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.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Of Rings and Onions

Growing Up . . .
Onion rings were a side to go with a hamburger
like French fries
(no Suzie Q's, no tater tots --
your choices were fries or rings)
Except French fries were 10 or 15 cents per order
while onion rings were like 25 cents!

Mom would make them at home, sometimes
It's certainly cheap enough for a couple of onions, 
some milk, some flour
And it would feed the family
And homemade was definitely cheaper than those sold at drive-ins
And my brother and I liked them

Now I live in Southeast Kansas
Southeast Kansas is home to onion rings
Not as a side but as an appetizer
Most Mom and Pop restaurants
(read not chains)
Serve them
Hot and good and most  serve a fry basket full
(or you can get a small amount -- but not that much smaller)
at some restaurants
And those appetizers

They're not like 

The onion ring tower that's served at some chains
Served with "sauces" on the side to dip your rings in!
Not a lot of rings and certainly not enough to feed a family . . . 

The Southeast Kansas restaurants serve platters of them
piled high
And often we mistakenly order them and then find
that we're too full for our dinner!

But there are some restaurants that you just cannot go to 
without ordering an onion ring appetizer!
It's just what you do!

Tonight for dinner,
we had hamburgers
And reliving our childhood,
decided to make onion rings, too

And in my "Cooking With Ina" mode, I made her cornmeal fried onion rings
They were good.   I liked the addition of cornmeal.   It gave them a nice crunch.

They are "fussy", however, for you marinate them in buttermilk,
dip in the flour/cornmeal mixture and fry in small batches.

I'm glad I made them, but,
I think the next time I'm in the mood for onion rings,
we'll just head south to Jim's Steak House!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Not Just A Present . . . But A Memory

We always get together at Christmastime with my brother and his girls
We don't exchange presents any more . . . 
Haven't in a long time
But we do gift the kids with a gift --
It is Christmas after all!

But every once in a while, I do gift the girls with something
something special --
A memory shared, perhaps
or a memory to be made

This year it was a past memory

My Aunt Pearl, mother's sister,
was a maiden aunt
She lived with her mom
And her mom did all the cooking
Occasionally, Aunt Pearl would go into the kitchen to fix something special
fudge and divinity at Christmas
And sometimes a special dish

My nieces, Stacy, Crystal and Jennifer
Aunt Pearl's great nieces
enjoyed meals at Grandma and Aunt Pearl's
and then just at Aunt Pearl's
after we lost Grandma

One of her special dishes was the orange jello salad
And the girls still talk about it

Neither my Grandmother nor Aunt Pearl were recipe collectors
(Mother was)
nor did they have a vast selection of cookbooks
but I did get the two that they owned when Aunt Pearl passed away.
The first was Betty Crocker's Cookbook
which I used to pour over when I was a teen
and I was "forced" to spend Sunday with the family!

And this one

From Aunt Pearl's church
(she marched to a different religion than the rest of us)

I have two copies for Mom had one too 
(probably a Christmas gift from Aunt Pearl)
Mother's is pristine --
Not so Aunt Pearl's

I put it on my shelf and didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it --
it was, after all, a church cookbook of a certain time period
and most of the recipes inside were ones that I already had
in other church cookbooks
But because it was "family", I didn't get rid of it.
And then one day, I decided to look inside

And found this, in Aunt Pearl's hand
Her fudge recipe!

On a piece of paper was this cheesecake recipe.
I've never had homemade cheesecake at Aunt Pearl's!
But she must have eaten it somewhere, asked for the recipe
And tucked it inside her cookbook.

And then I found this -- loose -- obviously from a cookbook or handout of something.
Maraschino Cherry Cake
Nope, if she ate it, she didn't serve it to me!

But the true treasure of the book was this:

The recipe for the orange jello salad
Which she did make and did make often!

The girls had asked me more than once if I had it, and I had to tell them "no".
So I was thrilled when I found this page in the book.

And an idea was born . . . 
I found The Nesting Project on Etsy

I sent pictures, they sent proofs, I okayed the proofs and then I received this:

A tea towel -- one for each girl with the recipe printed on it
So now they have it and it's not just the recipe but a memory as well!

 Complete with Aunt Pearl's smudges and stains!
Merry Christmas girls!

I like it when you find a perfect gift!

The company was a pleasure to work with.
I'll keep them in mind in the future for other gifts.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Cooking With Ina

Continuing my
"Cooking With Ina"
for 2017,
I fixed the following:

Blue Cheese Dressing
Make It Ahead
Her salad was iceberg with the blue cheese dressing,
I used romaine because Husband Jim favors it
The blue cheese dressing goes together quickly
and has simple ingredients that one always has on it.
I have a favorite blue cheese dressing that I've had "forever"
This isn't quite as good, but it takes less ingredients and is easy to make.
I would make it again.

We feasted again on beef bourguignon
It makes a lot!
This time I served it as Ina did on grilled bread rubbed with garlic
It was really good that way and liked it much better than the way
I had originally served it.

Picture form Ina -- I forgot to take a picture!

Angel hair pasta with Cherry tomatoes
This is a favorite that I make a lot -- especially in the summer
when the cherry tomatoes come from the Farmer's Market.
It's a favorite and easy summer lunch or dinner for us.

Pain Perdue
Served not as Ina did -- with strawberries and almonds and a shower of powdered sugar --
for dessert
But rather the "American" way -- for breakfast!
We prefer granulated sugar sprinkled on it rather than powdered sugar
I really did like what Ina added to the eggs and milk -- vanilla, honey and orange zest
I will definitely follow this recipe next time I make "French" toast!

Baked Shrimp Scampi
OMG, is this ever good!    Although I've good a lot from Ina, I've not made this before.
But it won't be the last.    It is fantastic!    Husband Jim raved about it as well!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Cooking With Ina

It was a busy weekend . . . 
But we did manage to cook
with Ina

Friday, Epiphany,  I fixed Beef Bourguignon
from "Paris"

It is yummy!
I've made it many times before
It is my "go to" recipe for Beef Boutguignon
Now, however, here (in a small town in Kansas) I cannot find the onions in the freezer section,
but rather in the produce section, so you have to peel all those little suckers!
But this beef stew is worth it!

Saturday, we spent the day in the city for a family Christmas
Dinner was "snacks" when we got home
Because we had a large lunch

Saturday night, I fixed two dishes for a Potluck Brunch at church
the next day

I knew that entrees would be covered
I knew that bread in the form of biscuits or muffins would be covered
And I knew that fruit would be covered
So I chose side dishes

Roasted cherry tomatoes
from "Parties"
I've made these many times as well.   In fact, I made them before I found the
recipe in an Ina cookbook
Loved the fact that they could be served at room temperature
And they are such good intense tomato morsels
A good thing to do with grocery store (winter) tomatoes
It makes them edible


Roasted Mustard Potatoes
from "At Home"
I've roasted potatoes -- lots!
But I never used this recipe
And they are amazing
The mustard flavor takes the potatoes from good to outstanding
And out of 5 pounds I brought home a big spoonful -- and that's all
(and there was another crockpot of potatoes there as well)

I made them Saturday night
Then put them in a crockpot on Sunday morning and turned on high for about an hour
And then turned them to low while we were in church.

They were not as crispy as they were on Saturday night
But they really held up well
(And obviously, were eaten!)

I think they will be great with a plain chop or steak
And yes, I plan to make them again

I'm sorry that I've not made them before!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Gallette des rois for Tea

Today is Ephihany
The day that the magi arrived to bring gifts to the newborn Christ child

It's the end of Christmas
And those who keep a traditional Christmas calendar
wait until tomorrow  to take down their Christmas tree
(Actually those who keep a traditional Christmas calendar don't even put up the Christmas tree until Christmas Eve -- we're traditionalist on taking it down but not on putting it up)

Traditional food for Epiphany
is Gallette des Rois
(French for King's Cake)

We make our King's Cake early in the morning

for a tea time treat

It's quite different from the Mardi Gras King's Cake of New Orleans 
but we favor the French one over the Southern one

A creamy almond filling is encased in puff pastry
Inside there is a wee figure of baby Jesus --
the person who finds the trinket in his or her slice becomes kin for the day
and . . . will have to offer the next cake!

And the three kings we celebrate:

Balthasar of Arabia, Melchior of Persia, and Gaspar of India.
We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.
Frankincense to offer have I;
Incense owns a Deity nigh;
Prayer and praising, voices raising,
Worshiping God on high.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Glorious now behold Him arise;
King and God and sacrifice;
Alleluia!, Alleluia!,
Rings through the earth and skies.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Soup Supper

It was cool today on the prairie --
Well, cool isn't the correct word,
cold was!

The morning started out in the teens
Soup seemed the perfect supper

In my "Cooking With Ina" mode, I selected her Parker's Split Pea Soup
Not the first time I made it, it is a favorite of ours
And leftovers for lunch the next day or two are even better

With a bouquet of orange tulips on the breakfast room table,
that is something that Ina would approve!

I half the recipe -- using only 1 pound of split peas rather than two
It's more than enough for a supper and at least two lunches
And it is really good!

 It comes from the "original" -- 
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
It's where I found Ina all those years ago!

And tonight, 

We're enjoying the tree of 2016
The "best tree ever" in our opinion
Tomorrow it comes down!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Cooking With Ina

My culinary hero is Ina Garten
And I have every cookbook that she's written,
I've seen her three times in person
I've written newspaper articles about her

And I do cook from her books
But not all the time!

It is now 2017 and my plan is to cook from her books
All ten of them
Not a "Julie/Julia" project 
But, rather, going to Ina whenever I want to do something that's not "tried and true".
For I will not make anything with costly ingredients
(a couple of pounds of lobster here on the prairie may take my whole weekly food budget)
Nor will I make anything that has an ingredient I cannot find here.

And I've cooked a lot from Ina,
And some of her recipes are some of our family's favorites
And I will continue to cook those.

But I'll also cook things I've never cooked before

Today, the third day of January, I made:

Scallops Provencal

From Paris

And for a  belated Christmas gift and afternoon tea . . . 

Spicy Hermit Bars

From Jeffrey
(her newest book)

The scallops were really good and we only had scallops because I got a really good deal on them.    We don't have them often for here on the prairie they are usually too dear
But I would do this again if I found another scallop sale!

The spicy hermit bars are OMG good!
They are a really good cookie
And one that I will make over and over again.
They're simple (because there's no dropping or cutting out)
And the rum flavored glaze is spot on!
You get cookie and then you get a bite with that glaze

It should be a fun project and as I continue to cook Ina, I'll let you know
what recipes that I've selected.