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.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Herbal Pantry

Herbs are a big part of life at Linderhof
Half of the back garden is the herb garden
(the other half is patio!)

But I'm not an herb dryer
(except for the lavender)
preferring to buy fresh grocery store herbs in the winter
relying heavily on parsley
and also a few snippets from the herbs I keep on my kitchen windowsill.

But I do "save" herbs for winter
Just not dried!

And last week I taught a class on 
The Herbal Pantry
at life+style

Loaves of bread were perfect to spread with herbal butters, herbal honeys and herbal jams
Biscuits made two ways -- with the same recipe
one with herbal flour/the other with herbal butter
The class said there was a difference!

And no class is complete without a sweet treat

My fairy cakes made with rose geranium sugar
and decorated with a rose geranium leaf.

Foods from my herbal pantry included:
rosemary salt
chive butter
mixed herb flour
(it's where those little snippets of herbs go when I pick too many for my dish)
tarragon vinegar
blueberry basil jam
lavender honey
basil pesto

Attendees got to take home some herbal salt and some herbal butter
they made themselves!

I had so much fun teaching this class
that next Saturday
September 7
I'm going back to Fire Lake Camp
for an Herbal Pantry Luncheon

We'll talk about and demonstrate some of the items from
The Herbal Pantry

Then we'll enjoy a Herbal Pantry Luncheon
A salad of mixed greens, Farmer's Market tomatoes with purple ruffles basil vinegar
Pasta with pesto
Carrot salad with a lemon verbena dressing
Herbal biscuits
Blueberry Basil Jam Cake

There's still room and I'd so like to meet you
Call Julie at  913-544-9260 or email her at

It should be a fun and tasty afternoon

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Blue Row

The spring we spent in England
we lived mostly
in a little village of
in the Cotswolds

In a cottage
called Blue Row

It's an 1806 row house
built as four a four family home
Somewhere in time,
it was changed to a "duplex"
We had half the home
A couple from London weekended in the other half.

The front door

The entry hall
but it could be completely shut off
to keep out the damp cold
that one often thinks of when one thinks of England

The dining room
A cupboard full of dishes
(Unfortunately none blue and white)
A window overlooking the garden
And a small oak table and chairs
A stove in the fireplace nook.
This would have been the living quarters of one of the four houses.

The living room
It was the living quarters of of of the four houses
A much bigger fireplace had this house!

A tiny kitchen
with wood counters
No upper cabinets

And a window over the sink
Perfect for the basil that I bought and left

The "master" bedroom
All bedrooms had wardrobes and no closets.
A small matching dresser

A second bedroom
complete with beams
And books!

Across the lane

A 900 year old church
One evening we were regaled with a church bell concerto

 Every afternoon we were home
We had tea in the garden

And looking out the bathroom window
we often saw "Rusty" in the cow pasture next to the church!

And when we had guests
(and we did!)
We waved goodbye from the bedroom window!

I'm joining The Tablescaper for Oh, The Place's I've Been. . . .

Blue Row was a dream come true.    It was really fun to live in England in a village although it was a village of only 200 and most were weekenders.    But you could walk to the farm store, there was a decent pub but it was too far to walk to, and we did attend church while we lived there.     There was something special about walking across the lane and worshiping in a 900 year old stone church.    I would go back in a heartbeat.    (Taking some of my blue and white dishes with me, of course!)     The only thing that would have made the stay perfect was to have Oliver, our corgi with us.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunday Tea

I have the best job in the world
I write articles for two magazines
on local cooks.

The cooks invite me into their kitchen
and we chat
and they provide a recipe
and the dish that that recipe makes.

I photograph
both the cook and the dish

And when I leave, often I get to take things home.

Saturday, I was in Nevada
interviewing next month's cook
He made lemon blueberry scones.

He sent me home with two!

Often on Sundays we have a Sunday Lunch
We've now been eating out for Sunday Lunch
A big meal
In the middle of the day.

Instead of dinner
we often chose tea instead.

With Mike's lemon blueberry scones
and a pot of Earl Grey
It was a lovely late afternoon respite
After some time in the garden
And a Sunday nap!

When we have tea on Sunday
it is Sunday and so we chose china instead of our beloved blue and white

My other collection
Asian inspired bird and chrysanthemum china
in pinks and greens and aquas

The scone, perfect for tea
With an English bone handled fork
On a Royal Stafford Rock Bird tea plate

The cups and saucers are Spode Famille Rose
Like the blue and white, I think the variety of these Asian patterns work well together.

