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, May 29, 2020

Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are particularly valuable
when cooking at Linderhof

But I like things to be pretty, too!

So no store jars or cans of spices on my shelves.

Years ago, Sally gave me the "Mint" jar because she knew I loved blue and white.
Where she got it, I'm not sure
But I did treasure it
And I did put dried mint in it!

And the pretty little herb jar sat alone on the spice shelf
admit clay pots of herbs and glass jars of spices.

Until . . . 

A trip (a couple of years ago) to Tuesday Morning
and I found a treasure trove of Spode herb/spice jars
(I bought one of all they had!)

I did order the "Mixed Spice" jar because I like to keep the English Mixed Spice
on hand for I cook a lot from English cookery books and they often call for it.

And then . . . Monday, up popped

The Mixed Herb jar on Ebay for a very good price (less than what I paid at Tuesday Morning).

I have always kept a jar of mixed herbs.
It's the little bit that I pick from the garden that doesn't get used.
I hate to throw it out so I put it in a saucer until it is dry and then add it to my
"mixed herb jar"
(which until this week was a half-pint canning jar)

I love using mixed herbs for you get a new recipe every time!

And now my mixture of herbs has it's own classy jar!

And there's some basil to be dried to add to it!

I keep my dried herbs and my spices in the larder
On a shelf -- the "herb and spice shelf"

It makes me happy -- the little glass jars full of mostly spices
And the blue and white Spode jars
And way in the back are the clay jars that I've had "forever".

If you don't keep a "mixed herb" jar (whether a pretty Spode one or a plain old canning jar one),
you should -- there's nothing like roasting a chicken breast and sprinkling on some of the mixture from the mixed herb jar.     Next time you do it, it won't taste the same -- that's for sure!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Pink Pudding -- A Fifty Year Adventure

Back in the day there were book clubs galore
For a mere 99 cents, you could get 4 or 5 hardback "book club" editions
of popular or famous novels and then with the promise to buy 4 or 5 more in the next year (at regular price), you could build your library.

And I did!

And so because I did,  I got an advertisement for a "cookbook" book club.
That first year of marriage, I desperately wanted to learn how to cook
"gourmet" food
And so I was a sucker --

I subscribed and one of those 4 or 5 books I got for 99 cents

The Butt'ry Shelf Cookbook

by Mary Mason Campbell
With darling illustrations by one of my favorite illustrators
Tasha Tudor

I fell in love -- instantly!!!

What I loved most was that each chapter was a different "holiday"
And so there was a charming story
And then the "receipts"
which were very good and simple --
country food
New England country food
I loved to cook from that book!
I learned so much!

Sometime later the cookbook book club 

The Butt'ry Shelf Almanac

The second book by Mrs. Campbell and again illustrated by her friend and neighbor,
Tasha Tudor

I loved it as much as the first --
It was a month by month book of birds and flowers and a story
With receipts that went with the story
(July was canning and so a corn relish and pickle receipt were given, for example)

And I learned something new about the birds and the flowers

Sometime with three moves
(one long distance move from Kansas City to Nevada, Missouri),
I lost The Butt'ry Shelf Cookbook

And back then there was no Amazon or internet to find a copy.

I got brave and wrote Mrs. Campbell
(she had her address, at least town and state in the forward of the Almanac),
telling her how much I enjoyed both of her books but that somehow, the
Cookbook had gotten misplaced and did she have a copy she could sell me.

She wrote back!

And yes she did and by the way, she had another book,

And she had a copy of that for sale and would I be interested.

I loved the other two books and new I would love the third one
And so I said yes.

She autographed them, included a clipping of rosemary
And I absolutely fell in love
with the third book.

It is my herbal bible!

Not many receipts but more a gardening book
And it's because of her and this book that I have a herb garden!

Sometime later, I found she wrote a fourth book --
Yes, a long time later because I found this on ebay
and bought it

So my collection is complete!

But this isn't a post really about Mary Mason Campbell
it's a post about a Fifty Year Adventure!

I've made a lot out of this first book
And quite a bit out of the second one
But one receipt had always intrigued me --
A receipt for "Pink Pudding"

It sounded good
But it contained unflavored gelatin
And it's always been intimidating to me
You soften it in water and then you have to melt it

I didn't want to have anything to do with it!
Too "fussy" for me
But everytime I picked up
The Butt'ry Shelf Cookbook
I was drawn to the receipt.
And wanted so to make it!
Wanted to taste it!

And fifty years later . . . 

I finally did!

It's as pretty and as tasty as Mary Mason Campbell described in her book

"The little girl always chose the dessert she loved even more than cake.   It was just called Pink Pudding.   It always looked very beautiful turned out on the pink Haviland chop plate with pink candles lighted around it and a garnish of strawberries or little pink rosebuds or sweet peas.    Best of all, she was allowed to have all she could eat of it, which was quite a lot.   (It still is many years later."


