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 29, 2008

Turkey Soup -- Another Thanksgiving Tradition

The turkey carcus put into a stockpot with stalks of celery, onion, a couple of whole carrots, some thyme, salt and pepper and simmered until a rich stock is achieved. The stock is strained, any meat from the carcus is saved and the whole is put back into a Le Creuset Dutch oven.

Additional vegetables are then added, slices of celery, whole baby carrots, chunk of potato, leftover Thanksgiving vegetables and the stock and vegetables are simmered until the celery and the other fresh vegetables are tender.
It is our luncheon of choice until the soup pot is empty. Served in our Apilco soup bowls with a garnish of parsley. A fresh baguette and butter. And . . . if there is any pumpkin pie left, another slice with another dab of whipped cream.
It makes for quick and delicious luncheons the weekend after Thanksgiving when we are busy decorating the house for Christmas. We look as forward to the soup ritual as we do to the Thanksgiving bird and the turkey sandwich with homemade mayonnaise and a glass of cold milk Thanksgiving night.

It's tradition!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Tale of Two Plates

Thanksgiving plates came to Linderhof about 5 years ago when I found these Spode ones on ebay. I have Spode Blue Room and thuse my serving pieces would fit well with these plates so to have a Thanksgiving service, I reasoned, all I needed was the plates.

And . . . since the Blue Room were various patterns, I could use these turkey plates any time of the year if I needed more plates than the Blue Room provided.

There were 8 plates in the auction and once I had those 8 I was happy for I also reasoned that if I had more for Thanksgiving than 8 I could fill in with my Blue Room plates.

But 8 is not normal for Thanksgiving -- 10 or more is and I thought perhaps those NOT having a turkey plate would feel left out.
At TJ Maxx this fall, I found these plates by Myott. They're English made, they're blue and white and they were $15 for 4 of them -- so I bought two boxes!

Now I have 16 plates and if we have more than that for Thanksgiving, I still have my Blue Room Plates to fill in.

But like we do with the Christmas china, I have been using these turkey plates all of November -- instead of saving them ONLY for Thanksgiving Day. They have been setting a beautiful table for luncheons all month long.

I am a firm believer that the blue and white English patterns are mix and match and I think these two fine turkey plates look well together on the same table.

Now, the Spode pattern (the one on the left) has a platter and a gravy boat . . . .which I think I NEED. I think, perhaps, that it will be a purchase for next year's Thanksgiving.

Today, all of our guests, will have a turkey plate on which to pile the turkey, the dressing, the cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans.

It shall be a day of true Thanksgiving at Linderhof as we are thankful for all that we have.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Crepe Anxiety

I've never made a crepe actually although I've eaten plenty. Cheese filled for breakfast at upscale restaurants, chicken filled at ladies lunch places and chocolate filled for dessert. I've never met a crepe I didn't like.

But I've never made them at Linderhof. Although I bought a crepe pan at Williams Sonoma years ago!

I thought they were too complicated!

But they are after all little thin pancakes. Why should I have a fear of them?
Enter Executive Chef Dwight of the Nelson Art Gallery in Kansas City. He demystified crepes for me as I attended a hand's on cooking class at the Nelson.
My first two crepes I've ever made. Filled with a cheese filling before pouring on a cranberry sauce on the top.

They were great crepes. And would make a terrific special breakfast Thanksgiving weekend. Instead of making a cranberry sauce especially for the crepes, you could use leftover Thanksgiving sauce.

My fear of crepes is over. Crepes will now definitely be on the menu at Linderhof.

Cranberry Cheese Crepes

Crepe Batter:
1 1/2 c. milk
1 c. flour
Pinch of salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp. melted butter
Sift the flour with the salt into a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the egg and egg yolk. Pour in the milk slowly, stirring constantly and, when half is added, stir in the melted butter. Beat well until smooth. Add the remaining milk, cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before using. The batter should be the consistency of light cream.

When cooking, tilt pan so that the batter spreads evenly over bottom. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, turn and repeat. Makes 18 crepes.

Cheese Filling:

2 cups ricotta cheese

1 egg yolk

1/2 t. salt

1 t. melted butter

2 t. sugar

1 t. lemon juice

1/2 t. vanilla

Mix all filling ingredients together.

Sun Dried Cranberry Sauce:
8 oz. craisins, cherry flavored
2 cups apple juice
1 medium onion, small dice
2 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
1 T. granulated onion powder
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar and reduce heat to a simmer. Reduce mixture until apple juice is a syrup consistency and craisins are plumped. Taste for salt and adjust. Add more sugar if too tart.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thank you Becky

The purpose of this award is to send love and acknowledgment to women who brighten your day, teach you new things and live their lives fully with generosity and joy.