It's late afternoon,
the dogs have been taken to the park for their weekly run,
the nap's been taken

We found the scones lovely!
And perfect for Sunday Tea.

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

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Late Summer Lunch

The Lunch Bunch
four friends who get together 
once a month to share
food and friendship

We've been lax this summer
new grand baby (me)
grandsons visiting (Joyce)
trip to Paris (Sally)
babysitting in Portland (JoAnn)

and although we've gotten together
it wasn't all four of us
and it wasn't at Linderhof.

It was good to be back together again!

With sunflowers in an old blue pitcher
and birds on the table
(a gift from the Lunch Bunch)
"pecking" at the sunflower seeds

And blue and white dishes

A lace tablecloth
Damask napkins in silver rings
Bach and Mozart playing softly in the background

A new recipe

Chicken "lasagna"
From friend Francie
(although I made only half a recipe --
more than enough for four)

Served with halved baby zucchini
sauteed with oregano, garlic and onion

It received three "thumbs up"!

Dessert --

Blackberry roll
From Williams-Sonoma Fruit Desserts Cookbook

The first time I've ever "rolled"
I was intimidated
It's quite easy actually
And the result is superb!

And after . . . 

Dishes are done
for I've got to rush to an assignment interview

The breakfast room
Just minutes ago
it was the scene of laughter and chatter

Now all is tidy and quiet!


As written by Francie
I halved the recipe (although I did use two cups of chicken) and baked it in an 8 inch square
and I did use the olive oil rather than the butter!

From "Uptown Down South." I decided not to post this under Pasta because it is really chicken and egg noodles and is almost like a kugel. It is good comfort food and can be adjusted easily to be lower-calorie and low-fat.

12 ounces egg noodles
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon basil
4 cups chicken broth
5 cups cubed cooked chicken
4 cups cottage cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook egg noodles according to package directions; set aside. Melt butter over medium heat in sauce pan; blend in flour, salt, pepper and basil and cook until smooth. Slowly add broth and stir until sauce is thick and bubbly. Stir in chicken; set aside. In separate bowl, combine cottage cheese and egg; set aside. In 9x13x2-inch baking dish, layer as follows: 1/3 of chicken mixture, 1/2 of cooked egg noodles, 1/2 of cottage cheese mixture and 1/2 of mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers, ending with chicken mixture. Sprinkle heavily with Parmesan cheese. If ready to use, bake uncovered for 1 hour at 350 degrees. May freeze. When ready to use, thaw casserole for 24 hours in refrigerator and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Serves 12.

My notes: I deleted the 1/2 cup butter and substituted 2 T. olive oil, decreasing the flour accordingly also; used Wondra flour and low-fat cottage cheese and also added some chopped parsley to the cottage cheese mixture. I made this in 3 smaller casseroles and froze 2 of them. For the chicken, I cooked skinless bone-in chicken breasts in a small crockpot the day before and cooled and refrigerated the chicken and broth together overnight. I think this would be just fine with a rotisserie chicken also (might want to decrease the salt in that case).


12 X 9 inch sponge cake (recipe follows)
1/2 c. cream
1/2 t. vanilla
1 T. powdered sugar plus extra for dusting
1 cup blackberries

Bake the sponge cake and let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes.    When the sponge cake is still warm to the touch, use a thin metal spatula to loosen the edges from the pan.    With a long side toward you, gently roll the cake into a cylinder with the parchment paper still attached to the bottom.     Allow the cake to cool completely, about 45 minutes, then gently unroll it on a work surface and remove the parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the cream, vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted 5 to 7 minutes.

To assemble, spread the center of the cooled cake with whipped cream, scatter the berries on top of the cream and reroll the cake.    Transfer the log, seam side down, to a long serving platter.    Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.

To serve, using a fine mesh sieve dust the top of the cake with a generous coating of powdered sugar.   Cut the cake crosswise into slices.


vegetable oil spray
1/2 c. cake flour
3 large eggs, separated
2 T. butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. sugar

Preheat the oven to 350    Coat a 12 x 9 jelly roll pan with pray and line with parchment paper.    Measure the cake flour into a sifter and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the egg yolks, melted butter and vanilla.    Set aside in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, whip the egg whites until foamy.    Slowly add in the sugar and continue whipping until the egg whites are soft and shinny.

