WHEN COLLAGE artist Nancy Uyemura and painter Matsumi Kanemitsu decided to invite friends to a late-afternoon gathering at their downtown loft, "we wanted to do something different, something simple but stylish," Uyemura says. Combining takeout foods with home cooking, the hosts created an East-West tea, an inventive spread incorporating Japanese and British tea customs.
For the Japanese tea, Uyemura used a tatami platform and a low table artfully laden with an assortment of foods such as chawan mushi (a savory custard); masago yose , made with tofu and agar-agar; sunomono (vinegared cucumber salad), and sushi, including cucumber roll and fresh salmon. Tea cakes rounded out the meal. She asked tea master Robert Hori, of the Ura Senke school in Kyoto, to preside over the formal aspects of the green-tea service, giving depth and dimension to the Eastern part of the party.
The Western portion was decidedly British. A friend who is knowledgeable about English high tea, Betty Marvin, prepared cucumber and watercress sandwiches. Uyemura made scones, shortbread hearts and lemon squares. A smoked salmon with dill and peppercorns and a Caesar salad with shrimp were purchased at Mrs. Gooch's natural food delicatessen in Beverly Hills, where Uyemura works as a visual-communications designer. English Breakfast tea was poured from a silver tea service. Cream-puff "swans," from Frances Bakery in Little Tokyo, made a decorative dessert.
The simple lines of the Japanese platform and burgundy-color table were a stunning background for fan-shape, black-lacquer place mats; new and antique Japanese pottery, and exquisite floral arrangements by Shuka Sasaki. In an arrangement that symbolizes the contrast between the East and the West, Sasaki mixed lilacs, a British favorite, with tall Japanese dogwood. A creation called ichi-rin sashi , made with purple freesias, was placed on the Japanese tea table. Sasaki chose a free-style approach, called jiyuka , to decorate the British table.
Food photography produced by Robin Tucker; table runner from Tesoro, Los Angeles
EAST/WEST TEA PARTY *Lemon Squares Scones Shortbread Hearts Assorted Salads Assorted Tea Sandwiches Smoked Salmon With Peppercorns and Dill English Breakfast Tea Assorted Sushi From Shibucho Masago Yose *Chawan Mushi Tea Cakes From Fugetsu-do Japanese Tea
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter
2 cups sifted flour
Blend together butter and sugar until pale in color. Mix in flour. Press into lightly buttered 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees 20 to 25 minutes or until set. Set aside.
Pour Filling over cookie layer and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly, then cut into squares. Dust lightly with additional powdered sugar. Makes 3 dozen.
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Mix eggs, sugar, lemon juice, flour and baking powder.
4 to 5 ounces boneless chicken, cooked and cut into small chunks
2 medium dried shiitake mushrooms, softened in warm water and sliced
6 medium shrimp, cleaned and cooked
6 slices fish cake (kamaboko)
6 gingko nuts, optional
6 mitsuba or 1/2 cup cooked chopped spinach
4 cups cooled dashi or chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
Divide chicken, shiitake mushrooms, shrimp, kamaboko, gingko and mitsuba evenly into 6 cups or chawan-mushi bowls. Combine cooled broth with salt, soy sauce and mirin . Beat eggs gently and add to broth mixture, mixing well. Fill each of 6 cups about 3/4 full and place in steamer. Cover steamer with cotton cloth, then place lid slightly ajar and steam about 15 minutes or until custard is set. Test with wood pick. May be served hot or cold.
East/West Takeout Sources
Natural Food Deli:
239 Crescent Drive
Beverly Hills 90210
333 S. Alameda St.,
Los Angeles 90013
333 S. Alameda St.
Los Angeles 90013