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, April 15, 2012

Dinner for Eight

Every year for the Chamber of Commerce's Annual Fundraiser -- "Forks and Corks", we donate a multi course dinner at Linderhof for six.    It's been a good item for our dinner has raised a goodly sum of money for the Chamber over the years.

Friday, was the day our guests came.    One guest was a good and old friend and his date, the second couple we knew but just enough to say "hi" whenever we saw them someplace and the third couple we had never met.  

We spent at least two weeks before the party deciding on the menu -- even daughter Sarah got involved and we did make her suggested dessert.

Friday early, I set the table in the dining room . . .

A lace cloth, the blue Spode and my hotel silver.    Napkins are always in silver napkin rings at Linderhof and at each place is a menu and a place card -- which we always use whenever we have more than two guests.    It's easier to find a place rather than telling who needs to sit where.  

The centerpiece is roses from the garden in a Williamsburg flower holder, silver candlesticks and the swan salt and pepper holder (which were a gift from Jim's mother for her last Christmas)

To bookend the flowers and candles are a pair of silver compotes holding wee oranges and chocolates -- to be nibbled after the cheese and with the port.

Each place setting had a salad fork, a fish fork and a dinner fork on the left side.   And on the right (from plate outward) a dinner knife, a fish knife and a soup spoon.    At the top of the plate is a dessert spoon and fork.

The table is all set and I'm in the kitchen . . . .

On the antique side table, decanters of port, Cognac, and my homemade orange liqueur and homemade orange liqueur.    Glasses which we bought years ago at Crate and Barrel are ready for the end of the evening.

Plates, bowls and glasses for the different courses lined up in the kitchen -- ready to be used.   The cheese tray with hydrangea leaves and crackers for the very end of the evening.

Husband Jim has his glasses and shaker ready for we're offering cosmos or martinis as our pre dinner cocktail.     And Jim is always in charge of cocktails!

And wine glasses.   He is in charge of the wine glasses . . . and he washes each one every time we have a dinner party -- he prefers it that way.

And they are the very last thing to be put on the table.    

Herbs in a glass ready to be used both as a garnish and in the dishes themselves.

Pork loin is the main course and it's ready for the oven with it's rub of fennel and mustards and oil and salt and pepper.

The table is set, the dinner is prepped and what needs to be in the oven is, the appetizers are made . . .

Ricotta with herbs on crostini.

Bruschetta with peppers, capers, basil and bleu cheese.    An Ina recipe.

The company is here, the drinks are flowing and the appetizers have been sampled.    The first course is ready and I light the candles before everyone adjourns to the dining room . . .

Let the Party Begin!!!

Dinner at Linderhof
April 13, 2012


Keith's Asparagus Soup
Salad of Mixed Baby Greens with blueberries, bleu cheese and pecans
Linderhof's Vinaigrette
Mussels in garlic butter sauce
Creme de violette sorbet
Pork Loin with green peppercorn sauce
Rosemary mashed potatoes
Roasted Corn
Chocolate Bread Pudding
Chocolate Ganache
Whipped Cream

The soup bowls lined up and ready to be filled. . . 

With Keith's Asparagus Soup.   Friend Keith had us for dinner one night and he made this delicious soup.   I wrote the recipe on a paper napkin (and the napkin is in my recipe book!).   He was in Germany where he visited a family in their home and this soup was served to him.    He got the recipe from her.   I got the recipe from him.   It's my favorite asparagus soup!

Salad of mixed baby greens with my own vinaigrette.    In the winter, I like to use fruit (strawberries, blackberries or blueberries) in place of tomatoes (which are "plastic") and we like a shower of cheese and in place of croutons I prefer to use nuts.

A fish course for a multi course dinner.    Jim and I both adore mussels and you can't beat the classic combination of garlic and butter.    One guest said that he doesn't eat mussels but he said that he would try them and pronounced them delicious!    We also served bread to sop up that wonderful garlic butter.

To cleanse the pallet, a sorbet.    But not just any sorbet.   One made from the liqueur Creme de Violette.   Imported from Austria and a new purchase.   It's a good liqueur and has a floral flavor.    Don't let the fact that it looks like grape juice fool you!     We decorated the sorbet with violas from the garden.

The main course plated and ready to go into the dining room.

Slices of pork loin with a green peppercorn sauce (from Ina Garten -- it's a favorite sauce for any sort of pork).    Mashed rosemary potatoes because rosemary goes so well with pork and roasted corn.

A manly and chocoholic dessert -- chocolate bread pudding.    Suggested by Daughter Sarah who's made it.    She was right -- it is really good!    And I gilded the lily by making a bourbon laced chocolate ganache to pour over and then topped all of that with whipped cream flavored with bourbon and a mint leaf garnish!

To end the meal, we passed a cheese tray with a wedge of Maytag bleu and the artisanal cheese from Skyview Farm -- chèvre and Asiago.    

With these we served a choice of liqueurs, Cognacs, and port.     And it was fun to try the different liqueurs!    

The men then retired to the porch with the Cognacs and ports (and Scotch) for cigars while we women remained at table for chat.