Pour the yolk and butter mixture into the egg whites and sift half of the flour on top.   Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the ingredients together.    Sift the remaining flour over the batter and fold in.

Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly.    Bake until the cake is golden, the center springs back when touched and the edges are beginning to pull away from the pan, 7 to 9 minutes for the sheet pan.

It's Thursday and I'm joining Susan at Between Naps On The Porch and Cuisine Kathleen for Let's Dish

Monday, August 19, 2013

Half Past Three

A cooler day found me in the kitchen
making brown sugar cookies.

A new recipe and a good one!

With freshly baked "biscuits" or cookies,
at half past three
I was on the porch

The wicker tray, with a cloth
(an vintage blue and white tea towel --
perfect for a tray cloth)

My Burleigh Asiatic Pheasant
A pale blue compared to the blue in the Royal Stafford version.

 A wee teapot -- just enough for two cups
And the cup is smaller as well
A plate with three cookies
I have to ration them --
or else I could eat them all!

And this afternoon as I passed the breakfast room
The sun was streaming in

Almost like a spotlight on the sunflowers!

It's Tuesday and I'm sharing my afternoon tea with Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday and Sandi At Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday.

The sunflowers are for friend Pat, from Crooked Creek who is the real sunflower aficionado.    

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Dressing Room

I've always wanted
A Butler's Pantry
A Back Staircase
A Fireplace in the Master Bedroom

Linderhof has the latter
A fireplace in the Master Bedroom
But the master bedroom also came with
a large closet
with a regular size window

And not one door but French doors.
Much too nice to be shut away
This little room

Plus it has a wall of built ins
Cupboards above
and 9 drawers below
six huge drawers
and three smaller ones

Ten years or so ago I painted the cabinets black
And did decorative painting on the doors

The walls I painted dark green
It was definitely a green phase at Linderhof
a dark green phase

It's not a large room
There is enough room for my dressing table and chair
To the right is rods where I hang my clothes
And then tees and jeans and such
are in the drawers

The cabinets hold photo albums
for the cupboards are very deep
And they hold a lot!

The light fixture is a 1920's fixture
from ebay
much prettier than the ulitarian fixture that was there!

But after 10 years or so I got tired of the green
I got tired of the black
I felt as if the walls were closing in!

And besides, rooms need to be refreshed after 10 years.
Things get a little "tired"!

So last week I painted

Out with the black and decorative painting
In with a soft white
BM White Dove

They look, perhaps, as they did when they were first built

The walls were lightened as well
BM Old Country
A light beigey color with a touch of pink
But not enough pink that the room seems pink

The pictures to the left of the dressing table
are of Canterbury
The first one is of the cathedral itself
The second two are of the Cathedral Gate
that leads into the Cathedral close

Next to the Gate is a hotel
That's been there for centuries
The Cathedral Gate Hotel
Not the whole hotel
But enough
For one of those front windows
in that old hotel
was the room I spent three days in
When a friend and I traveled to England and Canterbury
years ago.

The pictures make me smile
For they are a reminder of another great trip to England
with a very dear friend
And three magical days that we spent in Canterbury

I like the lighter look of the dressing room
in relationship to the Master Bedroom

The whole room seems lighter now that the dark green 
is but a memory.

The Dressing Room is one of my favorite spaces
at Linderhof
A space that I never "wanted"
But rather a space that I "inherited"

And I'm glad that Linderhof came with the amazing dressing room!

I'm joining:

Boogleboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Katie at Creatively Living for Monday Funday Party
Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Met Monday
Cindty at Dwellings-Heart of Your Home for Amaze Me Monday
Jenna at Rain On a Tin Roof for Give Me The Goods Monday

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Blackberry Bliss

Blackberries are prolific on the prairie
Usually there ripe in July 
But it was an unusual Spring
and so the blackberries
are a bit later this year.

But they're abundant
and, unlike in our early days on the prairie, 
we buy our blackberries at the Farmer's Market
rather than pick them.

We like them plain for breakfast with a shower of sugar and a pour of cream,
in cobblers, in pies, in muffins

And . . . 

blackberry turnovers.
A tray fresh from the oven.

They're simple --
 a cup of berries cooked with sugar, cornstarch and water and a pinch of salt
until they're "jammy"
And then put in squares of puff pastry and baked.

