By DARCY DOUGHERTY MAULSBY
JEFFERSON – Remember a time not that long ago when tea rooms could be found in many Iowa communities, including small, rural towns? Where did they go?
“I guess people don’t think they have time for tea rooms anymore,” said Angie Petersen, owner of Angie’s Tea Garden in Jefferson.
Yet plenty of people still make time for Angie’s Tea Garden, which is located in a historic brick building on the northwest corner of Jefferson’s historic town square across from the Greene County Courthouse.
With its soft lighting, plush chairs, linen tablecloths and elegant tableware, the dining room provides a unique setting for guests ranging from business professionals to retirees to local farmers who stop by to enjoy the soups, salads, sandwiches and unforgettable desserts that have made Angie’s Tea Garden a destination.
“It’s all about homemade food with the wow factor here,” said Petersen, who has owned the tea room since 2000. “I try to give people a little more than they expect.”
It’s not just the locals who have developed a taste for Angie’s Tea Garden. Travelers, including those driving the historic Lincoln Highway, also relish this distinctive dining experience.
“People are looking for places that are local, unique and off the beaten path,” said Petersen, who has served guests from all across America.
Sometimes men look a little disoriented coming into a tea room for the first time, she added, but they quickly adjust when they discover the menu. If a fresh veggie quiche doesn’t sound appealing, the hot beef sandwich or creamy chicken lasagna that may be served that week might be just the thing to cure a craving.
While the menu changes weekly, it always includes homemade salads, sandwiches, soup (the tea room offers 70 different varieties), dessert and the mini cinnamon rolls that have become a trademark of Angie’s Tea Garden.
“Changing the menu each week lets me try new things,” Petersen said.
Some entrees, including mini ham balls, chicken and wild rice dishes and homemade sandwiches, are perennially popular.
“You get to know the people and families who come here year after year, which is fun,” said Petersen, who serves meals at the tea room Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the second Saturday of the month.
Adding a touch of class
Petersen learned the fine art of home cooking on her family’s farm. She grew up between Perry and Grand Junction and often brought dinner to the field.
“I’ve always liked to cook,” said Petersen.
She credits her mother, Wanda Brelsford, and her experiences in the Washington Winerettes 4-H Club for helping develop her culinary skills. Petersen herself was a longtime 4-H leader in Webster County.
And she continues to cook with her mother, who is a key staff member at Angie’s Tea Garden.
Petersen said cooking is an important skill to learn.
“It’s so important for kids to learn how to cook, and it’s important to know what’s in your food,” said Petersen, who added there’s no deep fryer in her kitchen.
Angie’s Tea Garden is proud to offer locally-grown foods like fresh lettuce from Beaver Creek Lettuce near Beaver.
“I also believe in presentation and like to make food look pretty,” added Petersen, who serves 60 guests on a good day.
“It’s good to see people take the time to visit and relax,” she added. “It’s an honor to provide them with high-quality food as part of the experience.”
3 tablespoons butter
1 chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
8 to10 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups sliced carrots
1 (32-ounce) carton chicken broth
1 to 2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 quart half-and-half
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1 small package (13 ounces) frozen peas
Salt and pepper, to taste
Saute butter, garlic and onion. Add broth, potatoes, carrot, bouillon cube, garlic powder, and bring to slow boil. Cook until potatoes and carrots are tender. Make thin paste with about half a cup of flour and half a cup of milk. Pour mixture gently into hot soup. Let soup thicken. Add cream and seasonings. Make the soup thin or thickness you want. This soup is good with any mix of vegetables. You can also add cheese for a cheesy soup.
Poppyseed vinaigrette salad dressing
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1tablespoon grated onion
1 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
In blender or food processor combine all ingredients except poppy seed. Stir in poppy seeds at end. Delicious on a green salad with strawberries and toasted nuts.
Cherry pie gelatin
6 packages cherry gelatin
8 cups boiling water
1 can crushed pineapple
2 cans cherry pie filling
Put gelatin powder in large bowl. Add hot water. Stir well. Add pineapple and cherry filling. Stir well. Pour into a 10-inch by 15-inch shallow glass dish. Let set overnight. Garnish with dollops of whipped cream.
Dilly rolls make excellent dinner rolls or great buns for sandwiches.
2 cups cottage cheese
2 tablespoons butter
2 packages yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dried dill weed
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 1/2 cups to 5 cups all-purpose flour
In saucepan cook cottage cheese and butter until melted. Cool to 110 to 115 degrees. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add eggs, sugar, onion, dill, salt, baking soda and cottage cheese mixture. Add 3 cups flour; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place dough in greased bowl, cover and let dough rise about 1 hour. Punch down dough. Make 24 rolls. Place on greased pans. Cover and let rise until doubled in size.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons shortening
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup amaretto liqueur
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
Cut butter and shortening into flour and sugar until crumbly. Add enough water until dough forms a ball. Pat crust into a 10- to 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake in 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
Melt butter and combine with the rest of the filling ingredients, mixing well. Pour into tart, and bake at 350 degrees until filling is set and slightly golden and puffed. Let cool. This dessert is very good served warm with vanilla ice cream.
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