Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Valentine's Day 2019

Yesterday was Valentine's Day!!!

And as is my custom, I invite friends for a Valentine's Lunch

Only in 2019, when you celebrate with women friends, it's called a
"Galatine" party
(Gals Valentine)

But I still call mine a Ladies Valentine Luncheon

In the dining room, of course
Lace Tablecloth
Aynsley Pembroke

A menu for each place
And a wee cornucopia which I made and filled with Hershey kisses

I was fortunate that three of my hyacinths burst into bloom
I decided to use them as my centerpiece
But, alas, they were a bit floppy, so they were clustered together in the middle of the table
But the aroma was heavenly -- a spring aroma!

Husband came home just before lunch with . . 


Delicious smelling creamy roses!

Perfect roses!
But, alas, too tall to replace the floppy hyacinths
So I put them on an end table in the living room
Where they were the star of the show!

Lunch was simple!

A salad of mixed greens with blackberries, cashews, red onion and a homemade poppyseed dressing

Salads all ready to serve!

The main course was chicken baked 'n' butter and cream

And individual portions of Stephenson's Green Rice

It made for a pretty plate!

Dessert awaited on the sideboard.

The cake my mother always made for Valentine's
Baked in heart pans
And frosted like hers with 7 Minute frosting
(But not her recipe, alas, but my friend, Shirley Ann's)
And then sprinkled with pink coconut

Served with coffee

It was a nice luncheon
We had a grand time visiting and sharing

One of the highlights of the year, is my Valentine's luncheon for dear friends.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Cookbook Book Club -- Tried and True But Not Yours!

Always has a hiatus in November and December because we meet on the last Thursday of the month . . .. and family would not likes leaving the family Thanksgiving . . . and the time between Christmas and New Year's is always a busy week . . . 

In October, we decided on our theme -- to be hosted by Rhonda

Tried and True but not Yours!

We had our assignments
(our assignments are the category we're to bring)
and then we drew to see who would supply us with their 
"Tried and True" in that category.
We would make and bring and critique (as we always do)
But then the originator of the recipe would critique to see 
how well we did!

Rhonda had a conflict
So it was moved to Linderhof . . . 

 The dining room is ready for our guests!

The meal, as always, was stupendous!
It was the "best ever" . . . as it always is
(Either we have baby birth brain or it does get better every month)

The Menu:

Angela's Appetizer
Made by Michelle
I'm not sure what the name was but it was good, Michelle said it was easy,
and even with the Bourbon Smoked Gouda subbing for plain Smoked Gouda, it was tasty!
Angela gave Michelle a thumb's up!

Rita's Main Dish
Made by Rhonda
A curried chicken and rice dish
We all liked it except Rhonda was a littler apprehensive in the 1/2 cup of curry powder
the recipe called for and put in a 1/2 teaspoon
(Rita is checking to see whether there was a typo in the recipe that she typed off for Rhonda)
We all thought it was quite tasty!

Michelle's Cheese Potatoes
Made by Me!
They were good but not cheesy enough!    

Sara's Greek Salad
Made by Rhonda
We all liked it especially the dressing.    Rhonda thought it was too tart but we all thought it complimented the salad and the rest of the meal very well.    Rhonda did add olives which the original recipe did not call for!
Sara said Rhonda had nailed it!

A rogue dish -- Fire and Ice Relish
 recipe from no one but made by me.
I had all the ingredients in the fridge, saw the recipe in a cookbook and so I made it
It made way more than we could eat, the cookbook said it didn't last that long
so I included it on the table -- it complimented the rest of the meal very well!

 Rhonda's Artichoke and Rice Salad
Made by Michelle
It was very good.     Sara said she could eat it every day for lunch it was that good.
There was little left!
Rhonda said Michelle had nailed it!

Belynda's Bacon Brussel Sprouts
Made by Donna
We all liked them very much 
Michelle (because Belynda wasn't here but she's eaten them a lot) said that Donna nailed it!

