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, January 31, 2009

Swordfish with tomatoes and capers

Bargain hunter husband came home with a huge piece of swordfish for less than $3! So I went to my "go to" recipe for swordfish. From The Barefoot Contessa. It's easy and one of those recipes that you usually have all the ingredients on hand. With the exception of the fennel, which is often hard to find on the prairie. I added a good pour of Pernod along with the wine. A satisfactory substitution I thought.

With a first course salad of mixed baby greens with the last little bit of cauliflower, some green pepper and red tomatoes with a mustardy vinaigrette, it was a great meal.

Husband Jim was very pleased with himself and his bargain.!

Swordfish With Tomatoes and Capers
From The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

1 cup chopped yellow onion -- (1 onion)
1 cup chopped fennel -- (1 bulb)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
28 ounce can plum tomatoes -- drained
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chicken stock
2 tablespoons good dry white wine
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons capers -- drained
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 1-inch-thick swordfish fillets -- (about 2 1/2 pounds)
fresh basil leaves

For the sauce, cook the onions and fennel in the oil in a large saute pan on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the drained tomatoes, smashing them in the pan with a fork, plus the salt and pepper. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Add the chicken stock and white wine and simmer for an additional 10 minutes to reduce the liquid. Add the basil, capers, and butter and cook for 1 minute more.

Prepare a grill with hot coals. Brush the swordfish with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill on high heat for 5 minutes on each side until the center is no longer raw. Do not overcook. Place the sauce on a plate, arrange the swordfish on top, and garnish with basil leaves. Serve hot or at room temperature.

NOTE: I added about 2 T. Pernod when I added the wine for I didn't have the fennel.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Has to be the easiest appetizer ever. Hardly anything made, all purchased and just composed. A great variety as well so guests have a choice. Even in my little town on the prairie, I was able to find "good" olives, real Italian salami and mortadella. My only "cooking" was the asparagus which I roasted early in the day and then sprinkled with a balsamic vinaigrette before placing on the platter.
With peppers from a jar and big hunks of Parmesan (which I sprinkled with a 15 year Balsamic vinegar), it was a great appetizer.

The leftovers? What little that was left made a great frittata the next morning. topped off with a shower of Parmesan.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My new blue mugs

My morning coffee, midmorning or afternoon tea are always taken from a cup or saucer. Husband Jim, however, prefers a mug. The mugs in my cupboards were white which went with everything but I have a love of blue and white and at Tuesday Morning I found these stunning mugs. They go well with the blue and whie breakfast china and I like the look and feel of these mugs.

My mug use is for hot cocoa only and the last couple of evenings on the prairie have been both cold and snowy and icy. Perfect for that cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows floating on top.

I'll also use them for cream soup -- nothing like a mug of soup (often tomato) and a grilled cheese sandwhich for a winter luncheon.

Husband Jim is happy with his new breakfast coffee mugs and I'm happy with the addition to my blue and white collection.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Spring Inside but Snow Outside

Paperwhites at Linderhof are not for Christmas bloom but for those dreary days in January. Started just before Christmas, they come into bloom right after all of the Christmas decorations are tucked back in their boxes and stored away in the basement.
They're small blooms and their whiteness often echoes the white of snow outside. Their fragrance is cloying and annoying to some but we happen to like that fragrance. It's the smell of the promise of spring!
On a shelf in the basement we keep our supply of bulb pots -- some specifically for the bulbs like this treasure brought home from a Washington, D.C. trip, to blue and white Oriental cachepots kept specifically for bulb forcing.

We time them so that for most of January and February the paperwhites bloom. Every fall, we purchase a couple of dozen bulbs of plain ordinary paperwhites. No expensive bulbs for us.

Pots are kept on the breakfast room table, one of the round tables in the living room and the hall table at the top of the stairs. I smile everytime I pass.

Not a usual purchase, but at Sam's, coming home from the cruise, they had these bulb pots for sale. How could I resist the blue and white pot planted full of tulips, with some hyacinths and daffodils thrown in. The pot, once the flowers fade, will go on the shelf reserved for my bulb pots. I can picture it next January once again on the dining room table with 8 blooming paperwhites. The fragrance will be heady.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Porc a l'Orange

or Pork Roast with Oranges from the From a French Country Kitchen (The Culinary Tradition of Le Madeleine French Bakery and Cafe). I've had the cookbook "forever" and enjoyed reading it but had never cooked from it. Inspired by our trip to Dallas and a must do dinner at Le Madeleine to fix this pork recipe. With Christmas oranges and a piece of pork loin in the freezer, it seemed a natural.

