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.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Clydesdales Visit

I'm participating in Sunday Favorites, hosted by Chari, at Happy to Design.

Visit Chari and see what other favorites are being reposted today.

This post was from a year ago, when The Clydesdales came to town. For 15 years my husband and I had requested their presence for our annual town's Good Ol Days Parade. But, alas, for the first 14 years our request was turned down.

And then last year, six months after we sold our building and closed our wine and spirit (and Budweiser) shop, we found out that they were coming!!!!

And not just for the parade but for a whole week!

It was an exciting time for us, it was an exciting time for our town . . . .

And with Budweiser being sold to Inbev, a Belgian company, perhaps the only time they will ever visit.

From Lines from Linderhof, June 9, 2008.

The Gentle Giants came to our prairie town last week.

We were able to stable them in our 1842 fort. The stables were built for the dragoon's horses and the windows were for light and ventilation -- not for horses looking out. But these gentle giants -- at least 18 hands (6 feet) at the shoulder had no trouble peering out the stable windows.
They travel in three semis -- two for the horses and one for tack and the wagon. Five horses to a semi (they bring two extra for the horses get days off)
It was fun to see them being exercised in the morning as they walked the brick streets of this prairie town. Two or three at a time. What fun for residents who looked out their window and saw these big horses going past their house. We are used to the clip clop of horses hooves on the bricks as we have an Amish community nearby, but it was definitely special to see these big guys in and around our town.
The stables at our historic fort had to be retrofitted for the horses. Two stalls made into one for each horse needs a 10 by 10 foot stall. Grain and hay were stored above as it was in the 1840's when the dragoons horses and the wagon mules were housed in this barn. Sweet prairie hay we provided to these horses. The same type of hay that was fed to the 1840's horses.
Over the week, we got to know each horse well -- this is Ace. He, was a special sweetheart. He's a "wheel horse" which means that he's hitched first to the wagon and is one of the two that really do most of the work.

What makes this hitch so special is that they were the ones in the 9/11 commercial that was shown only once -- at the 2002 Super Bowl. Where the horses go across the bridge and with New York City in the background, bow down to the heroes of 9/11.

They are special horses and we feel fortunate that they were able to make a week long stop in our little town. What is most special about their visit is the memories they made for the children that watched them at their exhibitions, in the parade or just going to see them in the stables. A lifetime memory.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Whenever we entertain, we always like to make a menu for each place setting. It's a souvenir of the meal and often the picture at the top is a picture of the table where the meal takes place (love digital cameras and computers!)
These are menus new and old -- and basically the format is the same -- a picture at the top, then "Dinner at Linderhof" or "Lunch at Linderhof", the date, "Menu" and finally the food being served.
For an Easter luncheon, I used a Victorian Easter card and hand wrote the menu inside.
An old Valentine card used both as a menu and a placecard. The name on the front . . . .
And the menu on the back handwritten in red, of course!
The menus are usually placed in the plate so that our guests can take their napkin and put it in their lap and the menu is there for their perusal before the first course is served.
The menus are usually printed on whole sheets of paper --
And if we're celebrating something special, that is shown at the top as well.
Sometimes we'll find some pretty paper and will use that for our menus. If so, we don't add a picture -- the paper is pretty enough as is.
Whether it is a simple luncheon for four . . . .

Or a luncheon for 10 . . . there is always a menuFor dinner parties, the menu is often one of many courses.
But for a luncheon, the menu is often just three -- a salad course, a main course and dessert!
I just think that it adds something special when everyone has their own menu.
It makes the luncheon or dinner more of an event and tells our guests how special we think they are.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Famous Chicken Marbella

Along with Julia Child, one of the early "Bibles" of fooddom was The Silver Palate Cookbook. First published in 1979, it was embraced for the inovative "gourmet" recipes contained between it's pages.

So many of us learned to cook watching Julia on television and testing the recipes between the pages of "The Silver Palate".

Of all the recipes in the cookbook, probably THE recipe is the Chicken Marbella. As stated in the cookbook, this was the first main dish offered at The Silver Palate.

It's that perfect dish -- it can be made ahead; can be served fresh from the oven or at room temperature.

It is the "little black dress" of a chicken dish.
It certainly is a favorite at Linderhof -- both as a luncheon dish as well as a make ahead chicken dish when we know we want to eat well but have no time for cooking. Besides using whole chickens to make the dish, I've also made it with breasts only or thighs only.

The flavors make for an interesting dish and a favorite way to serve it is with roasted asparagus vinaigrette with a garnish of lemon.

