"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Friday, May 18, 2007

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches, Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches with Smoked Almonds, and Lemon Bars

Sounds like a tea party, doesn't it?

Mrs. S. hosted her book group yesterday morning, and this is what she wanted: cookies, snacks (that means nuts), tea sandwiches, tea, coffee and cold drinks. I of course got all excited about the tea sandwiches because the Gourmet Cookbook has three recipes for them, and I personally am not in the habit of making tea sandwiches at home.

By far and away, the star of the show was the Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches with Smoked Almonds. This was gratifying because they were a pain to make--quite fiddly what with spreading the edges of the sandwich with mayo and dipping them in the minced nuts.

One woman tracked me down in the kitchen and said that eating that sandwich was like having a magical taste experience. Then Mrs. S's secretary/helper came into the kitchen and said they (17 female senior citizens) were swooning over them in the living room and wanted the recipe, which I photocopied and handed out after the group. Beverly Farms will be awash in chicken salad tea sandwiches!

Should you embark upon this magical taste experience yourself, here are a few changes I made to the recipe:

I made the chicken salad in the food processor by mincing the shallots first, then adding the minced tarragon and the chicken cut into chunks. Once it was processed fairly evenly I added the mayo, lemon juice and salt/pepper and processed til smooth. I also didn't cut the sandwiches into rounds--I just cut off the crusts and made them into triangles.

The Cucumber Tea Sandwiches were like any other cucumber tea sandwich I've ever had or made. Light, simple, not much to write home about except I liked the addition of lemon zest to the butter.

Now--the Lemon Bars. I must confess I have something of a fetish for lemon bars. I like them not only for their flavor but for the way they (if they're good) make me break out in a light sweat on my upper lip. Isn't that weird? I know.

So I have high standards for lemon bars, and as a result I am always crushed when I make a batch that doesn't "work" the way it's supposed to. And believe me, almost every lemon bar recipe out there claims that THIS recipe is the lemony-est.

This recipe is the lemony-est.

Epicurious doesn't list this version, so I'm going to have to type it in, but I can't do it now because I have to go pack for a trip to NY. I don't ordinarily type recipes in (see above for Cucumber Tea Sandwiches) but these lemon bars are SO GOOD that I want to share the love (and the sweat).

So stay tuned, Readers. I'll be back on Monday.

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