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, November 29, 2012

Kansas Kroquembouche

My last cooking class for the year . . . 

But not French Croquembouche 

Kansas Kroquembouche

A forest of cream puff towers

Made, not by dipping the cream puffs in caramel
but rather in Royal icing

Made into towers and decorated
by the six class members
It was a hand ons class.

Each attendee got a plate, a box of cream puffs and a bowl of Royal Icing
They built and they decorated

And the result . . . 

Some red and green chocolate candies
And a dusting of cocoa

Not quite so pyramidal
we did call this a Kroquembush!
Decorated with red and green sprinkles

Peppermint candies, red and green balls and a shower of red and green sprinkles

Red and white -- peppermint candies and red sprinkles

Green sprinkles and a "cherry" of a chocolate candy on top!

Chocolate covered candies and a shower of cocoa

Our little Kroquembouche forest . . . 
Each student got to take their masterpiece home.

It was a fun class and the first "hands on" class that I've taught.

Alas, it's the last class of the year.

I simply adore teaching classes at life+style right here in our little town on the prairie.

And when you're going to demonstrate a real croquembouche and the sugar keeps crystalizing,
you turn to Plan B -- and rename it!

It's Friday and I'm sharing our Kansas Kroquembouches with Michael at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday and I'm joining Bernideen for Open House.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Flavors of the Season

Last week 
The Lunch Bunch
came for the November lunch

Lunch had both the flavors and the decorations of the season

We're lunching in the dining room this fall and winter and into spring
because there are way too many plants in the breakfast room to be able
to put four around the table!

Brass candelsticks, blue china and a big blue bowl filled with pumpkin and leaves

The turkeys come out after Halloween
The first one bought when I was first married and wanted some Thanksgiving decor
The second bought years later because I thought I needed a pair!

Spode Festival plates (because I thought I needed turkey plates for Thanksgiving).
A menu (as always)

A cranberry nut yeast bread to be served in this great silverplate bread tray.
Initialed and dated 1889 and 1914 (25 years -- I'm guessing it was a silver anniversary present long ago)

Dolly always eagerly awaits company and rushes to the gate when she hears car doors slam!

The menu?
Flavors of fall and Thanksgiving

A butternut squash and sage quiche.
Eaten at Webster House a couple of Sundays ago -- it was delicious and I knew it would be perfect
for the November Lunch Bunch.

Served with a salad of cranberries and feta cheese

And most importantly was dessert --

A cranberry cake with orange cream cheese frosting
and decorated with sugared cranberries.

To be served on dessert plates with Mrs. Boland's forks
(It's a sham, though, there are only two turkey dessert plates -- but it does look like four doesn't it?)
(I think I need to rectify that before next Thanksgiving)

The cake is served in the dining room.   It's both pretty and good!

And goes perfectly with the Blood Orange tea that I brewed!

It's Thursday and I'm joining Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday and Cuisine Kathleen for Let's Dish!    I'm sure almost everyone will be showing off their Christmas tablescapes for it is beginning to be the season.     But I thought you might enjoy one last Thanksgiving one!

November Traditions

Besides Thanksgiving and turkey traditions
November holds traditions of it's own.
For years it was the month that we shelled a big bag of pecans for winter baking
(Now I buy big bags of shelled pecans at Costco!)

But it's still the month we make pomanders

A big bowl of oranges from he market,
a big bowl of cloves
And my old ice pick
are the tools I need to make pomanders

I buy bag oranges -- they are cheaper
And grocery store cloves -- sometimes I'm lucky and can find them in a bigger bag
If not, several of the little jars come home with me.

This year

Seems the German pyramid has made it's way up from the basement to the breakfast room table --the only part of Christmas that has come out of hiding so far!

The sunny breakfast room
was the perfect place to make pomanders

My first one -- half done!

In between baking cookies, dinner and television watching, I managed to 

get five done before I ran out of cloves.
Sigh -- back to the market today!

And dinner?
It's November --
It's after Thanksgiving
Shouldn't it be turkey?

Turkey and noodles -- one of my favorite turkey leftover dishes.
This year I roasted the carrots, celery and onion and added shards of garden sage.
Husband Ji thought it was the absolute best!
And I thought it was pretty tasty as well.

(For those of you out there who think noodles are a part of Thanksgiving Dinner, they're not at Linderhof --
they're one of the after Thanksgiving dishes that help use up the leftover turkey!)

The pomanders?
They're just half finished
For after all the oranges are filled with cloves,
They're dunked in a mixture to cure.

Besides great Christmas decorations,
they make good gifts,
and they're also good to stick in drawers
to scent "unmentionables", socks and such.

I still have some I made "eons" ago
For they do last although I have found that their scent diminishes over time.

The "secret" dunking mixture?

More spices. 

