Olive and Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade

So...I've been thinking.

I've been thinking that the only way a proper afternoon can go down from now on is if it involves a two hour tea break complete with scones and lemon curd.  And probably smoked salmon.  And I think macarons.  Gorgeous, brightly-colored, crispy macarons.

Before you go voting me off the island, let me explain.

This Sunday, I spent the afternoon with my mother and sisters having Afternoon Tea at the Palm Court in New York City's Plaza Hotel.

My sister Julie's birthday is Christmas day, and sometimes she feels like she gets the shaft in the birthday department.  Um, not this year, little sister.

The birthday girl and her Plaza style.
I tell ya, the Plaza's idea of afternoon tea is brilliant.  There were lots of gold details and palms for privacy.

There was silver tea service.  It was quite fancy.

One lump, or two?
There were gorgeous and aromatic teas detailed for appreciation like fine wines.  No wine here, though.  Just tea to calm your stressful, important, New York life.

There was roast beef tenderloin with horseradish cream.  Smoked salmon and cream cheese.  Cucumber and radish.  Pesto and prosciutto!  Um....hello?

There were fluffy scones with lemon curd, preserves, and Devonshire cream.  What is Devonshire cream, anyway?  Yummy. That's what it is.  Probably not good for you.  Pish posh.

There were French lemon macarons, hazelnut napoleons, pate de fruit.  Bite-sized and miniature.  We split each one four ways, of course.  We are ladies.

There was style.  Vintage style.

Need I go on?  Sure.

Plaza cupcake
I can't put a finger on what impressed me most.  Maybe it was the lovely ritual, maybe the deliberate slowness of it all, or maybe just the break from the day it provided.  When it comes right down to it, afternoon tea is really all about taking a moment to breathe, isn't it?

So even though giggling over truffled quail eggs (or maybe at truffled quail eggs) and people-watching fancy New Yorkers was a special occasion,  I am now thinking that every afternoon should involve drinking tea with your pinky up, practicing your best British accent, and bonding with your favorite tea partners.

You agree?  I've convinced you?!  Excellent!  Now, who wants to come over for tea?  You should know that I might have some spots on my silverware, but as long as you don't mind drinking out of a pink "Girl Talk!" mug, or being eyed up by a curious tuxedo cat, we are in business.

And I promise you finger foods, like these toasted bread rounds with olive and roasted red pepper tapenade.  I have made this tapenade dozens of times, and it's always a big hit.  It comes together in a matter of minutes, and the recipe is so easy you can memorize it!  It's the perfect little party bite, or in this case, afternoon tea savory. 

Just resist the urge to pop too many in your mouth at once.  Not so elegant, I think.

Olive and Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade
Adapted from Taste of Home
Yields 8-10 servings


1/2 c pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 c roasted red peppers, chopped
1/2 c fresh parmesan cheese, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp dried basil
Ground black pepper
Several shakes extra virgin olive oil
Baguette, sliced into rounds

Combine the olives, peppers, cheese, garlic, basil, and pepper in a bowl.

Add about a tablespoon of the oil into the bowl, and mix well.  Add more oil as needed until the mixture comes together to form a paste.

Let the tapendade sit at room temperature for several hours for the flavors to come together. The longer it sits the better it will be!  If you're not serving it until the next day, store in the refrigerator but let it sit at room temperature before serving.

When ready to serve, toast the baguette rounds in the oven until crisp.  Spread each round with the tapenade.

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