All too soon the evening was over and everyone said their goodbyes.

And after everyone left, as is our custom, I go to the kitchen to do the dishes (or load the dishwasher) while Jim brings everything into the kitchen.     It makes clean up so much easier when we do it together.    If it doesn't all fit into the dishwasher, I stage the island for the morning.    No use to hand wash dishes when the dishwasher can.      Pots and pans, of course, are washed and put away.

With the dining room tidy and the dishes done, Jim and I often have a nightcap before we head upstairs to bed.

Friday we sat on the porch for it was a nice night.    We talked about how long it has been since we've really hosted a dinner party and that we should rectify that.   (But not a seven course dinner -- those are for special occasions).     

I'm joining Yvonne at Stone Gable for What's on the Menu Monday.   And I'm joining Thrifty Decor Chick for Show Off Your Dining Room.


Nancy @ The Headmistress said...

What a generous undertaking! I have always wanted to try that pork dish from Ina. Yours looked delicious!

Tammy at Tammy Loves Dishes said...

I love that you shared the behind-the-scenes activities with us. It was nice to see a bit of how the dinner came together. Of course, the dinner pictures are tantalizing, too, as your meals always are.

Martha said...

Nancy -- I made a pork loin -- Ina did a rack but I've made that sauce even for pork chops -- it's just a great sauce for pork! And that sauce makes any piece of pork into a party dish!

Bookie said...

As always, everything looks superb! Nice Jim helps and into the event so much...other than eating that is! Thanks for sharing your festive dinner, lovely to see and a nice escape from this weekend of weather! Had son near air base and Pawnee in Wichita last night...long night but all is well. So nice this evening to "attend" your party! Now I am ready to start a new week.


Oh my goodness, what a gorgeous party and such yumminess! I'm hungry looking at the great parties you and Christine's had this last Friday. Wonderful! Have a great week.

Michelle said...

Oh wow! Martha, everything looks perfect, pretty and delicious!!! It's so fun seeing all the prep work in the kitchen. Your guests must have been thrilled! And the pictures of the violas and herbs...ok, now I can hardly wait for your "Cooking With Herbs" class this Saturday! Fantastic post and I will re-visit it in the morning with a cup of coffee to savor the details! =)

Taste the Rainbow said...


You did a wonderful job with your dinner party.

I felt like I was right there with the other guests.


Rowan said...

It all looks and sounds delicious especially the dessert. I'll pass on the mussels though, I don't do shellfish I'm afraid:)

william said...

Martha, you are just amazing. I loved reading about every detail and your pictures! The sorbets were so pretty. I love your use of doilies too! You are such a reporter to document the preparation so well!


Thickethouse.wordpress said...

What a magnificent menu! How generous of you and Jim to offer this to the chamber of commerce. I'd buy a lot of tickets if I lived anywhere near! Everything looks beautiful and the food sounds delicious!

Martha said...

Francie -- I HAD intended to take a picture of the table after we all had gotten up -- before it was cleaned . . and I HAD intended to take a picture of the kitchen with everything in there waiting to be washed . . . but I forgot!

relevanttealeaf said...

WOW! I can see why your dinners are highly sought after and why they earn good sums of money. Everything is fabulous! I read recently about the capability of making a blog into a book, and thought how wonderful it would be for you to do that. Your posts are always so awesome.

Cass @ That Old House said...

Oh yum.
What a wonderful experience ... the Full Monty of dinner parties! All the courses, lovely.
As for the table ... who can go wrong with roses and Spode? Wonderful, beautiful, classic ... just grand!
Lucky guests.

I rely on Howard when we have guests -- he does the drinks, and also manhandles the heavy stuff in and out of the wall ovens. He also washes the pots and pans! My only problem is keeping him from doing cleanup while guests are still here; I prefer to say goodbye and then clean up!

You are one excellent hostess, Miss Martha!
... Cass

Bernideen said...

And they all left dazzled by the chef Martha and her "assistant". What a wonderful meal you served!

On Crooked Creek said...

I came by early this morning before I left for work...but didn't have time to leave a comment! Magnificient!!! Each detail is elegantly seen here!!! Your photography makes us wish we could have been there with you! I adore the photos of Husband Jim! He is so~o~o in his element with the wine glasses! Tell him I agree...each glass is washed...each time we have guest...I, too, prefer it that way! Your dinner had several more courses than did ours! Your dessert looks simply divine!!! Thank you for inviting us, once again, into Linderhof's fine dining!!!

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Wow, what a wonderful meal you served! I wish I had been a guest as it looks so divine!! The sorbet just caught my pretty!

lindaraxa said...

OMG i am just dying for that chocolate bread pudding!Have never had one or made one. i am looking for a recipe right now, if not, guess who's coming aknocking at your door.

Reggie Darling said...

What a wonderful evening this must have been, and how fortunate your guests were to be invited to spend it with you. Everything is perfection! What I wouldn't have given to be there. RD

Unknown said...

It all looks beautiful! I am intrigued by the mention of your homemade orange liquor. Will you share the recipe?