(In a tin (or aluminum) cup soak 1 T. unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water until soft, then melt it over boiling water until gelatin is very  thin and liquid.

Squeeze the juice of 2 oranges and 1 lemon and pour it over 1 cup sugar with the grated rind of 1 orange added.    Stir until sugar is well dissolved.    Add 1/2 t. vanilla, 1/4 t. almond flavoring and a few grains of salt.     Add some pink food coloring and mix well.

Whip 1 cup heavy cream very stiff, then fold int he quit juice mixture and last the melted gelatin.    Pour into a small fancy mold or into individual molds and put in the icebox for several hours or until well set.

This receipt makes a serving for four, and may well be doubled to put into a larger fancy mold.     When serving, invert on a pretty plate.    Tiny birthday candles may be placed around the top of the pudding.     Fresh flowers arranged around the edge o the plate add to the festivity.

And like other receipts in Mrs. Campbell's books,
I'll make this again!
Her receipts are never
"one and done"

Sunday, May 10, 2020


Saturday and now Sunday
are our days for

Real breakfasts!

The rest of the week we have juice, cereal and toast
with tea and coffee

We've run the gamut of
traditional breakfasts
we haven't yet had a Dutch Baby
(or German Baked Pancake
or David Eyre Pancake)
French Toast

Perhaps next week!

Some favorites:

From scratch not a mix
Betty Crocker's recipe
made in my 50+ year old waffle iron
A wedding gift from my mother!

Scrambled eggs, sausages, cheese grits and fresh from the oven biscuits

Which means meat, biscuits and eggs
without grits
The meat this time is ham
And I do think ham is Husband Jim and my favorite
breakfast meat

Need I say more
Homemade biscuits, of course,
with a creamy sausage gravy
It is definitely comfort food on a plate!

This is the breakfast we so enjoyed in England
sausages (real English sausages), beans (Heinz in the blue can), eggs
served over a piece of fried bread
Toast in the toast cooler (Jim likes really hot toast -- the "toast cooler"
cools it off faster and it is his nickname for the toast rack that you find
on every English breakfast table)

I prefer blueberry and I think they pair really well with a
big plate of scrambled eggs with chives.
A simpler breakfast than most
And one that is not always limited to Saturday.
The leftover muffins go really well with tea!

We always eat in the breakfast room
because it is the breakfast room
And our china is Johnson Brothers Indies --
it is our breakfast china!

We enjoy a second cup of coffee and tea
and often watch the birds for a while
before we begin our day --
especially on the weekend when we have a 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Changes Upstairs!

For a long time, the china cabinet/bookcase
has been in the corner of our bedroom.

It partially blocked the window and I really feel that you should
put furniture in front of a window.
Even a room that has lots of windows.

But sometimes I do it because there is no where else to put it!
I'm sure we've all done that!

And so yesterday I moved it

And put this sweet little table, lamp and sewing box on it.
Two cross stitch samplers seemed fitting art for the wall.

The sweet little table was a gift from my friend, Sally,
who's moved but this sweet little table and the start of her grandmother's true Christmas cactus 
will always remind me of her.

The room looks and feels brighter and bigger with the cabinet removed!
More spacious I think!

And where did I put the china cabinet/bookcase?

In the sunroom!
It fits better I think, between the two leather chairs.
And it's a room of books anyway
so a bookcase seems appropriate!

When I got the table, I put it between the leather chairs
But it's a feminine dainty table
And the chairs are masculine.
It looked okay
But I kept thinking that it wasn't "perfect".

For a long time, I had my mother's bookcase there
And another piece that blocked one of the windows.
I moved that piece to the spare room
And the bookcase across the room
It seems more spacious without that window being partially blocked!

And then I was looking at something on the blog and ran across this picture!

I need to move the bookcase back!
And so I did!

I'm much happier with both rooms now!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Quick Breads

Quick Breads
It's the title of a group of recipes in the Betty Crocker Cookbook

"Quick" meaning no rising time.

This weekend was my
"Quick Bread"

Saturday breakfast
Saturday dinner
Sunday breakfast

None of the recipes, however, from the Betty Crocker cookbook
Not that they aren't good --
I just wanted to try some different ones!

Saturday morning 
instead of our usual breakfast
we had ham and eggs and biscuits fresh from the oven

A recipe made 8 nice size biscuits
And I didn't pat them down to the 1/2 inch the recipe said
They were more like an inch
Which is why some of them are "huge"
But they were good

There are so many biscuits out there --
the canned, the frozen
the ones you make with cream
But these were old fashioned biscuits
Made like Grandma made them
I used the mixer to incorporate the shortening into the flour
(because I'm an impatient cook and "cut shortening in until the size of peas" means to me,
jawbreaker size if I do it with a pastry cutter or fork -- but with a
mixer -- perfection)


1 egg, at room temperature
1/2 to 3/4 c. milk
2 c. flour
4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. shortening

Preheat oven to 475.    Grease a cookie sheet.

