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, October 31, 2009

Boo!!! -- It's Trick or Treat at Linderhof!

This is "Jack" -- the Lantern that welcomed Trick or Treaters at Linderhof on Halloween.
Under the portico is my Witch's Lair -- my Pumpkin Palace . . . with a row of plastic jack o lanterns with electric votives lining the drive way up to the Witch's Lair to the large real jack o lantern by the "Witch". A plastic tub/cauldron of full size candy bars await the trick or treaters!
Ravenswood the Crow and a rusty candelabra add to the ambiance of the Witch's Lair.

Halloween is always a fun evening at Linderhof and we enjoy all of the little trick or treaters.

Now the pumpkins are put away . . . the witch's costume is ready to be put back in the attic.

Halloween 2009 is just a memory!

It's Halloween

by Harry Behn
Tonight is the night
When dead leaves fly
Like witches on switches
Across the sky.
When elf and sprite
Flit through the night On a moony sheen. Tonight is the night
When leaves make a sound
Like a gnome in his home
Under the ground,
When spooks and trolls
Creep out of holes
Mossy and green.
Tonight is the night
When pumpkins stare
Through sheaves and leaves
When ghouls and ghost
And goblin host
Dance round their queen.
It's Halloween!  

Come tonight, I'll be dressed in my witches costume, sit under the portico surrounded by pumpkins and hand out full size candy bars to the trick or treaters at Linderhof.

It's one of my favorite holidays!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cock-A-Leekie Pie

A favorite soup in the British Isles is Cock-A-Leekie. Made, of course, with chicken (the cock) and leeks (the leekie). This pie takes the flavors of that soup, thus putting a twist on an old favorite.
It's more of a quiche, really, and it was the perfect main course for my tea room lunch. Served with a salad of baby greens (and Linderhof vinaigrette) and two corn muffins.
The recipe came from a favorite tea room cookbook, In Chelsea's Kitchen, A Collection of Recipes from Chelsea's and The Village Tea Room. Chelsea's is a wonderful place near Biltmore House. Alas, I've never been to either and I'm not sure where I got the cookbook but it has been a long standing favorite of mine for "ladies luncheons" recipes. I had not tried this pie before but it sounded interesting and it is definitely a keeper. My only problem is finding the leeks!

It's Friday which means that it's Foodie Friday. Join Michael at Designs by Gollum to see what treats are being cooked up this week. And with Halloween tomorrow -- they may be treats indeed!


1 pie crust (homemade or Pillsbury)
2 T. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped leeks
4 boneless, skinless split chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 T. sherry
2 dashes Worchester sauce
1 T. Dijon
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
3 eggs

Line the bottom and sides of the pie shell with aluminum foil. Fill the foil with dry beans (or pie weights) Bake in the oven at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans from the pie shell.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and leeks. Saute until tender. Remove.

Add the chicken to the skillet, saute until the chicken begins to brown slightly. Add in the sherry. Cook until almost all of the sherry has evaporated.

In a bowl, mix the Worchestershire, Dijon, cream, cheese, leeks, chicken and eggs together until blended. Pour the filling into the pie shell.

Bake the pie for about 45 minutes. Allow a few minutes for the pie to set after removing it from the oven. Serve warm.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Tea Room Lunch

Lunch in a tea room with proper manners was a rite of growing up. I treasure those memories first with my mother and aunt and then with teenage friends. And although there are tea rooms today, they aren't the same as those tea rooms were.

So last week for the Lunch Bunch Lunch, I recreated the atmosphere of a ladies tea room. A pristine white cloth and white napkins (although I did use my silver napkin rings).
A table for four for this luncheon.
A properly laid place with plate, cutlery and a small menu. The Linderhof Tea Room Lunch menu told what we were having. Alas, no choices like a real tea room. But it WAS real tea room food!
Always a small vase of fresh flowers in the middle of the table -- these from my garden.

The menu was typical tea room -- gingered carrot soup, a quiche, a corn muffin and a decadant dessert -- 4 layer chocolate cake. And coffee served from a silver pot.