My first Silver Palate cookbook is well worn for I've made lots of dishes from inside these pages. It's one that I turn to when I'm looking for something different.
Since my original copy is held together by rubber bands, I did splurge and buy the 25th Anniversary edition. It's great because it has color pictures of some of the recipes -- including Chicken Marbella.
I still find myself reaching for my original -- even though the only difference really between the two books are the color pictures. I favor the familiar rather than the new.

Silver Palate's Chicken Marbella

4 chickens, quartered
1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
1/4 cup dried oregano
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup Italian parsley or fresh cilantrol, finely chopped

In a large bowl, combine chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper and salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.

Preheat oven to 350.

Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest, yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice.

With a slotted spoon, transfer chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Pass remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.

To serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in cooking juices before transferring to a serving platter. If chicken has been covered and refrigerated, allow it to return to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juice over chicken.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Potluck Fare

It's Foodie Friday again, and it's time for Friends, Food and Fun at Designs by Gollum. It's always a great way to end the week -- by sharing food!

A favorite potluck dish is Smokestack's Cheesy Corn Bake. It's easy and it's yummy and who doesn't like corn? With cheddar AND cream cheese? Oh, and there is butter, too!

A favorite restaurant since I was a child was Smokestack Restaurant. We always loved BBQ and Smokestack was a favorite of ours. Our favorite meal was the 89er sandwich. Beef, pork or ham on a long roll. With BBQ sauce and shredded lettuce and thinly sliced onion. A pickle on the side.

It was called an 89er because it cost 89 cents which actually, was quite a bit when McDonald's was selling their hamburgers for 15 cents. But it was so big that two could share or you could eat half and take the other half home.

It came with one side and I always had a hard time choosing between the cheesy corn or the baked beans.
Over the years I got the recipe for both the baked beans (which are THE best) and the cheesy corn. And I make both at home.

Smokestack is still around but it is now called Jack's Stack and it still serves the cheesy corn AND the baked beans.

No more 89er, however, although they do have other sandwiches. No long buns, no shredded lettuce and onion. Their sandwiches are still my favorite but alas, I do miss my old favorite.
This is a great recipe, it's easy and makes quite a bit. This is a double recipe because I was taking it to a potluck. I came home with one spoonful left! And that spoonful was left because no one wanted to take the last. When nothing is left, I consider it a successful offering.


2 T. butter
4 t. flour
1/8 t. garlic powder
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
3 ounce package cream cheese, cut up
3 (10 ounce) packages frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
3 ounces diced ham

Melt butter, stir in flour and garlic powder. Add milk; cook and stir over medium heat. Heat until thick and bubbly; stir in cheeses. Cook/stir over low heat until cheeses melt; stir in corn and ham. Bake in 2 quart casserole for 45 minutes at 350.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Late Spring Lunch

It's Thursday and so we've all set our tables and are ready to show them off. Please join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch to see the other creative tabletops.
Last Wednesday I hosted a luncheon for four in the breakfast room. Although it was indoors, I wanted outdoors and so the centerpiece was my thyme topiary rabbit and the silver pails and watering cans held the salt and pepper.
A bright yellow and blue tabletopper seemed like spring and so no one really has to see the "rear end" of the rabbit, two brassy birds are on the tabletop as well.

Dishes are my blue Spode and napkins are white (for I don't have any yellow ones which would have been PERFECT!) A ladies luncheon and the knives are really German fruit knives with a horn handle.
The Spode brings out the blue in the tablecloth and the napkins, of course, are in my silver napkin rings.
The bunny, who usually resides in the garden really needs a bit of a haircut. He's cute and makes a perfect centerpiece.

It was a fun luncheon. Since it was a ladies luncheon we had chicken and broccoli quiche, harricot verte wrapped in chives and sprinkled with balsamic vinegar and baked. A chive blossom topping the bundle when it was served. Fresh hot croissants. Dessert, since it was ladies, was chocolate!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Linderhof's Back Garden

It's time for Outdoor Wednesday hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer. Stop by and see all of the great outside spaces this Wednesday.

My favorite outdoor space is the back garden at Linderhof. It's not very big but that suits me well. Just enough. And with either hard surfaces or planting beds, we don't have to mow it. Instead we pick grass blades and weeds one at a time!
Our new pond, filled with fish, finally landscaped (although the sunflower seeds are sprouting with wild abandon -- because Husband Jim always puts seeds on the statue -- the favorite feeding station of our cardinals) and has turned from an ugly triangle into a pretty oasis.
The pergola -- reached from the patio by going through the arbor and through the herb garden. Each column has a wisteria plant that's starting to grow up and around the column. I can't wait until it is wisteria covered -- for shade in the summer and for blooms and aroma in May.

My favorite birdbath is the little square one that looks antique. The birds like it as well.
The garden gate with the living wreath -- pansies now and I'm going to try succulents this summer. Soon it shall be the time to replant the wreath! A grouping of plants and a small birdbath are on the other side of the garden gate.

