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, February 28, 2011

Not all "Pheasants" are Alike!

One of the quintessential English Transferware patterns is Asiatic Pheasant. Not one, but many, manufacturers produce this pattern. And in my mind, they all go together well.
It is interesting to note, that not all blues are alike!!!! For the manufacturers and their blues differ substantially!

Dinner plates -- made by Johnson Brothers. They're new and they're the typical deep blue and white of so many of the transferware patterns. The "Blue Willow" blue so to speak. I've not had them long -- bought because I adore anything blue and white and I was afraid that I may be short a blue and white plate or two if I didn't get them!!!! They are new (because they're "dishwasher" safe!)

A teacup and saucer by Burleigh. It's a paler blue -- a soft blue. It has some age on it but not much. Asiatic Pheasant is still being produced today and still by many different manufacturers. I only have 3 and would love to have more -- I have my eye on a source or two so I may be able to fill any Burleigh Asiatic Pheasant cup and saucer voids in the near future!

Wedgwood teapot, sugar and creamer. It's more of a teal and it came with tea plates and cups and saucers as well. It's older and I've had it a while. In fact, it was my first Asiatic Pheasant.

These pieces still hold a place in my heart!

Here are all three manufactures and they go well together because they're all the same pattern even if different hues. I love to mix and match my blues and I also have my eye on some salad plates . . . .

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Tam at The Gypsy's Corner for Three or More Tuesday -- because I have three different varieties of Asiatic Pheasant!

Hyacinths on the Windowsill

Collecting hyacinth forcing vases is a hobby of mine. You don't see them often and when I do and they're at a price that is reasonable they come home to Linderhof! I'm not "picky" about color for I've pink ones, green ones (a lucky find -- a pair -- rare indeed!), a blue one and a clear one.

I love the light shining through the vases on the kitchen windowsill as I wait for the bulbs to grow and bloom. Once bloomed, they're often moved to different parts of the house.

And the smell . . . it is heady.! I'm not sure there is anything as fragrant as a hyacinth. And their bloom reminds me that soon Spring will be on its way and the bulbs outside will soon be blooming filling vases at Linderhof once more with garden flowers.

Although the vases at Linderhof are many colors I prefer one color of hyacinth. Some years it's blue and others years white. Pink hyacinths are a rarity at Linderhof.

The hyacinths follow the paperwhites as a prelude to Spring. I love blooming flowers indoors and cannot imagine a January without paperwhites and a February without hyacinths!

This is a blue year and I'm joining Smiling Sally for Blue Monday!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's Oscar Sunday . . .

And we're having a "do" at the Liberty Theatre. The Jim's (who are not gems) and their wives are hosting and it was put together as a fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce. Sixteen very lucky people will walk the red carpet to the theatre where there will be libations and food and fun and games as we watch the Oscars on the theatre screen.

The cookies are one of the desserts (as are moon pies and chocolate dipped strawberries) -- and we have an elaborate array of appetizers to be munched on during the ceremony.

The hosts will be in black tie and the gals will be dressed up as well -- this, after all, is the Oscars!

We've only seen True Grit and The King's Speech -- both Oscar worthy pictures. So we'll be rooting for those and the actors who were also in those movies. Amy Adams (who cut her acting chops at the theatre in the town where Daughter Sarah lives) is another favorite.

It will be a another Grand Evening in our little town on the prairie.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sparkle for the Buffet Table

Usually our entertaining is either lunch (with mostly 4 and sometimes 6) or dinner (again with 6). The four sits comfortably at the breakfast room table overlooking the garden. And lunch is served in courses on plates. That is just how we do it at Linderhof!

Dinner, too, be it 6 or we stretch the table for 8, is a seated dinner served in courses on plates. My able "assistant" for dinner parties is Husband Jim and a great assistant he is, clearing the empty plates and bringing the next course's filled ones.

But sometimes, we invite a crowd. And the only way to feed a crowd is with a buffet. And though a buffet can be cold (as we did for MIL's 80th) we sometimes like to serve a hot dish or two -- especially for a winter buffet.

Alas, I was lacking serving dishes for a hot buffet . . and so on antiquing adventures I found . . .
A great chafing dish -- perfect for hot crab dip, meatballs for a cocktail party, or a vegetable for dinner for a crowd. It's silver, has some age and does look pretty on the buffet -- for I've used it already -- for one of my Christmas luncheons.

But, then, often there is a casserole involved when you do a buffet for a crowd and I felt I needed a bigger chafing dish -- one that could accommodate a 9 x 13 pyrex casserole. From oven to buffet and still look elegant.

I found it -- in December when Shirley and I had our Christmas in the city. But, alas, I didn't buy it -- for it was before Christmas and I had spent money already on myself. I must admit that in January I kicked myself for not buying it and every day that I had planned to go to the city it snowed -- really snowed! So I knew, just knew, that it would be gone if and when I'd ever get back there.

Valentine Day we were in the city again and we went by the shop and it was still there -- and home it came to Linderhof.
A lovely silver casserole dish -- perfect for that hot chicken salad for a group luncheon or a hot pasta dish when we have a crowd of couples over before we all head out to the Liberty.

They're tucked away. Awaiting a big bash.

I love silver things when I entertain -- there is something about the sparkle of silver on the table or buffet that just lends an elegant air to the evening.

Silver is one of My Favorite Things! And I'm joining Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday! There is always many lovely things at Cindy's on Fridays!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Three Courses for Tea

Tea time is always important at Linderhof . . . and every afternoon I stop at half past three for a pot of tea and a treat.

But I also enjoy having company for tea -- teas based on the teas I enjoyed at the Ritz in London and the Pump Room in Bath -- three course teas starting with sandwiches, scones and cream and jam and finally sweets.

I'm joining Laura at Decor to Adore for High Tea this Wednesday.

What can be better than joining a group of ladies for tea!!!

This tea took place last year and I think that sometime soon, when my friends come, lunch should be tea again!

Three friends of mine come to lunch at Linderhof once a month. It's a decade old tradition -- these three friends joining me for lunch. What is great is that I get to try new recipes and they get to eat new foods.

Today was our regular "Lunch" but instead of lunch I decided to have an afternoon tea. A traditional three course afternoon tea -- a tea that should have been at half past three but one that we had at straight up noon!
I set the tea table with my Spode and Wedgewood and, of course, the silver teapot.
As is proper -- tea is served on the three tiered curate -- sandwiches on the bottom, then scones and then sweets. A seed cake is on a pedastal cake stand.
The tea cups and plates -- Spode Famille Rose -- I've had it for a long time but haven't used it much prefering instead my blue and white. I set the table properly -- with a tea plate, the napkin and then the tea cup and saucer on top.
Sandwiches first -- traditional cucumber (bread, butter, sliced cucumber and salt and pepper) and mixed olive tea sandwiches from The Watts Tea Shop via Savoring Time in the Kitchen -- a daily read of Linderhof.
In the middle of the curate, freshly made scones. I love Ina Garten's receipe -- they make lovely scones -- whether in triangles or in rounds which is what we always had in England. Served, of course, with real Clotted Cream and my homemade strawberry jam.
And at the top of the curate -- tarts -- strawberry tarts with patisserie cream and lemon curd tarts topped with a pansy.

And, in addition, a seed cake -- a traditional British cake for afternoon tea. Mine was made with poppy seeds and my guests pronounced it stupendous!

The curate, filled with tea goodies!

And at the end of the afternoon . . . . the pot is empty, the cups are empty and we feel sated. It was a grand afternoon tea!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Solitary Tea

Every afternoon at half past three I stop for a cup of tea . . . and a treat! The birds have been very active the last few days and Squire Squirrel also has been to the feeders more than once a day!

Tea includes classical music playing softly in the background and often a book -- this day it was my latest (which just arrived in the mail) an 1897 copy of Pot-pourri from a Surrey
Garden by C. W. Earle.

I have two small teapots -- perfect for tea for me. This one is Asiatic Pheasant. A very British pattern. I love the softness of this blue and white!

