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, August 28, 2011

Twelve Years Ago

I had a theory that if they paid you not to work, don't!      And so twelve years ago I did just that.    And what a wonderful twelve years it's been!    

It's fun to wake up and not have the "going to work" obligation, although, sometimes I have gotten so busy that going to work would look like a rest!!!!

I started working after high school and except for a few weeks at a time, I've worked my entire life.    I was a working mom to daughter Sarah.    A decision, I really regret.

But I have never regretted for a minute my decision twelve years ago.    I have enjoyed each and every day of my retirement!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Reprise -- My Affair With A House

Something happened Friday last.    I went to sign on to check my blog with the intention of a wonderful Saturday post and . . . I kept getting the message "server not recognized" over and over and over again.

I am computer "challenged" and I did "play" with the computer a bit trying to figure out how I could add "" as a server since it must have been and was now no longer.  

Alas, I could not and so after a busy day and a busy evening, I finally was able to talk to my IT educated son-in-law who helped me get back on my blog.     We never could get "" to work but we did change it to and that works so that is where I will hang my blog hat for a while!

Computers!     You've got to love them -- but sometimes they are soooo frustrating!!!

It is Sunday (or almost) and I'm sharing a favorite post about my favorite house -- Linderhof!    I originally posted April 2010.     Please join Chari at Happy to Design for Favorites Sunday.

My affair with my house started 22 years ago when Husband Jim was told that he (we) had to move to this town on the prairie. I dragged my feet for I didn't want to move but Husband Jim called and told me that he had a house he wanted me to look at -- which would mean that it was a blind date!

And I went on the blind date!

(Blind dates seem to work for me -- Husband Jim and I met on a blind date -- he proposed the next night and we were married a month later -- 40 years ago!)

I fell in love as we drove up and when I walked in the master bedroom with the fireplace, I could have signed the contract right then and there -- for the asking price!!!!

But, thankfully, I kept my head.

And we got the house for less than the asking price!

It became Linderhof before we moved in because we had been to England about six months before and we loved the fact that so many of their houses had names (often instead of addresses).

Linderhof because the builder of the house was German and my heritage is German. Named by Husband Jim who had been to the real Linderhof in Germany. It was his favorite castle.

When we moved in, we had an engraved brass plaque that we put on the door that said simply "Linderhof".

In the days before bed and breakfasts (for they have names), it was confusing and strangers would often address me as "Mrs. Linderhof"! (which I found terribly amusing).

When I started writing the column for the newspaper and found that people didn't know where "Linderhof" was . . . the big plaque was made and put on the front of the house.

Although there was a fireplace in the Master Bedroom (something I had always wanted) -- and two more fireplaces as well -- there were some things it lacked in my "always wanted in a house" . . . a walk up attic (but we fixed that -- we made one), a breakfast room (we fixed that - we added one), an door from the house to the back garden (we fixed that -- we made one), wood floors (they were there -- we uncovered them and refinished them), white painted cabinets with glass uppers (we redid the NEW oak cabinets that were there so they looked older)

But the things it DID have -- the fireplace in Master Bedroom and dining room as well as the living room, a great kitchen, an old fashioned bathroom, wood floors, were all things I wanted in a house.

We fixed some of the things it didn't have (see above) but there are two things that I would love to have that, alas, will never be at Linderhof -- a back staircase and a butler's pantry!!!! Sigh! And I'm too in love with Linderhof to casually toss her away for my two wants -- houses have come on the market that include those two things but my affair with Linderhof has been so long that I just can't toss her aside for a back staircase and a butler's pantry!

Linderhof is a 1920's brick four square with Craftsman influences on the outside (the porch and portico) but inside it's classic with wide always painted woodwork. Original light fixtures grace both the back door and the front door. Inside -- the first update was in 1948 -- the second in 1985.

We've been here 22 years and some things have changed over our years but some things haven't. We have put back things that were taken out -- like the pedestal sink in the bathroom, the swinging door between dining room and kitchen, and the tile in the bathroom. But we have added our own touches -- the chandeliers in all the rooms!

I'm still in love with Linderhof and my husband doesn't mind this affair of mine for he loves her as much as I!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Appetizers and Ollie

Mostly, when we have guests for appetizers at Linderhof, we serve them on the living room coffee table. There are enough chairs in the living room that makes for comfortable sitting and good conversation.

