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.

Monday, May 31, 2010

We Remember . . .

Memorial Day was established to honor the fallen from the Civil War. Many towns lay claim to the fact that they were the first to have a Memorial Day for those soldiers but my favorite story is of the Southern ladies who laid flowers on the graves of fallen Yankee soldiers buried in the South.

After World War I, it was established that Memorial Day would be not just for Civil War soldiers but for all of those who died fighting in any War.

This poem by Monia Michael says so much:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on field where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

We, in Fort Scott, are proud to have a National Cemetery and we're even prouder that it is the first.

Not all who are buried here are fallen soldiers, but all who are buried here served their country and served it well.

The Avenue of Flags leading up to the cemetery tugs at your heart. The placing of the flags is a labor of love for our local VFW Chapter. It makes the cemetery seem even more special on this, the day that we honor our soldiers who fought so gallantly for that flag.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Cup of Soup

Whenever we had "Lady" company for luncheon, we love to serve soup -- but not a big bowl but rather "just a cup". But not in a restaurant style cup, but rather a lovely tea cup complete with saucer.

It makes for a lovely presentation -- this Cream of Green Herb Soup garnished with a chive blossom.
And looks so elegant served in a china cup and saucer. The pink flowers of the cup and saucer are picked up by the pink of the chive blossom garnish.

It's my adaptation of a recipe from the Inn at Little Washington found in a favorite herb cookbook - Cooking with Herbs by Emilie Tolley. It's easy and oh, so good!

Cream of Green Herb Soup

1 onion, diced
1 T. butter
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups freshly picked green herbs (tarragon, sorrel, chives, sage or whatever is growing in your garden)
1 cup whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion in butter until it is translucent. Add chicken broth and herbs which have been minced. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Puree in blender or with immersion blender. (You can strain after pureeing if you want -- I didn't). Add cream and heat. Can be garnished with an herb flower, if desired.
A fine china violet cup and saucer holds a springtime favorite, cream of lettuce soup, garnished with a violet pansy.
The pale green of the soup is the perfect foil for the pansy -- which is edible!!! Each teacup size serving of soup is a separate course -- not served with a salad or sandwich. The elegant teacup full of soup deserves full attention as it's own special course.

The lettuce soup recipe was found long ago in a favorite soup and bread cookbook, The Eljiah's Landing Restaurant cookbook. I've never been there but several of my luncheon soups have come from that book.


1 small onion, diced
1 T. butter
1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion in butter until soft. Add chicken broth and iceberg lettuce. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Puree in blender or food processor. Add heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste and heat to just below a boil.

NOTE: It's amazing that the iceberg lettuce is still a bit crunch after a 15 minute simmer. Adds a great texture to the soup!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Queen of Strawberry Desserts

Has to be a trifle. It's big, it's decadant and it's bursting with strawberries. And it's a great dessert for company for it can mostly be made ahead!
Layers of pound cake sandwiched with raspberry jam, strawberries and vanilla pudding -- all crowned with freshly whipped cream and a strawberry garnish.
It is certainly a showy dessert and one meant for company!

With the strawberries at the market so good this year, it was a perfect dessert when we had luncheon company! And it is so easy to make . . . and you can cheat and use Sara Lee frozen pound cake and even pudding from a mix!

It's Friday which means that it's Foodie Friday -- so please join Michael at Designs By Gollum to see what everyone is cooking this Friday.


2 pints strawberries, quartered or thickly sliced, plus extra for garnish
1/4 c. sugar
2 T. Grand Marnier (or other orange flavored liqueur)
1 pound cake (14 to 16 ounces -- homemade is best)
6 T. raspberry jam
2 cups vanilla pudding (from your favorite recipe or from a mix)
1 cup heavy cream
2 T. powdered sugar
1 T. Grand Marnier

In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries gently with the granulated sugar and Grand Marnier. Let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the cake lengthwise into 6 slices about 1/2 inch thick. Spread 2 T. raspberry jam over every other slice. Sandwich together a jam covered slice with a plain slice so there are 3 sections of cake layers filled with jam. Cut each section crosswise into slices 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick.

