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.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Cooking Class . . . As A Student

One of my favorite cookies are
They're French, they're yummy, they're colorful

And they're expensive!

And they turned out although I didn't have all the nuances
for making these tasty French treats!
Because of being so colorful they were perfect for Easter

But I also found a source in the city for these wonderful goodies:

A charming little shop

 And I would buy a few if I were in the city and near the store

Then on Thursday . . . 
I was in Natasha's kitchen!

There to learn how to make macarons!
With friend Vonnie and four other students
Vonnie was the high bidder on a package that included this cooking class
And I was the lucky person that got to go with her!
I felt very fortunate to be included!

Vicki and Natasha were great teachers
And the recipe was in true bakery language
for it was in weight rather than amount!

We . . . 

Whipped egg whites

And heated syrup

And mixed the two together until it was the perfect macaron consistency.
We then piped them onto parchment paper  . . .
Ready for the oven after they "cured"

And while they rested and cured, we turned our hand at Italian buttercream
for the filling

We chose  four flavors:
Champagne, strawberry, pistacchio and almond

Finally, the "tops and bottoms" were done and out of the oven

We piped the filling and made the little sandwich cookies

I think they look quite professional!

 And we each got a box to take home!

And my box . . . 

Was brought out for tea Friday afternoon

Looking quite professional in Natasha's box

They were perfect for Friday afternoon tea
And for several more teas to come!

Will I make them again!
Definitely . . .
But not for me but rather when I have a tea party and I want a special treat for my guests
For they are a special cookie and not an everyday cookie jar cookie!

But I must admit that as long as my box lasts, macarons will be on my afternoon tea menu!

Monday, October 16, 2017

An Autumn Lunch

I had company for lunch today
in the dining room

for it was a "Ladies Lunch"
An Autumn Ladies Lunch!

Mums in an old ice bucket and wee pumpkins for the centerpiece
And fall foods for lunch

A creamy pumpkin soup
garnished with garden chives

A chicken breasts with a cranberry, onion sauce and white and wild rice

And an apple nut cake garnished with lots of Calvados whipped cream
(and garnished with a rose geranium leaf)

We had a grand time!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Columbus Day at Linderhof

For more years than I remember,
the second Monday in October
finds me lugging the plants

I am always amazed at how they've grown over the summer
Sometimes doubling in size
(or it seems to me as I lift the pots through the sliding doors of the breakfast porch)

Of course, last week, I rushed the season a bit

When I brought "Big Fern" into the dining room
I've not had good luck with Bostons indoors
and have given up trying to winter them over.
For good intentions in October meant a mess of a plant in January
and I would pitch.
I'm hoping that "Big Fern" will be able to return to her porch home come May

Because . . . 

I decorated the outside of Linderhof for fall
One more thing -- a really big mum to place near the pumpkin
And I'll get that today

We don't replace the summer flowers preferring to add autumn touches

The Duchess

(Friend Shirley Ann has one -- a small plant she was given when Prince Charles got engaged to Lady Di . . . and that was what she named her plant.    Mine came along around the same time as Kate Middleton -- but Kate doesn't seem a proper name for a plant so I named her for her title -- The Duchess!)

She's rather big -- grew leaps and bounds this year and not really having a home for her (Shirley Ann does have one for her Lady Di), I placed her where the Christmas tree will go in December . . . what will happen to The Duchess then?     I'm not sure but there is no room on the breakfast porch . . 

The breakfast porch with a pot of geraniums, the calamondin orange (which we bought back in 2001), another fern (not a Boston and I've had this one for 4 years) which is sort of crowded back in the corner and on top of the stove another geranium (Mo's geranium) and along the windows on the right, agapanthus, clivic, and a Easter cactus.      (You can't see most of them -- they're small and on the floor).
I like the coziness of Columbus Day when we bring the plants inside . . . it's how I decorate for fall!

And outside,

I did get my big pot of mums
A bronzy yellow mum which looks good with the pumpkin

And brings the final touch of fall to the front of Linderhof.   
(in the concert planter at the right, there is another deeper bronze mum that's mostly buds --
it will look spectacular when it blooms!)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Cookbook Launch Party

2017 is a very special year for Trinity Lutheran Church . . . 
Firstly, we celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation
Secondly, we celebrate the 70th Anniversary of our Church

To commemorate these two important events, we decided to publish a cookbook
That seems like an easy task, but alas, it's not as simple as it seems.
Cookbook Chairman Lois was a taskmaster
in keeping us on track . . . 
getting recipes IN, typing recipes to be published, constant proofreading
We wouldn't have a cookbook if it hadn't been for Lois!

And then there were the quandaries --
how many should we order
(for you want to have enough but don't want boxes of unsold cookbooks
languishing in a closet "forever")

We decided on 200
And started on our sales journey

Between church members and posting on Facebook,
we did sell out
But that was our goal!

And we were please last week when the cookbooks finally came
A quality book -- a heavy three ring binder type of cookbook
No spiral backs for us
A hefty permanent cookbook!

