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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cooking With Herbs

Two of my passions are herbs and cooking and when the two come together as they sometimes do when I teach cooking classes at life+style, the cooking store for the everyday gourmet in our little town.

I teach other classes as well but the cooking with herbs classes are my favorite.    And tonight, the cooking with herbs class featured the following dishes:

It was not only a Cooking With Herbs class but a Cooking With Farmer's Market produce class.      All the vegetables for the class came from our local Farmer's Market.    All the herbs came from my garden.

At my classes, it is not just a sample but a real helping.    Three salads:

Broccoli/cauliflower salad with a pesto mayonnaise dressing
Strawberry Salad with a rosemary tarragon sweet dressing
Pasta Salad 3 Ways 
(Pasta with vegetables and an oil and vinegar dressing, one portion served plain, one portion with dill and the third portion with fennel)

Corn made lines infused with sage.    Fresh, hot out of the oven and served with chive butter.

Backups with rosemary, dill and parsley as well as sage.

And there can't be a meal without dessert and I simply adore herbal desserts.    Tonight it was

Mini lavender cherry cheesecakes.  

With a sprig of candied lavender on the top.

It's the old 80's recipe for those mini cheesecakes (in fact, I made them sans lavender for Daughter Sarah's 4th grade birthday party at school) with the addition of lavender in the batter.

It was a fun class and I so enjoyed visiting with the participants.    The lavender cherry cheesecakes were the hit of the evening.


16 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 T. lemon juice
2 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla (optional)
2 T. ground lavender buds (I use a coffee grinder but you can leave them whole)
1 box vanilla wafers
foil cupcake liners

Preheat oven to 350.   Place 1 cookie in each cupcake liner.    Place rest of ingredients in mixer bowl and mix until well blended.    Spoon mixture on top of cookies.    Bake 15 minutes.    When cool, top with cherry pie filling.

Thank you to friend Kate and friend Cynthia for the pictures.    My camera had a dead battery.   (the only flaw with my camera is the time between telling you that the battery is low and the battery is dead is a nano second!)    I think they did an awesome job!

It is Friday and I'm sharing this herbal feast with Michael at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday, Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Blue Breakfast

We love our garden and we often eat in the garden -- and some days breakfast, lunch and dinner.
A table for two in the garden.

On a small table under the rose branches.    A table for two.

The breakfast tray.

 For breakfast in the garden, everything needs to fit on one tray -- no trips back and forth.    It is supposed to be a relaxing breakfast!     My beloved blue and white, of course!

Our favorite garden breakfast -- eggs, seasonal fruit and freshly baked muffins.    A pitcher of cream for the coffee and the fruit!

Blueberry muffins for we've been to the blueberry farm.    Blueberry "doughnut" muffins for they are dipped in a tasty glaze (and I'm a glutton -- I dip them not once but twice!)

Our little table for two is made from a grate.    A practice item made into a practical table.    Not by us, for we bought it that way.    But we feel it makes a perfect table for two in the garden.

The garden, a peaceful place for a quiet breakfast.  

The blueberry muffin recipe?    It's a simple recipe but the glaze makes it spectacular.   You can single dip or double dip (I prefer the double) and I baked them in my popover pans for thinner, taller muffins.   I like the look and may bake my muffins in those pans again.


zest of 2 lemons
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 2/3 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1 c. milk
1 1/3 c. fresh blueberries

For the Glaze:

3 T. butter, melted
1 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 t. vanilla
1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 T. warm water

Preheat the oven to 425.   Lightly grease a standard muffin tin or line with 12 paper muffin cups (I used a popover pan, used muffin cups but greased above them).

In a medium bowl, combine the lemon zest and sugars.   Use your fingertips to incorporate the zest into the sugars until it is moist and fragrant.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream together but butter, oil and sugars until smooth.    Add the eggs and vanilla, beating to combine.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.    Stir the flour mixture into the batter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.    Fold in the blueberries.

Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full.

Bake the muffins for 15 to 17 minutes or until they're a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.

