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.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What To Do When It's Too Hot!!!

Temperatures on the prairie have been torrid -- way too hot in my opinion -- especially after spending so much time in the mild climate of England! In fact, we still have our English town on our as a favorite. To see a 30 degree difference between here and there reminds us of how really hot it is!!!


Our temperature yesterday soared to way over 100 . . . and when the temperature is that warm, it forces us to be inside as much as the winter cold forces us to be inside! Ollie gets an early walk -- for he doesn't like the heat any better than I do. And plants are watered early and weeds are pulled and flowers deadheaded . . . and then we go inside for the day

And what to do inside to stay busy?

Work on the bookshelves -- in the sunroom upstairs and

the guest room --

on both sides of the window!

There is nothing like moving books from one room to another and from one shelf to another to make one forget exactly how hot it is outside!!!

The reason for working on the bookshelves? I've lost about 3 books and couldn't find them. Of course, except for the cookbooks and partial shelves, the books had no order -- gardening books and decorating book were next to each other -- favorite books about England were scattered here and there -- Under the Tuscan Sun, On Rue Tatin, and Vie De France: Sharing Food, Friendship and a Kitchen in the Lorie Valle were on shelves in the sunroom as well as the guest room.

Did I find the missing books? No!!!! But I did find some books that I had forgotten about and that is a good thing!

My goals was not to have an organized library with books arranged by author alphabetically and by the dewey decimal system but rather a shelf of decorating books, a shelf of garden books, a shelf of books about England (and surprisingly I do have a whole shelf of books about England!!!) And when I take a book from that shelf, I will return it to that shelf!!!

It was a satisfying afternoon of book moving and I restrained from sitting down in the chair with a "find" and rereading it!!! I'll save that for later!!!

And how much did I get done?

The sunroom -- cookbooks mostly take up the left two bookcase sections, some older books that are favorites of mine (some novels some non-fiction) and all of my tea cookbooks (which is one reason that the organization as needed -- I couldn't find two of them!) including a couple that I had completely forgotten about!

The guest room is still piled with books although the left side bookcase is mostly done but the right still needs to be put to rights -- that will be for another day (for thankfully, no company is expected)

I did finish the sunroom in time to go to the Farmer's Market this afternoon -- my carry bag came home filled with zucchini, onions, garlic, tomatoes and new potatoes.

Which made the most wonderful . . . .

Vegetable Tian. It's my take on an Ina recipe. I like to do it in two smaller baking dishes rather than one big one -- just enough for an individual portion. It went really well with the sauteed chicken that I dredged in herbal flour first and the fresh corn on the cob. A real summer meal.

What I like best about this recipe is that you can make as much or as little as you want -- I must admit that the heat has affected my appetite and I wasn't able to finish my tian -- the leftovers will go well in a frittata in the morning!

The recipe as it is printed in Ina's Barefoot in Paris cookbook.

Vegetable Tian

Good olive oil
2 large yellow onions, cut in half and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound medium round potatoes, unpeeled
3/4 pound zucchini
1 1/4 pounds medium tomatoes
1 t. kosher alt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 T. fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs
2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 375

Brush a 9 x 13 baking dish with olive oil. In a medium saute pan, heat 2 T. olive oil and cook the onions over medium low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.

Slice the potatoes, zucchini and tomatoes in 1/4 inch thick slices. Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onions, fitting them tightly, making only 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, thyme leaves and thyme sprigs and drizzle with 1 more T. of olive oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Uncover the dish, remove the thyme sprigs, sprinkle the cheese on top and bake for another 30 minutes until browned. Served warm.

NOTE: I used less ingredients when I made this in individual au gratin dishes. And it took less time to cook than doing it in one big dish.

It's Wednesday and I'm joining Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday -- for today I hibernated inside because of the heat outside! Since not all of the country is suffering from our heat wave, I'm sure there will be lots of summer posts this Wednesday so please join Susan.


RobinfromCA said...

I don't like heat and I love books and bookshelves! Your Outdoor Wednesday post just called my name and also made me want to get into my den and start organizing my overflowing bookcases! Hmm....

GardenOfDaisies said...

Martha, it is dreadfully hot!! But we just had a big storm come through, with hail, and tomorrow it supposed to be at least 10 degrees cooler. Imagine thinking that 90 degrees is cool.
I know what you mean about wanting books to be with similar books. That is what I try to do... until I need to pull them out to look something up, and they don't always get put away, and then I have a pile that is all jumbled up again.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I'm glad we aren't having as much heat as you are, and hope your temperatures improve soon!

I have bookshelves in every room of the house, for the most part, and desperately need some reorganization! And this is something difficult to do little by little!

The recipe sounds perfect. My son is a vegetarian and I know we will both enjoy this.

Anonymous said...

This bibliophile really enjoyed your bookshelf pictures this morning! And, don't I know the job of re-arranging shelves. I am about to embark on that journey myself - between my office, dining room/library, living room, and the basement stacks - all part of my purging binge the next two weeks! I've always organized my books in categories - or else I'd be lost. Also, being married to a career bookseller - there'd be no other option! Hope you find your missing tomes!
Miss Kathy

On Crooked Creek said...

I absolutely love how you've rearranged your books!!! Your system is intriquing for an ex~libriarn. You've totally motivated me to resort to the lower level this afternoon (after work) and do the same with my magazine collections!!! Although, I'm not as disclipined as you, dear friend...I'm sure I'll sink into my MoMa's chair and leaf through several...and dream!

Maggie said...

We're having a much better day here in Normandy, blue skies & sunshine. No sign of the rain we endured yesterday.
Re-arranging books is a favourite pastime of mine too, but how you resisted sitting down to read I cannot understand at all! LOL.
Hope the heat lets up soon.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Sounds like a perfect day despite the heat. What can be more fun than rearranging the bookshelves when one must stay inside where it is cool! I love your floor-to-ceiling built-in shelves, by the way. You do have a lot of books!

Southerncook said...

I am truly impressed. I wish I was feeling more energetic since my house needs some serious reorganizing. You truly are an inspiration.


The Sewing and Knitting Loft said...

We are roasting down here in Texas too! Isn't is HORRIBLE! We are setting heat records. I am staying in the house unless I just have to get out and do something. What a job cleaning out bookcases. Yours look nice and tidy and your memory is refresed as to where things are. Doesn't it just scald you that you can't find what you were looking for in the first place? Your vegetable tian looks delicious!

Entertaining Women said...

I agree about the heat. It rained here yesterday in the midst of the heat...a good rain, indeed...but when I went outside afterwards, my sunglassess completely fogged up. That said...we're going out for dinner...too hot to cook. Your book shelves remind me of my own. They often drive me a bit nutty, but I can't imagine a home without them. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Cherry Kay

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Love your bookcases! We have tons of books too. I'd love to have those bookcases!

Your recipe sounds wonderful too!

Thanks for sharing!