Cover the bottom of a glass trifle dish with a layer of cake pieces. Drain the strawberries, reserving the juices; there will be about 1/4 cup. Drizzle 2 1/2 to 3 T. of the juices over the cake pieces in the bowl. Place half the strawberries in the bottom. Cover with half the vanilla pudding. Place the remaining cake pieces on top. Drizzle with the remaining juices and cover with the remaining berries and pudding. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Shortly before serving, beat the cream with the powdered sugar until fairly stiff. Beat in the vanilla. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the trifle and garnish with the whole berries.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Peonies are Abloom for Lunch

I love peony time on the prairie. Not only are they beautiful flowers but they smell heavenly as well. Peonies make beautiful bouquets and fill the room with their wonderful fragrance whenever they are on the breakfast room table.

Alas, the problem with peonies is rain . . . and so often when they bloom, it rains and rains hard -- the beautiful blooms are bashed to the ground with rain. A bouquet of peonies can be a rare thing on the prairie in Spring.

But this year, I was fortunate -- for I was able to clip lots of blossoms which made a perfect centerpiece for a Spring luncheon!
In the breakfast room. With an heirloom white damask tablecloth and big damask napkins in my silver napkin rings.
The peonies on both the table . . . .

And on the plates -- my Wedgwood Cuckoo . . . .

And on the menu . . . .

And for luncheon -- it was an herbal luncheon. Cream of Green Herb Soup (from the Inn at Little Washington), lemon and sage chicken cutlets, herbed rice and for dessert -- strawberry trifle!

It's Thursday which means that it's time for Tablescape Thursday with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. See what everyone is doing this Thursday over at Susan's.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gunn Park

Every city has a city park -- even large metropolis like New York City (think Central Park). In small towns, however, the park is an extremely important part of life.

Our Park, in our town on the prairie is Gunn Park. Named for Mr. Gunn who donated the park to the city.
This year, it is celebrating it's 100th Anniversary.

Interestingly, Mr. Gunn's son, Rice, lived in our house in 1929 and 1930 -- he didn't own it but he and his wife and son lived here. That, I think, gives us a better connection to our City Park and in the garden at Linderhof is one of the old fountains from the park. Remember those -- the ones that in the summer had lukewarm water? They were in every park, I think.
We have two lakes at the park -- this one is great for fishing . . .

This is Fern Lake which was here for recreation long before there was a Gunn Park.

And like so many little towns across America, during the Depression, the WPA improved the park . . .
With shelter houses -- with two great fireplaces --

And this double decker shelter house on Fern Lake.

And one of the reasons to go to the Park is the ducks.

And we never go to the Park without a loaf of white bread . . . for the feeding of ducks at the park is a ritual that we established when Daugher Sarah was small.

The most interesting thing about Gunn Park (other than the den where the bear was kept -- for in it's early life it was a zoo) is the wee house that a long ago caretaker built for his daughter.

When we do our Flamingo Frenzy every summer, we have wee ones that go into the yard!

It's Wednesday which means that it's Outdoor Wednesday and on this late Spring day, I can't think of a better place to be than in our City Park, Gunn Park. Please join Susan at A Southern Daydreamer and see what other outdoor adventures there are this Wednesday.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tea for Breakfast

Some mornings, husband Jim is up and out early -- to go with a friend to the city. Breakfast for me on those days is lazy and easy.
My wee pot which I bought in England -- a pot for two. It's Indies by Johnson Brothers and I brought home two tea cups and two saucers. My intention was to have a tea spot in the bedroom for a morning cuppa.

Breakfast is a slice of organic whole wheat toast with Irish butter, a bowl of fresh raspberries sprinkled with sugar and a jar of homemade strawberry jam -- in case I want a bit of sweet on the toast.
All put on a tray and taken to the breakfast room where I leisurely munch my toast and sip my tea as I read the morning paper, work the crossword and watch the birds as they come in for breakfast.

It's a great way to start the day.

It's Tuesday . . . . and so . . . .

It's Tabletop Tuesday with Marty at A Stroll Thru Life
It's Tea Cup Tuesday at Martha's Favorites (another Martha!)
It's Tea Time Tuesday at Lady Katherine's Tea Parlor
It's Tea for Two at The Plumed Pen

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A New Mirror!

The top of the chest in our bedroom. It's an old Walnut chest and in it's drawers are Husband Jim's tees, handkerchiefs, socks and "unmentionables".

The top is also his (for I have my dressing table) but somehow the "Lady of the Necklaces" has found her way to the top of his dresser. Wedding and anniversary pictures are also there -- and on his chest has always resided our wedding picture. The mirror was a Tuesday Morning find that I like much better than he does --

And what happened Friday as we hit one Estate Sale after another in the city . . .I found something that I have been searching for -- a dressing table mirror . . .

Perfect for this chest -- it's walnut as is the chest. And except for the "Lady of the Necklace" (who went back to my dressing table) and a blue and white vase of dried flowers, everything is still on the chest -- wedding pictures (ours and Daughter Sarah and her Andy) and a picture taken on our 40th Wedding Anniversary. His childhood Whizzo the Clown bank and a "Genie" lamp that he played with as a child at his grandmother's. The Oriental box in the background was bought on an R and R when he served in Viet Nam.

It's a small change -- going from one mirror to another but I think it's a BIG difference in the top of his dresser.

It's Monday so it's time to visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch to see what other transformations there are this Met Monday!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rose Petals

The William Baffin rose was beautiful this year -- loaded and loaded with pink blooms.

But as the blooms wan, they fall . . .
Around the cat and the fish pond . . . . the rose petals decorating the side of the pond.

Instead of a snow shower, we have a shower of rose petals . . .Alas, the roses are almost gone and my chore tomorrow is to collect rose petals for potpouri making.
Unfortunately, many of the petals fell to earth -- decorating Linderhof's garden with pink!

It's Saturday which means that it's Pink Saturday -- please join Beverly at How Sweet the Sound to see what other pinks there are this Satuarday!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Breakfast Room

The breakfast room is a special place. It's small -- 8 x 14 -- but it's big on living. Not having an eat-in kitchen, it fulfills the option of eating somewhere other than the dining room.

On the table, there is always some flowers . . . .
This bouquet is some lovely white streaked purple iris -- a late bloomer, along with sage and sorrel blossoms. In a new glass vase which, I think, showcases the flowers.

It's where we start the day -- first with the paper and a pot of tea and then with breakfast.
And our view -- the back garden which is lovely in summer as it is in winter.

And we never tire of the view -- it's as much fun to watch the garden waken in the spring as it is to watch the falling snow in the winter.

At half past three every day that I'm home, I'll stop for a cup of tea and a nosh -- in the breakfast room!
Every evening at 6 p.m., no matter where we are, we gather together in the breakfast room for our evening martini. It's a ritual and one that we miss if we have other plans! Simple and straightforward, it's a classic gin martini complete with 2 olives!

After dinner, dessert and coffee are taken in the breakfast room.

This is a wonderful almond poppyseed cake. It's made in a sheet pan so there's always plenty -- for an extra dessert before bedtime, for an afternoon nosh with tea, or for a snack with morning coffee if company comes.

A new purchase this year is our sideboard. Very Victorian and I think very English, it's a great piece and a practical piece for it's loaded with storage for teapots and tea cups and bits of silver.

It's Friday which means that's it's time for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum. Please join her to see what else is cooking this Friday.

And also, please stop by My Romantic Home for it's Show and Tell Friday -- I'm bragging about my Little Breakfast Room -- probably the most favorite room in our whole house. A lot of living in a little space!


3 eggs
2 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. milk
1 c. vegetable oil
1 1/2 t. each of almond extract, vanilla and butter flavoring
3 c. flour
4 1/2 t. poppy seeds
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. salt

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, milk, oil, extracts and butter flavoring. Combine the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt; add to the egg mixture just until combined. Spread into a greased 15 x 10 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 20 -25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.


2 T. Butter
2 to 2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 to 3 T. milk

In a mixing bowl, combine the glaze ingredients, mix until smooth. Frost bars.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Pansy Luncheon

We love pansies and plant lots in the spring -- in the front and side planters and in the window box in the back garden. Alas, when the heat of late prairie spring comes, the pansies fade. And we're sorry to see them go.