What a thrill to discover it this morning. Becky is an old friend from some food boards and her blog is one of my favorites. She is an inspiration to me.

I would like to share this award with another old friend whose blog I also admire --

1. Give it to one or 100 or any number in between ~ it's up to you.
Make sure you link to their site in your post
2. Remember the Purpose of the Award:
To send love and acknowledgment to women who brighten your day, teach you new things and live their lives fully with generosity and joy.

Thank you Becky -- you are one special lady.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Pot Pie Apple Tart

The Pot Pie referred to in the title is not a style of apple tart but rather a place. A favorite restaurant in the city that does serve wonderful pot pies. It's a small place -- perhaps 10 tables but the food is outstanding and it is a favorite place for lunch. It's near the Plaza, a favorite shopping area. Come Christmas, it's great to shop on the Plaza and lunch on a pot pie at Pot Pie. Foregoing dessert, of course, for you're full from the pot pie.

But this trip, I had their fish entree so I definitely COULD have dessert. And what better dessert for a fall day than an apple tart with vanilla bean ice cream.
The tart was sitting in a pool of caramel, was warm, and the apples were chopped rather than sliced.

I didn't get the recipe but I'm sure I could recreate this tart at home. It is a lovely fall or winer dessert.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A November Luncheon Table

Luncheons for four are always served in the breakfast room. The view of the garden although not stellar in November as it is during the summer is still a nice view. A November centerpiece is easy -- the blue and white bowl filled with yellow, orange and green gourds. One of the gold tablecloths makes a pretty foil for the colors of autumn and the blue and white of the turkey dishes.
Turkey plates, my second set of 8, in blue and white. I use my Christmas china all December and reasoned why not use my turkey china all November. These are by Myott, a great find at T J Maxx early in October, and go well with my Spode Blue Room/Blue Italian.

Every company dinner or luncheon always has a menu and the picture at the top of the menu is often a picture of the table setting that you're about to dine at.
It's a simple table setting but a welcoming one. Luncheons at Linderhof are always long lingering affairs and this one was no exception. It is always fun to share good food with good friends.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chicken Pot Pie

A favorite lunch or casual supper at Linderhof is a pot pie. We like to do them in a pie pan rather than in individual servings. Our recipe is easy and 3 chicken breasts will feed six so it is an economical dish. We like to have both top and bottom crust when we make a pot pie. Sometimes, to make it easy, we use Pillsbury pie crust but usually, we make our own. Brushed with egg wash it comes from the oven a golden brown.
With a salad it makes a nice luncheon for six and dessert can be either cake or a fruit crumble. We make it often in the fall and winter. It is truly comfort food.

It's a good recipe for using leftover Thanksgiving turkey as well and I'm sure some of our Thanksgiving bird will end up between the crust of a pot pie. Growing up, the only pot pie we ever had was turkey. I didn't realize that you could also make them with chicken, beef or just vegetable.

Linderhof Chicken Pot Pie

3 chicken breasts, cooked (see note)
1 large package Birds Eye Pea Blend frozen vegetable mix*
1 can Campbell's cream of chicken soup
Pie crust (Pillsbury or your own) -- enough for upper and lower crust
Egg wash (1 egg, beaten lightly with 1 T. water added)

Cut chicken breasts into cubes and put into a large bowl. Add vegetables and cream of chicken soup. Mix well. Put pie crust into bottom of pie plate. Pour in vegetable mixture. top with crust. Cut vent holes into pie crust and brush with egg wash. Bake at 350 for about 1/2 hour or until the crust is golden.

Note: I now roast my chicken breasts but you certainly can poach them. Or you can use a couple of cups of cooked turkey meat from the Thanksgiving bird.

*I like the pea blend mixture -- big chunks of snow peas, baby corn but you certainly can use a package of your favorite vegetable blend.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A luncheon soup

Fall and winter days our luncheons are often homemade soup. Often creamy vegetable soups. I saute onion in a bit of butter or olive oil, add the vegetable and saute that for a bit as well. Then I add chicken broth. Homemade if I've got it, organic Pacifica if I don't. I cook until the vegetables are tender. I then puree with my stick blender and add cream or half and half and heat until hot. Served with a garnish of croutons and perhaps a sprinkling of an herb.
It's an easy lunch and a good lunch. It's also a good way to use up leftover vegetables from the evening's before dinner (you just don't cook them as long in the broth).

