good taste. I say that not just because she understands that clotted cream is something wonderful. But also because when we were seated at our table, she noticed that our places were set with clunky mugs while at the next table there were beautiful floral-design china tea cups, which, when the waiter left after taking our order, she switched. Then she switched the sugar box from our plain white earthenware one to the next table’s gold-trimmed bone china one.

I thought such niceties were gone from the earth, at least for young folks, so I felt positively uplifted by what she did.

Fancy is good sometimes, don’t you think?

As for the scones, Lila had known about those long before our date or even her cousin’s bar mitzvah celebration. She and I have made them at my house. Scones are easy. Even a young child can do it.

Scones also take very little time. And they are amazingly tender, moist and flaky.

Scones: perfect for tea, breakfast, coffee break, snack and even a bar mitzvah celebration. With or without the jam and that soft white stuff.  

 

Scottish Lemon Currant Scones

 

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel        
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

                                                                                                                                         

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon peel in a bowl. Add the butter in chunks and work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir in currants. Mix the egg and buttermilk together and add them to the dry ingredients. Mix until a soft dough forms. Roll the dough on a floured surface to a 1/2" thickness. Cut out circles with a cookie cutter. Place the scones on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the scones are browned and well risen.

 

Makes 12

 

NOTE: you may also make wedge-shaped scones: divide dough in half, then roll each half to 1/2” thick circle. Cut each circle into 6 wedges.