But what better way to celebrate pansies than having a pansy luncheon!
A table for four in the breakfast room.
With a Quaker Lace tablecloth and napkins in pansy blue.
The dishes -- my blue and white Spode, of course.

And the centerpiece -- pansies in shades of blue and violet.
And for a first course, not pansies but a close cousin -- my 19th Century handpainted violet teacups and saucers for the cream of lettuce soup. Garnished with a purple pansy which echoes the violets on the dishes.
And for dessert -- more pansies scattered atop a lemon poppyseed cake. Bright yellow ones because the cake is lemon.

Served on the cake plates that go with the cups and saucers. A great finale for a pansy luncheon!

The entree -- chicken asparagus quiche, chive corn madelines and salad of mixed baby greens with a creamy herbal dressing.

It's Thursday and time for Tablescape Thursday. Please join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch to see what is on everyone's table this Thursday!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Friend in the Garden

An earlier resident of Linderhof planted a tulip tree long ago -- in the center of the garden. It's a huge tree and every May, it blooms. . . .
The blooms are a natural food of one of our bird friends. And every May when the tulip tree blooms, that bird friend finds its way to the garden at Linderhof. For two to three weeks.
Our friend -- is the Baltimore Oriole. None one but two males and their ladies as well. The ladies are black as well but without a hood and instead of bright orange they are more yellow gold.

They're skittish and so, they work their way in . . . . first at the back of the pergola.. . .
Then to the side of the garden . . . . . casing man's food supply.

And then, food at last!

We enjoy these yearly visits of the Orioles. In May days, we often spend more time in the breakfast room when we're indoors so that we can enjoy the visits of these colorful birds.

Today at lunch a friend told me she had 13 -- thirteen -- orioles visiting her. Her secret -- grape jelly and orange slices. She's went through one jar already and is on her second. Grape jelly is now in the pantry at Linderhof and we've sliced oranges and put them on plates under the pergola. We'll see if our orioles multiply!!!!

It's Wednesday, which means that it's time for Outdoor Wednesday. Please join Susan at A Southern Daydreamer to see what everyone is doing outdoors this Wednesday.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cooking With Herbs -- Louisburg Style!

North of us is another wonderful town with a great Cider Mill -- a favorite stop whenever we go to or from the city. Saturday, I ventured north to the Cider Mill for a . . .
cooking class! -- on cooking with herbs -- two passions of mine -- cooking and herbs! Not as an attendee but rather as the instructor!
My table for the class with both show and tells and tastings!
For show and tell -- favorite books on cooking with herbs, herbal sugars and salts and a bottle of my tarragon vinegar.
The tastings -- Louisburg's own Rabbit Creek Three Cheese bread mix to which I added dill and an orange rosemary pound cake.

I had a grand time at the class and I'll be back next year for another (and different) Cooking With Herb Class, in case you missed this one!

My table for Tabletop Tuesday is my table for my cooking class. Please join Marty at A Stroll Thru Life to see what else is on tabletops this Tuesday.

The orange rosemary pound cake is a favorite and the one that I make most often. And more often than not, I bake it in my tube pan rather than in a loaf pan. I decorated it for the class with an orange glaze, branches of candied rosemary and strips of orange peel.

The cake:


1/2 c butter

3 eggs

1/2 c. sour cream

1 1/2 c. flour

1/4 t. baking powder

1/8 t. baking soda

1 cup sugar

1/2 t. vanilla

1 1/4 t. finely grated orange peel

1 t. rosemary, minced

Let butter, eggs and 1/2 cup sour cream stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Grease and lightly flour an 8 x 4 x 2 or 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan (or a tube pan). Stir together flour, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, beating about 10 minutes or till light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Add dry mixture and sour cream alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low to medium speed after each addition just till combined. Press batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake in a 325 oven for 60 to 75 minutes or till a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan; cool on rack.

I made a glaze with powdered sugar and fresh squeeze orange juice and drizzled over the top and then put branches of candied rosemary on top along with long thin strips of orange peel.