Yesterday's soup was tomato. It's not your mother's canned cream of tomato soup -- this fresh version!

Alas, no grilled cheese to go with!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Pumpkin Tart

We like pumpkin in the fall. In any form. From the standard Libby Pumpkin pie that we always have for Thanksgiving to pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake, a favorite pumpkin cranberry coffee cake.

Company for lunch in November are often treated with a pumpkin dessert. But not the Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. Pumpkin cake, pumpkin tart, a lattice crusted pumpkin tart. Good desserts all.
My brother and some friends came down from the city for lunch and a visit. Since it was November, dessert HAD to be pumpkin. This pumpkin tart recipe is easy and goes together quickly. A nice thing about is that you just bake the crust for a short time. Then pour in the filling when cool.

All of us, pronounced this tart a winner. It will be added to our pumpkin recipes that we fix often in October and November.

Pumpkin Cream Tart

1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup sugar

1 cup cooked pumpkin
1 cup powdered sugar
8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Heat oven to 350. Combine all crust ingredients in medium bowl. Reserve 3 Tablespoons. Press into the bottom and sides of a 10 inch tart pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

Combine sugar and cream cheese in mixer bowl. Combine until smooth. Add rest of ingredients except for whipping cream. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Continue beating, gradually adding whipping cream, until mixture is thick and fluffy (about 4 to 6 minutes).

Spread filling over cooled crust; sprinkle with reserved 3 T. crust. Refrigerate until set (about 3 hours)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Winter Tomatoes

One thing we love about summer is tomatoes. Fresh garden tomatoes full of flavor. We eat them many ways and at many meals during the summer. We savor the short time that garden tomatoes are available.

Come fall and winter, we avoid fresh tomatoes with the exception of the little grape or cherry ones that although they don't taste of sunshine and summer at least they do have some flavor.

It's not summer on a plate but they are flavorful . . . store bought plum tomatoes roasted with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and fresh basil.

The intense tomato flavor that roasting brings out turns these ho hum tomatoes into flavorful tomatoes.
The recipe comes from Ina Garten. Seems to be an Ina week at Linderhof! From her new cookbook, Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics. We ate them as she suggested, in a caprese salad.

Roasted Tomatoes
(From Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics)

12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeds (not cores) removed
1/4 cup good olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, on a sheet pan in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the garlic and sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 2 hours until the tomatoes are concentrated and begin to carmelize.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Two Visitors

We love having visitors at Linderhof whether invited or uninvited. Yesterday, two uninvited guests came for a very short visit. I was cleaning in the dining room when out of the kitchen "floated" what seemed to be a brown leaf. Upon investigation, it was a bird, a brown Carolina Wren! And then along came another!

Perky creatures, these wrens. They had arrived earlier in the week to winter in Linderhof's garden. They were hanging out in the ivy by the garage -- chit, chit, chitting at one another.
They flited from one plant to another and I was so afraid that they would knock themselves silly flying into a window. One flew into the kitchen and I quickly opened an unscreened kitchen window where the herbs resided.

Sure enough, the bird went towards the greenery, saw the window and escaped. Once out, the little bird kept "talking", telling it's companion, I'm sure, that this is the way out!

I then addressed the other bird who was sitting on the clivia. He then flew into the breakfast room and I followed and quickly shut the door to the house. I opened the sliding glass door and out he flew.

He joined up with his compantion and both were very very verbal!

I'm not sure how they got in. There were no windows open or doors open and they did come from the kitchen so I would assume that they got in someway in the back of the house. And I'm not sure why they would want to come into the house. I am mad at myself that I didn't take a picture of my company before they left . . . the camera was handy!

We so enjoy our winter birds whom we lavishly feed whether the weather is fair or stormy. I'll enjoy these winter garden visitors even more because of their brush with the inside of Linderhof.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Roasted Shrimp

The method, not the recipe, from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa television show. The recipe, however, is in her new book, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, as Roasted Shrimp Cocktail.

We love shrimp cooked without deep frying and without breading. A favorite Friday evening dinner when we lived in the city was at a small tavern not far from our apartment who served mounds of boiled shrimp. Washed down with an icy beer.

The first time I roasted shrimp, we were both amazed at the flavor of the shrimp. It was not watery and had a great shrimp flavor.

After that first appetizer of roasted shrimp, I decided that boiled shrimp would never again grace the table at Linderhof.