Last Saturday, we were going out to dinner at Crooners and a show at The Liberty. We asked guests to stop by on their way there for drinks. You can't have drinks without a nibble.

Everyone loves deviled eggs and there were fresh pullet eggs at the Farmer's Market Satuarday -- really small pullet eggs -- just one bite eggs. And fresh melon wrapped in prosciutto. Perfect munchies to go with martinis.

Oliver laying under the coffee table (one of his favorite spots) pretending that there is nothing to eat on the table above.

"Hey, do you realize that there is a dog under here and food above?" "I can smell it!"

"Now do you see me?" "You do remember there is food on that table, don't you?"

"Maybe if I pretend I'm not interested they'll give me a bite."

Our Oliver is a gentlemen, actually, for the interesting thing is that he can reach the table without even standing on his hind legs. But if there is a treat on the top, he waits until it is given to him!

Pullet eggs, if you can find them, make the perfect deviled eggs especially for a party because they truly are just one bite. This is my version of Ina Garten's deviled egg recipe and once I tried it, it is my "always go to" recipe for deviled eggs. It's very different from the one I grew up with but I really like it.


8 extra large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 T. good mayonnaise
1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T. minced fresh chives, plus extra for garnish
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

Place the eggs in a pot large enough to hold them in a single layer. Cover the eggs with cold water and bring to a full boil over high heat. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let the eggs stand for 15 minutes. Drain the eggs and fill the pot with cold water. Set aside until the eggs are cool.

Peel the eggs and then slice them in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks carefully. Place the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and arrange the whites on a platter in a single layer with the cut sides up and sprinkle with salt.

To the egg yolks, add the sour cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, chives, salt and pepper. Beat on medium speed until fluffy. With a small spoon, fill the egg whites with the egg yolk mixture. Cover loosely with plastic wrap (you don't want to flatten the filling) and refrigerate for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend.

When ready to serve, garnish with some extra chopped chives. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

NOTE: I used half of the mixture ingredients for my wee eggs. I also smashed them and mixed in a bowl with a fork.

It's Friday and I'm joining Michael at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Georgian Dessert Table

This room setting at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England, shows a table set for dessert in a prosperous middle class household in England about 1760 - 1770.

It is laid with Worcester dessert plates and dishes of that date, wine and syllabub glasses and silver from the 1730's.

The portrait by Gainsborough dates from about 1750.

Desert was the final course of dinner. A well-to-do household would use a different porcelain service form that used for the main courses.

The table was cleared of salts and pepper pots and other items used for savoury food. The servants would bring in an array of new dishes, which would include fresh, stewed and preserved fruit, sweetmeats, fondants, nuts, biscuitss, jellies and syllabubs in glasses.

Syllabub is a mixture of wine, whipped cream and orange or lemon juice. Sweet wine would be served.

I have always been fond of Georgian things and this room at the museum had me drooling. I love the Worcester plates, the silver candlesticks and how they used figurines as part of their centerpiece.

It was a time, too, when dinner was the event of an evening -- not just sustenance but the entertainment as well.

Perhaps next time we have a dinner party, I should take a page from the Georgian English and reset the table with dessert, serve a glass of syllabub as well as some sweetmeats -- for I do have some sweetmeat forks which I brought home from England.

It's Thursday and time to visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday. Visit Susan and see all the great tables this Thursday!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Flash Mob

I love to feed the various wildlife . . .

Which sounds innocent at first . . .

But suddenly, a frenzy begins to take place . . .

My new friends begin to gather . . .

And the word spreads . . .

Swans begin to organize . . .

And start to accuse the mallard of "not being one of them" . . .

Working themselves into a frenzy . . .

Finally chaos rules when a swan Flash Mob shows up!!!!

Disclaimer: This is really my husband's post -- it's part of the slideshow of the Windsor portion of our England trip! I thought it was very clever. I have no qualms about using his work (without his knowledge!)

And just when you thought I was all done with my English posts!!!!

It is Wednesday and I'm joining Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday with my "stolen" post!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Orchids For All and All for Orchids

Missouri friend Katherine and her garden friends made arrangements to visit the "orchid cave" in the city and invited we Kansans to join them.

The business in the cave is Bird's Botanicals and . . .

We got to not only meet David Bird but also got a private tour of the caves and some excellent tips on growing orchids and getting them to rebloom. He wants his orchids to live and thrive -- unlike the ones you get at Home Depot or Costco (they're hoping to see replacements purchased -- not additions as David does)

And the orchid rooms . . . not a window in sight and the temperature is the same summer and winter! The triple digit temperatures of this summer did not affect his business as it would have had he grown his plants in a regular glass greenhouse.

