An Invitation to Tea with Mitth'raw'nuruodo
by SuSu, Csillag, PlazaQueen
Menu: Chocolate-dipped Foamed Sugar | Lady's Tea Sammies | Gentleman's Tea 'wiches: "Scent of a Woman" Fish Paste | Piquant Cheesy Crisps | Sweet Lemon PuffiesGrand Admiral Thrawn was known not only for his extensive studies of other species through their art, but also for his tea parties. Receiving an invitation to these things was nothing to titter about he required his officers to not only conduct themselves properly when offered unusual foods, but to actually reflect on how their choices might inform others of themselves. Thus, an invitation was often a source of panic for young officers, but they dared not refuse.
It was whispered that the Chiss commander would deliberately challenge his officers with conceptually difficult tea sandwiches, or confections which required restraint or control over one's self ... Perhaps he did it as a way to educate his crew, or perhaps merely for entertainment?
Many GFFA Admirals used food as a way to size up their command staff, as well as to extend hospitality and evaluate their enemies, allies, and guests. It was all due to Mitth'raw'nuruodo, commonly known as Thrawn!
Chocolate-dipped Foamed Sugar
This is an unusual and rich confection, combining chocolate with a caramel which is foamed up. The molten sugar traps little bubbles throughout itself, which makes these candies almost cookie-like with a crispness and crunch that is really addictive. Break the batch up into smaller pieces, and watch your officers try really, really hard not to take too many!
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar and Golden Syrup. Keep stirring until the sugar melts and turns to a golden brown color and begins to bubble. Watch very carefully so that it does not turn too dark and burn. When it begins to bubble, remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda. The mixture will foam up.
Pour the foamed sugar into the greased pan and let it cool completely. Break the foamed sugar into bite-sized pieces.
Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler or a small, but deep glass bowl over boiling water. When the chocolate is melted, dip the bite sized pieces into the chololate, then put on a rack over a baking sheet to cool and harden.
Store in an airtight container in a cool place. Makes about 20 pieces of various sizes and shapes.
Lady's Tea Sammies
This is more a formula than a precise recipe. You can choose to make any number of variations, either one at a time or all at once. The main consideration: make sure your bread is sliced as thinly as possible!
Butter works well with the vegetable toppings; cream cheese for the smoked salmon; and Allouette for the prosciutto. Add torn dill sprigs to garnish.
Either leave open faced or cover with a second slice of bread. Cut the sandwiches with a sharp serrated knife diagonally to make triangle shapes or straight to make square and rectangular shapes or use a round cookie cutter to get a perfectly round sandwich.
Arrange attractively on a serving plate for presentation.
Makes two to three moderate servings as a luncheon, or light appetizers for 4 to 8.
Gentlemen's Tea 'wiches
Admiral Thrawn did have a fondness for piquant flavors, but he was disappointed that his officers often talked about being able to take spicy-flavored dishes. He wanted them to appreciate more complex flavors, and so he inserted these macho-named sandwiches ... Whom among the officer corps would dare resist something named in such a manly manner? (Count on two sandwiches per person, or more if your guests are "manly"!)
Spread slices of bread with mustard and then spoon on the fish paste, not too thick. Add a thin slice of onion, and salt and pepper to taste, then top with another butter or mustard smeared slice. Match up the tops and bottoms, because you will not be trimming the crusts on this sandwich. Cut into traingular quarters, and place on a platter. Cover with a well-wrung damp cloth, to prevent them from drying out before serving.
Piquant Cheesy Crisps
Part of Admiral Thrawn's "training" of his officers is how to eat difficult to consume foods. He made sure it was topped with "manly" things with strong flavors, atop a crispy cornchip. The men would want to consume lots of them ... but how to do it without getting the frangible treats all down your dress whites??
Sweet Lemon Puffies
These treats are somewhere between a popover and a muffin, depending on the pan you cook it in. But the Admiral likes this soft, custard filled cake, for a variety of reasons: it goes very well with unsweetened tea, it's sweet, it's delectable, and it's a real test of a man's manliness and decorum! Only a real man, he reasoned, could sit with this dainty cake and a tiny fork and enjoy it without looking like a total lummox, especially if the Admiral required the wearing of the dark dress uniforms a real test when you have puffs of powdered sugar to deal with. Thrawn also liked it because of it's name ... a "soft puffie" could have a "naughty" overtone, and he dared the men to snigger or cast knowing looks at each other!
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, wholewheat flower, baking powder, salt.
In another bowl, beat together eggs, milk, oil. Make a well in the center of the pile of dry ingredients and dump the wet ingredients all at once in the well. Stir together until the dry ingredients are barely moistened and the batter is still lumpy.
Place half of the batter into the muffin cups; the batter should not come more than a third of the way up the cup. Into each pool of batter, dollop a tablespoon of lemon curd. Spoon enough batter to get the level in each muffin cup to two-thirds up the height. Do not add more you can always make another batch of puffies!
Place pans in the heated oven and bake for about 15 minutes; no peeking or opening the oven door! When puffy and browned, remove from the oven and place the whole pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes or so before attempting to remove these delicate cakes from the pans. (If you didn't use the muffin cups, you should run a sharp knife around the cakes to loosen them.)
While still warm, place a puffie on a saucer-sized plate and top with a spoonful of lemon curd and sprinkle over with toasted coconut or powdered sugar (or both!), if desired. Serve warm or cooled to room temperature.
Yields a dozen or so puffies.
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