It's a simple method. Peel the shrimp but leave the tails on (makes a great handle), preheat the oven to 400, sprinkle the shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss. Roast for about 5 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink. Don't overcook.
Of course, what is shrimp without cocktail sauce. Whether it is from a jar or homemade. The Roasted Shrimp Cocktail episode of the Barefoot Contessa had a 1000 Island Type of sauce. Similar to the one that I grew up with. Mine, being much simpler, half mayonnaise and half ketchup.

Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics includes a recipe for cocktail sauce and like all Ina recipes, it is very good.

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce
(From Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)

1/2 cup Heinz chili sauce
1/2 cup Heinz catsup
1 T. prepared horseradish
2 t. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 t. Worchester sauce
1/2 t. Tabasco sauce

Combine all ingredients and serve as a dip for shrimp

Thursday, November 13, 2008

French Apple Tart

In the fall, we love bowls of apples on tabletops. Whether store apples like Gala or Granny Smith or orchard apples from friends whose pedigree is unknown. The apples are handy for tart making, sauteed lightly with a sprinkling of sugar to serve with a pork dish, to slice and add to batter for an apple cake, to thinly slice and add to salad greens with toasted walnuts and bleu cheese, or to just eat out of hand as a snack.

I like apple tarts better than pies for the tarts have more fruit than crust. My newest cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, has a recipe for an apple tart that I just had to try. It's a simple tart to put together and the crust is just fantastic. In the notes, Ina wrote for an even faster tart, you can use frozen puff pastry. But, this dough comes together in a thrice -- much faster than it would be to thaw puff pastry.

The tart orchard apples made a great tart and I sprinkled each slice with a shower of powdered sugar. It was so good, that we had a SECOND piece later in the evening!

(From Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)

2 cups flour
1/2 t. salt
1 T. sugar
12 T. cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup iced water

For the Apples:

4 Granny Smith Apples
1/2 cup sugar
4 T. cold unsalted butter, small dice
1/2 cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam
2 T. Calvados, rum or water

Place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times until the butter is in small bits the size of peas. With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 x 14. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.

Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baller. Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4 inch thick slices. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apples slices. Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup of sugar and dot with the butter.

Bake for 45 min to 1 hour until the puff pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. Don't worry, the applejuices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine! When the tart is done, heat the apricot jelly with the Calvados and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn't stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Potting Shed

A must for a garden is a potting shed and Linderhof's garden lacked one. I decided to remedy that situation and found a carpenter to build one. His estimate, however, was for a "California" potting shed -- the price for a 3 x 5 shed -- $2300!

The next morning in our local paper there was an ad for a "deer hunting blind" -- small and the price was right.

When I walked into the room where the blind was stored, I realized that this eight sided building was magical and would make the perfect potting shed. It had three windows (hunters had to have some place to stick out their guns) but alas, no door for it was meant to be put in a tree and you enter it from the bottom.

The builder agreed to put a door in for me and to deliver it. And I had the perfect corner for it!!! I have plans to make it more garden friendly and less hunting friendly by painting the outside a sagey garden green and taking the metal roof and making it look like copper with that blueish patina.
In yesterday's rain, I took all of the pots, hand tools and yard tools from the garage and put them in the potting shed. Also a box of birdhouses and the hummingbird and oriole feeders. Today, the watering cans and some garden statuary that really can't stay outside during the winter will get put inside.

It will serve my purpose well -- keeping garden tools handy and with it in that corner it seems as if that corner of the garden now has a purpose.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Eleventh Hour, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Month

In Flanders Field

In Flanders field the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~Major John McCrae, May 1915.~

Oh! You who sleep in Flanders’ fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew,
We caught the torch you threw,
And holding high we kept
The faith with those who died.
We cherish too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valour led.

It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders’ fields.

And now the torch and poppy red
Wear in honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught
We’ve learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders’ fields.

Written by Miss Moina Belle Michael
An American, On Nov. 9, 1918, the Saturday before the Armistice was signed,
she read Col. John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields and
it made such a impression on her, that she wrote this reply to it.

Ninety years ago, on the eleventh hour of this day, the eleventh day of the eleventh month, was signed the armistice that officially ended The Great War.

And since 1919, when President Wilson officially declared that November 11 would be called Armistice Day, this day celebrated the end of The Great War. Congress, in 1938, made November 11 in each year a legal holiday -- a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day.

That was what my Dad always called November 11 -- Armistice Day. But, then, he, after all, had fought in this Great War and so November 11th was very meaningful to him.

