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.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

No Man Is An Island . . . But a MUST In The Kitchen!

Linderhof's kitchen is small
10 by 10
And what does one do with a kitchen so small?

Why put an island in the middle, of course!
A 1940s era kitchen cabinet was the first island
Then about 15 years ago we had one custom built

The top of the island is marble

From 1885 or so
From the State Hospital where I used to work
It was well used when I got it
And I've not been kind to it
Whoever says marble is a bad choice in the kitchen
Really doesn't know what they're talking about!

When Daughter Sarah and her Andy looked at their house,
the kitchen boasted a piece of furniture used as an island
with two pendants hanging over.

Sigh -- the sellers took that island with them
(leaving the pendants, however)
Sarah and Andy were island less

And then our Scottish Rite had a complete auction
of their almost century old building in our little town,
Sarah looked over the auction photos
And spotted this

That piece with the wooden top with the big coffee urn on top

Could we go look at it, she asked,
And we did
And took pictures and sent them to her

The top -- with patina from many years of use
And, it appeared, many years of grease!

But it was sturdy
And we carefully measured to make sure that it wasn't 
"too big" or "too small" 
That it was "just right"!

On the side we found this

 A brass plaque

We attended the auction, we were the high bidder
(although it was a fierce bidding war for the piece --
there were others there that saw the potential in the piece)

We took it up when we went north for
Grandgirl Lucy's birthday
And unloaded it

The rest was up to Sarah and Andy
We received these pictures last Friday

The island, 
the top cleaned,
the bottom painted 
The wooden butcher block oiled
And in place in the kitchen

It fit perfectly in that space
under the two pendant lights

And we got pictures of all angles
The shelf is handy for those big baking dishes!

 And the plaque
Cleaned and polished
and the brass shines like new!

One thing that both islands have
(hers and mine)

Is a commercial can opener
I can't think of using any other type of can opener
It opens tomato paste cans to the huge commercial cans with ease

Sarah's has one, too,
although hers is newer than ours

If you planned a piece for this kitchen,
I don't think you could come up with anything better
than this almost century old island with a well used butchers block top

But there is more --
It's not just an island from the Scottish Rite kitchen
Jim and I have used that island many times preparing food for
Rotary feeds and Beacon soup lines
It is because of that island that I have a commercial can opener
One of the first times we used that kitchen, I feel in love with their can opener
We found one at an antique shop three months later
And it came home with me

But there is still more --
I catered Daughter Sarah's wedding to Andy in 2002
We rented the Scottish Rite kitchen to prepare the wedding feast
(it was like a second kitchen to me because of all the time we had spent in that kitchen
cooking spaghetti and meatballs and tacos and soups for thousands of people)
We used that island when we prepared the wedding feast.
Friend Shirley Ann chopped all the broccoli for the salad on that island
The 175 pounds of brisket that we cooked was sliced on that island.

It's not just part of Fort Scott's history,
that island
but it's part of Sarah and Andy's history.

And that's why we like to buy old things --
they have a history that new things never will.

They did a great job on their refinishing
It's a great piece and looks so good in their kitchen!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Half Past Three on Labor Day

Every day at half past three
I stop for a cup of tea
And a cookie or slice of cake

In between "chores", I baked some cookies
to have with my Labor Day tea

In the breakfast room
And since it is a holiday, a pretty tea pot
The Johnson Brothers Indies
with cup and saucer to match

Garden flowers are garlic chive blossoms
And the cookies are
Chocolate shot cookies

Just two
More for later in the week
They're like an oatmeal shortbread
Rolled in chocolate shot (or jimmies)

And are good keepers
Both before they're baked
(for they'll last a while in the fridge)
And after
(for they'll last a while in the larder)

Where, you might ask, is the chocolate shot?

It's white chocolate shot
I bought a larger bag than I needed for a cupcake
And had this huge bag left

Aha, I thought, chocolate shot cookies
And until that bag is gone, we may have more white chocolate shot cookies for tea

They're good
Not too sweet
Just right for a tea cookie

My only "flub" -- I made them way too big
They're the size of cookie jar cookies not tea cookies!


1 cup salted butter (I use unsalted and add 1/2 t. salt)
1 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
2 t. vanilla
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 c. chocolate shot sprinkles (jimmies)

Cream butter and sugar.    Sift flour and soda together.    Add vanilla, flour mixture and oats to the creamed butter/sugar.    On a rectangular piece of parchment or wax paper, form dough into a long cylinder and roll it in the chocolate shots (otherwise known as chocolate jimmies)

Chill dough (wrapped loosely in the wax paper/parchment) for 45 minutes.

Cut slices and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 325 for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday and Bernideen for Tea in the Garden (it's raining and so I'm inside but you can see the garden through the glass)


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy Labor Day

Observed on the first Monday in September
Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers.
Created by the labor movement of the late 19th century
the date became a federal holiday in 1894.

On June 28, 1894,
Congress passed an act
making the first Monday in September
of each year
a legal holiday
in the District of Columbia
and the territories.
President Grover Cleveland signed the act.

Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans
as the symbolic end of summer
and the start of back to school season.

We'll be home Labor Day
with the smoker going
And family and friends gathering

It is the last weekend of summer
And we always welcome
with open arms.

We, at Linderhof,
hope you and yours
has a Happy Labor Day

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Garden Club Meeting at Linderhof

You know, the club meeting
Where your house must "shine"
Where you take all of the chairs out of the dining room
and line them up around the perimeter of the living room?

Where there is no "rsvp"
Members just come

Where you serve a dessert and coffee?
And you have no idea how many there might be.

And you have a co-hostess 
Who brings part of the treat

Thursday, it was my turn
to host the Garden Club

Which means that not only does the house have to shine
But the garden should be weed-free as well!

My co-hostess told me that she was going to bring homemade ice cream
I said that I would make something to go under!

And the under?
Ina Garten's peach and raspberry crisp
Served partly in my Williams-Sonoma pear bowls
That I've had high up in the cabinet for a long while.
They are now being moved to a more reachable shelf!

The crisp was the perfect foil for the ice cream
Which was fabulous!
And we made sure that it was still warm when we served it
So the ice cream could slowly melt.

If you're having a meeting,
I would recommend this peach and raspberry crisp as your treat
If you don't have homemade ice cream, store ice cream will work.
Just make sure your crisp is warm
To melt the ice cream!


10 to 12 large peaches
1 orange, zested
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. plus 2 to 3 T. flour
1/2 pint raspberries
1/4 t. salt
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1/2 pound cold butter, diced

Preheat oven to 350.    Butter the inside of a 10 by 15 by 2 1/2 inch oval baking dish (I used a square one!   Egad!)

Immerse the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds, then place them in cold water.    Peel the peaches and slice them into thick wedges and place them into a large bowl.    Add the orange zest 1/4 c. sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 2 T. of flour.     toss well.    Gently mix in the raspberries.     Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes.    If there is a lot of liquid, add 1 more tablespoon of flour.    Pour the peaches into the baking dish and gently smooth the top.

Combine 1 1/2 c. flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 c. brown sugar, salt, oatmeal and the cold diced butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.    Mix on low speed until the butter is pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly.    Sprinkle evenly on top of the peaches and raspberries.    Bake for 1 hour, until the top is browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly.    Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator and reheat in a preheated 350 oven for 20 to 30 minutes until warm.

(I just left mine in the turned off oven to keep warm.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Happy Birthday . . . Dear Anne

Dear Friend Anne had a birthday today
And we celebrated at lunch
But we also celebrated at Linderhof

With dinner
In the dining room

The blue and white always sets a pretty table
And Husband Jim takes great pains on the wines we will serve

Linderhof's table for company
A lace cloth, damask napkins in silver rings, Jim's grandmother's cutlery, and blue and white transfer ware

And I love these shots
When the guests are gone
When the candles have burned low
When there are empty plates, wine glasses and wine bottles
It's a picture of a fun time!

And we served . . . 

Bruchetta in the parlor with pre dinner drinks
A simple tomato, basil, garlic and olive oil on grilled bread

After the salads . . .

Ina Garten's eggplant gratin
(the guest of honor is a eggplant parmesan fan
This is a close second
And I recipe that I make a lot of in the summer
It is so good!

And all Italian meals should have a pasta course

Gina Stipos bolognese sauce over penne pasta
(for dinner parties I prefer "formable" pasta
No "slurps" at Linderhof!

And the honoree' favorite dessert -- anything lemon!

A Provencal lemon cake filled with lemon curd, another dollop of curd on top, whipped cream and a lemon slice
It's a very fine cake!

And of course, for birthdays there needs to be gifts . . . 

A tin of Opera Fudge
A conectionary treat from her childhood home in Lebanon, Pennsylvania
She was surprised not only at the tin of fudge
But that I had made it!

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Eat Your Vegetables!

We're Lutheran
Get two Lutheran's together
And each will have a cup of coffee
And you can't have coffee without a "nosh".

Our church is early
And after, we always have coffee and treats
(We have coffee before, too,
but we forego the treats until after church)

We take turns in bringing treats
And I try to sign up once each quarter

A week ago, it was once again my turn..

It's summer, there is a plethora of vegetables at the Farmer's Market
tomatoes, zucchini and butternut squash

It's always fun to think of different ways to use this fresh produce.
My solution was for Sunday treats!

I made a sign
I didn't want people to think that these were unhealthy muffins.
Oh, no

And we're a small church
And in summer, often a smaller church
But I did spent Saturday

making muffins
Seven dozen in all

And between communion and benediction,
Husband Jim and I were busy in the kitchen

 We put up our sign
Put the muffins on a tray
Got out the coffee fixings . . . 

The tomato, the zucchini and the butternut squash

And we refilled the trays over and over again
For although the crowd was small
The crowd was hungry
Most had more than one muffin
(But who was counting . . . certainly not me!)

I brought home a few
which I froze for breakfast for the following week.

It was a fun treat.
Lots of comments
And the kids, debating between a treat or a vegetable
chose the treat
And often came back for a second.

The muffins are all easy to make
and I've made them many times
(although the tomato one is really a tea bread -- I just baked it in muffin tins)

The chocolate ones were the first to go!

Just goes to show that at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning
Chocolate is always welcome!

The recipes:


14 ounces butternut squash, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 1/4 c. light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
handful of walnuts, chopped
1 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 c. olive oil

For the Frosted Top:
1 orange, zested
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 lemon, zested
1/2 c. sour cream
2 heaping tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
1 t. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350. Line your muffin tins with paper cups. Whiz the squash in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the sugar and eggs. Add a pinch of salt, the flour, baking powder, walnuts, cinnamon and olive oil and whit together until well beaten. Fill the paper cups with the muffin mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove fro the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool. To make the frosting: Place most of the orange and lemon zest and lemon juice in a bowl. Add sour cream, powdered sugar and vanilla and mix well. When the muffins are cooked, spoon the topping onto the muffins.


2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. sugar and 1/2 c. dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and pureed to make 1 cup
1/4 c. sliced unblanched almonds
Preheat oven to 350 and butter and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl and mix. Combine the oil, sugars and eggs in a large bowl and beat with a mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the pureed tomato. Gradually add the flour mixture
blending well after each addition. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and sprinkle the top with almonds. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool for 5 minutes, then remove bread and continue to cool on rack.


2 c. flour
1 c. cocoa, sifted
1 t. allspice
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. melted butter
3/4 c. oil
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 cups zucchini, grated

Preheat oven to 350. Line 20 muffin cups with muffin liners. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, allspice and cinnamon. Set aside. In medium bowl beat the sugar and melted butter. Add the oil and eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla and add buttermilk and dry ingredients alternately until well mixed. Stir in zucchini. Bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and muffin tops are springy to the touch, 20 to 24 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

What's Old is New Again!

In January 2013, the secretary was to the right of the fireplace,
the clock was to the left of the fireplace

To the left of the sofa was the Asian cabinet
To the right was the grandfather clock

And in January 2013, I changed it
Because I was tired of weaving my way behind the wing chair
to get to the secretary
It was nice, to sit at the desk and look out over the side garden
But too often, it was just a quick trip to get a stamp or the scissors or . . .

And so I moved things

The secretary was moved across the room to the left of the fireplace
The Asian cabinet was moved to the right of the fireplace
With a plant on top

And the grandfather clock was moved to the right of the door
To the left of the sofa

And this week, I moved it all again . . . 
Back to where it was long ago!

The secretary to the left of the sofa
The grandfather clock to the right of the sofa
Because like a year or so ago,
I got tired of squeezing past the wing chair
To get the scissors or tape or that stamp

The secretary started here
To the right of the front door
Years and years ago!
It's easy to get things in and out
And the blue and white in the secretary brighten up the space

And the grandfather clock
is to the right of the sofa
Behind the wing chair
Where I only have to squeeze
once a week when I wind the clock!
Not "hourly"!

 The Asian cabinet stayed where it was
The clivia likes it there
And a happy plant needs to stay a happy plant!

Will I move things again --

And even though there has been three moves, 
I must tell you that I am not really a furniture mover
I give great thought when I move anything
Thinking my move is for better use and function
Not just because I want a change!

The secretary in the living room
From 2010, upper right
where it all began
To 2011, when it moved to the right of the fireplace
To 2013 when it moved to the left of the fireplace
To the big picture
Where it is now --
Where it all began!

It's Monday and I'm sharing my living room changes with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Met Monday and Judith at A Lavender Cottage for Mosaic Monday