And because it is our 70th, it also tells the story of Trinity --
our history, the men who have ministered to us over those 70 years,
and some of our traditions like LAF (Lutheran Adult Fellowship), Lenten and Advent Soup Suppers, Women's Bible Study

Since so many of our cookbooks were sold to people in our community,
we decided rather than having them just "drop by the church and pick them up"
that we would have a
"Launch Party"
With the church open a few hours in the evening to come by and pick up the books
But not just pick up you book but sample some of the delectables between the covers!

The party was last night!

And we welcomed our guests

And neither a cookbook nor a Launch Party is done by one person alone!
The ladies of the church who assisted in the typing and proofreading to
make the cookbook a reality.
Our fearless leader, Lois, is second from the left!
There would not have been a cookbook without Lois!
So we gathered behind the table, each holding a cookbook, before the crowd descended to pick up their prepaid copy!

We chose to do 3 appetizers and 3 desserts
plus a hot drink and a punch
Each from a different contributor
Some of what we served last night:

Lori's BBQ Meatballs 

Shirley's Sour Cream Chocolate Cake
(with a cream cheese frosting not in the book but no one likes a naked cake!)

Karen's Holiday Cheese Ball

Cynthia's Scrabble
(which is what her family calls Party Mix)

Della Mae's Cherry Slices
Lois's Banana Muffins

We held our "do" from 4 to 6:30
and we had a good turnout
So many from the community came to Trinity to pick up their books
and sample the goodies.
And if you notice, we had real flowers on the linen tablecloth covered tables.
We Lutherans know how to throw a "do"!

Thank you to Lois and her committee for making the cookbook happen.
And thanks to those ladies, too, for a wonderful event last night.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Cookbook Book Club - October - BREAKFAST FOR DINNER

It was Angela's turn to host --
She chose
"Breakfast for Dinner"

Angela's main course
with feta and leeks and dill and Parmesan
Angela's never made them before
And they were very good!
Individual ones -- so one for each of us

And you need "sides" for breakfast

My contribution -- I had "starch"
A sweet potato and bacon hash
Very good -- will make it again
In fact, I may make it for our Church's potluck brunch on Sunday

Rita brought Pioneer Woman's Best Breakfast Potatoes Ever
And they were good!

Every breakfast needs fruit 
Donna made a wonderful breakfast fruit dish -- a huge bowl of fruit with yogurt and granola
It was perfect!

Michelle's bread choice was French toast
But no ordinary French toast -- a fall version
Pumpkin in the batter as well as pumpkin in the butter
All sprinkled with a shower of powdered sugar
And a sprinkle of pecans

Sara got the "award" for most unusual
A savory oatmeal which we all adored.
Full of vegetables it was very very good!

And no Cookbook Book Club is complete without dessert:

Barbara brought an apple crisp which is the perfect breakfast dessert.
Complete with vanilla ice cream 

We all agreed that Angela's "subject" was a good one
And as Sara said . . . the food is like Thanksgiving food, you just don't want it to end!

But end it did with Angela's excellent coffee complete with warm milk
No one warms milk anymore -- but it does make for better coffee

Since we meet the last Thursday of the month, we take the months of November and December off
but we're already making plans for January

Thursday, September 14, 2017

We Go To The City for Afternoon Tea

The "we" is friend Priscilla and I
She took care of Doogie and Daisy
(or as they said, kept them from starving after we had abandoned them)
while we went north to celebrate the Grands birthday.

So "they" (Doogie and Daisy) treated her to afternoon tea

Authentic Afternoon Tea
Real authentic English Afternoon Tea!

A painting in the rest room of the bakery!

At the Clock Tower Bakery in Downtown Overland Park

You do have to make arrangements ahead of time . . . it's not a drop in for tea place
(at least not for Afternoon Tea -- you can stop by any morning or afternoon for a pastry and a pot of tea)

They were ready for us --
tablecloths and napkins and china cups and saucers

The menu

And a sheet entitled 
"Afternoon Tea Etiquette)

A pot of tea
(Priscilla selected a green jasmine tea from Twinnings which was very good)
And a two tiered curate
loaded with tea goodies

Sandwiches and savories
(cucumber -- classic cucumber without American frills; chicken salad, sausage rolls, a crostini with Wenslydale cheese topped with jam, and my personal favorite is the roasted vegetable roll (roasted vegetables mixed with something and then spread on a flattened slice of crustless bread and rolled up))
(I wonder if Teresa will share the recipe with me?)

 Scones and Sweets
(real English scones (notice the round shape-- British scones are never triangles), lemon bar, a cream puff, jammy dodgers, lime macarons and Battenburg cake)

The round scones served with real clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam

And my personal favorite out of the whole tea tray . . . 

The Battenburg Cake
Oh, my was it delicious!

And it is obvious, a good time was had by all!

Teresa, the owner, hails from England.    We had a nice chat about American tea versus English tea
and how much I appreciated her Authentic Afternoon Tea.
In fact, I felt that if the street outside the window were narrower that I would really feel as if I truly was in England!

If you like Afternoon Tea, The Clock Tower Bakery is the perfect place!
Everything (but the cream) is made in house and is absolutely delicious --
best lemon bars that I've ever eaten -- and the Battenburg, oh, my!
I can't wait to go back!