It's Thursday -- that means that it's time to visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch to see what other tables have been set today! My favorite day of the week.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An Old German

An old German which was found at an estate sale last week in Kansas City. A set (for 12 in the original box!) of German silver -- a tablespoon, fork and knife.
It's made by A. Krupp Berndorf -- it says so on the back although when I bought it I couldn't read it (I was so anxious to purchase it because I knew -- just knew-- that it was special that I didn't take time to examine it with my reading glasses on!) But I thought they were European rather than American -- because of the size of the forks, knives and especially the spoons!
Each of the 36 pieces are engraved with flowery initials -- L and M. The forks on the back (for European custom sets the table with the tines down).

I knew there were great initials engraved on them . . . but in my hurry . . . . and so when I got to the car and found out that

a -- they were German (well, actually Austrian)

b -- they were engraved with my German grandmother's initials

I knew I had a true treasure.
They did polish up nicely and I spent the evening after we got back home on the internet and found the company but I could not figure out exactly WHEN this set was made. I'm thinking 1880's to turn of the century but perhaps I'm optimistic and they are not that old. The case, however, has seen better days . . . and since so many Germans immigrated to America in the 1880's and 1890's (as my grandfather did) it would seem logical that the set, perhaps, was a treasure that someone brought over from the old country.

It's truly a treasure here at Linderhof. I shall treasure it as much as the original owners did!
I think they set a handsome table. The tablespoon is large and so perfect for soup. It is a real soup spoon.

These are now our everyday cutlery. Who cares if I have to wash six pieces of silver after every meal -- feeling these wonderful pieces in my hand as I partake of a meal gives me a glow all over.

An unexpected treasure and a truly unexpected place and I might add for a really great price!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Here -- There -- Everywhere -- or the dining tables at Linderhof!

When we first moved to Linderhof, there was but one place to eat . . . the dining room --

and so, we took our breakfast bacon and eggs or oatmeal,

the luncheon sandwich, or

the dinner plate

at our dining room table. It's mahogany -- dating from perhaps the 20's and was originally one of the dining room tables at the Courtland Restaurant in Fort Scott. It's a Duncan Phyfe and fit in perfectly at Linderhof. It was a gift of the owner when she retired and moved to Oregon -- she felt it would fit in perfectly at Linderhof. I agree and she was able to come back many times and share a meal at "her" table!

The chairs are mahogany shield back dining room chairs that definitely need recovering now -- some of the chairs are a bit "tattered". They once belonged to Mike Murphy, a Kansas City radio personality and they do fit in well with the table and sideboard.

I've always liked dining rooms and felt that given a choice, I would choose a dining room and a small kitchen over no dining room and a large eat in kitchen.

Little did I realize that when we moved to Linderhof and I had my nice dining room and a small kitchen that eating every meal in the dining room was perhaps not all that fun!

So for quite a while, this dining room table was the only table at Linderhof !

And so -- after 19 years, we added, what we called The Breakfast Room -- actually, it is more than just breakfast -- for always eat our luncheon sandwich and often, when it is the two of us , it is there that we take our evening meal. (After our 6 o'clock martini.)
It's a perfect place for it although a small room, it overlooks the garden and we can watch the birds breakfast in the morning.

It is the best thing that we've ever done at Linderhof . . . . it is small (only 8 x 14) but it lives BIG!

The table is English, an antique and mahogany. It's oval and is Duncan Phyfe in style as well. It is fairly new to us and we think that it's the perfect table for the breakfast room. The chairs are Duncan Phyfe as well but husband Jim painted them black and that made them perfect for this -- our little room!

On warm spring nights or warm fall nights or cool summer nights, we love to eat outdoors on the patio -- be it breakfast or dinner. Nothing like a pot of coffee and the paper and being out in the garden. A great way to start the day. The tables are metal mesh and have held up well -- for we've had them for 13 years and have never done anything with them! The chairs were from Sam's -- we got 8 so that we could have company. They're metal mesh as well and have held up remarkedly well considering our harsh summers and even harsher winters.

The metal mesh seem to "disappear" in the garden and although I yearn for a more French style to the garden -- those wonderful slatted French garden chairs, these are servicable and comfortable even though not as stylish as I'd like.

