The Royal Wedding

29 Apr

I surprised myself this morning by waking up at 5:10 a.m. to watch the Royal Wedding.  Transfixed for more than two hours, I found it a glorious tribute to tradition and ritual. The playfulness and respect between Harry and William was the most extraordinary homage to their mother.  The chorale music was beautiful; the shining sun remarkable, the quiet resplendence of Catherine and William was really perfect.  Sweet and sacred at the same time.  I have no idea what the Queen is actually serving this afternoon at her champagne reception, but I offer you a few British treats:  a delectable oatmeal scone taught to me by my brilliant lawyer friend, Joanne Rosen (whose daughter is studying in London as we speak — perhaps she’s in Hyde Park watching the wedding), and two favorite tea sandwiches which I invented awhile back for Bon Appetit. I recommend a glass, or two, of Bollinger today.  It’s our favorite and we like it slightly aged, just like the Brits do.  This morning, I served my daughter cinnamon-toast and sugared strawberries for breakfast and pretended the yogurt was “clotted cream.”  We joked about finding out which boarding school the new Duchess of Cambridge went to.   But I assured her that Prince Charming might be right here in Park Slope.   Perhaps he’ll come for tea.

Oatmeal Currant Scones with Clotted Cream

The best scones I ever had were made by my friend Joanne Rosen, lawyer and baker extraordinaire.  I begged her for her recipe and adapted it slightly.  Thank you Joanne!

1-1/3 to 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting board
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk, cold
1/3 cup currants

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In food processor, mix flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Process until oatmeal is coarsely ground. Cut butter into small pieces and add.  Pulse a few times until mixture looks like fine meal. Transfer to a bowl.    Mix beaten egg and buttermilk together and add to flour. Incorporate with a fork. When dough just comes together, add currants and mix until sticky dough forms. Turn dough out onto floured surface.  Using floured hands knead the dough and pat into a circle that is ¾ inch thick.  (If dough is still sticky, lightly flour top of circle.) Use a 1-1/2 round biscuit cutter to cut out 20 scones.  Flour the cutter and your hands as you go along. Re-form scraps of dough to make rest of scones, being careful not to overwork or add too much extra flour. Lightly glaze tops of scones with a little beaten egg yolk, or sprinkle with sugar or leave plain. Place scones on lightly floured cookie sheet and bake 18 minutes.  Makes about 20

Smoked Salmon-Wasabi Tea Sandwiches

16 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons wasabi powder
12 ounces best-quality smoked salmon, thinly sliced
12 slices very-thin whole wheat bread
3 lemons
1 bunch cilantro

Place cream cheese in a bowl and let it come to room temperature.  Mix wasabi with 4 teaspoons water until it becomes a thick paste.  Mix this into cream cheese and using a fork, stir to incorporate completely.  Place bread on a large board.  Spread each slice with a layer of wasabi cream cheese.  Place smoked salmon on top of 6 slices in one neat layer, being sure to cover the entire surface of the bread. Grate rind of lemons and sprinkle over salmon.  Cut cilantro into fine julienne and scatter over the salmon.  Top with bread, cream cheese side down, and press down lightly.  Wrap each sandwich in a paper towel. Place on top of each other in the refrigerator.  Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.  Trim crusts and cut each into 4 triangles.  Place cut side up. To decorate:  Garnish with small sprigs of cilantro and sprinkle grated lemon zest over sandwiches.  Makes 24

Cucumber, Radish and Watercress Sandwiches with Goat Cheese

2 large long thin cucumbers, about 10 ounces each
12 ounces goat cheese
2 bunches watercress
1-1/2 – 2 teaspoons white truffle oil
2 bunches large radishes
12 slices thin good-quality white bread

Peel cucumbers and slice paper thin. Set aside.  Place goat cheese in bowl of food processor.  Chop enough leaves of watercress to get 3/4 packed cup.  Add to processor with truffle oil and process until just incorporated.  Do not overprocess. Spread each slice of bread with goat cheese-watercress mixture.  Slice radishes paper-thin.   Cover 6 slices of bread in overlapping pattern with radishes.  Top with layer of sliced cucumbers. Sprinkle with freshly grated black pepper.  Cover with slice of bread, cheese side down, and press lightly.  Wrap each sandwich in a paper towel and place stacked in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.  Unwrap. Trim crusts and cut each sandwich into 4 squares. To decorate:  Place a very thin slice of radish on top of each sandwich.  Garnish with sprigs of watercress. Makes 24

One Response to “The Royal Wedding”

  1. Ally April 29, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Ohhhh, muhhh deahhhh, delightful! Wish I’d had the oatmeal scone recipe earlier, and I wouldn’t have done the blueberry scones! Oh, well, will wait for Harry’s big day!

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