Whatever you do, make it special. Fresh flowers uplift any table. Little details make it all big and memorable.
Don’t just serve the sandwiches, make them into tea-time finger sandwiches. Finger sandwiches are so simple to make and enchanting to serve. Remember you can make anything desirable and delightful.
Anything fizzy is always festive, a good Prosecco or champagne works at any time. Make it a slow afternoon, filled with new memories of great conversation.
Of course, we all know Mother’s Day is every day, but today is a great excuse to be together, honor all the mothers we know, celebrate, and love. It’s nice to be treated like a queen but really, all mothers are kings!
My first encounter with tea time was with my mom in England, where we used to live when I was a teenager. We used to go to these little cottages in the countryside and have splendid afternoons.
Now in Florida I still do tea-time sometimes, though it’s an adaptation– urban beach tea time! Today, my mom lives in Hawaii and my boys are both across the country in Chicago and New York. So this weekend for Mother’s Day I am going to Miami Beach with my daughter Laura, where we will be together for all of those too far away, continuing the tradition of tea time with my mom.
I made three different finger sandwiches — chicken, cucumber, and salmon. Each is simple to make. The salmon one has only a few ingredients and the cucumber one is basically cucumber and butter. The cucumber one may be the trickiest one though — the secret is to thinly slice the cucumber until it’s almost transparent. I recommend using a potato peeler. A serrated knife is best for cutting the sandwiches neatly, and I recommend cutting straight into thirds to make three finger sandwiches or diagonally into little triangles. Some say they taste better diagonally — you’ll have to tell me what you think!
If you are taking them to a picnic, wrap each one individually with wax paper, which will help keep them fresh and moist. Here’s another good tip! If you make them ahead of time, you can cover them with a lightly dampened tea towel until you are ready to serve them.
Chicken Finger Sandwiches
1 cooked chicken breast, chopped (I sometimes use store-bought rotisserie chicken)
about 16 slices of bread
3 celery sticks, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
4 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup cranberries
1 apple, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup raisins
In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the olive oil and curry. In another bowl mix the chicken, celery, walnuts, and add the curry mayonnaise mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread each slice of bread with butter and add a scoop of the chicken mixture. Top with the other side of bread. Slice off the crust and cut the sandwiches diagonally. If you like a bit of sweetness in your sandwich try adding one of the additional ingredients.
Thin Cucumber Finger Sandwiches
8 slices of white bread (I like to use very thin sandwich bread)
dill, for garnish
Peel the cucumber and slice it very thinly, discarding the core. The cucumbers should be so thin they are almost transparent. I use a potato peeler for this. Sprinkle the cucumber slices lightly with salt. Place them in a sieve and let drain for about 20 minutes. Pat and dry with a paper towel. Spread the bread slices with butter and add layers of overlapping cucumber. Season with pepper and top with the other side of bread, pressing it down with your hands. Trim off the crust and cut diagonally. You can garnish them with a little dill on the top if you’d like.
Salmon Finger Sandwiches
16 ounces smoked salmon (I used wild Alaskan smoked salmon)
16 slices of white or wheat bread
1 cup whipped cream cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons dill
salt and pepper to taste
In a bowl mix all the ingredients for the cream cheese. Spread the dill cream cheese on the bread slices and add the smoked salmon in layers. Top with the other slice of bread. Trim off the crust and, of course, cut the sandwiches diagonally.