Crack the egg into a 1 cup glass measure.    Mix well with fork.    Add milk to the 3/4 c. mark and mix well again.

In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt.    Lightly mix in the shortening with your fingers.   (I put mine in the mixer and let the mixer do the work).      Stir in the milk mixture, taking care not to overwork the dough.    On a lightly floured surface, roll or pat the dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a 2 1/4 inch floured biscuit cutter (I use my grandmother's).   Place the rounds 1 inch apart on the prepared baking pan.      
Bake the biscuits in the preheated oven 10 to 12 minutes until nicely browned. 

* * * * * *

Last Sunday was Easter
Easter is always ham
And even though I got the smallest, it still is a lot of ham!

Saturday supper was red beans and rice.
A different dish for me for usually I do either butter beans or Great Northerns
with the last of the ham.

But beans were scarce when Husband Jim went to the store and he
scored some red ones as that was all that was available.

So, alas, red beans and rice it was!

And I must admit that it was delicious
and a nice change from the regular ham and beans!

Now you cannot have a pot of dried beans without a pan of cornbread
Another "quick bread".

I must admit that we can devour fresh from the oven corn bread.
We eat way more than one piece each!
But there's something about hot cornbread with butter melted into it
that is one of those "heaven on earth" dishes!

I tried a new recipe.
In this time of semi-exile, I've been trying a lot of new recipes.
I thought this was really really good
And it will probably be my "go to" recipe from now on


1 c. yellow cornmeal
1 c. white flour
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
4 t. baking powder
1 egg, slightly beaten
`/4 c. melted butter, cooled
3/4 c. milk
3 generous tablespoons sour cream

Sift dry ingredients together, add milk, sour cream, beaten egg and sot butter.    Stir well.    Pour into a greased pan (I used a crockery LeCreuset pan but you can use an iron skillet, iron muffin pans or even iron cornstalk pans) and grate nutmeg over the top.     Bake in a hot oven (425) for 20 minutes or until lightly browned on top.     Serve with butter while still hot (This is the most important sentence of the recipe!)

* * * * * *

My favorite, absolute favorite "quick bread" is popovers!
But I don't consider it "quick" for the baking time is usually 30 minutes or so
Not the 12 to 20 that cornbread or biscuits or even muffins take!

Often I come down to fix breakfast and think popovers
and then realize that we'll have to wait a "long time" for these delicious
breakfast breads!

 I have my popover pans --
two of them!
That way I can make a dozen if I have company.
But popovers are one quick bread that needs to be eaten the minute it comes from the oven

You rarely see popovers here in restaurants but in Minnesota
where Daughter Sarah lives, it often is the table bread in restaurants.
I adore that tradition -- Sarah not so much -- she's not a popover fan!

Sunday morning breakfasts should be special
Popovers and cheese omelets
sounded "special" this April morning

And I planned popovers
So they received the first attention
And once they were in the oven, I began to get the rest of breakfast ready


1 scant cup flour
1 t. salt
2 large eggs
1 c. whole milk

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 450.    Generously butter a popover pan or standard muffin tin and put it in the oven to heat.

Whisk together the flour and salt.   In a separate bowl beat the eggs until light but not too fluffy.    Stir in half the milk until smooth.    Gradually mix in the flour, then the remaining milk.    Don't use a whisk or beat the batter at this point (you'll not have good luck with your popovers if you do).  Pour the batter into the hot pan, filling about 2/3 full.    Bake in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes without opening the oven.

Without opening the oven, turn the temperature down to 350 and bake until the popovers are crisp and golden brown (about 20 to 25 minutes).     Make sure the sides are firm and crisp.

Serve hot!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Jonquils, Daffodils, Narcissus . . . The Spring Plant With Many Names

So what are they -- those mostly yellow flowers that bloom in the Spring?

Are they daffodils?
Are they Jonquils?
Are they Narcissus?

Actually they all are narcissus.

And while in different parts of the country, jonquils may be called daffodils, this is botanically incorrect!

But then the smaller variety of daffodils are often referred to as narcissus
which adds even more confusion to the daffodil, jonquil, narcissus question.

Since daffodils and jonquils are all narcissus, is there another difference?

Of course, there is -- scent!
Daffodils are barely scented
While jonquils are very perfumed.

Although the words are synonymous they do not take a jonquil a daffodil.
And with some study you can tell them apart --
Jonquils have numerous yellow scented blooms with rounded foliage and are really more common in warmer climes.