In a medium bowl, prepare the glaze by mixing together the melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and water.    Whisk until smooth.

When the muffins have cooled slightly, dip the muffin crown into the glaze and allow the glaze to harden.    At this point you can leave them as is or go for the double dip!    I went for the double dip!

Serve warm or cool on a rack and wrap airtight.    Muffins will keep at room temperature for about a day.

(But we needn't have worried -- we finished off all 6 before we went inside!)

I found this delightful recipe on My Baking Addition and in my opinion it is a winner!

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

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer Annuals

The gardens at Linderhof are mostly perennials and herbs.    But we do like color all summer long.    To get color in summer, our flower friends are the annuals.

Our annuals are not in beds but rather in pots scattered around the garden.   Pots we've lovingly collected over the years.

The baker's rack is on the patio and it's shelves are filled with terra cotta pots with begonias on the two top shelves.    The bottom shelf holds the rose geranium -- it's summer home is outside -- it's winter home is a window in the kitchen.     We love it's fragrance and use it often to perfume cakes or perhaps for edible decoration.

A cement planter filled with a pink begonia.    I've been fortunate enough to always find the same variety of begonia each summer since I bought the pot.    And actually, from the same supplier!    

Another cement planter filled also with pink begonias -- but the "common" begonia -- one with green leaves and one with brown but both with pink blossoms.

The planter on the house -- begonias fill it as well -- pink, white and a few red.     In fall, we'll plant pansies or violas here.     Last winter, we had them blooming all winter long!

The first pots we ever bought when we moved to Linderhof -- the old fashioned square cement ones.   My parents had the same type of pots!     Red begonias fill all three planters.

A hypertufa planter with a hypertufa ball that I made.     Marigolds fill the planter.    They're tough little plants.

Another cement planter in the space between the two drives.    More marigolds fill this planter.

The front planters -- the iron ones.     Filled this year with white begonias.    Flags are in place because the picture was taken Memorial Day.

Under the pergola, the two cast aluminum planters filled with red begonias.    The living wreath is on the table.

It holds thyme and French marigolds.

Three and a half flats of begonias and marigolds fill the planters and urns at Linderhof.    Most bought in one fell swoop.     Bought when the temperature warmed and the pansies and violas waned.    

We prefer the tried and true begonias and marigolds because summers are always hot on the prairie and often dry -- rain not coming for weeks at a time.    Daily (and sometimes twice daily) waterings are necessary just to keep the plants alive.

Last summer when we arrived home in mid June, we planted out pots.    As summer progressed, we noticed that the begonias survived better than most of the annuals.    They don't really need to be deadheaded and a daily watering keep them both alive and blooming.

This year we decided that begonias and begonias only would be the plant of choice this summer.   I did succumb, however, to a few 6 packs of marigolds for I adore their bright yellow/gold color.

With the pots planted, we begin our daily chore of watering each morning.    We are rewarded by the pretty blooms that grace the garden and often grace the house as well for we're not above cutting them for the house.

I love how the planters fill out as the plants grow as summer progresses.    

Sunday, May 27, 2012

We Remember Our Fallen

The American Cemetery

And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Farmer's Market Saturday - Week 2

We were at the Farmer's Market when it opened this morning.     More vendors including a dog biscuit one!   (which came complete with puppy -- the official taste tester?)

Our basket came home full as it usually does.     Great early produce at the market.    All of the spring crops even though our weather has been so unspringlike!

This Saturday, my basket . . .

Gooseberries (only a pint so I think a fool rather than a tart), onions, leeks, garlic, spinach, potatoes, peas, and radishes fill the basket this week.

Most is for dinner tomorrow night for we're having company and this fresh produce along with some local blueberries should make a nice holiday meal to go with the leg of lamb that will be the star.

Our Farmer's Market for a little community is a big Farmer's Market -- with many vendors and a big variety of both vegetables, baked goods and flowers.     Today, one of the History Day finalists was at the market performing her History Day skit.     What a great addition!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fruit and Flowers

It's Spring and time to preserve some fruits and flowers.     As I do every year (or almost every year).

