Sense and Sensibilitea Biscuits

My sister and I have been talking about one thing and one thing only for the past week: the Jeopardy audition exam. Anyone registered can log on at 8pm on one of four designated days to take the timed test. Mary Kate took the exam on Monday, breezing by with knowledge about Montana’s adjacency to Idaho. (Though she did forget essential Alanis Morrisette lyrics… how embarrassing for her.)

While she dove right in and took the exam, I, meanwhile, have spent the week asking her tons of trivia. Can I study for this test? Can I look up the answers? Can I retake it? What if I don’t know anything? What if I get zero right? In fact, I asked so many questions today that I actually missed the registration period and couldn’t take the test. Oops.

Like the sisters in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Mary Kate and I differ in countless ways. She’s a doer and I’m a planner. She’ll be shaking hands with Alex Trebec when I’m still figuring out how to click the red answer buzzer. But like a crumbly shortbread with a smooth cup of tea, different textures, temperatures, and flavors can compliment each other perfectly.

Hurry on home, MK! There are shortbreads waiting for you! Oh, and I chose this cookie cutter because I, you know, heart you.

SONY DSC

Earl Grey shortbreads:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 tbsp loose Earl Grey tea leaves

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 stick plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Instruction:

1. In standing electric mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, tea leaves, and salt.

2. Add egg and vanilla extract. When combined, add butter.

3. Pour the crumbly mixture onto cling film; form into a ball, wrap, and put in refrigerator for an hour. (Allowing the mixture to firm up in the fridge will make rolling out much easier.)

4. Roll dough to quarter-inch thickness. Use cookie cutter depending on shape desired. Bake cookies in 375 degree oven for about 8 minutes (until firm and turning golden).

Enjoy Earl Grey shortbreads with Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, and check in at http://warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!

Ryebread Revisited

I love tea time and the tradition of stopping mid-afternoon to revive the soul with a hot cuppa. But tea sandwiches always leave me either eating twenty plus or finishing the tea party with a rumbling stomach. I have sought to find an alternative that won’t spoil dinner, but will satisfy me for the duration of the afternoon.

In Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh deals with the same balance of light but not too light, traditional but not predictable. Through the lens of Charles Ryder, Waugh initially paints a picture of English nobility as indulgence, luxury, and the constant consumption of champagne and strawberries. Yet Waugh goes past the frivolity and into a more complex world of Catholic guilt and the pressures of both generation and reputation.

As Waugh used a fanciful backdrop to tackle a complicated subject matter, these hefty tea sandwiches are loaded with flavor and meatiness, yet still bite-sized and manageable.

SONY DSC

Tea Sandwiches:

Miniature loaf of rye bread (fifteen slices)

1 cup Swiss cheese, grated

1/3 cup scallions, finely chopped

1/3 cup pancetta, diced

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1/4 cup mayonnaise

Chives to garnish

Instruction:

1. Chop scallions, grate cheese, cook pancetta on stove top until crispy.

2. Combine scallions, cheese, and pancetta with mayonnaise and Dijon.

3. Spread mixture onto rye bread. Place under broiler until cheese is melted. Garnish with chives.

Enjoy your tea sandwiches with Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, and check in at warandpeach.wordpress.com for future recipes and book reviews!