Belynda's Balsamic Vinegar Brussel Sprouts
Made by Donna
We all liked these too.    Donna added mozzarella balls to Belynda's recipe.
We couldn't decide which we liked better.
(And if Donna is given two recipes she'll make both! -- and we're glad she did!)
Michelle said that Donna had nailed it!

My Vince's Buffalo Grill's Creamed Spinach
Made by Rita
It was a hit and several came back for seconds
Martha said Rita had nailed it!

But we can't have a meal without dessert:

Donna's Weight Watcher's Pumpkin Cake
Made by Angela 
It was amazing.    You would never know it was a Weight Watcher's recipe.
We lapped it up!!!!
Donna said that Angela had nailed it!

Rita's Cranberry Cake with Vanilla Sauce
Made by Sara
Rita said Sara had nailed it!

It was good.    We couldn't decide which cake we liked best
and we all ate every crumb of both.

It was interesting that so many of the recipes were not from books but rather handwritten or hand typed on paper or recipe cards.
It was also interesting that some of the recipes were "sketchy"
A comment was made that several felt as if they were participating
in a technical challenge on The Great British Bake Off
Enough directions to make the dish but some directions not quite clear enough!

I did the potatoes and I did not put on enough cheese.   It called for American cheese and I put on 5 slices . . . Michelle said I should have put on 15!    Quite a difference and while the potatoes were good, they were not as cheesy as they should have been!

Others fared better in their "technical challenge".

Also, even in our little town, sometimes ingredients are non-existent and things were substituted.    When the make said, "I had to substitute . . . " many chimed up with "you should have called me, I have that in the larder, freezer, refrigerator"!
Next time we know we'll put out an SOS email first
before we either drive to the city for the ingredient or make a substitution!

It was fun and it was interesting to see how your recipe tasted when someone else made it!

We're looking forward to February.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Is it Groundhog Day . . . or Candlemas?

It's February 2nd
The day that determines when it will be Spring!!!!

The Germans celebrate with Groundhog Day

They're not lovable creatures -- ground hogs!
They're not even cute creatures!
But they make an appearance on February 2nd
If they see their shadow, we'll soon have spring . . . 
if it's sunny, well, another six weeks of winter!

Today on the prairie . . . 

The sky looks like this!
Which means that Spring is soon on it's way
And we believe it . . . 
For it is supposed to be 60 degrees today!

The German in me celebrates Groundhog Day!

With ground hog for breakfast
in the form of biscuits and gravy


ground hog for dinner

In the form of a baked ziti casserole

But the English in me celebrates Candlemas

Sound familiar?

We never have to worry about this --
our Christmas decorations have been down for most of January!

But tonight . . . with our ground hog, we'll celebrate

By lighting candles on the dining room sideboard

And having candlelight at dinner
(the dinner of our ground hog!)

I'm optimistic that the shadowless groundhog and the cloudy day
will indeed predict that spring is soon on its way!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A January Lunch

Cold has descended on the prairie
Not the cold of the north
For we're not expected to get in the negative temperatures
Only in the single digits

But a cold day
Calls for a warm lunch

In the dining room
Luncheon for four!

No tablecloth
Quaker Lace in the center with candles in silver candleholders
And a crystal vase of pink tulips

Quaker lace placemats
Jim's grandmother's cutlery
Damask napkins in silver rings
Aynsley Pembroke china

On the sideboard, the coffee service awaits dessert

We're all ready for company!

The menu:

Italian salad
Romaine, peppers, cherry tomatoes and black olives
Tossed in an oil and vinegar dressing

Baked ziti
A casserole of Italian sausage and cheeses

Garlic bread
Warm and crusty
buttery garlic goodness

Coffee served with the cannoli tart
A perfect dessert tor an Italian meal.

The menu for this luncheon started with dessert.
I had a container of mascarpone that I needed to use
and I found this tart.
Since cannoli is Italian, 
it came me the theme for my luncheon.
I had Italian sausage in the freezer and decided that I would like
the main course to be a casserole -- it would give me more time with my guests.
And what better start than a simple Italian salad!