From the back of the patio looking towards the house. The patio, it seems, is never leaf free -- but as I often vacuum the house, husband "blows" the patio. And as the house gets "dirty" again so the patio has leaves.

The big white pots hold blueberry bushes and lettuce while other pots hold colorful annuals or green topiaries.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Hasselback Potatoes

On a favorite blog, One Perfect Bite, I saw a recipe for "Hasselback Potatoes" with a soy glaze. Mary always has such great recipes but never having a traditional "Hasselback", I chose to make that version first.

I didn't know where the "Hasselback" came from. Was it a person from whom the recipe came (like my Welgenhausen Salad recipe -- the Welgenhausen's were unknown to me but the friend that I got the salad recipe from got it from the Welgenhausens and so their name lives forever as this recipe gets passed from one person to another) or was Hasselback a region of Sweden? Alas, no -- it was the Hasselbaken Inn in Stockholm in whose restaurant this recipe originated.

The traditional recipe is easy to find on the internet and it is an easy recipe. The hardest part (as Mary says) is the slicing of the potatoes so that you cut almost through but not quite. She uses the spoon method, I read about a chopsticks method and I just used my knife stopping at the proper place -- which worked well for me.

They're a pretty potato and look good on the plate. The recipe called for a sprinkling of parsley but I had chives in my herb jar and so chose to chop some of them up rather than go to the garden for parsley.
A topping of Parmesan and crumbs make for a crunch crust.
The best vegetable to accompany the poatoes (and the steak on the grill) is Farmer's Market asparagus.

They are almost no more trouble than baked potatoes. They will become a standard potato at Linderhof especially when we grill steak. And perhaps next time, I will try the soy glazed version.

Hasselback Potatoes

4 baking potatoes
2 T. butter, melted
salt and pepper to taste
2 T. finely grated fresh Romano cheese (I used Parm)
1 T. seasoned dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 425. Peel the potatoes and place in a bowl of cold water to prevent browning. Place potatoes into a large wooden or metal spoon. Using a sharp knife, make slices across the potato the short way about 1/8 to 1/4 inch apart, making sure to cut down to the lip of the spoon, not all the way through the potato. The slices should stay connected at the bottom, and the spoon helps keep the depth even. Return the potato to the bowl of water and proceed with the reminaing potatoes.

When all of the potatoes are cut, place them cut side up in a shallow baking dish or small roasting pan. Drizzle with half of the butter, then season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from the oven and drizzle with the remaining butter. Sprinkle cheese and bread crumbs onto the tops of the potatoes and season with a little more salt and pepper. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until nicely browned.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Decoration Day

Was what my grandmother always called May 30th. Not Memorial Day as did everyone else. But, then, of course, it is no longer on May 30th but rather the 4th Monday in May so that it can be a 3 day weekend.

Instead of honoring our fallen heroes, the day is spent boating and picnicing and BBQing.

But as a child, Memorial Day was a family day when my family would go over to my grandmother's after we visited the cemetery and placed flowers on my other grandmother's grave and Miss Mamie's grave.

There we would have a noon dinner, then load the trunk of the car with fresh flowers -- peonies, iris and the most beautiful red roses. All placed carefully in coffee cans filled with water.

And off we would go to cemeteries far and near. At each stop, we would carefully make a bouquet of flowers from the stash in the trunk and respectfully place it on the grave of the departed loved one.

The cemetery far was where my great great grandmother was buried and my grandmother always told the story of how when she died, there was no money for a headstone. Instead a tree marks the spot where she is buried. I loved the story and wish now that I had asked my grandmother to tell more stories of this amazing lady. But, alas, a child doesn't think of those things.

Tomorrow our National Cemetery will have a ceremony to honor all those buried there. Not just the fallen heroes but the others who served their country and were fortunate enough to come home.

And at 3 p.m. tomorrow, our time, we shall observe the National Moment of Remembrance, by pausing in whatever we are doing for a moment of silence.

Our family has been fortunate for all of our soldiers came home.

And this weekend, we shall decorate the graves of both our soldier ancestors as well as our other ancestors.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Memory and A Recipe -- Putsch's 210 Spinach Salad

The Country Club Plaza was and still is, the toney shopping mecca in Kansas City. In my youth, upscale but local merchants filled the Plaza such as Hartzfelds and a neat toy store (Kansas City's version of FAO Schwarz)

But yet, there were more ordinary stores as well -- such as Sears, a bowling alley and a dime store (I think it was Woolworth but it could have been Kresge's).

It was my mother's preferred shopping area and it also was where our doctor's and dentists had their offices. My parents even banked on the Country Club Plaza -- at The Country Club Bank!

