I recently wrote an exhaustive article on the Steps to Creating a Tea Party Menu and confessed that despite loving Tea Parties, I don’t relish time in the kitchen. Currently, I am sharing the process of planning for my August Tea Party Event. The day to plan the menu is upon me. With high standards and a limited budget, I am determined to find The Lazy Baker’s Way to Plan a Tea Party Menu.

Using my own suggestions, here’s my plan:

  1. Serve a cold summer fruit-based soup. A local deli makes wonderful cold soup in the summer. I will call them to find out how much a family-sized soup costs and what they will offer during that weekend.
  2. Serve a corn, tomato, pepper and basil-based salad. I will make this myself. Summer produce abounds and is relatively inexpensive. Almost everyone loves these flavors and it will be colorful. I can make it ahead of time and dress it at the last minute.
  3. Omit the quiche. The party is at 2:3o so it’s not a mealtime, decent quiche is expensive, and I don’t relish making it or eating it.
  4. Put my energy into the sandwiches. These are difficult to delegate. My husband can help me. One of the sandwiches will be on the square, thin, bread I can buy at the grocery store deli. I can roll it up and cut it into pinwheels. My three sandwiches will be:
    1. Open-face traditional cucumber (they’re in season!) and butter on white bread cut with my teapot cookie cutter and garnished with edible violet flowers.
    2. Turkey Salad with Dried Blueberries on whole-grain bread
    3. Dijon Pesto Tea Pinwheel Sandwiches-a recipe from a nationally famous local tearoom
  5. Ask a local bakery (a new Safeway Lifestyles store) to make the scones, some bite-sized fruit tarts, and either petit fours or mini cupcakes. This is where I am willing to spend some money and compromise my love of all-natural food. It will save me so much time and emotional energy, it will be worth it. I will also serve jarred lemon curd and creme fraiche from Trader Joe’s.
  6. Buy some semi-decent chocolates at Trader Joe’s (I love Trader Joe’s-do you have one where you live?) to fill out the dessert-tier. Not the best season (the best time to buy chocolate at TJ’s is around the holidays), but my choco-holic friends won’t care and the price is right.
  7. Garnish with in-season green purple grapes. They’re heavy on the neighbor’s vines and the children will enjoy picking them.
  8. Pre-make Grasshopper ice cream sundaes~a recipe from a recent issue of Every Day with Rachel Ray. I will serve it as the last course on a day that will most likely be warm. But I will need to find an alternate serving vessel as much as I love the stainless steel martini glass in the mag pic.
  9. Make peach-iced tea and a Ceylon hot tea. I would rather serve Darjeeling because it goes with more of what I’m serving, but I don’t currently have one in stock. I might as well use one of the many others I do to avoid another way to spend money.
  10. Save enough money for a decent bottle of wine. This group of girls don’t drink, but Plays with Fire and I will enjoy sharing a bottle of Riesling on the back deck when it’s all over.

So what does this mean for this lazy baker exactly?

  • Make the salad
  • Make the sandwiches
  • Make the sundaes
  • Buy and Assemble the resst

Tomorrow I will post my shopping list to make sure it is reasonable and within the budget. What do you all think? Am I on the right track?