One of his specialties and the biggest seller -- white moth orchids. These are being readied for the opening of the new Kauffman Performing Arts Center next month.

I guess a "new method" of orchid watering involves putting ice cubes on the plant so that they slowly melt and "water" the plant as they do.

David said that the worst thing you can do to an orchid is to put ice on it's roots! But Lowe's and Home Depot want to sell more orchids and so encourage this watering method.

I had just recently heard of it. A friend waters hers with this method. I've not talked to her about what David said but I certainly will next time I see her. Who, in my opinion, would be right on the best way to water orchids -- a clerk at a Big Box Home Improvement Store or a gentlemen who grows and owns thousands of orchids?

And the orchids themselves . . .

A Dracula orchid -- very rare and very hard to grow. He does sell them but they do require special attention.

A blue moth orchid. Easiest of all to grow but this blue color was fascinating to me and it wasn't "dyed" (as so many cut flowers are) but was a natural color.

A corsage orchid -- the large variety.

The name misplaced but I love the shape of this orchid.

Another unknown variety but I loved the color.

(I didn't take as many notes as I did pictures!)

A chocolate orchid -- the last one he had (and it was for sale) and it's called chocolate because that is what it smelled like!

The pansy orchid. So named because of the sweet pansy face!

When David asked, after the tour, if we had any questions, we all said almost in unison "What can we buy?" And so, home with almost everyone came an orchid. As well as some of the orchid food that he recommends.

And after the tour, we all caravanned to EBT Restaurant for lunch. I've wanted to go "forever" and have never been. But I certainly will be back!

EBT stands for "Emery Bird Thayer" -- a longtime and beloved department store in downtown Kansas City that was closed in the late 60's and the building (which was on the National Register) was torn down in the early 70's.

Many of my childhood clothes as well as my career girl clothes came from Emery Bird's.

But at least some of Emery Bird's lives on at the restaurant . . .

The elevator doors now open onto private dining rooms -- I've walked through those same doors many times. And there was always an elevator operator to take you to the proper floor!

The architecture of the building with the rounded arches that I remember from the Walnut side of the building.

The bricks are new but the plasterwork dates from the 1890's when the building was built.

And for lunch . . .

Reminiscent of the luncheons I enjoyed in the Emery Bird Thayer Tea Room -- chicken salad, fruit and banana bread.

It was a stellar luncheon!

And what orchid did I bring home?

A pansy. A bonus -- the fragrance which is amazing. Not only does it scent the sunroom but whenever we are gone and come back home, the whole house smells like the orchid!!!! It's on an end table in the sunroom. In front of a north window.

It's a great souvenir of a fun day filled with friends.

It's Tuesday and time for Tabletop Tuesday with Marty at A Stroll Thru Life. Please see what everyone has on their tabletops this Tuesday -- I can't imagine that anyone has anything as fragrant as my orchid on a tabletop!!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

An Easy Summer Supper

Some call the evening meal supper while others call it dinner. At Linderhof, it depends upon whether or not it is the main meal of the day -- if it is, it's dinner and if it's not, then it's supper!

Mostly, we dine in the evenings at Linderhof but sometimes on Saturdays and often on Sunday's, we have supper.

And supper besides being light are also easy. A quick meal to put together and a lighter meal because we've eaten a bigger meal earlier in the day.

Pasta is often the entree of choice for Sunday suppers. It's easy and can be light.

Tonight, was one of those nights -- a quick pasta supper . . .

Egg pappardelle tossed with Farmer's Market oven roasted tomatoes with basil in oil (from a favorite vendor, Mary, who not only has amazing produce but also has some great products to sell like these tomatoes), topped with garden basil and a shower of Parmesan.

And to make the meal a little more special, slices of baguette that I made this afternoon.

I'm joining Yvonne at Stone Gable for What's On the Menu Monday!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Reprise - The Orchids

This post is originally from June 21, 2010 and since last week I visited an Orchidist and brought home a treasure and a treasure chest of orchid growing knowledge, I thought it an appropriate post for Favorites Sunday.

I still am an orchid enthusiast. I still can get them to rebloom. Occasionally, I will lose one. But there is just something about blooming plants rather than just cut flowers to make a visitor seem more welcome!

Please join Chari at Happy to Design for Sunday Favorites!

I first knew orchids when I was a teen and read Nero Wolfe -- his brownstone with the top floor being a greenhouse devoted to orchids. He'd spend mornings and afternoons up there tending to the orchids with his gardener. Rare and prized were orchids and one could only grow them with the proper greenhouse -- or so I thought.

But then there were orchids at Costco. The common and easiest grown orchid -- phalaenopsis. And so, one came home with me and then another and another . . .

They are easy to grow and I've even got them to rebloom. And they have such interesting colors.

And they are perfect on this tabletop in the breakfast room -- a cluster of them -- so much better than a lone orchid here and there!

The one on the left is white with hot pink stripes and is still blooming from March! The little lime green one in front is new -- replacing one that didn't make it. And the one on the right is one that soon will be blooming -- but I've forgotten what color it will be.
I don't like "fancy" pots for flowers -- preferring terra cotta ones -- someone plants look better in terra cotta -- and these -- these are Guy Wolff orchid pots. A perfect vessel, methinks, for orchids.

And what's on the dinner table this Tuesday -- the first, the very first garden tomato -- special enough to be a course on it's own. Sliced with a shower of garden basil and a sprinkle of sea salt.

It was heaven!!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Shirley Ann Comes for Lunch . . .

Friend Shirley Ann called and said that she had a doctor's appointment in my little town (she lives in the little town 20 miles to the East) and was wondering if after -- we could "do lunch" -- Of course, I said yes. However, instead of eating out, I suggested that she stop by The Lyons Twin Mansions and get two salads to go and that we eat here.

And so I set the table in the breakfast room. . . .

With a wonderful old cloth that was an estate sale find and my Asiatic Pheasant . . . the Royal Staffordshire plate in a dark blue, a Royal Staffordshire salad plate in a lighter bleu that we'd use for the rolls and a Burleigh Asiatic Pheasant cup and saucer.

Some wonderful new napkins from Pottery Barn that are monogramed with an "S" -- our new "everyday" napkins! Placed in silver napkin rings, of course!

The German silver which we use for every day which has my grandmother's initials. Bought at an estate sale but am wondering . . . . for it is my grandmother's initials and she would have had German silver! Monogramed on the back as all European cutlery is for it is always turned upside down when placed on the table.

And a pretty bouquet of garden flowers in a Spode Blue Italian pitchers. They're not blooming as profusely as normal for August so I feel fortunate to have this bouquet!

A simple table -- with the blue and white china (of course) and some silver candlesticks with some new black metal shades that look so English (bought here, at an antique store in our quaint downtown).

Shirley Ann brought the salad and I made iced tea. I also took a couple of Sister Shubert rolls out of the freezer to bake off to go with our salad. One of those "must haves" in our freezer -- Sister Shubert rolls. They are soooo good!

And for dessert -- some cookies that went well with tea. I baked them to take on Thursday but there was plenty for Wednesday lunch. Lemon poppyseed. We love lemon poppyseed cake and lemon poppyseed muffins so what could be bad about lemon poppyseed cookies?

It's a Martha Stewart recipe and I find hers a bit fussy compared to other chefs. But it is a good cookie. Tart but crisp with sugar and lemon. It was perfect with a cup of Earl Grey tea.

The rest are bagged and will be a snack when a group of us make a trip north tomorrow to ee the orchids in the caves.

Shirley Ann and I had a great luncheon. Lots of visiting and we felt that we weren't too "bad" even though we had a roll and some cookies. We were "sort of" celebrating her birthday early -- her real celebration (for the two of us) will be Friday.


1/4 C. fresh lemon juice
3 1/2 t. grated lemon zest
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 large egg
2 t. vanilla
1 T. poppy seeds plus more for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 Bring lemon juice to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat cook until reduced by half. Add 1 stick butter, stir until melted.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Cream remaining stick butter and 1 cup sugar on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix in egg and lemon butter. Mix until pale, about 3 minutes. Mix in vanilla and 2 t. zest. Mix in flour mixture and poppy seeds. Sift together remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 t. lemon zest. Roll spoonfuls of dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, roll them in sugar mixture. Place 1 inches apart on baking sheets. Press each with the flat end of a glass dipped in sugar mixture until 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with more poppy seeds.

Bake until just browned around bottom edges, 10 to 11 minutes. Transfer to wire racks, let cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

It's Thursday and time to join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.