You can also tell the difference by the leaves
Jonquils have slender leaves that round on the tips
while daffodils sport slim sword-tipped foliage
Jonquil stems are hollow and shorter.
Jonquils also tend to have clusters of flowers while daffodils do not.
But they are so very very similar that a gardener
often calls all of these spring bulbs by one name --
the name they were taught as children!

And the biggest difference?
Jonquils only grow in yellow hues
while daffodils may be found in white, peach, pink and a variety of other colors.

You plant both both bulbs the same and both varieties 
love our part of the prairie.

I've been planting narcissus bulbs now for over 30 years
Some years more than others
And I am rewarded with an abundance of blooms to grace the house in April

My first bouquet -- a mixture of daffodils and jonquils
for St. Patrick's Day lunch!

An end table in the living room with some wee daffodils

A mixture of daffodils and jonquils

On the dining room table

Adding a bit of Spring to afternoon tea!

A wee Waterford vase holds wee daffodils on my dressing table

And last fall I planted both jonquils and daffodils in the new raised beds

We try to always keep a bouquet on the breakfast room table
To lend cheer to afternoon tea

And a bouquet brings sunshine to the living room

A vase of my Mother's filled with the cheery blooms
while we have leftover orange twist rolls for tea

I think of narcissus as the Easter flower as much as the Easter lily
for they're always in bloom at Easter
And this bouquet makes the Good Friday hot cross muffins
taste even better

One of my favorite daffodils -- newly planted last fall
The Poet's Daffodil
I love the white, red and yellow of this variety

Breck's knows when to send out their latest bulb catalogue --
I got mine last week.
Of course, if you order early, it's cheaper!
And I've got several variety of bulbs circled that I want to add.

I want to try more tulips, too, for I adore them -- especially the parrot variety.

Narcissus -- whether you call them that or daffodils or jonquils,
they always bring a smile to your face!

Friday, April 10, 2020

Easter eggs

It's Good Friday!

And a different Good Friday this year.
We've not been to church last night, nor will we go tonight or tomorrow
or Sunday morning.

We're in "semi-exile"

However, we still keep our traditions

Eggs are a big part of Good Friday!

I can remember only one Good Friday when I did not color eggs
(and that was when we went to England to live for a Spring -- we were on a ship taking us there)

Whether a child, a teen, single and living alone, with Daughter Sarah,
or as an empty nester, Good Friday was Easter egg coloring day!

And eggs play a big part in our Easter decorations.

And not just chocolate ones either!

These are my great great Grandmother Elvesa's eggs
Not Easter decorations but rather glass eggs to fool hens into laying.
I didn't know my great grand grandmother, but my mother did
And when she passed somehow she got these eggs.
She just kept them out year round.
I have them in a cabinet and display them at Easter
I feel really connected to Elvesa who was an amazing and strong woman.

In my mother's compote on the sideboard with some German egg candy containers that I just bought
because they were colorful and German!

Our centerpiece of Easter decorations is always the Easter egg tree

One year we were in Germany during Lent
and every bed breakfast we stayed at had a bunch of branches with eggs hanging from them
An Easter egg tree they said when we asked
And when asked where they had gotten their egg treasure to hang on the tree,
they replied

So off to Woolworth's we went, found the eggs and for about 75 cents each,
we bought a dozen to bring home so that we, too, could have one of these wonderful trees
(This was before places like Hobby Lobby and JoAnn's had Easter egg tree decorations -- they were a novelty)
They are handprinted and are real hens eggs.    Blown out and a string or ribbon attached to hang from a branch.
That was 28 years ago and we still have the whole dozen
although one does have a bit of a hole in the end -- it got dropped

They are a sweet reminder of a wonderful trip and I enjoy them in the Spring as much as I enjoy the Christmas tree in December

Each one is different.

And as tempted as I sometimes am, I've never added to that original dozen.
It is the Easter egg tree -- a souvenir of a Lenten trip to Germany
And so it shall remain!

This year, I've gotten some new eggs

Glass eggs like Elvesa's
But these are hand painted (like the ones on the tree)
A gift from friend Sally
who's moving
They shall be one of the many reminders of a dear friend
And they, like the ones on the tree, shall come out each and every Easter
(and only on Easter)

Today, being Good Friday will find me in the kitchen
dying the dozen and a half hard boiled eggs

No fancy equipment or dye for me --
coffee cups are great for egg dying
And food color and vinegar makes a great dye!

Nothing fancy either -- just vibrant colored eggs

And what do we do with a dozen and a half hard boiled eggs --
just the two of us?

A plateful gets made into deviled eggs for Easter dinner
served on my Grandmother's egg plate
It's tradition -- Easter dinner without deviled eggs would be like Thanksgiving without turkey!

And the week following Easter,
we'll alternately lunch on

egg salad sandwiches (on toast)
or ham sandwiches

That's tradition as well!

This Good Friday morning the Easter egg tree and Elvesa's eggs were bathed in sunlight.