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.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Gift . . . and an Impromptu Dinner

The gift was grouper -- fresh grouper.    Husband Jim's favorite fish.   And not just two pieces but a whole filet -- that's a lot of grouper for two even if one of them is a grouper lover!

And I've never cooked grouper before.    Grouper, you see, is not a native fish to the prairie!    We've eaten it in Florida (in fact, husband Jim rarely has anything else whenever we go to Florida) but have never prepared it.

What do I do?    With a whole lot of grouper that I've never fixed before?      Why have company over, of course!!!!

The friend who gave us the grouper in the first place!

Confirmed that they were free at 3:30 in the afternoon!

But I love having company to dinner and they were generous in their gift and what a great way to say thank you!

I almost always set the table first thing before I go into the kitchen to start cooking.    It just seems that a party is about to take place when the table is set . . .

A simple table -- the blue and white bowl filled with pumpkins and gourds and bittersweet and the two glass turkeys on either side makes for  perfect dinner centerpiece.

In the dining room for it seemed as if were a special meal and deserved the dining room rather than the breakfast room.

The Spode Blue Room alway sets a pretty table.

My Spode blue and white, of course, sagey olive green napkins -- a gift from a dear friend, my hotel silver, and instead of a tablecloth or a charger, my English placemats.     They're used constantly in England -- keeps the plates of hot food off the table but they're so small that they don't really distract from the table setting.    They, too, had a sagey olive green color in them.

My absolute favorite time is when everything is ready and we're waiting on the guests to arrive!

Since it was just four we sat across from one another -- seemed more intimate that way than Jim at the head and me at the foot and a guest on each side.

Dinner, besides grouper . . .

The giver of the grouper's favorite salad is Ceasar -- but he's never had it deconstructed.   He happily ate everyone's anchovies!

A deconstructed Ceasar Salad -- with anchovies, shred of Parmesan cheese, homemade courtons and romaine.

And the star of the show . . .

Grouper, white and wild rice and Brussels Sprouts

The grouper coated with Panko and sautéed with a lemon white sauce, white and wild rice and roasted Brussels sprouts with cranberries and walnuts and a hit of balsamic to finish.

Alas, there was no dessert for we are all dieting, it seems and besides . . . I spent the day making . . .

The cake I made for Rotary -- a labor of love!

A cake!    Doris is our Rotary Club's piano player.   In fact, Doris is only the second piano player in the club's history (and the club was founded in 1918).    Doris is 94 and still attends each Rotary meeting and plays the piano each week.

It was to celebrate her service to the club . . . that was what the Rotary program was about today -- celebrating Doris's longtime service to The Rotary Club.

It's not just "a cake" -- but four cakes.    Four 9 x 13 cakes.    Two of which are chocolate and two of which are carrot (I like to give people a choice).     One carrot cake and one chocolate cake were placed side by side and then topped with cream cheese frosting (the chocolate one had a hint of cinnamon in that cream cheese frosting).     Then the second layers were placed on top and the whole covered with mounds of cream cheese frosting.    Carefully made smooth.     Then, based on a diagram on the computer, KitKats were placed on top of the frosting like keys on the piano.    Chocolate icing was used to define the keys and write "Hit It . . Doris" on the cake.   (For every week once the song is announced, the song leader always says . . . "Hit It . . Doris"!

She was surprised and touched that the Rotarians honored her today.     With a corsage and flowers and the leftover cake, she has memories of a special Rotary day.

It's Thursday and I'm joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.


Entertaining Women said...

A day filled with you and from you. Lovely blue and white for delicious grouper. I think that Doris must have been touched. Cherry Kay

On Crooked Creek said...

What a lovely way to clebrate the "joy of music"...and to honor Doris!!! I'm sure YOU made a "hit" as well! I adore your brussel sprouts (no one BUT me will eat them here)! Lovely tablescape, dear friend!

Kerin said...

Once again, you made a lovely meal, and a lovely decorated table.

How thoughtful of you to make the cakes. I'm certain that they were much appreciated.

Sheets on the line, love in my heart. said...

oh all the lovely fall table my fellow bloggers have set...this table is by far the most touching to my heart. :)
it felt relaxing and cozy...and just filled with care and love.
rebecca (i'm just a newbie)


Beautiful table set in the blue and white. Doris must be so happy, she's worth the beautiful honor you did! Have a sweet evening.

Blondie's Journal said...

Your table and dinner looked lovely! I am wondering how you make the lemon white sounds so perfect for fish!

The cake is beautiful, what a lovely tribute to Doris!


Unknown said...

Love the blue! Beautiful table.Joann

Megan @ Restoring the Roost said...

Your table setting is beautiful! And the dishes sound delicious. I love all of your historic properties. Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

Cass @ That Old House said...

Grouper -- I've only had it once, but it was delicious. It's not a Northern waters fish, I don't think.

Table gorgeous as always, Martha, and LOVE the cake for Doris. She must have been SO thrilled.

And I'm with Jane -- how did you make the lemon wine sauce? Dish.
Love --Cass

Scribbler said...

Both the table and the food look incredible. One would never know that you never cooked grouper before, judging by this picture. The cake is really cute -- and I am sure Doris was thrilled.

The Norwegian said...

There is no one like you Martha!