Just perfect

For a late summer dessert.
Showered with powdered sugar to make them "perfect"

In the breakfast room
Filled with blue and white
Shamelessly, we serve coffee in our teapot!

It's a mix of Spode Blue Room and Blue Italian
two of our favorite Spode blue and white patterns!

Crisp browned puff pastry
surrounding a sweet blackberry filling.

A tea napkin and an English dessert fork.

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

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tea On The Porch

It was a busy day at Linderhof
The morning spent at my volunteer job
The afternoon spent cleaning house
For we were gone yesterday
And two loads of laundry as well!

But at half past three
I always stop
For a pot of tea

And a nosh
Freshly baked cheese scones

On the porch
Because we've been having unusual weather
too cool
too wet
for August on the prairie

Real English scones
made with Cheddar
and served pipping hot
With butter
To melt on the scone

A wicker tray with tea things
My Wedgwood Asiatic Pheasant

It was a pleasant respite
Before I headed to the Farmer's Market

The screen porch
is at the front of the house
Doogie and Dolly
wait inside
with a
"I need a treat"
look on their face.

Little dog noses
Making marks on the 
clean porch door.

The scones are easy.
They're truly English and I did use real Cheddar.
Although the recipe did use American measurements!

They're a great tea treat.


2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 stick cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 t. baking powder
1/2 c. grated cheese
1/2 t. salt
1/4 cup milk (plus a little extra for brushing scone)

Heat oven to 400

Generously grease a baking sheet with butter, then sprinkle with flour (or use a silpat).

Put flour, baking powder, salt into a mixing bowl.    Add butter and mix until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.    Add and the grated cheese and mix well.

Add enough milk to make a soft pliable dough (you may use a little more or a little less than the 1/4 cup).

Turn the mixture onto a floured board and knead very lightly until just smooth then lightly roll out to 3/4 inch thick.    Cut rounds with 3 inch butter.   Place on baking tray and brush with additional milk.    Bae for 15 minutes or until golden brown and well risen.
Serve warm with plenty of butter.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Southwest Missouri/Southeast Kansas Secret

There is a Chinese phenomenon in southwest Missouri/southeast Kansas
"Cashew Chicken"

Started some 50 years ago by Leong
at his diner in Springfield, Missouri

The story on the menu doesn't tell the whole story
It seemed that after Leong opened his restaurant in Springfield
that there were few customers.
He realized that the people of Springfield weren't familiar with Chinese food
But they did eat fried chicken
and mashed potatoes and gravy.

He therefore created a dish that he called
"Cashew Chicken"

Chicken, deep fried
with "gravy" poured over all and cashews and green onions sprinkled on top.

His dish proved popular, the restaurant succeeded
And the dish spread not only throughout the Chinese restaurants in Springfield, Mo
but into other towns in Southwest Missouri
and soon spilled into Southeast Kansas.

Sometimes it is referred to as "Springfield" Cashew Chicken
to differentiate it from real cashew chicken.

Folks from other places who come to Springfield and order "Cashew Chicken" get quite a surprise with the dish they are served.

On the other hand,
we SW Missourians/ SE Kansans
who go out of the area and order Cashew Chicken
get quite a different dish than the one they are used to.

And even though other restaurants in the area serve Cashew Chicken
None really compare to Leong's -- the original!

Long ago, I was given the recipe for Leong's Cashew Chicken
I've never made it --
Preferring to eat my Cashew Chicken out!


6 boned chicken breasts, cut in pieces
1 egg
2 T. water
peanut oil
vegetable oil
1 C. chopped green onions
3 c. cooked rice
1 7 oz. package cashews, chopped


6 chicken bouillon cubes
3 C. water
4 T. cornstarch
2 t. oyster sauce
dash pepper

Beat egg with 2 T. water.    Dip chicken in egg miture and roll in flour.    Deep fry in equal parts of peanut oil and vegetable oil.   Fry till brown.

Mix ingredients together for sauce.    Cook until the sauce is heated through.

Cook rice and drain.    Serve chicken on top of rice and cover with the sauce.    Top with crushed onions and cashews.   Serve 4.

I got this recipe from friend Janet who got it from friend Anna who got it from Leong himself!

It's Tuesday and I'm sharing Springfield Cashew Chicken with Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday.