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.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Soup Luncheon

We had a "missing man" formation 
for the monthly Lunch Bunch luncheon

There were three instead of four
And our original plan was to go to Kansas City
for a "treat day"

But with one Lunch Buncher recovering from a cold
And another Lunch Buncher gone . . . 
We decided to make the treat day another day

All of this decided on Sunday before our Tuesday Luncheon.

Usually, I spend a big part of the month planning the menu,
looking through cookbooks and sometimes even deciding on two or three
menus before I find
"the one"!

Now I had two days . . 
Well, really only one!

I decided on a simple soup and pie luncheon

And since it was only three
we ate in the Breakfast room!

A lace tablecloth
White damask napkins in silver rings

And my beloved blue and white
Because I love those Spode Camilla soup bowls
My BIG German silver spoons
Which I adore for soup
Jim not so much!

And a centerpiece of orangey mums in an very old
Blue and White pitcher

The menu?
Soup . . . 

Chicken pot pie soup with Parmesan black pepper biscuits
It was really good!

And the pie?

Apple Cider Cream Pie
An award winning apple pie
(Daughter Sarah won first place in the Creative Pie division of Excelior, Minnesota's Apple Days Apple Pie/Dessert contest)
And I can see why it won!
It was delicious
A wonderful light apple cream filling
topped with cinnamon whipped cream

It's Thursday and I'm sharing my Luncheon Table with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.

And for those who want the recipes:


20 oz. boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded in to bite size pieces
5 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 small onion)
1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
1 cup peeled and diced carrots (about 2 carrots)
1 (15 oz) can low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups (heaping) peeled and 1/2-inch diced russet potatoes (2 medium potatoes)
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried crushed rosemary
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
2 1/2 cups milk
6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 recipe parmesan drop biscuits, recipe follows
In an enamled cast iron pot, melt 1 1/2 Tbsp butter over medium-high heat. Add in onion, carrot and celery and saute 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, potatoes, parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, (press veggies down into broth) cover with lid, and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 15 - 25 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in chicken and peas.
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, melt remaining 4 Tbsp butter. Stir in flour and cook mixture, stirring constantly for 1 1/2 minutes. While whisking slowly pour in milk and whisk vigorously to smooth lumps. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat while stirring constantly, then remove from heat and stir in cream. Pour and stir milk mixture into mixture in pot. Stir in lemon juice.
Remove bay leaf and serve warm with Parmesan Drop Biscuits.
Note: I used all fresh herbs and increased the amounts.
And it is a very forgiving recipe for you can increase or decrease the amount of vegetables or chicken depending on what you may have in your crisper.

1 cup flour
1 T. cornstarch
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch dice and chilled
3 T. cold milk
1 t. apple cider vinegar
Filling and Topping:
2 c. apple cider
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 t. salt
4 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 t. cinnamon
In a food processor, combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse in 1 second bursts until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine the milk and vinegar and drizzle it on top. Pulse in 1 second bursts until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather up any crumbs and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to an 11 inch round, a scant 1/4 inch thick; ease it into a 9 inch glass or ceramic pie plate. Trim the overhanging dough to 1 inch and fold it under itself. Crimp decoratively and chill the crust until firm, about 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425. Line the crust with parchment and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in the lower third of the oven for about 15 minutes, until the crust is barely set. Remove the parchment and pie weights. Cover the edge of the crust with strips of foil and bake for about 15 minutes longer, until the crust is just set but not browned. Press the bottom of the crust lightly to deflate it as it puffs; let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 350.
In a medium saucepan, boil the cider until it’s reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Whisk in the 3/4 cup sugar, the sour cream and salt, then whisk in eggs.
Pour the custard into the pie shell without removing the foil strips. Bake the pie in the lower third of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custard is set around the edge but the center is slightly jiggly. Let the pie cool completely.
In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream with the remaining 1/4 c. sugar and the cinnamon until firmly whipped. Mound the cream on the pie, cut into wedges and serve. Serve with baked apple slices.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fall In the Dining Room

Fall is subtle at Linderhof
Pumpkins, bittersweet, mums
In the house and in the garden

Not overwhelming
But subtle

The antique dough bowl on the dining room table
Filled with pumpkins, gourds and bittersweet.

It shall remain through Thanksgiving
lending a touch of Fall.

(Although the two bigger pumpkins may become
pumpkin bread, muffins or pie!
I bought sugar pumpkins this year
To use as well as to display!)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tea and A Book

You can't get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me!

We arrived home from Minneapolis on Wednesday night
Laundry and catch up
(read vacuuming up at least enough hair to coat another dog)
But I still found time to make a tea treat.

And as busy as the day after a vacation is,
tea time is  a most welcome respite!

In the breakfast room
Just me!
Tea and a book
(a new book)
And my beloved blue and white!

The lemon curd poppyseed bread
(A Williams Sonoma Recipe)
Because Daughter Sarah gifted me with a jar of
Fortnum and Mason lemon curd!

A quite tasty bread with the added curd!