The cannoli tart will definitely be made again.
In fact, it may be my go-to dessert whenever I serve pasta!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

January and The Kitchen

This is my kitchen
In my 1920s house
Basically, there isn't much more than what is shown in this photo
In the 20s, kitchens were food factories
It wasn't a place to entertain or even socialize
And when Linderhof was built,
it was meant to be the domaine of the paid cook

And even though I love to cook,
my small kitchen really suits me
for I'm not a social or an entertaining cook
I like to cook
Then in the dining room or breakfast room, have people enjoy
the delectables which came out of the kitchen!

Every January, I do a closet, cabinet and drawer clean of the whole house
Christmas is often not good for my organization
Plus cleaning sometimes in December is spit and polish
as one find time or just before company comes.

The dreary January days are perfect for going through everything
And then coming back and really cleaning.
Not quite as thorough as the Spring or Fall clean
For it's really more about the inside of closets, cabinets and drawers!

But this year, I decided that my kitchen cupboards needed a redo
Sadly, I don't have any before!

Last weekend, I took EVERYTHING out of the cabinets
It was ALL OVER the countertops and island
It looks as if a TJ Maxx had exploded in my kitchen!

Then slowly, I went cabinet by cabinet, replacing the shelf paper
And adding plastic lace to the shelf edge
And put back what I felt like I used
Where I thought I would use it!
(Which wasn't necessarily in the same place it came out of --
which confuses Husband Jim some . . .
but it's good to give them puzzlements ...sometimes!)

And when I was finished I was quite proud of my work!

My main cabinets where I keep those items I use most often

The cabinets on the other side of the kitchen

The double door cabinet
which now houses all of my Johnson Brothers Indies
on the bottom two shelves
It's my breakfast dishes
and my luncheon dishes
The top shelf holds some Blue Room plates
(which I often use when I have company for lunch and don't want to do dishes by hand!)

The corner cabinet next to the double cabinet.
Bottom shelf holds my bone china Spode Camilla tea set
(and now I have a teapot to match!)
Middle shelf holds a Wedgwood pottery Asiatic Pheasant tea set
And the top holds blue and white milk pitchers

The cabinet to the left of the sink
holds the glasses that we use the most
I've had them "forever" and not broken a one
They're French and plain and are wonderful
And next to them juice glasses

To the right of the sink:
My blue and white breakfast for one set on the bottom and middle shelf
(An estate sale find for "nothing" because the estate sale company thought it was a bunch of mismatched china!   I immediately realized what it was and was so excited)
The top shelf holds some German cake plates that matches a big German cake plate that is stored elsewhere!)

The corner cupboard
Bottom shelf holds my English mixing bowls
The middle shelf holds my mother's covered cake plate
And the top holds my Spode punch cups

The little cabinet next to the corner one
Bottom shelf holds smaller French glasses
(I had no cabinet that would hold them all!)
Middle shelf holds my breakfast things -- egg cups, egg coddlers)
Top shelf holds more cake plates -- these are French and are blue and white with fruit on them and I have a sandwich plate and a round cake plate that match.

A couple of days later, I finished the "outside" of the cabinets,
I scrubbed all the cabinets, washed all the glass doors, wiped down backsplash, washed off light fixtures

So the kitchen shone . . . both inside and now out!

And there's always something nice about the smell of clean!

The island is a piece of marble over 100 years old from the kitchen
of the place where I worked for 30 years.    When it closed, I was able to get this piece of marble
that had seen many biscuits and breads made on it's surface.

The refrigerator, cookbooks and the cabinet next to it that holds most of my baking pans
and items too deep to go into regular cabinets.

The other side of the kitchen where the coffeepot, tea kettle, toaster and mixer reside.
The island shelves hold small bowls which I often use when I cook,
teapots (the Utilitarian ones so that they're hand if I want to make a pot of tea)
and the bottom shelf holds pitchers for when I want my tea cold!

It was nice on Tuesday, to mop the kitchen floor and know I was done . .  .
At least for a year!
Will it stay this way?
Who knows.
What will happen to the things that I found non-essential?
Who knows,.
But I do know that I will not get rid of them until at least January 2020
In case there is something important there that I truly need!