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, July 18, 2012

A Lunch Bunch Tuesday

Once a month on the third Tuesday, the ladies I call The Lunch Bunch come to Linderhof.     We've been doing this for 13 years and it my way of being creative and trying new dishes and to set the table in a bit of a different way.

Usually we have lunch in the breakfast room -- it overlooks the garden and is pleasant, after all as we see the lovely flowers and watch the antics of the birds.

But June and July have been hot.    Triple digit hot.    Looking at a heat exhausted garden which is now overly weedy only reminded us of how hot it really was.

The dining room, buffered by the breakfast room, was cooler.    Was darker.    A much better place for a July lunch.

It's cool in the dining room on a hot day

The table set for lunch with my blue and white transfer ware (the Spode Blue Room) and a runner and placemats.
A table setting -- deconstructed!

Blue and white transfer ware, the "lacy" placemats, old damask napkins in silver napkin rings and a fork, knife and soup spoon.

Red, white and blue!

A flower container in blue and white holding garden begonias.    The only thing blooming in the garden except for one Phlox and 2 sunflowers.     I unashamedly use the begonias as cut flowers.

Antique linons

The delicate needlework of the runner and placemats.    Sigh, not family pieces but a buy at a favorite antiques store.      They don't make linens like this any more!

Always a menu!

A menu for everyone.     A summery menu.

First Course -- creamy tomato soup

Creamy tomato soup made from the French canned tomatoes.    Served in cups and served hot (although it's equally good cold) with a garnish of fresh dill.

Entree -- salmon en croute

Salmon en croute.   It's a Laura Calder recipe.    Wild salmon, a sauce of asparagus and dill topped by asparagus "logs".    All wrapped in puff pastry and baked!    Everyone found it delicious as well as pretty to look at.

Bing cherries have come to market . . .

This will be on the table every year at bing cherry time -- it was a great dessert!

What better dessert than a fresh cherry tart, also a Laura Calder recipe.


1 salmon fillet (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1/4 c. creme fraiche
3 to 4 T. chopped fresh dill
zest of 1 lemon
freshly ground pepper
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten

Skin and bone the salmon and set aside.    Preheat the oven to 450.     

Cut the tips off the asparagus.    Reserve the stems and poach the tips in boiling salted water until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.    Drain well, refresh in ice cold water, then drain again, leaving to sit so that all the water comes off.    Puree the asparagus and stir in the creme fraiche, dill and lemon zest to blend.    Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Lay 1 sheet of puff pastry on a damp baking sheet with the long edge facing you.    Lay the salmon the pastry, like a picture in its frame.    Sprinkle with salt and pepper.    Lay the raw stems of asparagus on top of the salmon, like pencils.    Spread the asparagus puree over top.

Brush the margins of the pastry with the egg wash.   Lay the second sheet of puff pastry over the salmon and press the edges to seal.    Trim the edges, leaving a 1 inch border.    Press with the tines of a fork, then with the dull edge of a knife, scallop the edges.    Make 2 or 3 slits in the top to allow steam to escape.    Brush all over with the egg wash and bake until puffed up and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.    This dish is also good at room temperature.


1 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. butter
2 egg yolks

2 cups sweet cherries (I used Bing)(about 50 cherries)
3 eggs
1/3 c. sugar
3/4 c. creme fraiche or sour cream
1 t. vanilla

Heat oven to 350.    For the pastry:   Put the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor.    Add the butter pieces and pulse until mixture is like crumbs.     Add the eggs and pulse again to create a dough.    Do not over-mix.   Pat into a disk and refrigerate 15 minutes before rolling out.

Blind bake the crust for about 20 minutes.

Filling:    Arrange the carries in the crust.    Beat the eggs with the sugar, and then stir in the creme fraiche and vanilla.   Pour the custard over the cherries.    Bake until set, about 25 minutes.    Cool before serving.

Every time the Lunch Bunch comes, they always say that "this is the best one yet" -- and they said it again on Tuesday.       It is fun to have them for lunch for it's always fun to try new recipes and they are an appreciative audience.     The cook always appreciates that!