The orange gives a refreshing flavor to the sauce and Husband Jim rated it as one of the best. The book recommends serving it with zucchini salad with mushrooms and white onion puree. I served it with a regular salad of mixed baby greens, red onion slices, grape tomatoes, green pepper stripes and a red wine vinaigrette as well as tiny zucchini sauteed in a bit of olive oil with salt and pepper.

I'll definitely do this again, even if I don't have Christmas oranges.

Pork Roast with Oranges
(adapted from From A French Country Kitchen)

2 pounds boneless pork roast (I used pork loin)
2 T. butter
3 medium onions, cut into rings
3 oranges, sliced (reserve 3 slices for garnish)
1 cup water or stock
1 cup tomato sauce or tomato puree
2 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf
1 T. sugar
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 T. butter
1 T. flour

Brown pork roast over medium heat in unsalted butter in a large casserole. In the same pan, brown onions and sliced oranges. Add water or stock and tomato sauce to the pan. Add thyme, bay leaf, sugar, salt and pepper.

Cook, covered over low heat for 1 hour or until roast reads 170 degrees. Check periodically, adding water or stock if dry. Turn roast several times during cooking.

Remove cooked roast to a platter and cover loosely with foil. If sauce is too thin, add, in small pieces, 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour, kneaded together until desired consistency is obtained. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.

To serve, slice pork roast and arrange slices on a hot serving tray. Pour a little of the sauce over the roast. Garnish the edge of the platter with half slices of oranges, poached 1 minute in the sauce, and some green leaves and fresh thyme springs. Pour the remainder of sauce in a gravy boat and serve with the roast.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Great Chocolate Cake

We celebrated Daughter Sarah's birthday last Friday and there is nothing better to celebrate birthdays with than a chocolate cake. She's way past the 10 candles on the cake and once attaining the age of 18, we stop putting a candle on for each year. Except for those special birthdays of 30, 40, 50 and up!
Surprisingly, Daughter Sarah does not have a favorite cake although she does have favorite desserts -- tiramisou is one -- cheesecake another. But chocolate cake is good and goes so well with ice cream (vanilla bean, please). And this chocolate cake recipe is great!
Another recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, this one from Barefoot Contessa At Home. It's called Beatty's Chocolate Cake. One of those recipes that's given a name and as it is passed from one to another the name sticks.

Whatever it is called, it is one great chocolate cake.


Butter for greasing the pans
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus
more for the pans
2 cups sugar
¾ cup good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
½ cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Chocolate Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, the butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place one layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Belated Christmas Present

Every year I get a couple of amaryllis to force for Christmas bloom. There is something about red blooms in the house in December (whether poinsettias or amaryllis) that just make the house seem more Christmassy.

This year, it was Wal Mart bulbs -- one grew and one didn't. The sole survivor seemed to grow slower than usual, finally budded and stayed in bud forever. Christmas came and went without any bloom.

Coming back from the cruise, it had opened up -- as if to greet me and to say that although it is winter on the prairie, spring is on it's way.

In January, there is nothing like something in bloom to make you forget winter. This amayrillis is doing that job splendidly.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Lady's Desk

Every "lady" needs a place where she can write thank you notes, peruse and pay bills, send greeting cards, and keep track of social engagements.

My place is a mahogany secretary in the corner of the living room with a window that looks out on what I call my secret garden. (The garden is a small strip along the side of the house -- filled with flowers three seasons of the year.)

The picture is a picture of the fireplace at Linderhof taken in 1930 and given to me by an old man that was the little boy in the picture. It's always been a treasure to me.

My collection of Asian calligraphy brushes also at this moment reside on the desk in a calligraphy brush pot. The wee carved figure is ivory, bought by Husband Jim on a long ago visit to Asia.

Surrounded by things I love, the desk is a special place to do special things.

The bookcase part of the secretary holds some very special and very old pieces of blue and white as well as some small old volumes.

Every day, after breakfast and the dishes, I sort the mail here and then attend to my correspondence -- sending whatever note needs to be sent, addressing whatever greeting card needs to go out, making the daily grocery list. Often with a cup of tea in hand to sip as I go about this daily ritual.

Every lady needs a desk. How else could she run a household?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Shirley's Strawberries

A wonderful sweet treat, these strawberries made from J-ello, pecans, coconut, shaped like strawberries and rolled in red sugar. A food colored slivered of almond stuck in the top. They make a great Christmas candy but also are a delight on a tray of tea goodies.

My friend Shirley Ann first made these and gave me the recipe. It was long long ago for I've had the recipe "forever" -- it even predates daughter Sarah!

At Linderhof, it's not Christmas nor am I having a tea but rather I made these as decoration for a strawberry cake that is to be served at my sorority event this evening. I think it shall be pretty, each piece of pink strawberry filled cake topped with one of these strawberries.
I call the recipe Shirley's strawberries although I'm sure the real name must be J-ello strawberries. One of those recipes thought up by the company that makes the product as another way to use their product. But it is a good recipe and a fun confection both to make and to eat.

Shirley's Strawberries

2 (3 oz.) strawberries Jello
1 c. pecan ground
1 c. coconut ground
3/4 c. sweet condensed milk
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
Red sugar
Sliced almonds

Add all the above ingredients together (except for the red sugar and almonds) and chill for 1 hour or overnight. Sliced almonds, add green food coloring to these until you get color of green you want. Take strawberry mix and shape with hand looking like a red strawberry. Next roll in red sugar until coated. Stick green almonds for steam. Keep in refrigerator will last a week in refrigerator.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chicken Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse is a classic dish made with fish and seafood. Seafood is not native to the prairie and I was so happy to find a chicken bouillabaisse recipe. With chicken legs and thighs from the freezer, it made a warming dinner on a cool but not cold January night.
It's easy and it's a one dish meal -- something that I always like. One of the key ingredients of bouillabaisse (whether seafood or chicken) is saffron. Saffron is expensive, you use but a little bit at a time for it is extremely rare and takes many crocus plants to make an ounce of saffron.
Saffron crocus bloom in the garden at Linderhof. A fall bloomer, they do brighten dreary fall days. Planted long ago, they have survived other things planted around them (for I often forget they are there) and we even had the garden plowed once and still they came up and bloomed.
Even though we do have saffron crocus in the garden, we don't even have enough to make a decent pinch. But it's fun to grow them. Just as it is fun to eat chicken bouillabaisse!

The recipe from Ina Garten and it is a winner. A good use for the thighs and legs that accompany chicken breasts.

Chicken Bouillabaisse

1 (4 to 5-pound) chicken, cut into 10 pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
Good olive oil
1 large head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 (15 ounce) can tomato puree
1 1/2 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons Pernod
1 pound baby Yukon gold potatoes, halved
Rouille, for serving, recipe follows
Crusty French bread, for serving

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season it generously with salt, pepper, and the rosemary. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven and brown the chicken pieces in batches until nicely browned all over, about 5 to 7 minutes per batch. Transfer the browned chicken pieces to a plate and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium-low and add the garlic, saffron, fennel seeds, tomato puree, chicken stock, white wine, Pernod, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper to the pot. Stir and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the garlic is very tender, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Carefully pour the sauce into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Puree until smooth. Return the sauce to the Dutch oven and add the sliced potatoes and browned chicken pieces with their juices. Stir carefully.

Cover the pot and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is done. Check the seasonings and serve hot in shallow bowls with big dollops of Rouille and slices of crusty bread.

4 large garlic cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
*1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup good olive oil

Place the garlic and salt on a cutting board and mince together. Transfer the mixture to a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the egg yolk, lemon juice, saffron, and red pepper flakes. Process until smooth.

With the machine running, pour the olive oil in a thin, steady stream through the feed tube to make a thick mayonnaise emulsion. Transfer the rouille to a serving bowl and store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Back From the Carribean

Earlier this month, we left for a vacation -- something that we've not had in a long time. A cruise vacation on the Carnival Ship, Ecstacy. Five nights of living in luxury, being waited on hand and foot.

We drove and took our time getting to the port of Galveston where we boarded the ship -- a leisurely way to start a leisurely vacation.

We cheated winter as well for while temperatures on the prairie were at 2 degrees we were basking in warm sun.
We visited Progresso, Mexico and their sunny beach and warm ocean. A nice way to spend a lazy day.
We also traveled inland to Merida -- a very large city and felt that we had a chance to see real Mexico -- not the tourist areas that the ships seem to go to. An old town, it was a rainy day while we were there.
The Governor's Mansion as well as the centuries old cathedral are two reasons to venture inland to Merida.

We lunched there on tacos and beer in a quaint restaurant before we headed back to the ship and back to sea.

January has slipped past us while we were gone but we did have a good time.

Now, today, the mounds of laundry need to be done, the parched plants watered, the inch thick layer of dust needs to be attended to. But first dog and mail need to be gathered.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Blue and White Luncheon

Guests coming for luncheon and on a sunny winter day what better than paperwhites almost blooming in a blue and white vase, the table set with blue and white china. I have a love affair with blue and white whether it is new blue and white from Hobby Lobby or ancient blue and white from China or Japan.
And of course, I also have a love affair with blue and white dishes -- because they go withe verything! And I love to mix Dutch, English and Asian pieces all on the same table.
To complete the centerpiece, two birds "flew" in. Not blue and white but just the added touch needed to finish off the table.

I've always felt that the food is important for a meal but the table setting is to. As food is pleasing to the stomach so should the table be pleasing to the eye.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Mincemeat Tart

Although mincemeat is thought of as a Christmas treat, we like it all through winter. I didn't grow up with a mother who made mincemeat -- no, our mincemeat always came from the store -- made by the supermarket. You can't find that mincemeat anymore so we have to rely on Nonesuch. But it is a good product and several jars always find there way to the pantry at Linderhof.
For a luncheon recently, the mincemeat tart seemed the perfect dessert. And an easy dessert. My favorite crust easily made in the food processor and then to make the tart a little bit more of my own, I added the grated peel of one orange to the jar of mincemeat.
It was a good tart and there was even enough left for husband Jim and I to have the last two pieces for dinner dessert.

Mincemeat Tart

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


One jar of Nonesuch mincemeat
grated rind of 1 orange

Mix together. Pour into tart shell. (I used my rectangular tart pan but a round one would work as well). You can make lattice on top with the extra pastry -- adds a nice touch. Brush with egg wash. Bake at 400 until the pastry is browned and the filling bubbly.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuna Tartare

Our gift piece of ahi tuna was enough for the tuna nicoise for dinner one night and with another piece left over to make tuna tartare. A fitting start for a dinner of grilled steak.

When it is just us, appetizers are usually not part of our meal but it is the New Year and we've been treating ourselves lately. With a very dry gin martini, this was a wonderful starter.

It's easy to make and should be made ahead so that all you need to do while husband is shaking the martini is put the tartare on crackers and put the tartare topped crackers on a plate.

This recipe from my favorite, Ina Garten. I'm printing the recipe as found. I made far less since it was just the two of us and I didn't have 3 pounds of tuna. And I used black sesame seeds instead of white for I like how they look in this dish.

Tuna Tartare

3 3/4 pounds very fresh tuna steak
1 1/4 cups olive oil
5 limes, zest grated
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 1/2 teaspoons wasabi powder
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons hot red pepper sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups minced scallions, white and green parts (12 scallions)
3 1/4 tablespoons minced fresh jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
5 ripe Hass avocados
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, optional

Cut the tuna into 1/4-inch dice and place it in a very large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, wasabi, soy sauce, hot red pepper sauce, salt, and pepper. Pour over the tuna, add the scallions and jalapeno, and mix well. Cut the avocados in half, remove the seed, and peel. Cut the avocados into 1/4-inch dice. Carefully mix the avocado into the tuna mixture. Add the toasted sesame seeds, if using, and season to taste. Allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour for the flavors to blend. Serve on crackers.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The "Dressing Room"

It's not really a room -- more of an alcove/closet off the bedroom. It IS where I hang my clothes and it is where I do my lotions and potions every morning and night. It does have French doors which can be closed, thus making it a closet. I prefer, however, to leave them open for the window brings in more light and being able to see that additional three or four feet makes our large bedroom even larger.

The items on the dressing table are memories all -- a Lenox swan from my first boss, a crystal oyster with pearl -- a gift from dear friend Shirley Ann as a memento of a trip to New Orleans and the oysters we ate, a sterling hair brush, mirror and comb -- a gift from my maiden aunt, a small bronze dressing table clock -- a gift from husband Jim. Waterford perfume bottles and Venetian mirror bring sparkle to the space. Jewelry is kept in an oriental box and necklaces around the bust on the dressing table.

It's the place where I start my day and where I end my day -- surrounded by love.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tuna Nicoise, Linderhof Style

After all the rich holiday food, meals in January tend to be less rich. What could be a more perfect dinner than fresh tuna served nicoise style? The tuna was a gift and what great tuna it was -- lightly seared on both sides, the inside meltingly tender. It's a classic recipe and shouldn't be tampered with but finding myself without any harricot vert I substituted the last bit of asparagus in the fridge. We certainly didn't miss the green beans for the asparagus went well with the tuna and other vegetables.
Tomatoes are usually a part of a nicoise platter but in the winter we don't buy store tomatoes (except plum tomatoes to roast) but we didn't miss them -- I fixed an extra egg instead! Husband Jim doesn't like olives so I didn't put any on my plate either.

The best recipe for tuna nicoise that I've found is the one from The Barefoot Contessa -- it's easy and oh, so good! Here is her recipe, fixed my way!

Tuna Nicoise, Linderhof Style

2 (1-inch-thick) fresh tuna steaks (about 4 pounds)
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 recipe French Potato Salad, recipe follows
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut in 1/2
handful of mixed baby greens
For the vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10 tablespoons good olive oil

To grill the tuna, get a charcoal or stove-top cast iron grill very hot. Brush the fish with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill each side for only 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. The center should be raw, like sushi, or the tuna will be tough and dry. Arrange the tuna,asparagus, potato salad, eggs, and mixed baby greens on a large flat platter.

For the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Drizzle some over the fish and vegetables and serve the rest in a pitcher on the side.

French Potato Salad:

1 pound small white boiling potatoes
1 pound small red boiling potatoes
2 tablespoons good dry white wine
2 tablespoons chicken stock
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10 tablespoons good olive oil
1/4 cup minced scallions (white and green parts)
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves

Drop the white and red potatoes into a large pot of boiling salted water and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are just cooked through. Drain in a colander and place a towel over the potatoes to allow them to steam for 10 more minutes. As soon as you can handle them, cut in 1/2 (quarters if the potatoes are larger) and place in a medium bowl. Toss gently with the wine and chicken stock. Allow the liquids to soak into the warm potatoes before proceeding.

Combine the vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Add the vinaigrette to the potatoes. Add the scallions, dill, parsley, basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Christmas Present

From husband Jim were four cordial glasses to go with my collection. I have about 20 or so now and haven't bought any new ones in "forever". I like singles with no two exactly alike -- it's fun to serve after dinner drinks from them. Little sips of something almost syrupy sweet.

It is fun, when one goes to antique stores or flea markets, to see what one can find. My favorites, and the ones that I have the most of, are like the three -- the rounded bowl of colored glass which has been cut into revealing clear glass. Many of mine came from an antique store in Wichita, Kansas. I would buy another each time we visited Wichita and a stop at that antique store was a must!

All of these came from our trip to Minneapolis and surprisingly all were fairly inexpensive, at least according to my gift giving husband.

Perhaps the best cordial to sip out of them is my own homemade ones -- peach, apricot or orange.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A holiday luncheon

We love to have company especially for a luncheon and right before the end of 2008, three friends joined me for lunch. The Christmas decorations were still up and so the centerpiece was one of my blue and white bowls filled with golden pinecones. I collect white and gold china and these plates (part of a set of 8) have what looks to me like Christmas balls around the edges so I often use them at Christmas thinking of them as "bonus" Christmas china!
At every place, whenever we entertain, be it for dinner or a luncheon, is always a menu -- since this is a holiday luncheon, the picture is of the ornaments on our tree. The napkins are always in one of our collection of silver napkin rings -- all have names or initials engraved on them.
After a salad of greens, dried cherries, roasted pecans, and sliced apples with a maple vinaigrette, the entree of Christmas pasta with chicken and a roll topped with rosemary, salt and pepper. I love the Christmas pasta because with the red peppers and red onion and green pepper and asparagus it has the colors of the season. With chunks of chicken added, it's a main course.
Dessert was a favorite apple tart -- from Ina Garten and THE BEST -- no cinnamon or nutmeg here -- just apples and sugar and butter baked on a thin crust and then brushed with apricot jam thinned with Calvados. The Lennox Christmas dessert plates are a fitting carrier for the tart.
We love to have luncheons in the breakfast room overlooking the garden although in winter, the garden looks bleak unless it is snow covered. Alas, no snow this Christmas, but a good show by the bird friends of Linderhof kept us entertained through lunch.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp !
And surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot,
Sin auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d i' the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
And gie's a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

A very happy new year from our home to yours