I just put it in a bowl on the kitchen counter and add the pomanders.
The fragrance reminds me so of Christmas!


1/4 c. ground cinnamon
1/4 c. ground cloves
2 T. ground nutmeg (it doesn't have to be freshly ground!)
2 T. ground allspice
1/4 c. powdered orrisroot*

Mix all together, roll cloved balls in mixture and allow to cure (harden)
* if you can't find orrisroot, you can omit it -- it just makes the scent last longer.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving for Two . . . On A Sunday

Sunday Lunch
That's what they called it in England --
the Sunday midday meal.
Taken often in a pub
It was the Sunday Roast --
chicken, pork or beef
served with potatoes, vegetables and sauce
(apple for the pork/horseradish for the beef
and we never ordered chicken but I'm sure it came "sauced" as well)

Taking a cue from our English sojourn
Sunday, after the real Thanksgiving was a mere memory
After the Sarah and her Andy left for the North

I set the table in the dining room

For two -- just Jim and I
A lace tablecloth, the blue and white bowl full of pumpkins, gourds and leaves

My Spode Festival and my everyday cutlery
white linen napkins in silver rings

For I had roasted a turkey breast . . . 

And mashed potatoes and roasted butternut squash
All put on my new Spode Festival tray

And we sat down to a Thanksgiving dinner
complete with dressing, cranberry sauce
and gravy -- in my new Spode Festival gravy boat.

Alas, no hot rolls and no pumpkin pie
And we really didn't miss either!


I did it for one reason and one reason only . . . 

When you're company you often don't have the opportunity
to have the evening
turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce and mayonnaise
washed down by an icy glass of milk.

Served on one of two (but I hope to remedy that in the future)
Myott's Queen's ware Thanksgiving salad plate.

It was superb!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend -- A Whirl of a Weekend

Thanksgiving really begins on Wednesday
When the house is tidied
And the guest room cleaned
For company is expected --

Daughter Sarah and her Andy

Fresh linens on the bed, fresh towels and a basket of toiletries
For sometimes things are forgot.

And always a vase of fresh flowers
on the night stand.
It's a tradition.

We were up early the next morning -- heading an hour south
for three of us participated in

A turkey trot
Not after turkeys
But a 5K run on Thanksgiving morning
Burn calories so you can eat more turkey!

Thanksgiving at Casa Punch in Neosho 

Many guests and several tables
This being the "if you remember Bonanza and Ed Sullivan" table

Guess where we sat?

A turkey dinner with all the trimmings, of course!

Friday, Daughter Sarah became chef in what is now a Thanksgiving tradition
The Friday after meal to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

This year it was Italian . . .

With an antipasta tray


A chicken bundle, bucatini (daughter Sarah's favorite pasta shape) and roasted cauliflower with bread crumbs, garlic and Parmesan cheese.

There were 16 who helped celebrate our anniversary
That was nice.

* * * * *

We said goodbye to our company this morning after breakfast.

They're headed back to Minnesota.

But they'll be back this way at Christmas.

We've got a turkey breast in the oven for our Sunday lunch
with most of the trimmings -- dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberry sauce

Sheets and towels are in the washer
So they'll be clean for that Christmas visit!

And we may poke around in the basement
And bring up some Christmas.

It's Sunday and I'm joining The Tablescaper  for Seasonal Sundays.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Punch Pilgrim Pie

A Punch Family Thanksgiving Tradition . . . 

Pilgrim Pie

When Daughter Sarah joined the Punch family, 
she discovered a new (for her) traditional Thanksgiving food

Pilgrim Pie

"Aunt Jo" always made Pilgrim Pie -- for every Thanksgiving.

And although Thanksgiving always included Pumpkin Pie,
it was the Pilgrim Pie that everyone asked for.

Daughter Sarah was excited about the pie and the next year
(although I never tasted it)
Jo shared the recipe with me.

But I'm not to share it with anyone!

And I haven't

The last few years we've become part of the Punches extended family
and are invited to share Thanksgiving with them.

I, like the rest of the Punch family, now think Thanksgiving
isn't complete  without a Pilgrim Pie.

I looked for the recipe on-line and it isn't there although there are references to
Pilgrim Pie -- but most are really pumpkin pies.

The Pilgrim Pie as Jo makes it isn't.
(At least not under the title "Pilgrim Pie")

So, as I promised, Jo -- the recipe is our secret.

(And no, it contains nary a pumpkin or a cranberry in it)

We ate our fill yesterday of turkey and dressing and potatoes and sweet potatoes and cranberries

But did manage to have our annual slice of

Pilgrim Pie!

It's Friday and I'm joining Michael at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day

Over the river and through the wood,
to Grandfather's house we go;
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh
Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river and through the wood,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the wood,
Trot fast, my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground,
like a hunting hound,
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river and through the wood,
And straight through the barnyard gate!
We seem to go
Extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the wood;
Now Grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Lydia Marie Child

We, at Linderhof, wish you and yours, the Happiest of Thanksgivings . . . . and may all your turkeys be on the table and not around it!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Frank's Giving Day

Dolly took over my computer today -- she is so excited for she's heard about this magical day and wanted to share -- for all of her doggie friends who may not have heard:

I am so excited about tomorrow.

For Ollie told me about the legend of Happy Frank

He shared with me this message
that he received from his friend Dion,
the Cavalier that lived with Cass and Howard at That Old House.

The message as Ollie gave it to me -- as Dion gave it to him

"Hello, my Doggy Friends!

It's Dion and I want to share some wisdom with you.

Back right after the world began, which was when I was born, I found out about a
magical being named Happy Frank.    Every year, on the last Thursday in November,
this magical being brings gifts and presents and sometimes even freeze-dried liver
to lucky dogs.    Lucky dogs who are GOOD!

This being is named Happy Frank, and that's why the last Thursday in November is

I have been very very good since I came to Linderhof

I'm a squirrel watcher extraodinaire

I watch them all the time and make sure that they don't  do anything they are supposed to.

I am a protector of our Fort.    I let no squirrels get past the line I've drawn in the ground!
Keeping the grounds of the Fort safe for visitors
(for who wants to be attacked by a squirrel!)

I don't get on the furniture -- by myself
Sometimes HE puts me up so he can do a better job at a massage.

Okay, so I do hang around at meal time -- for a morsel or two
(he's a pushover -- she -- not so much)

But who can resist this?

I'm a good dog, really I am, ever since I came to live at Linderhof.
I got in the trash only once . . . just once
And took my treasures to my favorite places in the house.

I was told that it wasn't "done" and Ollie confirmed it --
Linderhof corgis do not get in the trash -- no matter how tempting.

I pointed out, however, that if it weren't for trash, I may not be alive.
The 10 days I was dumped and alone, rummaging through trash for food morsels
kept me alive.

But I learned -- no trash digging and I just did it that once --
just that once.

So I am hoping that Happy Frank will visit on Thursday.

I asked Ollie what he looked like and he didn't know.

I thought perhaps he may be a corgi named Frank

who shares his treats.    But Ollie said "no".

So I'm thinking that Happy Frank

May look like the uprights

And in the middle of the night

leaves treats in empty dog dishes.

I hope so.

That come Wednesday night

that Happy Frank will visit Linderhof

And leave me a treat.

Like a good dog,

I'll go to bed early and sleep soundly.

I'm sure there will be a treat Thursday morning, don't you think?


Monday, November 19, 2012

A Chocolate Tea

Friend Sally dropped by to say goodbye
Not forever --
I don't think I could stand that
No, it was just a Thanksgiving visit with her son.

She called and said she was coming over

Tea for two in the breakfast room

With my Spode blue and white (of course!)
And a candle -- not for ambiance but for fragrance
Bought at my favorite shop in the little town east of me, Interior Motives

You can't have a "send off" tea without a nosh!

A piece of chocolate cake

When Sally called, my larder was bare!
Not a cookie or crumb to be had.
But this recipe is easy and quick and good

It makes an 8 inch square cake
Not too big and not too little
Enough for Sally and I
with some leftover for dessert
(and perhaps a late night snack for Husband Jim with a glass of milk!)

We sat and sipped
And visited
And ate cake.

I'll miss Sally while she's gone
But, she'll be back and our adventures can begin again!

The cake is a quick cake -- one bowl, one pan.
The recipe came from my mother's neighbor, Mrs. Boland

She was my mother's landlady and cooking mentor
in those early marriage days of my mother and father.

I've talked about Mrs. Boland before for I have her forks
and several of my mother's recipes are really her recipes!

This cake is one of them.
And because it made at 8 inch square it was made often.
Often, too, it was left unfrosted.
It was a great treat to come home to from school.

Mrs. Boland's Chocolate Cake

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 c. flour
3 T. cocoa
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
5 T. butter, melted
1 T. cider vinegar
 t. vanilla
1 cup cold water


1/2 c. brown sugar
3 T. butter, melted
3 T. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400.

Sift sugar, flour cocoa, salt and baking soda into a bowl.

Make a well in the center, and add melted butter and the liquid ingredients.   

Beat well.

Pour into an 8 inch square pan.   (which has been greased and floured).    Bake for 30 minutes.    Cool completely before spreading topping.    Turn oven off.

For topping, mix brown sugar, butter and heavy cream.

Spread over the cooled cake and set under the broiler for 1 minute.    Watch carefully to prevent burning.

Allow frosting to cool.    Serve from pan.

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