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 30, 2011

Anniversary Dinner for Two

Forty-two years ago, I married my best friend.    Our romance and courtship was a whirlwind from a blind date one night to a proposal the next to marriage just a month later.     We've celebrated our anniversaries differently over the years.     Being married on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving means that every five years or so we celebrate the date not just the two of us but rather with all of the family around the table.

Our anniversary this year wasn't on Thanksgiving (as it was two years ago when we celebrated our 40th) but rather the Saturday after and instead of a romantic dinner in a restaurant, we decided to splurge on a good bottle of champagne and a big steak and have a romantic dinner at home.

The breakfast room is a perfect place for dinner for two.     A good damask cloth and napkins, flowers, china and silver.

The china is my grandmothers, Noritake Marcasite.    The silver from Jim's grandmother  -- her pieces engraved with an "S".   The pieces I bought to fill out the set are not!     A Waterford champagne flute bought for our fifth anniversary celebration and used every year since whenever we've celebrated at home. The flutes were also used by Daughter Sarah and her Andy for their wedding toast.

Candles lit, classical Christmas music on the stereo and the bottle of champagne chilling.

Some fushia carnations in a silver basket made the perfect centerpiece.    

The Waterford champagne glass and the bottle of Veuve Clicquot chilling in the silver wine bucket.

For dinner . . .

A big thick T-bone.    Cooked perfectly by Husband Jim on the grill.    With a baked potato and roasted asparagus.     It was a leisurely meal and a good champagne goes as well with a steak as it does with

A Grand Marnier soufflé which was our dessert for the evening.     Timed to come out of the oven as we were finishing dinner.    

It was a grand celebration -- just the two of us on this special night.    

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Pork Roast And More

With just the two of us, chops and steaks and chicken breasts often make more sense for dinner.     There are no leftovers for you eat the one chop, the one steak, the one breast.

But one cannot live on steaks and chops alone.    For we love stews and roasts.     And even if you get the smallest one at the market, it still makes a lot of food -- for two people.

Pork roasts are one of our favorite.     They were on sale and so one came home.     Roasted in the oven with herbs and wine and onions.    Potatoes and carrots added later.

Pork roast and vegetables

It makes a good dinner -- even just for the two of us.    And we love vegetables cooked with the meat.

But a roast -- even a small one -- means that there will be leftovers.    But leftovers don't have to be leftovers.     For we take the meat (and sometimes the vegetables) and make new dishes.

Like . . .

pork pie

Pot pie.    A Pork pie is delicious.    The gravy, the leftover carrots, potatoes and onions all mixed together with some frozen peas and corn added.    Into an oven proof dish, topped with pastry and baked.

Two for dinner and one for Husband Jim's next day lunch

It makes as great a dinner as the original roast did.    A big green salad is the perfect accompaniment.

But alas, even though the pie used all of the vegetables, it didn't use all of the pork.     The last of the pork
and some potatoes made a great

Hash makes a good dinner but with a poached egg or two would make a great breakfast!

Pork hash.     Potatoes, a bit of onion, chopped leftover pork.    Even though Jim will eat leftovers, it's great when they're not in the same form as the original meal.    Not a replay but a makeover!

In late November, I often spend the evenings making . . .

I find it hard to sit and so to keep hands busy, I make pomanders in November
pomanders.     Cloves poked into oranges.     Some are used for Christmas decorations while others are left to dry and harden.   To be rolled in spices and once dry tucked into drawers and closets.

A bit of Christmas on a living room end table

We love the smell of orange and clove that permeates the house while the pomanders are curing.     It is another smell of Christmas!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Breakfast Room Table in December

I'm not slavish about what goes on the breakfast room table in December -- some years I get out my fruit pyramid, others years it may be a Christmas cactus (assuming it is cooperating by blooming in December!).

My roots are German and Linderhof was built by a German.     What more fitting for the breakfast room table than . .

A pyramid, a cake and a plant!

A German wooden pyramid, a cranberry spice cake and a poinsettia!

Nothing says Christmas like a cranberry cake and a poinsettia.

The pyramid takes pride of place in the center of the table . . . . the poinsettia is in a "temporary" spot awaiting my next trip upstairs and the cake . . . the cake . . is for the Rotary Potato Feed tomorrow!

A real German pyramid.    Made from wood with wee red candles.

The pyramid we've had "forever" -- well, perhaps not, but it was a pre-Linderhof purchase.    For years, it's December home was the table at the foot of the stairs.    But as we tire of things sometimes, we did tire of the pyramid and so when it went down to the basement storage, it didn't come up again the following year . . or the year after that . . . or the year after that . . . or . . .

We decided that this year it "was time" and so up it came -- to the breakfast room table!

I hope there will be a slice left when I come for lunch tomorrow.

The cake is a Dorie Greenspan and it is delicious (at least the batter left in the bowl was -- I've not tasted the cake!) and is for the Rotary Potato Feed tomorrow.    All Rotarians were asked to bring a dessert for the feed and I chose this one because it sounded so good and so seasonal!      It went together quickly, used up a partial bag of cranberries and the last of a bag of dried cranberries (which is a good thing) and made the house smell wonderful (as only spiced cakes and cookies can).

On "floor 2", the carolers

We've filled the stereo with Christmas music which, if alone, I like to sing along to.     This little fellow on the pyramid heralds the "Birth of the Newborn King"!

Christmas in the Breakfast Room at Linderhof

Late afternoon is always a nice time to be in the sunroom.   A great time and a great place for afternoon tea.   Sigh, my afternoon tea was not a slice of this wonderful cake but rather some of the Christmas cookies that I baked this weekend.

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday.     See what other tabletops there are this Tuesday -- I'm sure there will be several Christmas ones!

And the cake . . .


2 cups flour
3/4 c. almond flour
2 1/2 t. Chinese five-spice powder
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1 up unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 cup plain Greek style yogurt (or 1 cup buttermilk)
1 cup chopped toasted almonds
1 cup halved fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw)
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries

2/3 c. powdered sugar
4 t. orange juice

Preheat oven to 350.    Butter and flour 12 cup Bundt pan (or tube pan).   Whisk first 8 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.    Using electric mixer, beat buyer in large bowl until smooth.   Add both sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.    Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition.    Beat in vanilla, then yogurt (or buttermilk).    Add dry ingredients, beat just until blended.    Fold in almonds and all cranberries.    Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes.    Cool cake in pan 10 minutes.    Turn can tout onto rack and cool completely.


Stir powdered sugar and 2 t. orange juice in small bowl until sugar dissolves.   Mix in more juice by 1/2 teaspoonfuls to reach consistency of heavy cream.    Spoon icing over cake, allowing it to drip down sides. Let stand until icing sets, at least 30 minutes.

NOTE:   I soaked the dried cranberries in a bit of Grand Marnier to plump them.    I also used a teaspoon of Grand Marnier in the icing.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Change In the Dining Room!

The dining room at Linderhof has mostly old and loved pieces.     We bought the dining room set -- the sideboard and chairs when we moved here.     The table came from the old Courtland Hotel here in our town on the prairie.     The Victorian armoire was a steal of a deal in Tulsa and is great storage for Husband Jim's glassware (and some of my dishes).    The Chinese cabinet to the left holds china and crystal.   In the center is an iron piece with a marble top.     The agapanthus reside there in winter.

The dining room as seen from the Kitchen.    

We don't buy much furniture anymore.    We have what we need and if we buy a piece it has to be pretty special and it has to replace something that we already have.    For as it is we have way too much furniture and our rule is to replace -- not add to.

And then I was in the city . . . and I was smitten . . with an American 1830's mahogany server . . .

The dining room as seen from the living room.

And like a child finding a lost puppy, it "followed" me home!    To take it's place between the Victorian Armoire and the Chinese chest.

My new find.    It's perfect in that spot!

It's a beautiful piece.    The style which I've always admired.    It has that wonderful patina that very old things seem to have.    I love the front legs, the fact that it has a shelf and a drawer.

The silver serving pieces are much handier lined up in a drawer rather than piled up in the drawer of the sideboard!

For the drawer is perfect for some of my silver serving pieces.    Lined with silver cloth -- which I just happened to have!

A great place to store the Spode.   It's both nice to look at as well as functional.

The shelf is perfect for storing two of my bigger Spode blue and white platters, the Spode blue and white tureen and the two Spode vegetable dishes.

Often the silver tray with decanters were on top of the iron piece with the marble top.    The silver, crystal and brass seem to go perfectly with the aged mahogany.

While the top is perfect for the silver tray of Waterford decanters and two old brass candlesticks.

The agapanthus?  They were moved to the breakfast room where they'll be happy for there is a bit more sun out there.

The iron and marble top table?    It got moved behind the sofa in the living room.    It's more of a sofa table height and seems to fit much better behind the sofa.

The iron and glass top table behind the sofa?    That got moved back to the front porch!

And I must admit that I made the moves all by myself!!!    Well, myself and the "moving men" -- those little round things that when you put under any piece of furniture you can easily slide it across the room.

The trick is lifting the furniture to slide those round discs under the legs!

I am happy with my changes -- all because I fell in love with that gorgeous little mahogany server!

It's Monday and I'm joining Susan for Met Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.       It's a small change but I think it has a big impact in our dining room.

I'm also joining Patti and Paula at Ivy and Elephants  for What's It Wednesday!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Reprise - Linderhof In Her Christmas Finery

I'm joining Sunday Favorites with Chari at Happy to Design.      This was originally posted on December 5, 2010 when Linderhof was decked out in her Christmas Finery.      

We spent the day "decking the halls" for I had masses of greens and pine cones galore.     The wee little trees in the breakfast room are on the sideboard and a new "little" tree is up in the sunroom.      

The pumpkins have been banished both inside and out and the bowls that once held pumpkins and gourds now hold pinecones and pomanders.

We're waiting, alas, for the poinsettias.    I've ordered them from a fundraising group and they've yet to deliver.      But three red ones will soon brighten the dining room table at Linderhof!

As is our custom, on "decoration day" we slip into the kitchen in the afternoon to make the first batch of cutout cookies.

One tray of Christmas trees . . .

Sprinkled with green sugar.   

And one tray of stars sprinkled with red sugar.

All baked and cooling -- to be eaten today for our first Christmas tea . . . and for teas throughout the holiday season.

The trees are one of our favorite cookies . . . . and both make a good nosh for December teas.

This, our first Christmas tea of the season is served in the breakfast room with carols softly playing and tea in the silver pot!

One big red star and two little green trees.     Served with . . .

A cup of Christmas tea . . . bought in Bar Harbor from the Bar Harbor Tea Company.    It's a great tea, I'll order more for it is perfect for Christmas tea.

It's December and Linderhof is decked out for Christmas!!!! From the living room tree to the master bedroom mantle touches of Christmas abound.

Our "masterpiece" is the tree -- a labor of love by Husband Jim for it does take a full day to decorate our floor to ceiling tree!
With big old fashioned colored lights, 41 years of Christmas ornaments, some so old that they only shine from memory and tinsel!!! It touches the ceiling and we wouldn't have it any other way!
The downstairs hall with an Asian bowl holding a poinsettia -- a bit of Christmas color.
The nativity set which belonged to my grandmother and it was a favorite "toy" when I was a child -- which explains why when I received it one wiseman was missing, the dog's nose was broken, the donkey had no ears and Joseph had lost his staff! I replaced the missing wiseman, added some sheep and shepherds and a camel. But I like the imperfections in the pieces that were hers and so our dog has no nose, the donkey is earless and Joseph is missing his staff. This nativity absolutely glows -- with sentiment!
The living room mantle with fresh greens and a few pinecones. The green of the evergreens goes well with the green of the living room.
A game table in front of the windows with a cloisonne vase with pine branches and cones.
The living room coffee table -- pine cones in the potpourri bowl with a few sprigs of evergreens
The living room is ready for Christmas -- and for company!!!! We're planning to entertain a lot this Christmas!
The blue Asian bowl on the dining room table full of poinsettias. A strong blast of red!
And the dining room mantle has more real greens -- this time without pine cones.
The dining room table and the fireplace.
The table at the top of the stairs -- a vase holding some "faux" (and I must admit that there isn't much "faux" Christmas at Linderhof) -- some mistletoe stalks and some red berried stalks.
More real greens on the bedroom mantle.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Night . . . .

Thanksgiving at Linderhof started out with breakfast in the breakfast room.      Daughter Sarah and her Andy joined us.     An easy breakfast for Thanksgiving is not about breakfast but rather the feast at noon.

A blue and white Thanksgiving breakfast

But it is November and so the turkey plates set the table.      Blue and white.    Mugs for the breakfast Earl Grey -- Andy's favorite.    And the glass turkeys hold blueberry jam and butter.    For it's an easy breakfast and a light breakfast.

Our favorite English muffins and Grandmother's pumpkin bread

Wolferman's Toasted English muffins and slices of pumpkin bread -- a perfect and easy light meal.  

And then we were off for Nixa where "Aunt" Jo and Charlie live.    Andy's aunt and uncle and we were invited to share their Thanksgiving table.     When asked what I could bring, the answer was "a salad".

Daughter Sarah and I had found a Brussels sprouts with Walnut Vinaigrette in the November issue of Bon Appetit.     She and I both decided that it would be the perfect Thanksgiving salad!

Before breakfast, she and I made . . .

A big bowl of brussels sprouts with walnut vinaigrette

Brussels Sprouts with Walnut Vinaigrette.     It was a hit!    Even among the men!    It's easy salad.    A different salad and seems so "fallish" and perfect for the Thanksgiving Table.

We had way too much food as everyone does on Thanksgiving.     Turkey and all the trimmings including my favorite cranberry and orange relish (and no canned cranberry sauce!)    There was way too much food and we ate far too much, but . . .

we did manage to save room for. . .

Aunt Jo's Pilgrim Pie

Pilgrim Pie.     A Punch family traditional dessert and one that we think is delicious.     A half piece of Pilgrim Pie and a half piece of pumpkin.     It isn't Thanksgiving without pumpkin!

When Sarah first went to a Punch family Thanksgiving, Aunt Jo shared the recipe with her and she shared it with me.    With the promise that we wouldn't share it.       I'm keeping that promise.

Aunt Jo was kind to send leftovers home with us and so we will have turkey for the traditional Thanksgiving night turkey sandwich.    White bread, homemade mayonnaise, a leaf of lettuce and thinly sliced white turkey.      A big glass of icy cold milk to wash it down with.       Alas, no pie for dessert but there is another slice or two of pumpkin bread that will make a wonderful Thanksgiving night snack!


3 1/2 c. brussels sprouts, halved, cored, leaves separated
Kosher salt
1/2 c. walnut halves, divided
2 1/2 T. unsalted butter
1 T. walnut oil plus more for drizzling
1 medium shallot, minced
3 T. plus 2 t. champagne vinaigre
1 1/4 t. Dijon mustard
pinch of sugar
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 medium head of radicchio (about 5 oz.) cored and thinly sliced
1/4 t. finely grated lemon juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Blanch brussels sprouts in boiling salted water for 30 seconds.    Drain and immediately transfer to a large bowl of ice water to cool.    Spin in a salad spinner to dry leaves (or pat dry with kitchen towels).

Crush 2 1/2 T. walnuts with a rolling pin or the side of a knife set aside.    Melt butter with 1 T. oil in a small saucepan over low heat.    Add shallot and crushed walnuts, cook, stirring frequently until shallot softens, about 2 minutes.    Whisk in vinegar, mustard and sugar.     Remove vinaigrette from heat, season to taste with salt and pepper.    Let cool.   

Place brussels sprouts and radicchio in a large bowl.    Pour walnut vinaigrette over brussels sprouts mixture and toss to coat well.    Trasnfer to a serving dish.   Sprinkle with lemon zest and remaining walnuts.    Add dried cranberries.     Drizzle with walnut oil.

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

In the faces of home folks round your board,

May joy shine from every eye.

And your old-fashioned dinner be a success,

From turkey to pumpkin pie!

We at Linderhof wish you and yours the

happiest of Thanksgivings.