A book found at the Arboretum
(I love non-profit gift shops -- they always have the most interesting things
--things you never see anywhere else)

It's a great book
Some good recipes
Some good stories

So much so that I had to order her other book
From Amazon.UK no less
It's not sold here!

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday and Bernideen for Friends Sharing Tea.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

More Mums

Usually, I get a big mum plant
to place in the front of the house
Close to the pumpkins

But, alas, this year,
pickings at this time of October were slim!

But I found little mums

Which I put in the upstairs window boxes

Eight small mum plants
Which gives a bit of fall to the front of Linderhof . . .

with the pumpkins below.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mums . . .

As much as I relish the tulips and daffodils of Spring,
I relish the mums of Autumn

Their muted colors attest to the waning days
And I love to fill both home and garden with them.

A table in the living room with a bouquet

Not arranged --
For I don't like "florists" flowers
I like flowers as they grow in the garden!
In my big Waterford vase
(which I bought, actually, for the hydrangeas --
I don't think the mums mind, though, do you?)

And on the dining room table

Not Waterford by heavy crystal
And it's a great vase for most flowers.

In the breakfast room
I love the orangey mums
in the old blue and white transfer ware pitcher.
(And the double enjoyment of the mums reflected in the mirror!)

Outside . . . 

Outside in the armillary planter
(for there is always "thyme" in the garden)
And pansies!
(I've given up on fall pansies in the pots --
but a few in the garden . . . 
Oops -- this is a post about mums --
But I'm sure the mums won't mind a pansy mention!)

And we're not messy gardeners 
Nor did we have a storm
The guttering is there because we have workmen climbing all over ladders all around the house
For Linderhof will soon sport new gutters!

I'm waiting to get my big mum for the front
I like it to last until Thanksgiving
And if you buy it too early . . . .

It's Friday and I'm joining:

Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Miss Mustard Seed for Furniture Friday
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Arboretum

When we visit Daughter Sarah, her Andy and Grand girl Lucy
one of our favorite places to visit 
is the

We've been there almost every season
and it is fun to see what they do for each season!


Is the Pumpkin House

The Scarecrows!

My favorite!

A homage to our Kansas roots . . .

And one for friend Shirley Ann
(I think she should recreate this one in her front yard!)

And a walk around the "Arb"
found these volunteers busily planting


Thousands of bulbs!

And in the herb garden

I found Minnesota Master Gardeners
We had a lot to talk about
(and they were most envious of our Zone 6!)

Grand girl Lucy and Daughter Sarah were there as well.

Here is Grand girl Lucy
trying to catch up to Nana!

It's Wednesday and I'm joining Susan at A Southern Daydreamers for Outdoor Wednesday.    The "Arb" is a great place to be in the fall!

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Hotel Tea

Not a London hotel
(although we've done that, Daughter Sarah and I)
but a St. Paul, Minnesota hotel

The Saint Paul Hotel
In old downtown Saint Paul

We invite you to experience Tea at The Saint Paul Hotel. Served in our elegant lobby, this five course, two hour event is fashioned after England's Traditional Afternoon Tea.
Adding to the ambiance, tea is served in an assortment of antique cups and saucers, collected over the years just for our tea.
According to a 1902 book on etiquette,..."teas have become the necessities of life; they fill a place in our social communion with one another that no other form of entertainment could so well encompass."

In their elegant crystal chandeliered lobby
on low tables
(which is why it is afternoon tea and not high tea)

They do it most Sataurdays
(and occasionally other days as well)
There is a limited number of seats
And it fills up weeks in advance!

On this trip North to visit Daughter Sarah, her Andy and Grand girl Lucy,
Sarah made a reservation for
Afternoon Tea for Two
at the
St. Paul

My delayed Mother's Day present!

What an elegant setting.
China cups, no two alike
Fresh flowers on the table
Just like the hotels in London!

And the tea --
five courses
(unlike the teas in London -- three courses only, there!)

We started with a pear and golden beet soup
(served cold)
Ham pate on cibatta
And a bacon and goat cheese mixture in puff pastry

The second course was mac and cheese croquette
with a truffled sauce

The third course
was a white cheddar and apple scone
with caramel butter

For the sweet course a maple macaron, cranberry palmier and a pumpkin chai cupcake

And just when we thought we couldn't eat any more

A Dolce Turtle Tart
a crust of nuts and honey, a decadent caramel filling and whipped cream

The tea, as advertised was two whole hours!
It wasn't a come and go between two and four
It was from two until four!

A leisurely two hours.

Of conversation and sipping tea and daintily eating the delectable tea treats!

Piano music played softly in the background and you could hear the clinking of the china cups as they were put back in their saucers along with the hum of gentle conversation.

Our favorite course?
Daughter Sarah and I agreed, that that tart not withstanding,
it had to be the white cheddar and apple scone!
And the caramel butter just put it over the top!

The best part of the present
Those leisurely two hours
Alone with Daughter Sarah
sharing memories and goals for the future!

I felt like a much loved pampered princess when we left.

Daughter Sarah is thoughtful like that!
It was the best Mother's Day Present that I've ever had!

It's Tuesday and I'm sharing my elegant afternoon hotel tea with Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday and with Bernideen for Friends Sharing Tea.