I recently had the honor of hosting a bridal shower for my lovely cousin, Brooke. For her outdoor wedding she is featuring ferns rather than flowers. I decided to go with a forest theme for the shower. I made the centerpieces out of found wood and moss (though you can buy moss at the craft store), potted ferns that doubled as door prizes, and added these adorable mushrooms from Germany. They are the same mushrooms I used at Christmas time in my Mini Gnome Terrariums. Our shower was in the afternoon so we decided to make it a tea party.
The Menu (for about 18 guests)
- Smoked Salmon Finger Sandwiches
- Egg Salad Finger Sandwiches
- Cucumber and Basil Tea Sandwiches
- Melon and Berries
- Mini Blueberry Muffins
- Almond Cake with Raspberries
- Pistachio and Almond Macarons
- Chilled Watermelon Gazpacho (recipe follows)
- Iced Mint Tea
I made these pretty tissue pom-poms in about an hour. They are really easy to make. Here is a link to the instructions. I noticed that there are all kinds of places to buy these – don’t do it! I made these for about $4 and it was truly easy and quick to do.
Finger sandwiches can be filled with whatever you like. Here are a couple of tips to make them Martha-perfect: Assemble them the same day of your event, wrap tightly and chill. Do not slice them until just before serving- this keeps the bread nice and soft and fresh. Use a serrated knife in a sawing motion to cut the edges without squeezing out the filling. Here is a link to my Champagne Deviled Egg Tea Sandwiches with more detailed instructions on assembling and cutting finger sandwiches. I like to have a variety of three types of sandwiches so there is something for everyone, and make sure that at least one of them is vegetarian and/or dairy free. The last thing you want is for someone to show up and not be able to eat anything on the table but fruit! For my cucumber sandwiches I used a vegan cream cheese substitute, but you could also use a vegan margarine like Earth Balance which tastes almost exactly like butter. My mom’s salmon sandwiches were my favorite: cream cheese, salmon, capers, and chives on rye bread!
My mom and I co-hosted the shower and decided to split up the food items. I picked out the macarons at Petit Provence on SE Division. She chose the almond cake from New Seasons. Both desserts were lovely. We also both reflected on how much easier it was to make some of the food ourselves and leave the hard things to the baking professionals. I sometimes need to be reminded that not everything on the table has to be homemade or from scratch. It’s an annoying quirk of mine that I am working on:)
My culinary contribution to the table was the chilled watermelon gazpacho. Sounds odd I know. It was really delicious. Sweet, spicy, tart, refreshing, savory, all in one sip. We served them in little individual glass cups so we didn’t need spoons. Gazpacho has to be really cold, so make it a day in advance and chill it. Put your serving tray and cups into the fridge too and don’t take them out until you’re ready to serve.
Watermelon Gazpacho– serves 10 as a first course or 20 as a little appetizer
- 8 C. chopped watermelon
- 4 C. chopped tomatoes
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 C. fresh basil leaves
- 4 Celery stalks, chopped
- zest and juice of 2 limes
- 4 T. rice wine vinegar
- 2 t. salt
- 1 t. pepper
- 1/4 C. olive oil
- 1/2 t. red pepper flakes
Place all the ingredients into a large bowl and stir to combine. Working in batches, puree the mixture in the food processor or blender until smooth. Transfer to a large pitcher and chill overnight. Adapted from New Seasons
The favors were bags of Tazo tea in these cute little linen bags from Collage. I stamped the bags with a lovebird stamp and tied a pretty teaspoon to each one. The spoons came from a few different thrift stores and sales. Thanks Aunt Judy for your help finding the spoons!