The fruit

An "I've had forever" tutti fruitti crock

A big jar into which I put two cups of strawberries cut in half, two cups of sugar and 2 cups of brandy.    Stir and add as the fruit comes into season -- cherries, blackberries, peaches and apricots and perhaps a handful of blueberries -- alway two cups and as you add two cups of fruit, you add two cups of sugar.    Stir once a day with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved.    About a month or so after the addition of the last fruit (the peaches) -- the tutti fruitti is ready.  

To be spooned over poundcake or ice cream.    And before the next year's strawberry time, the tutti fruitti jar is empty.

The jar is a very old one -- not ancient in age but bought ages and ages ago and painted by me -- with strawberries and strawberry blossoms.    Which is appropriate, I think, for strawberries are always the start!

It lives in summer on the counter where the the fruit can be added as it comes in season and it can given that daily stir.

The flowers

Violas drying after being sugared.

Violas.    Candied.   To be used as decoration on cakes and cupcakes summer, fall and winter.    These are the last of the 100 or so that I candied this year.    (I also candied rose petals and pansies).

Sugared Violas

So sweet and sugary as if they were touched by snow or frost.    They make great decoration to white or chocolate frosted cakes or cupcakes.     The price is a little time, an egg white (or two) and some sugar (no more than 1/2 cup).    If you buy candied violets, however (and I have done that) they are $12.50 (plus shipping) for about 30 of them!  

The tin rests in the larder ready to be used when I want to add a special touch to a special dessert.

It is Friday and I'm sharing my "fruits and flowers" with Michael at Designs by Gollum and Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An Herbal Luncheon in the Garden

May is such a pretty time on the prairie.    Days are milder and the humidity of summer is yet to come.    May is a perfect time to have luncheon in the garden.

Often when I give a talk or do a cooking class out of town, I donate a luncheon at Linderhof for the lucky winner and 3 friends -- to join me for a luncheon at Linderhof.

Janice won (and she says she never wins) and brought her sister and her mother.    When I talked to her the day before the luncheon, I told her the forecast was supposed to be nice and that I was planning luncheon in the garden.

It was clear and sunny and not too warm and so I set the iron table under the pergola for lunch.

The table under the pergola is perfect for a May luncheon.

It's nice to actually feel like you're in the garden.    And because the class that I gave, where Janice's name was the lucky one drawn, was on herbs, I decided to fix an herbal luncheon.

Sunny now but the table is shady by luncheon time.

Two cloths -- a white damask under cloth -- there is just something elegant -- whether inside or out -- about tablecloths that go to the ground and a shorter lace one on top.

Crisp white and garden herbs

Flowers in the table -- from my garden, and lacy shadows from the trees overhead.    Dishes and glasses are inside -- we don't like insects in or on our dishes.    I used, of course, my blue and white transfer for the main course and F. Winkle Whieldon Ware plates for dessert.

An herbal bouquet

An F. Winkle Whieldon Ware sugar bowl filled with lemon balm and lavender -- an herbal luncheon should have an herbal centerpiece!

An herbal favor and a keepsake menu

White linen napkins in silver napkin rings at each place as well as a menu (with a picture of the garden) and a lavender "bottle" -- a favor for the ladies.

The menu --  all delightfully herbal . . .

Ladies lunch from the herb garden

Classic quiche lorraine, but made herbal with thyme and parsley; a salad of baby greens, roasted grape tomatoes and an artichoke heart with a dressing made from mayonnaise, homemade pesto (just a half teaspoon) and cream to thin; and corn made lines with a sage leaf baked in each one.

And when I do herbal luncheons, I love to do herbal desserts.    For most people think of herbs as savory -- not sweet.   And I love to do lavender desserts for most people think of lavender for the linen closet -- not for the kitchen.

Lavender compliments the lemon cake.

Lemon lavender mini bunt cakes with a lavender glaze and decorated with a crystalized lavender blossom.