Tulips (from the market -- not from my garden) in an old Mason pitcher and a glass pedastal
filled with . . .

Palmiers. A favorite of mine. There is usually a sack in the freezer waiting to be baked off and they go so perfectly with tea!


2 cups granulated sugar
1/8 t. kosher salt
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted

Preheat the oven to 350.

Mix sugar and salt together. Pour 1 cup of the sugar/salt mixture on a flat surface. Unfoled each sheet of puff pastry onto the sugar and pour 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture on top, spreading it evenly on the puff pastry. This is not about sprinkling, it's about an even covering of sugar. With a rolling pin, roll the dough until it's 13 x 13 inches square and the sugar is pressed into the puff pastry on top and bottom. Fold the sides of the square towards the center so they go halfway to the middle. Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly at the middle of the dough. Then fold 1 half over the other half as though closing a book. You will have 6 layers. slice the dough into 3/8 inch slices and place the slices, cut side up, on baking sheets, lined with parchment paper. Place the second sheet of pastry on the sugared board, sprinkling with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar/salt mixture and continue as above. (There will be quite a bit of sugar left on the board.) Slice and arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment or silpat.

Bake the cookies for 6 minutes until caramelized and brown on the brown on the bottom, then turn with a spatula and bake another 3 to 5 minutes, until caramelized on the other side. Transfer to a baking rack to cool.

It's Tuesday which means that it's Tea Time . . . . Let's join these parties!!!

Tabletop Tuesday with Marty at A Stroll Thru Life

Tea Time Tuesday with Terri at Artful Affirmations

Tea Cup Tuesday with Martha at Martha's Favorites

Tea Pot and Tea Things Tuesday with Pam at Breath of Fresh Air

Tea Time Tuesday with Katherine at Lady Katherine's Tea Parlor

Tuesday Tea for Two with Wanda Lee at The Plumed Pen

Tea Time Tuesday with Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Channeling Julia . . .

Valentine's Day we were in the city and spent the night in a wonderful bed and breakfast in St. Joseph, Missouri, The Whiskey Mansion Bed and Breakfast. Tuesday was fun -- first in St. Joseph and then later in Kansas City.

We had not been to St. Joseph for a while and we remembered loads of antique shops and malls. But alas, we couldn't find them . . . and so we ended up at a Thrift Shop.

There among the books was . . .

I have a copy but mine is not that old . . . for although I did enjoy watching Julia Child, her time was before my real interest in cooking began. I bought her book, because I thought one had to have it. And I must admit that I cooked some from it -- but not a lot -- for my attention span is sometimes short and her recipes are long.

This copy set me back all of $2.50 and I thought I would send one or the other copy to Daughter Sarah -- who doesn't have the cookbook.

Imagine my surprise when I got home and opened it to find that it was a 1961 First Edition and in very good condition -- and with a dust jacket!!!!

I investigated on ebay and found that my $2.50 purchase was worth between $14.99 and $525.00!!! (I like to think that I have the $525.00 copy!)

I'm sending my newer copy Daughter Sarah's way and replacing this special edition on my cookbook shelf.

I've not cooked much from it and so decided to rectify that.

With pork chops in the refrigerator, I decided to try Cotes de Porc Sauce Nenette. It was delicious and really easy actually. And will be served again at Linderhof.

To go with, a vegetable . . .

A simple sauteed spinach and garlic. It was the perfect combination.

And to drink, Castle Rock Pinot Noir.

I should remember that good French food is not hard nor time consuming and should look at Julia's book more often for recipes or inspiration.

Of course, this Thursday, I'm channeling Julia (and Ina) once again for I'm teaching a class on Beef Bourguignon at Life + Style. I think there may be a seat or two left but they will certainly fill up by Thursday.

Julia was the one that taught us that Beef Bourguignon was really beef stew with wine and was not so daunting as we all thought. Ina took it a step further and made it really simple! There will be samples Thursday night, hearty samples (and perhaps some of the burgundy for the cook (and students) as well as for the stew!) as we go over the making of Beef Bourguignon step by step.

It's Blue Monday and I'm joining Sally and there is nothing like the blue dust jacket of the cookbook!


6 pork chops
3 to 4 T. olive oil
2 T. butter
1 1/2 c. whipping cream
1/4 t. salt
pinch of pepper
1 T. dry English mustard
2 T. tomato paste
2 T. fresh chopped basil, chervil or parsley

Preheat oven to 325.

Dry the pork chops on paper towels. Heat the oil in the casserole until it is almost smoking, then brown the chops, 2 or 3 at a time, on each side for 3 to 4 minutes. As they are browned, transfer them to a side dish.

Season the chops with salt and pepper and 1/4 t. thyme or sage.

Pour the fat out of the casserole and add the butter. Return the chops, overlapping them slightly. Baste them with the butter. Cover and heat the casserole until the meat is sizzling, then set in lower third of preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Turn and baste the chops once or twice. They are done when the meat juices run a clear yellow with no trace of rose.

While the pork chops are cooking, prepare the following:

Simmer the cream, salt and pepper in a small saucepan for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it has reduced to 1 cup.

Beat the mustard and tomato paste together in a small bowl, then beat in the hot cream. Set aside.

After removing the chops from the casserole and degreasing the meat juices, pour in the cream mixture and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Correct seasoning, stir in the herbs, and pour the sauce over the chops.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Reprise -- Herbs on the Windowsill

This was originally posted on October 1, 2008. An early post from Lines from Linderhof!!!!

We still have the big jar of Herbes de Provence which we refill each fall and the jar of lavender which we refill each June. Sometimes I grow garlic in the hyacinth jars but not all the time -- and I still have a jar in the window -- only in the winter it is filled with flat leaf parsley instead of clippings from my herb garden.

It is Sunday and time to join Chari at Happy to Design for Sunday Favorites.

I'm doing an herb post because I'm so excited to be teaching TWO "Cooking With Herbs" classes at Red Cedar Gardens in Overland Park. More information about the classes to be held in April will be on my side bar. I love Red Cedar and often stop there on my way to Kansas City -- many things in Linderhof's garden has come from there.

And two of the things that I love to share the most -- my love of herbs and my love of cooking. I do hope to see you at one of the classes!

Herbs play a big part in cooking at Linderhof. The back garden is an herb garden and during spring, summer and fall, snippets of these herbs find their way into Linderhof dishes. My daily clippings are brought in and stuck in a water glass. They're handy that way and I don't have to leave the stove to get a few leaves of basil or some chives to chop for whatever I'm cooking.

I love to grow hyacinths in the winter and have several hyacinth vases -- a bulbous bottom and enough of the top that the bulb can rest with it's bottom in water. But I've found other uses for those vases -- they're great to grow garlic in the kitchen. A bulb from the grocery store, the vase filled with water and the bulb nestled in the top. Great fresh garlic flavor as you snip the green shoots.

An old Williams Sonoma purchase -- the Herbes de provence jar holds that classic mixture. I take marjoram, basil, bay leaves and thyme and dry them and then crush the mixture. I prefer fresh herbs over dried but it is nice to have a jar of herbes de provence mixture at hand in the kitchen.

The jar of French lavender has been emptied each year and each year I take some of my lavender buds and dry so that we can have a supply in the winter. I like lavender in sweet dishes and favorites are lavender poundcake or lavender cookies. Both great with a winter cup of tea.

Soon, the garlic and jars of dried herbs will be joined with pots of fresh herbs brought in from the garden for the winter -- chives and parsley and basil and rose geranium.

Friday, February 18, 2011

It's the Little Things . .

I get excited about little things . . . and my newest "little thing" is my new knife holder. I did store the knives in one of those wooden knife blocks but they take up valuable (very valuable in my tiny kitchen) counter space and because my knives are not in a set, some of them didn't fit in the block and so they were stored "on top".

And then, at my favorite kitchen shop, Life+Style, (we're so lucky that it's here in our little town on the prairie) there was a magnetic knife holder. It came home with me and languished in it's box for a long long time -- for I had to have someone install it because it would be mounted on tile. But patience is a virtue and finally, it was installed . . . and . . .

with knives lined up like soldiers in a row! It definitely was worth the wait. For it is perfect -- so perfect, in fact, that I'd use one even if I had matching knives!

But as you can see, I have a "mixed bag" of knives, bought one at a time.

My "Chef's Knife" (second from right) was bought by Husband Jim many many years ago in Tokyo. Made especially for me, it has my name engraved on it -- in Japanese!

The bread knife (third from right) was from McDonald's when Husband Jim worked there. It's a great bread knife.

The boning knife (far left) is my most recent purchase -- it came home to Linderhof from Minnesota -- and it is perfect for trimming meat.

I'm not a big fan of paring knives but I do have do and use them -- but only occasionally -- the chef's knife sees the most use at Linderhof.

It reminded me of my grandmother who used her "Butcher's Knife" for everything -- from slicing tomatoes to peeling potatoes. She never used anything but! I'm not sure that she even had a paring knife!

My knives (especially my Chef Knife) are a "Few of My Favorite Things" -- please join me at Laurie's, Bargain Hunting with Laurie, for My Favorite Things Saturday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A New Table

I used to love "Show and Tell" at grade school. For I love to share. It's so much fun to join Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday.

I've been moving things around a bit at Linderhof and decided that I needed a new table to go beside a leather chair in the sunroom. Not a big table for the sunroom isn't big. But an antique table (of course!). And either mahogany or walnut -- I'm not really an oak person.

Sometimes it takes a looong time to find just the right piece at just the right price. But not for this little table -- and I found it right here in my little town on the prairie!!!

Going downtown last week, there in the window of one of the antique shops was this dear little table. . .

It's Victorian (dating between 1850 and 1870), it's walnut and has a great grain on the top. It's a two drawer Victorian work table with great turning on the pedastal. And it's perfect for beside one of the leather chairs in the sunroom.

On top -- an old bouillotte lamp (from the estate of a Kansas City Judge) and a small silver tray with a decanter of brandy and two wee glasses. Handy for a nightcap.

I love my new table and I love the fact that the search was short.

I also love Show and Tell and so glad to be joining Cindy this Friday.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Valentine Luncheon

very year I invite five special friends to a Valentine's Luncheon at Linderhof. Every year fivedifferent friends. For as I've been told, it's a treat to have a Valentine's Luncheon at Linderhof.

I love the house when the table is all set, the food is all done, and I'm alone just waiting for the guests. I love the expectancy of the dining room before a party!

With six, we're in the dining room and each year the table is different than the year before or the year before that. This year, it's a Vintage Valentine for Luncheon!

Vintage Valentine pictures are on the menu, each menu topped with the guest's name and their favor -- my "conversation heart" cookies. Grandmother's gold and cream china, the Romantique silver by Alvin, and of course, the napkin is in a silver ring!

The centerpiece -- scads of vintage valentines, silver compotes filled with conversation hearts and a silver basket filled with white tulips.

I love the vintage Valentines and the conversation hearts -- they remind me of Valentine's Day when I was a child!

And for luncheon --

Savannah's Tomato Pie from Silver Service by Susan Mason. It's easy to prepare, should be served at room temperature (which makes it a great company dish) and is really yummy!

And to start . . . roasted red pepper and tomato soup -- with a dollop of sour cream!

A slice of tomato pie, a salad of mixed baby greens and a slice of hard crust bread.

And on the sideboard . . . the dessert service is waiting until we finish the meal -- coffee (with my new cups and saucers) and of course . . .

Strawberry cake baked in the heart shaped pans and frosted with strawberry cream cheese frosting!

We had a grand time, then with the dishes in the sink (what would my mother have said), husband Jim and I headed for the city -- to enjoy a special Valentine's dinner of our own, a show at Jardine's and then a night at a bed and breakfast in St. Joseph.

I truly was a special Valentine's Day!!!!

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

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Decorated sugar cookies are a part of every holiday at Linderhof. And although we painted Valentine cookies on Saturday, we still also made traditional sugar cookie hearts.

This year decorated simply with red and white sanding sugar.

A whole platter of them -- some to much while we painted cookies and others available for tea the few days before the 14th.

And on Sunday, friend Joyce came by with a Valentine for me -- and my Valentine for her, a cup of tea and a cookie (or two) while we enjoyed the warmth and sun of a later winter afternoon.

The shadows played on the table -- creating a shadowy tablescape. Some of the cookies will be packed in cello bags and delivered to friends at the bank and post office on Valentine's Day.

Valentine's is not just for lovers -- it's for friends as well! I learned that in Grade School when we made and delivered Valentine's to everyone in the class! The best part was making my post office box!

There is nothing better than heart cookies and tea and a friend to share it with for a Valentine's Afternoon.

So my Monday post is also a Tuesday post and I'm participating in Tea Tuesday --

Tea Time Tuesday with Terri at Artful Affirmations

Tea Cup Tuesday with Martha at Martha's Favorites

Tea Pot and Tea Things Tuesday with Pam at Breath of Fresh Air

Tea Time Tuesday with Katherine at Lady Katherine's Tea Parlor

Tuesday Tea for Two with Wanda Lee at The Plumed Pen

Tea Time Tuesday with Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Be Mine . . .

Valentine Cookies are a tradition at Linderhof -- sugar cookies -- always sugar cookies -- sometimes frosted with pink frosting and sometimes sprinkled with red sprinkles, but I've a new hobby -- painting cookies. Saturday morning I baked and frosted with royal icing, numerous heart cookies and then . . . . the fun began!

For I invited friend Madeline to join me in my cookie painting.

Food coloring -- three kinds, food coloring pens, brushes, a jug of water and the escargot plates -- the perfect pallet for holding the "paint"!

And trays of heart shaped sugar cookies -- frosted with royal icing -- the prefect blank canvas for paint!

Madeline came and we spent the next hour and a half painting the trays of cookies -- she's quite creative and a wonderful baker and food artist!

Her cookies were awesome!!!!

And these are mine -- what fun we had for . . .

These cookies, that look like "conversation hearts" are to be my favor for the Valentine's Luncheon on Monday. They're perfect!

I'm joining The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sunday -- what could be more seasonal than heart shaped cookies!!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Scent is in the Air

I love Linderhof to smell well -- I have potpourri in bowls in several rooms (refreshed often so that it always has fragrance -- and it's homemade, of course!) which wafts a soft scent throughout the room.

I have candles that I enjoy burning -- and not just when we have company -- I burn them when I'm home alone as well. (Trapp Candles are my favorite -- either lavender or No. 2 - Exotic Spice) -- there's always one on the breakfast room game table and I often light it in the morning.

But my favorite scent is the Lampe Berger -- a catalytic diffusion lamp that scents the air and removes odors.

They're attractive, comes in many styles and colors and because there is no flame they are, in my opinion, much safer than candles.

I have several in different rooms . . . both up and down --

The living room . . .

The downstairs bath --

And the upstairs bath --

When we have company we'll burn them all and after after-dinner cigars, I'll make sure one is burning while I'm cleaning up -- it's amazing how well the house smells when we go to bed!

As with other scents, I'm particular about what I use and I like the house to all smell the same -- my favorite Lampe Berger oil

Winterwood -- a warm spicy fragrance. And although there are "copy cats" out there, the only oil worth burning is the Lampe Berger oil -- the other brands don't have enough fragrance. My shop of choice for both the lamps and the oils -- J'Adore, a wonderful and favorite shop in Brookside in Kansas City. I buy three or four bottles each time I stop.

This fall, they had a wonderful pain d'epices fragrance that reminded me of gingerbread and come December they had another wonderful orangey cinnamon Christmas scent.

But the best fragrance of all is the aroma of something in the oven coming from the kitchen -- that really makes a house smell like a home!