Treasure from the The Spice & Tea Exchange of Asheville with a Recipe for Tea Sandwiches
The Spice & Tea Exchange of Asheville, NC happens to be situated on my favorite downtown section of the city. With books nearby, at Malaprop’s Book Store and the Buncombe County Library, the Asheville Symphony Orchestra at one end and several choices of restaurants that serve down-home Southern fare, such as Mayfel’s, near the other, Haywood Street is my “Main Street, Asheville”.
But because I no longer live just over the hills from the beautiful city, I find myself hoarding the last purchases I made from the dried specialty foods shop like plundered treasure.
The walls of The Spice & Tea Exchange are filled with shelf after shelf of herbs, spices, and teas that’s aromas combine to create a shockingly pleasant scent that hits you the moment you open the front door of the shop.
On my last trip, I chose two unique blends of tea. One was organic White Rose, and the other the exotic Mystic Dragon, both classified as having moderate caffeine levels.
White Rose’s all organic ingredients include white tea leaves, roses, green tea, jasmine, peppermint, and lavender flowers.
I could do without the jasmine in this blend, but because I shop at The Spice & Tea Exchange, I can customize my blend and have them leave it out next time.
Mystic Dragon is a green tea with strawberries, rhubarb, and mallow added. I can’t decide which I like more when it comes to Mystic Dragon, sticking my nose in the zip-top bag of dried herbs to breathe in the perky scent or actually sipping the brewed tea. It’s just so nice.
The Spice & Tea Exchange stores operate through franchises and are not just purveyor’s of spices and teas, as the name implies. Their shelves are stocked with seasoning blends, flavored sugars, salts, peppers, and extracts, as well as other dried foods.
We do lots of tea in this family, but sandwiches, not so much. Every once in a while, however, I bake scones and put together tea sandwiches on white bread, which is ordinarily not something I buy, and we do tea properly, on the china I pull off the dining room shelves.
The spread is key, I think, to making a good tea sandwich, though cucumbers on white bread slathered with whipped butter will always be my favorite.
20 slices of white bread
Roast turkey breast
Cheddar cheese, sliced
1/4 c. spring onions
1/2 c. leeks
2 small cloves of garlic
1/8 c. peeled carrots
4 oz. salted butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 tsp. pink Himalayan salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
Place the herbs, onions, leeks, carrots, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor.
Chop to a medium consistency. Avoid pureeing the fresh vegetables, but don’t leave them too chunky.
Add the butter, cream cheese, salt & pepper, and lemon juice.
Whip to combine into a spread.
Divide the mixture by spreading it over the bread.
Shave the cucumber with a wide vegetable peeler, or thinly slice with a knife. I like to save the peels to use as a garnish.
Top half of the slices of bread with turkey, cucumbers, or cheese to make a variety of finger sandwiches.
I like the crusts cut from my cucumber sandwiches, but either way is good.
Cut into triangles, different shapes using canapé cutters, rectangles or squares.
Serve the little sandwiches with tea, scones, and my favorite afternoon tea treat, chocolate pâté.
Yield: Approximately 10 servings.