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


Mimi said...

Your table and the MENU and food prepared is stunning!!!I think you are a DOLL to do this weekly for the Past 13 years!!You deserve a BIG award...GOOD friend....friendly HOSTESS award.....all of the awards should go to you!!!
I love this idea...would I do it???Would I get the ladies to show up week after week for 13 years???DOubt it...goes to show how wonderful you are!!!

Rebecca said...

I think I'm going to initiate a "Lunch Brunch". (Better late than never!)

Now I'm going to see if I can google search "blind bake". If I don't find it, I'll be back to ask :)

Martha said...

Jamie -- I'm sorry if I misled -- it's once a month and occasionally we will take a road trip or eat out if a new restaurant opens in town. So it's 9 or 10 times a year!

Michelle said...

Hi Martha,
You're right, they don't make linens like that anymore. And they practically give them away at estate sales these days. I always snatch them up when I see them...they are little pieces of art!
P.S. The food looks like art too! =)

Southerncook said...

Your menu looked fabulous and a perfect "Lunch Bunch" menu. Both of those recipes must be in the two Laura Caulder books that I do not have. I only found her first one. Think I will order the other two on Amazon. Have been meaning to do that but wanted to check our other book store first(try to shop local when I can). BTW, your table, gorgeous as always.

Caught one of Laura's programs recently, she made a Walnut Cake that looked delicious. Made a copy of the recipe and think I'll make it this weekend. Let you know how I liked it. Has cocoa in it so DH won't touch it, more for me.


Marlis said...

Martha, how absolutely exquisite. I had to go back and look again as I was mesmerized by the linens! I was a happy camper when I saw the recipes appear.. thank you so much for sharing yourself with all of us. have s very blessed week. xo marlis

On Crooked Creek said...

What an exquisite table!!! Those estate $ale linens are elegant, indeed! Your menu looks divine! I'm sure your Brunch Bunch had a fabulous time and forgot about the heat while they were dining @ Linderhof!!!

Chubby Chieque said...

Honestly, I second demotion to Marlis. Your linens, catch my eyes. They are absolutely adorable.

TY for the recipes. Worth to try.

Happy TS & GB
/CC from Stockholm

Bernideen said...

another winning meal by Martha! Looks delightful!

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Martha, those linens are beautiful and just set off the blue and white dishes so well. I wish I was part of your lunch bunch!! That salmon dish is gorgeous, as is the soup and cherry tart.

Nellie's Cozy Place said...

Hi Martha,
Thanks for coming by and for your sweet comments. What a nice idea your lunch bunch....your table was so pretty, love those linens, and you are right they don't make things like that anymore unfortunately. Love your beautiful blue and white dishes and all the food looks wonderful, I am sure everyone loved it.
Blessings, nellie

Savannah Granny said...

Love your table as always. You know I love your blues.
I WILL be making the salmon recipe. Bob and I eat salmon at least once a week. Last week, twice.
I am always looking for a new recipe. Funny, I usually serve asparagus with the salmon. This is perfect for us. Have a great weekend and thanks for visiting.
Blessings, Ginger

Sarah said...

Lucky lunch bunch who gets to dine at this table. Beautiful!

Athena at Minervas Garden said...

This is really so wonderful, Martha--I can see why your lunch bunch has lasted for 13 years with this kind of special treatment! Your blue and white transfer ware is lovely, and the white lacy placemats are so beautiful. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today--it was so nice to hear from you!

Janette - The2Seasons said...

Thanks for stopping by The 2 Seasons. I love your blue and white dishes. I passed on some last week when Jordan and I were in a thrift store, and I have regretted it ever since. It was just the dinner plates - not an entire set like yours.

Janette - The2Seasons said...

Thanks for stopping by The 2 Seasons. I love your blue and white dishes. I passed on some last week when Jordan and I were in a thrift store, and I have regretted it ever since. It was just the dinner plates - not an entire set like yours.

Judy Biggerstaff said...

How fun this must be! Your linens are lovely and so is the table.