Sometimes it really is the little things that make days brighter, little tea sandwiches, that is, for me I don’t know what it is about little tea sandwiches that make me happy. Is it the dainty feel of them that no matter how many I eat I don’t feel full? Is it the memories it brings back from tea parties as a child? I used to love tea parties with my MeMaw and my dolls. We always had my Tiny Tears record playing so she could join us, too! Perhaps it is the memories of the tea etiquette class I had to take for a beauty pageant once? O.K. definitely not that one!
This week I made some tea sandwiches to take to a friend’s house for a small get together. I made them with steamed broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cream cheese, thinly sliced cucumbers, and lots and lots of garlic. Remember the leftover steamed vegetable dip made with 1/3 cup leftover steamed vegetables, 4 oz cream cheese pureed with a garlic clove? I simply used it as a sandwich spread.
Making the tea sandwiches gave me a plate full of pumpernickel crusts.
I was going to freeze the crusts for later use as croutons, but also had leftover cucumbers. I thought of my favorite summer salad, Potluck Picnic Tomato Watermelon Salad and used that as an inspiration for this quick and easy bread salad or panzanella, commonly called. I like Bon Appetite’s definition of a bread salad, “Panzanella is a bread “salad” that’s 75% croutons.’ What’s not to love? Best part? Use any bread!
Put On Your TO COOK IS TO CREATE Thinking Cap: Think about all the different kinds of bread. Use any leftover crusts and bread ends. Have stale bread? Give it new life. Like a little more flavor? Add a drizzle of balsamic or red wine vinegar or crushed garlic. Have Italian dressing you need to use? Use it instead of the olive oil. No cucumbers? Can easily be omitted. Cheese lover? Add ricotta or feta. Black olives are a nice addition with feta, too. No basil? Fresh or dried thyme is a nice choice. Think of what other vegetables you could use like shredded carrots or diced bell peppers. Want some more of a salad? Add arugula or radicchio. Capers are a nice addition.
FOOD FUN: I really have no self control when it comes to eating tea sandwiches. I’m always surprised when I stop to think about how many whole sandwiches I consumed. If you have the same trouble, this poem by Jessica Nelson North made me feel better. “I had a little tea party this afternoon at three. Twas very small-three guests in all-just I myself and me. Myself ate all the sandwiches. While I drank up all the tea. Twas also I who ate the pie and passed the cake to me.” Sounds like my kind of tea party!