But who knows -- if I find some of those garden chairs . . . . these may be history!
The last table at Linderhof is the one on our screened in front porch. It's used more for mail or a glass of iced tea or a cup of tea in the afternoon than a meal. But if we dine in the breakfast room, we'll start with appetizers and drinks here. (For I believe in a movable feast whenever we have company).

The table actually is a metal base and a glass top but I think the skirted table goes better with the mix of wicker and bamboo chairs. They're comfortable -- be it for a drink and nosh or just sitting and reading and sipping some tea.
I'm sharing my Dining Tables this Tuesday for it's Three or More Tuesday which is hosted by The Gypsy's Corner. My tables qualify for I've got four! Stop by and visit with Tam and see what everyone else has three or more of. It's always a fun Tuesday!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Soup Pot

Come fall and into winter, on the back burner of the stove is the copper soup pot.
Into this pot goes that straggler carrot, a stalk or two of celery, a smidgen of peas and perhaps some pasta or rice.
It's a tradition of my grandmother who always had one on the back of her stove. Every day the "soup" is a bit different but always good and makes for a good savory lunch (along with a slice of good bread). It is often our winter lunch and it changes from day to day depending upon what dinner brings the night before.

My grandmother would put her "pot" on the back porch (which was unheated in the winter) -- I put mine in the fridge. But after the breakfast dishes, back it goes on the back burner to simmer until it is lunchtime!

It's a winter staple -- this soup pot and some of our best lunches come from the goodness within!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Reprise -- Bulbs an October Tradition

It's October once again and bulb planting time. I spent a big part of today planting bulbs in front -- a whole huge bagful of Mount Hood daffodils -- a favorite of ours. I've spent the last few years planting in the back garden and Husband Jim and I felt that the front garden had been neglected. Neglected no more, next Spring it should be abloom!

This post was originally posted on October 27, 2008 -- it seems bulb planting time is usually at the same time every year.

Please join Chari at Happy to Design to see what other "second helpings" there are for this Sunday!

A big basket of bulbs is an October tradition. Daffodils, tulips, hyacinths. I've been planting bulbs for most of the 20 Octobers that we've lived at Linderhof and spring makes quite a show.
The daffodils have multiplied and some years I've bought more expensive and fewer bulbs so we have some unusual flowers come spring. Other years I've bought a big sack of more common daffodils like Mount Hood.

The tulips, too, range in all colors but unfortunately, they, unlike the daffs, don't multiply. But I still like the tulips anyway and plant a good supply of them each fall.

I love hyacinths for their smell is incomparable! Blue and white and purply ones mostly -- I don't really care for the pink ones. Often I'll get a few bulbs to chill and force in January in my bulb vases. They make the whole house smell good.

This year, however, instead of the regular hyacinths, I got a bag of the little grape hyacinths -- muscari. I've never planted them at Linderhof and I can't wait for them to bloom. I planted most of them around the center fountain in the herb garden but there were a few "strays" that I found when my bulb basket was empty -- these I planted in the spot where I found them in the basket -- so there should be two surprise showings of the muscari.
With my jar of bone meal -- a must for planting bulbs, it's fun to take the basket of bulbs on a nice October day with the sun on your back -- and plant spring flowers! The only hard part is trying to remember where there are already bulbs -- you don't want to dig up already planted bulbs!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Frost is almost on the Pumpkin -- but the pumpkin IS in the oven

It has been cool on the prairie and we've had near frosts but not the "black" killing frost as yet. These touches have left a bit of frost on the pumpkins on the doorstep and in the garden.

In October, we get our our stash of pumpkin recipes . . . and although those frosty outdoor pumpkins don't make an appearance in our kitchen, pumpkin breads, muffins, cookies and soups do.

We made pumpkin bread this week. We like the recipe because it makes two loaves which means that you can give some to a friend, neighbor or shutin and have some for the freezer.

It calls for orange juice but I added orange zest as well -- it's the best part of the orange!

I love to bake breads in these little loaves -- and four little loaves is the same as one big one. Whenever I bake this recipe, I'll make one big loaf and four little ones. The little ones are great for tea -- spread with either softened cream cheese or European butter.

Please join Michael at Designs by Gollum to see what everyone has fixed for this Foodie Friday.

Pumpkin Bread

2/3 cup shortening
2 2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 cups pumpkin
2/3 cup orange juice
grated zest of one orange
3 1/2 cups flour
2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans)
1 cup raisins (I like golden)

Cream sugar and shortening well in a large mixing bowl.

Add eggs one at a time and mix.

Add pumpkin and juice and mix.

Add grated rind and mix.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix with pumpkin mixture. Do not over mix.

Fold in nuts and raisins with a wooden spoon.

Grease and flour two 5 x 7 bread loaf pans and divide batter evenly between the two baking pans.

Bake bread for an hour and fifteen minutes at 350 degrees. (Less time is needed for the little loaves -- I often make one big one and four little ones).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Breakfast Room Dinner

We start every day here with first coffee and then breakfast and we end every day here as well with first a martini and then dinner.

It's a small room, our breakfast room, and a small table so rarely do we dine here with dinner guests.

But one evening we had only five for dinner so, we decided to eat in the breakfast room -- watching the birds have their dinner as well.
A simple gold cloth, the gold napkins (in the silver napkin rings) and of course, the blue Spode. The blue and white oriental bowl which hold apples during the fall is the centerpiece . . .
My newest purchase -- these "new" old candlesticks. They look aged but they're actually new and I love anything bird especially in the breakfast room. They were a splurge -- a real splurge but I absolutely love them.
The metal bread basket was a new purchase as well and I'm thinking about getting a second for when we dine at the "big table".
It was really more of a supper than a dinner -- a first course of the last of the farmer's market tomatoes and fresh mozarella and fresh basil sprinkled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, followed by big bowls of Plaza III steak soup and a great baguette. Dessert was a four layer chocolate cake.

You see, I did have company that evening, but I spent the day in the city -- playing (for I bought the candlesticks and bread basket and had lunch with a friend). The soup slowly simmered all day in the crock pot and shamelessly, I bought the baguette and the four layer chocolate cake!

What's more important -- making ALL of the dinner myself and not having enough time to have friends over OR buy what I didn't have time to make and spend a nice evening with friends. I'll always chose the second!

It's Thursday which means that it's time for tablescapes. Please join Susan At Between Naps on the Porch to see how everyone's tables are set this Thursday!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's October -- time for Oktoberfest!

For the past sixteen years, a labor of love for husband Jim and myself is the annual

I fix all the food -- for around 100. Brats which I boil in beer (and Rotarians grill them at the site), my German grandmother's hot potato salad and my German grandmother's cole slaw, sauerkraut and for dessert -- apple crisp.

Husband Jim . . . . turns this shelter house in our park into a little bit of Bavaria!

Table decorations -- some of our old ones, others bought at garage sales and flea markets make the tables festive. Oktober is an easy month for decorations!

Banners -- like the Jagermeister banner
And flags, like these German flags add a bit of the feeling of Germany!

Each table has a different tablecloth and a fallish centerpiece.It's a Rotary party -- for Rotarians and their families -- little children, too and invited guests.
With plenty of beer and wine, it is a fun party!
And we have at least 100 attend this annual party. It's always a good turnout and the evening, as this one was, is always perfect.

Today is Wednesday which means that it's Outdoor Wednesday at Susan's. Join her at A Southern Daydreamer to see what everyone else is doing outside this Wednesday!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lemon Blueberry Scones

We love scones -- probably our favorite breakfast (or tea) bread. Our first introduction to scones was in England when we had our first cream tea -- a plain scone with bowls of cream and jam and although we ate them backward (we piled on the jam and then the cream) we thought them wonderful food.
Scones in England are more for tea than for breakfast . . . but we find them great breakfast fare -- especially with the perfect cup of coffee.

I was scone challenged until I found the Barefoot Contessa recipe. Made in the mixer, they are easy scones and turn out perfect every time!
These are lemon blueberry scones -- with a smidgen of icing. They are our adaptation of Ina Garten's cranberry orange scones. Not having dried cranberries but having dried blueberries we made the substitution and instead of orange juice and zest we used lemon for we felt that blueberry and lemon had a greater affinity than blueberry and orange.

The result -- perfect -- both for breakfast and for tea that afternoon.

Blueberry Lemon Scones

4 cups plus 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar (plus additional for sprinkling)
2 T. baking powder
2 t. kosher salt
1 T. grated lemon zest
3/4 pound cold, unsalted butter, diced
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup dried blueberries
1 egg beaten with 2 T. water for egg wash
1/2 cup powdered sugar plus 2 T.
4 t. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas.

Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer o low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy! Combine the dried blueberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough and mix on low speed until blended. Dump the dough onto a well floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4 inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn't stick. Flour a 3 inch round plain or fluted cutter and cut circles of dough. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Collect the scraps neatly, roll them out, and cut more circles.

Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides fully baked. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioners sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over scones.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Twenty Six Year Difference

Twenty six years ago, husband Jim brought me back this big ginger jar from a trip to Tokyo. Mostly, it has lived on the mantle at Linderhof for the past 21 years. I loved it -- it was a big ginger jar and the mantle seemed a fitting place for it . . . however, being a person of symmetry, I yearned for a pair.

It has taken twenty six years but I did find another -- not a twin but a blue and white ginger jar that's approximately the same size as the original.
It was a HomeGoods purchase and cost far less than the original. Shamefully, less.
The mantle, I feel, looks good "bookended" by the ginger jars. I can remove the lids and put autumn leaves or spring forsythia in them if I want some color on the mantle.

I am a patient woman and it really doesn't seem all that long ago that the I received the first ginger jar . . . but it was -- 26 years and that is a long time!

But it was definitely worth the wait!

It's not a total metamorphsis, but the mantle at Linderhof was definitely changed by the addition of the "twin" ginger jar.

Please join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for this Met Monday and see what other transformations there are on this Monday!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Reprise -- Cider Roasted Winter Squash

This is a favorite fall and winter recipe. First published on October 18, 2008, but enjoyed many times since. Husband Jim and I love both acorn and butternut squash -- anyway and this recipe is definitely a winner!

I'm joining Chari at Happy to Design and see which other Sunday Favorites everyone has selected.

We love autumn when butternut and acorn squashes come to market. We have one of the fall squashes in some form at least once per week and both husband Jim and I adore these golden fleshed squashes.

With a big acorn and a small butternut in the vegetable bin, I decided to try this recipe for Cider Roasted Winter Squash. From the latest issue of Cottage Living. Actually, the second recipe from this issue that I've tried. The first being the Caramel Apple Upside Down Olive Oil Cake.
That recipe was certainly a winner.

This one is too!

With fresh thyme and sage from the garden, it certainly is a keeper and it is so good that I am planning on having it on the Thanksgiving menu. It will go as well with roasted turkey as it did with grilled pork chops.

Cider Roasted Winter Squash
(From the October 2008 Issue of Cottage Living)

1/4 cup apple cider (or unfiltered apple juice)
2 T. cider vinegar
3 T. olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 small acorn squash (about 3 pounds), halved, seeded and cut into 2 inch wedges
1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), halved, seeded and cut into 2 inch wedges
4 sprigs fresh sage (chopped)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Whisk together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add acorn squash and remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Place vegetables in a single layer on a shallow baking pan and roast at 400, turning once for 50 to 60 minutes or until tender and light golden brown around the edges. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

What I like best about this recipe is that you don't have to peel the squash -- winter squash is not the easiest to peel!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tortilla Soup

Finding myself with shredded pork and tiring of "pulled pork" sandwiches, I used pork instead of chicken in a tortilla soup.
It was every bit as good with the pork as it was with chicken and made a good supper on a rainy October night as well as lunch the next day.
It's my take on another Ina recipe. Her Mexican Tortilla Soup -- with chicken. I'll make it again using chicken if I don't have any leftover pork.

It's Friday and time to join Michael at Designs by Gollum to see what is cooking -- not just at Linderhof!

Mexican Tortilla Soup
(A Barefoot Contessa Recipe -- posted as found)

4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock
28 ounce can whole tomatoes in puree, curshed
2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground coriander
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
6 fresh white tortillas

Preheat the oven to 350.

Place the chicken breasts, skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 3 T of olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions, celery and carrots and cook over medium low heat for 10 minutes or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 T. salt, 1 t. pepper and the cilantro. Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2 inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste.

Serve the soup hot, topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.