And because to my mother, shopping was an occasional outing -- to fill closets with school clothes, to replace worn linens in the linen closet, to do Christmas shopping -- shopping was an all day (or almost) affair and that meant lunch as well. In winter, she went alone, but in summer, we (my brother and I) got to go along -- and our favorite place for lunch was Putsch's cafeteria.

The name Putsch's was a well known food name in Kansas City -- not only for it's cafeteria but also for it's high class restaurant, Putsch's 210. We didn't lunch there but my parents did go there for dinner -- for very special occasions. And, before I was married, a very sophisticated date took me there -- my one and only time.

These were the days before there was an excellent restaurant in every shopping center and before any chef's were nominated for a James Beard Award. Actually, it was before there were ANY James Beard Awards!

It was one of a handful of classy restaurants that served gourmet food.

And a favorite . . . .

Putsch's 210 Spinach Salad . . .

Sometime after the restaurant became Fedora's, the Kansas City Star published the famous 210 Spinach Salad recipe. I, of course, clipped it out. And made it a time or two or three.

But it has graced the pages of my personal recipe collection for almost 2 decades without being made again.

With baby spinach from the farmer's market, I decided to resurrect this wonderful spinach salad. It would go so well with the steak that husband Jim was going to grill for dinner.

I think you can tell that it is a restaurant salad -- for it goes together easily and can be done in steps which is great for entertaining.
With Farmer's Market eggs, cheese, onion and celery, it's a very flavorful salad. The mayonnaise dressing which I enhanced with a hint of horseradish (rather than serving it on the side as it was done at 210) it was a great first course for the steak and vegetables to follow.

Putsch's 210 Spinach Salad

10 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. vinegar
1/2 t. Tabasco sauce
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
3 hard cooked eggs, chopped (I sliced mine)
3/4 cup grated cheese
1/3 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 T. horseradish

Wash spinach and drain well. Sprinkle salt over spinach. Mix vinegar and Tabasco sauce and pour over spinach and toss. Add celery, onion, egg and cheese. Blend in mayonnaise until everything is well coated. Serve with horseradish on the side.

NOTE: I mixed the horseradish in with the mayonnaise.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chicken Pasta Salad

This is such a great dish for such a mundane name. It's easy and actually can be adjusted to what may be in the refrigerator. It's an oil and vinegar based salad so it's great to take to potlucks AND it can be a side salad if you omit the chicken.
I like bow tie or penne pasta for pasta salads because they are "forkable" and much easier to eat than long noodle pasta salads.
It's easy to do and except for the dressing, this salad doesn't have exact proportions. Red pepper, sliced thinly, asparagus, green onion (although I've used red onion when I didn't have any green) and, of course, chicken.

You poach the chicken and then in the same water, boil the asparagus just until it loses it's crispness and then shock the asparagus in ice water to stop the cooking and set the color, and lastly, add the pasta to the same water and cook until al dente.

Mix all together and then pour over the raspberry Dijon vinaigrette. Toss until the salad is well coated. (And I like to do it while the pasta is hot for I think it absorbs the vinaigrete better.)

The vinaigrette is really tasty -- not only on this salad but on lettuce salads as well. It does make a nice quantity of dressing and sometimes I have some left over which I put in a Mason jar and refrigerate. (Note: olive oil will set if refrigerated -- just take from the fridge about a half hour before dinner)


2 t. Dijon
2 t. tarragon (prefer fresh but have used dried)
1 green onion, cut in chunks (both green and white)
1/2 cup Raspberry vinager
1 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a food processor until well blended.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chocolate Ganache Cake, Part Deux

It's Friday and so it time to see what's come out of our kitchens. From appetizers to desserts, good food abounds at Foodie Friday hosted by Designs by Gollum.

At Linderhof, it's chocolate cake. A favorite cake, Chocolate Ganache Cake from the Barefoot Contessa. Part Deux because I posted about it before. It was Valentine's dessert.

But it's spring and although it was the same recipe, I decided to make one small change . . . .
White chocolate for the frosting instead of chocolate chocolate. (Note: chips contain binders which is why it calls for bar chocolate. I used chips and I did have a problem with the ganache frosting (as you can see by the picture).
And since it is spring, what better to decorate than violas from the garden. I love the purple, violet and white flowers against the white chocolate frosting.
The top looked nice and the flowers added a nice touch. I did cut the cake in the kitchen and just brought out pieces.
The cake went well with raspberry tea and . . . there was enough that Husband Jim and I had a piece for dessert that evening.

For the recipe, see Chocolate Ganache Cake (Part One). It truly is a simple recipe and goes together almost as quickly as a cake mix. The chocolate comes from the whole can of Hershey's syrup. And I like the fact that it only makes one layer -- sometimes that amount of cake is just perfect!