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 25, 2012

A Luncheon For Friends

Last week six friends from Nevada came to lunch.    For they were going to the poetry reading at the college later that afternoon.      We're always happy to host our Nevada friends.    And we've known Katherine and Janice for a long long time!    

Special friends call for a special table.

Just before company arrives, the table is set  and the food is ready.

Anchored by an antique lace tablecloth.

Spode transfer ware always sets a pretty table.

Blue and white Spode, my newest wine glasses, damask napkins in silver rings, and, of course, a menu!

The blue and white table made a cooling table on a triple digit day.

If the flowers and dogs look familiar it's because they were my centerpiece for my Tuesday Lunch Bunch lunch.    Good flowers always deserve a reprise!

And on the menu?

A cup of soup is always a good starter or first course.

My newest and favorite creamy tomato soup recipe.   Made oh so simply with the French canned tomatoes (sigh, my last two jars) and a bit of cream and salt and pepper.    So simple and oh, so good.    Garnished with a sprig of thyme because the canned tomatoes were flavored with thyme!

Vol Au Vent.   A fancy name for a simple but elegant dish!

Vol Au Vent.   Which is French for chicken ala king in a puff pastry shell!   It's easy and actually could be made with leftover chicken and it's really good.    The shells are homemade -- from sheets of puff pastry (the puff pastry, however, was not made by me -- frozen puff pastry is a cook's best friend!)

And for dessert?

Is there anything better than chocolate?

Laura Calder's craggy chocolate cake.    Not a pretty cake when it's unadorned!

All lined up and ready for the guests in the dining room.

However, topped with some Grand Marnier flavored whipped cream and some orange peel, it makes an impressive dessert.

Six guests, six slices.   None for the cook!

And I've made flour less chocolate cakes before -- but this one, oh, this one is my absolutely all time favorite.   I will be making this one again.

They stayed and visited and had another cup of coffee and then, they bid their adieus in order to get to the college so that they could get good seats for the poetry reading.

The party . . . after

A table to be cleared and the house made tidy before I headed to the college to hear the poets.    And it's a good thing I did for the poets followed me home for tea!


7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
7 ounces butter, softened
4 eggs, separated
1 c. sugar

Heat the oven to 375.   Line an 8 inch springform with parchment and grease and flour pan.

Melt the chocolate gently over a water bath, and then beat in the butter a piece at a time until smooth.   In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1/2 c. sugar until tick, pale and ribbony.   In yet another bowl, beat the whites to soft peaks.    Scatter over the remaining 1/2 c. sugar and beat to a stiff meringue.

Slowly whisk the chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture.    Stir in a spoonful of beaten egg whites, then pour the chocolate mixture over the egg whites and gently fold together with a spatula.   Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven.    Run a knife around the outside edge, then let sit until cool.   It will sink down and top with crack, appealingly.    Serve with a drift of slightly sweeter whipped cream, flavored with vanilla, rum or orange flower water (I used Grand Marnier)

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


Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Your tablescape is gorgeous and your menu sounds wonderful. Everything look so beautiful. Hugs, Marty

Tricia said...

Your table looks lovely and inviting, and your food always looks tempting! I must try that chocolate cake -- my husband adores flourless chocolate cake.

Patti @ Pandoras Box said...

Very pretty table...and your lunch looks so tasty that I might add that to my list of things to make!

Blondie's Journal said...

Your table is does look so cool in your dining room. The food looks like you spent hours on that the cake is so simple but delicious!


The Charm of Home said...

Your table is beautiful and the food looks fantastic! You have me in the mood to cook!

Dawna (Stitches from the Tub) said...

Your table is lovely, what a perfect starter to a poetry reading. The cake sounds so good I had to go get the eggs and butter out of the fridge before sending this note. Dawna

On Crooked Creek said...

Your luncheon menu is making me drool! It's been years since I've had chicken a la king!!! (Maybe not since I was a child!) AND chocolate cake with whipped cream, oh my goodness! Your blue and white sets such a classic table, dear friend! But however did you manage all this and make it to the poetry reading and then entertain on a moments notice for Tea??? In triple digit temperature, none the less!!!You continually amaze me!!!

podso said...

You keep busy with your guests! It sounds like a wonderful lunch and I like how you give them a menu card. It makes it even more special! Are you going to post your soup recipe, or have you sometime before? I love tomato soup.

Savannah Granny said...

You always set the most beautiful tables and have the most elegant menus.
I just wanted to say, "I am from Nevada and I am coming through town next week".
Oh yes, the new stemware is exquisite.
Have a great weekend.

Tammy at Tammy Loves Dishes said...

I have never seen chicken ala king look so scrumptious! And chocolate cake, too. Yum and double yum. All served at your beautiful table on that gorgeous blue and white china. True bliss!

Meredith said...

Your table is beautiful and that menu looks heavenly. I think I'll be making that cake soon too.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Oh, Martha, I always wish that I could be a guest at your table!! The menu sounds sooo wonderful. How do you make the soup? I read your other post about the French canning method. Do you make your soup from your own canned tomatoes? The cake sounds fabulous. What lucky guests you share your talents with.