But then, came another War and The Great War became known as World War I and this second war was known as World War II.

An Emporia, Kansan decided in 1953 that November 11 should be expanded to celebrate all veterans, not just those who served in World War I. He campaigned to turn Armistice Day into "All" Veteran's Day. He was successful and during President Eisenhower's term, Congress amended this act in 1954, replacing "Armistice" with "Veterans" and it has been Veterans Day ever since.

This day has always held special meaning to me as both the daughter of a Veteran and the wife of a Veteran (who served in Viet Nam). I, along with other patriotic citizens of my small town on the prairie, shall be at our National Cemetery today to participate in the honoring of not only those who are buried there but of all Veterans of all wars.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Spanakopitas, Luncheon Style

We love spanakopitas as an appetizer. It's easy to make and can be made ahead and served at room temperature. It always gets rave reviews even from non spinach lovers.

In my latest cookbook, Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics, is a recipe for dinner size spanakopitas.

It wasn't dinner, but rather company for lunch and it seemed a good vegetarian choice for a ladies luncheon. To serve with? A Greek salad of course -- with the last of the garden tomatoes, olives and sprinkles of Feta and pine nuts. Tossed with olive oil and wine vinegar.

Since there were only four of us, I cut the recipe in half and it made four perfect spanakopita triangles.

Dinner Spanakopitas
(Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics)

1/4 cup good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3 scallions, whole and green parts, chopped
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
4 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
3 T. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Plain dry bread crumbs
1 t. grated nutmeg
2 t. kosher salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 cups small diced feta cheese (12 ounces)
3 T. toasted pine nuts
24 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
1/4 pound unsalted butter, melted
Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan, add he onion, and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the scallions and cook for another 2 minutes until the scallions are wilted but still green. Meanwhile gently squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a large bowl.

When the onion and scallions are done, add them to the spinach. Mix in the eggs, Parmesean cheese, 1 T. bread crumbs, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Gently fold in the feta and pine nuts.

Place one sheet of phyllo dough flat on a work surface with the long end in front of you. Brush the dough lightly with butter and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Pile 4 layers total on top of each other this way, brushing each with butter and sprinkling with bread crumbs. Cut the sheets of phyllo in half lengthwise. Place 1/3 cup of spinach mixture on the shorter end and roll the phyllo up diagonally as if folding a flag. Then fold the triangle of phyllo over straight and then diagonally again. Continue folding diagonally and then straight until you reach the end of the sheet. The filling should be totally enclosed. Continue assembling phyllo layers and folding the filling until all of the filling is used. Place on a sheet pan, seam side down. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with flaked salt and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the phyllo is browned and crisp. Serve hot.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Chicken Salad, Linderhof Way

Linderhof's Chicken Salad is a classic. It's an updated version of the one that first my Grandmother made, and then my mother. Three generations of chicken salad.

My grandmother always shredded her chicken with two forks, added chopped onion, chopped celery and homemade mayonnaise and to "brighten" the flavor, a squeeze from half a lemon. It was as good on a lettuce leaf for a ladies luncheon as it was on bread for a sandwich.

Mother, too, shredded the chicken for her salad but she preferred to use red onion and to make the dressing lighter, she used half Hellman's mayonnaise and half sour cream. She, too, brightened the flavor with the juice of half a lemon. Chicken salad was the entree of choice for her bridge club. Served on a lettuce leaf with a pickled peach nestled beside it and a hot roll filled out the plate.

I'm a more modern woman and although I prefer shredded chicken for salad rather than chunk, I shred mine in the food processor. Like my mother, my onion is red. Unlike my grandmother and mother, I don't poach the chicken but rather roast it. We like the flavor better. I've lightened the dressing even more, however, using equal amounts of Hellman's, sour cream and yogurt. A squeeze of lemon, of course!

It's a lunch favorite -- whether on good whole wheat bread with a leaf of lettuce or served atop spring greens.

Linderhof Chicken Salad

3 chicken breasts, roasted
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped celery

1/4 cup Hellman's mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup plain yogurt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Put chicken breasts in food processor and pulse until finely minced. Add onion and celery. Mix mayonnaise, sour cream and yogurt in a bowl, add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Mix chicken mixture with dressing mixture. Chill

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Blooms at Linderhof

Now that the garden is quieting down -- even the mums are fading -- it is nice to have blooms at least inside.

Our love of orchids date back to teenage years when I read Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe's mysteries. The first of the foodie mysteries. Nero had gourmet meals and spent his time in his garden -- his inside garden on the top floor of his brownstone.

We, too, love gourmet meals but I don't have a Fritz to cook them! Nor do I keep to such a strict schedule as Nero did.

But I share his love of orchids and although my top floor is an attic -- not an orchid greenhouse, I successfully grow these beautiful plants in the breakfast room.

I've two blooming right now -- this white one and a splotchy pink and white one. Anyone can buy a blooming orchid, but it does take proper feeding and lots of light to get them to rebloom.

The best thing about orchid blossoms is that they last a long long time -- not the week or two of other blooming plants. This beauty is four years old and it has bloomed for me every year that I've had it.

If you haven't tried you hand at orchid raising, do, for it is most rewarding. They really don't need a greenhouse to survive and bloom -- a sunny windowsill is all that it takes.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


The other day in my mailbox was all three of my favorite magazines -- delivered at once. My "Trifecta"! It's never happened before and I was happy that I had no other plans that morning than just brewing a cup of tea, put a sweet treat on a plate and sit in the breakfast room and go over these, my three favorite magazines.

Southern Lady, Tea Time, Victoria

All published by Hoffman Media, they are definitely lady's magazines. Southern Lady was the first and I have all the issues. The oldest stored in magazine holders. Tea Time was next and as I love tea, I find many of the receipts irresistible.

Victoria is a revival of my favorite magazines of all time. I mourned when they decided to stop publication a few years ago. I have ALL the issues of the old Victoria. Neatly filed in magazine holders by years and every fall I would get out all the fall issues, mid November all the Christmas ones and in the Spring, the England issues.

The new Victoria is close to it's parent and gets better with each issue. I was so happy when Hoffman Media announced that they were going to publish Victoria again. I missed my old friend.
Not only did they all come the same day but they were the Christmas issues -- my favorite issues of the year. It was a leisurely morning, sipping tea and reading these -- my three favorite magazines.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pesto and Pasta

We grow a lot of basil in the garden. It's not readily available here at any season in it's fresh form and it is a favorite herb. It's great with anything tomato even just a chiffonade of basil showered over a dish.

We love pesto and make many jars from the garden basil over the summer and in the fall, we pull up all the plants in the garden and spend an afternoon making pesto for the freezer.

In winter, a big plate of spaghetti and a jar of thawed pesto and a good hunk of Parmesan cheese, we have a quick and tasty lunch or dinner. With snow flying outside, it is surely summer on a plate as we enjoy a meal with our garden basil.

Of course, on pesto making day, all we need is the platter of spaghetti to pour the pesto on. It's the perfect lunch. So perfect, in fact, that husband Jim opened a bottle of sauvignon blanc to enjoy with lunch.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My culinary "hero"

Is Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. I'm not sure which year it was when I first found Ina but I do remember buying her Barefoot Contessa cookbook at Costco. It was love at first sight! I came home and made several recipes from that book and since it had been out for a while in short order I acquired Barefoot Contessa Family Style and Barefoot Contessa Parties.
Good cookbooks all.

Shortly, thereafter, I also found her television show, Barefoot Contessa, and Ina became a culinary hero.

Then, in 2004, came Barefoot in Paris, and in 2006, came Barefoot At Home.

I had five Barefoot cookbooks on my main cookbook shelf!

So with eager anticipation, I awaited Number Six, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics.

But what was most exciting about this latest release is that Ina came to Kansas City to sign her cookbook. I would finally, at last, meet my culinary hero!

Finally, Ina came on stage dressed in her signature outfit of French blue shirt, black slacks and comfortable shoes. She looked like she had just stepped out of her kitchen to come and talk to us!

With 1000 tickets sold for the event, you had at the most 3 microseconds to talk to Ina as she signed her name only to her book. I had ticket number 61 and so was in the first "wave" of Ina fans to get their book signed and have my chance to visit with Ina.Alas, no chance to get a picture of me and Ina but I did get to chat for a mere minute! She seemed warm and friendly and I felt like I could have sat down and had a real conversation with her. But, of course, the 940 ladies behind me would NOT have liked that!
Perusing the cookbook while we waited for Ina to appear and while in line, I deemed it terrific! I had already made 3 recipes from the book before I even had it. All of them were wonderful! I'm sure that I will make many more.

Of all the cookbooks, this one will be the most special and my favorite -- for it was signed by Ina herself!

A bonus at Ina's book signing was that Mrs. Blandings was also there (for she, too, is a huge fan) and we got to meet.