The cakes matched the centerpiece of lemon balm and lavender -- little details but one that makes the luncheon special.

They're easy cakes -- Ina's lemon yogurt cake to which I added a big palmful of dried lavender blossoms. And baked, instead of a loaf pan in individual bundt pans -- I adore individual desserts because they look "whole" but miniature.


1 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 1/3 c. sugar, divided
3 eggs
2 t. grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 palmful culinary dried lavender buds
1 T. culinary dried lavender buds

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
Lavender syrup

Preheat the oven to 350.    Spray 6 baby bundt pans with Pam.    

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into 1 bowl.   In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest and vanilla.     Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.   With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated.    Add the palmful of lavender.     Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes or until a cake tester placed in the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice, the 1 T. of dried lavender and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clean.    Strain.    Set aside.

When the cakes are done, allow them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.    Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan.    While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar-lavender mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in.    Cool.

For the glaze,  combine the powdered sugar and lavender syrup (bought at a specialty market in Minneapolis -- if you can't find, you could use lemon juice or make your own) and pour over the cake.

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

Monday, May 21, 2012

History, Mystery and Tea

Years ago I found a cookbook -- a "local" cookbook (anything from Missouri or Kansas to me is local!) and it's an old cookbook -- published in 1963 -- almost 50 years ago!

A Collection of Classic Recipes From a Golden ge of St.  Louis Living

It's from the Shaw House . . . What now is known as "Tower Grove" in the Missouri Botanical Garden in Saint Louis.

The History

1963 - Shaw House/2012 - Tower Grove

This house.    Where we visited a couple of weeks ago.

They had colored photos of the inside of the house --

Circa 1963 parlor.

Circa 2012 parlor.  

Circa 1963 dining room (notice the dining room chairs)

Circa 2012 dining room (and some of the chairs are still there -- but the dining room is different for the fireplace is in a different spot!)

Mr. Shaw's bedroom 1963

And that same bedroom 2012 -- only it no longer belongs to Mr. Shaw -- it's the guest room!

And the wonderful 1963 kitchen . . . which no longer excises.

But this 2012 breakfast room does -- a perfect room to start the day . . . and it reminds me of Linderhof's breakfast room.

The Mystery

Submitted by Mrs. Neal S. Wood

Is this recipe in that cookbook -- Martha Scott's Orange Tea Cakes

These tea cakes -- the very same -- from that old cookbook.     Baked by "Martha Scott" so I guess I really can call these Martha Scott's Martha Scott's Orange Tea Cakes!

Who was this Martha Scott who made famous these wonderful orange teacakes?

The Tea

The tea table

On the porch.    The Lunch Bunch minus one.     For we're heading out to the little town east of us to get blueberries.    Not pick -- get.    Our picking days are over!      But we needed a little mid morning refreshment before we headed east.

A place setting

My F. Winkle Wheldon Ware.    It's English -- it's blue and white with  touch of pink and I simply adore it.

napkin, plate and fork

It's reminiscent of famille rose.     And a hand crocheted nd embroidered napkin in blues and pinks seems to be the perfect tea napkin for these plates.    One of my mother of pearl dessert forks -- for this is a dainty tea treat!

It's a part set and I have a sugar but no creamer but none of us take either so the sugar bowl makes a great centerpiece filled with lemon balm and lavender.     A Spode Blue Room tea pot is the perfect pot for tea.

A perfect place for tea

It was cool on the porch and we ate a "Martha Scott's Orange Tea Cake" or two, had a cup of tea or two and thus fortified, we were ready to head east for a stash of blueberries!

I love old recipe books.    The directions are sketchy.   It does mention two eggs, separated, but it doesn't mention when you add the eggs!     I added the yolks after I added the zest and before the flour and orange juice.   I whipped the whites separately and then folded them into the batter.    It was a good tea cake.    And I have the little iron gem pans that the recipe calls for so they are petite cakes.    Really just right for tea!

It is Tuesday and I'm joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday and Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday.