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, January 31, 2014

A Peek

At the wines we're serving tonight

We're having a dinner party
An "Italian" dinner party
And six friends will join us for an Italian feast.

We'll start in the parlor with
bruschetta and lemoncello martinis

And go into the dining room for a five course Italian dinner.

I wish all of my friends could join me,
By the lineup of wines, it promises to be a fun evening!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dinner for Two

At Linderhof, we've once again begun eating dinner in the dining room.
For our first 19 years here we ate every meal in the dining room
for there was no other place to eat.

And then we built the breakfast room
Which became a breakfast, lunch and dinner room!
It was great for the two of us,
I would serve the Lunch Bunch there
as well.

But then, I felt that the dining room
was neglected.
Used only for family gatherings
or when we had six or more for dinner!

So we changed that.
We now eat dinner often in the dining room
Just the two of us!

At the old Duncan Phyfe mahogany table

An antique lace runner,
flowers in a glass vase and candles
The blue and white transfer ware
Wine glasses and the Waterford carafe for my "fizzy" water.

It's a bit more elegant.
The dining room

And for dinner?

Cheese ravioli baked with sauce and a good sprinkle of Parmesan cheese
And old fashioned "Mom's garlic bread"
(buttered, sprinkled with garlic salt and baked in foil)

We're trying to be good.
We have tea treats
But we've been skipping dessert
(unless we have a clementine after dinner)

It's good to be back in the dining room for dinner.
It makes the meal feel a little more special!

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

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Tea Room Lunch

The Lunch Bunch has been coming to lunch at Linderhof 
for 14 years.
What started as a "fun thing to do" in the January after I retired,
has become a monthly luncheon
that allows me to be creative both in the table setting
and in the menu!

It's fun to think of what to serve
and go through my cookbooks
to find just the perfect dishes for the season or the holiday
And then to set the table so that it's elegant and yet fun
And suitable to four ladies who like
to lunch in style!

In 2014 I decided that with my plethora of tea room cookbooks
I would "visit" one per month
Taking the entire menu from that book.

So last week

I set the table in the dining room
in what I feel like was my best
"tea room" style

And printed a menu
that acknowledge the "visit" to the tea room

Although I don't know whether this tea room does it or not,
but often tea rooms will do a "trio"
quiche, soup and salad

Frozen Cranberry Salad, Creamy Broccoli soup and Cottage Quiche

Orange Italian Cream Cake for dessert
Served with tea, of course!

And the whole cake was really pretty!

The tea room I chose?

The Glass Slipper Tea Cottage
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

I've not been there
but a friend, Sarah from Biloxi, has
and sent me the cookbook as a gift

with the following note:

When we go to Ft. Walton
Beach, Florida to see my sister,
we like to eat at The Glass Slipper.
They just published this book and
I thought of you and all your 
entertaining.   Hopefully there
will be a recipe or two in these
pages you will like.

Merry Christmas to you
and Jim.

     Sarah in Biloxi

It was a sweet gift and I kept it downstairs with my workhorse cookbooks
and sometimes of an evening I would read the recipes.

So, of course, it had to be the first tearoom
The Lunch Bunch
visited in 2014!

The recipes
From the pages of the cookbook --

Frozen Cranberry Salad

Creamy Asparagus Soup
(which I changed to Broccoli because I had cooked broccoli in the fridge
and I'm not overly fond of canned asparagus)

Cottage Quiche

Orange Italian Cream Cake

I had so much fun "visiting" this tea room and I will definitely make the cranberry salad again.   It was good and easy and made a goodly amount.     The cake was fantastic and was actually even better the next day.   I kept it covered and refrigerated and I think the flavor was really better on Wednesday.
The soup was probably the best creamy "vegetable" soup I've made and I would make it again.   I did get lots of compliments on the broccoli soup!

A big thank you to Sarah for thinking of me.
It certainly was a good gift!

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

Monday, January 27, 2014

Tea and Scones and Lemon Curd

As day follows night
Tea and scones and lemon curd
follow a morning of curd making

Taken in the dining room
Just because!

My Aynsley Pembroke
A long admired pattern

Freshly baked scones with freshly made lemon curd
There is nothing better than that for a teatime!

And the Pembroke has been pieced together over the years
Friday I brought home

This stash of Pembroke, 7 plates, 8 cups and saucers, 8 tea plates, 8 sauce dishes, 4 salad plates and three cream soups and 4 cream soup saucers

All for $30
At a flea market!

Isn't that why we go --
hoping to find bargains like this?
But, alas, they are far and few between
This kind of a steal of a deal!

The plate on the left is a turn of the century plate (I have six of those)
while the one on the right is one of the new ones (21st century)
You can tell them apart but they are so close that on a table I'm not sure you could.

It's always fun to have tea with new china.

What a fun way to spend Sunday afternoon!

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

Saturday, January 25, 2014

If It's January . . . It's Lemon Curd Time!

 I've had a Meyer Lemon Tree for a long time
Since before we had the breakfast room

It loves its summer outside
And tolerates its winter inside

The heady smell of lemon blossoms
help chase away the winter blahs
For it always blooms when it's inside

Some years we get more harvest than others . . .

This year --

There were three -- and one was itty bitty]

So I supplemented my harvest
with a bag of grocery store Meyers

Zested and juiced, added sugar and eggs and butter
And slowly cooked it until it thickened

Then I ladled it into jars

This year I got four jars -- one big one and three smaller ones.
I don't can the curd, preferring to keep it in the fridge
And it does keep until it's all gone.

A spoonful is great on breakfast berries
or on blueberry muffins or toast or biscuits

And, of course, you can use it to fill tarts.

The harvest at Linderhof is sporadic.
Some years are good, others not so


 2013 was a bumper year!     Nine!


2012 not so much.    The only actual Meyer Lemon that my tree produced is the
large one on the right hand side.     It's big my Meyer Lemon standards!


2011 only had two.    Average size.    Alas in 2011, there were no Meyer Lemons to be had in the market, so I did a part Meyer Lemon and a part regular lemon curd that year!


2008 was a number year as well.   The largest harvest ever -- ten!

It is always fun to see how many lemons we'll get.   It seems a sparse year is often followed by a good crop year.     We'll see what 2014 will bring.

This afternoon, I think, I shall make some scones for tea.
Scones and lemon curd.    There are few tea times better than that!

And since making lemon curd is a rite of January, I'm joining The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Sweet and A Savory -- From One Box

In the freezer at Linderhof, there always seems to be a box of
Pepperidge Farm
Puff Pastry Sheets

They thaw easily in the refrigerator
to be made into all sorts of treats

This week, I used my box
to make treats
both savory and sweet

From two different books
Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris
Her palmiers
The sweet 


Livia J. Washburn's Wedding Cake Killer
Her Cheddar Garlic Palmiers
The savory

A bit of cheese (both Cheddar and Parm) and garlic (both minced and salt)
sprinkled on top of one sheet

Sugar and a bit of salt sprinkled on the other

And when I cut off the ends, I always bake those off
(and a few more)
to savor

With a cup of tea

And if a friend arrives unexpectedly and the larder is bare
Palmiers are a perfect tea nosh and it looks like you went to so much trouble!
(and one would never tell her secret!)

The savory ones

A few were baked off to go with Sunday's soup

The rest (both sweet and savory) are in the freezer to be baked off as needed.
The savory ones make a great last minute appetizer

They go from freezer to oven to tray in not much time
And there is nothing better to nibble with a drink
than something cheesy garlicky and warm!


2 cups sugar
1/8 t. salt
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted

Preheat oven to 450

Combine the sugar and the salt.    Pour 1 cup of the sugar/salt mixture on a flat surface.   Unfold each sheet of puff pastry onto the sugar and pour 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture on top, spreading it evenly on the puff pastry.

This is not about sprinkling.   It's about an even covering of sugar.     With a rolling pin, roll the dough until its 13 x 13 inches square and the sugar is pressed into the puff pastry top and bottom.

Fold the sides of the square towards the center so they go halfway to the middle.    Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly at the middle of the dough.    Then fold one half over the other half as though closing a book.   You will have 6 layers.    Slice the dough into 3/8 inch slices and place the slices, cut side up, on baking sheets lined with parchment (or sill pat).    Place the second sheet of pastry not he sugared board, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar mixture and continue as above.    (There will be quite a bit of sugar left over not he board.)    Slice and arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment.

Bake the cookies for 6 minute until caramelized and browned on the bottom, then turn with a spatula and bake another 3 to 5 minutes, until caramelized on the other side.    Transfer to a baking rack to cool.


1 1/4 c finely grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 t. minced garlic
1 t. garlic salt
2 puff pastry sheets, thawed

Toss the Cheddar, Parmesan, minced garlic and garlic salt in a bowl.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese mixture onto work surface.    Unfold 1 pastry sheet and place it over cheese.   With a rolling pin, roll the pastry into a 10 inch square.    Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese mixture over all the top of the pastry, pressing lightly to adhere.    Fold the sides of 2 ends to meet in center.     Fold once more, lengthwise, into the center and press ends together.    Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 1 hour (or freeze 15 to 30 minus).    Repeat with remaining cheese and second sheet of pastry.

While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 400 with racks in the upper  and lower parts of the oven.   Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  

Working with 1 piece at a time (keep remaining chilled until ready to use) unwrap the pastry and cut, seam side up, into 1/4 inch thick slices, arranging them 1 inch apart on the baking sheets.    Bake, turning the palters over and switching the positions of the pans halfway through until the pastry is golden and cooked through, 18 to 22 minutes total.    Transfer the palmiers to a rack to cool.    Cut and bake the remaining pastry on the cooled baking sheets.

NOTE:   I made a half recipe of each so I had both sweet and savory from one box.

And I froze most of them.     

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

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Orange Tulips, Two Luncheons

It started with a vase of orange tulips

For I was having company for luncheon

You may seen them first 

In the breakfast room where they graced my Sunday tea table

But they weren't meant for the breakfast room nor for tea
They were for the dining room
And lunch!

On Tuesday . . .

It was the Lunch Bunch
Four of us
The tulips in the middle
A small "tea" cloth on the table

And my beloved blue and white

The tea cloth was bought in the Azores when we sailed across the Atlantic
a few years ago
It's workmanship is superb!

A tea cloth because this year I'm treating
The Lunch Bunch
To Tea Room Lunches

Of course, everyone who dines at Linderhof
gets a remembrance menu to take home

And on Wednesday,
I had five for lunch

Ladies as well
But a bit more "elegant"
Dining room, the way my mother would entertain elegant

And my grandmother's Noritake
Such an elegant china pattern, Marcasite

A Quaker Lace Cloth covering the whole table

And a menu, of course

With orange tulips to echo the centerpiece tulips

When the house is clean, back to back parties are a cinch.
I even had time to attend Bible Study Wednesday morning!

It's cold on the prairie this week
(after an almost balmy Monday)

The dogs are usually banned from the house 
when we have ladies for lunch

And Dolly was
But Doogie doesn't have all that much hair
And so he stayed inside.

I must admit he was mostly a gentleman

Until he decided that he needed food, too
First he was on my right side . . . 

And then on my left!

And not getting anything "good", he decided to take his dish in the living room
to remind anyone that it was empty!

It was two fun luncheons and I did use some of the same food for both (the salad, the cake) but that's just being smart!

The best thing is, however, that there was enough left that dinner was a replay of lunch!    And since Husband Jim didn't have it the first go-round, he didn't mind it the second!

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Dressing Table . . . Downton Abbey and Linderhof

I adore Downton Abbey
It's a period I'm quite fond of
That period between the wars
When there were still English country houses
And house parties

Not only the story line but I enjoy
the peek into the rooms
of "Downton"

How the sets are decorated

And I love the bedroom scenes
(not the steamy sexy ones)
But rather, the ones that take place
at the dressing table!

And a lot of scenes do
For they're either getting ready for bed
Or getting ready for the day
Or getting ready for dinner

And what better time to talk to your Lady's Maid
Than when you're at the dressing table!

Lady Mary has one

With a bit of lace, a mirror, scent bottles and lotion jars
And a picture in a silver frame

And so does Lady Edith

With lamps and candles
And a mirror, of course

So that you can comb your hair, put on your "face"
And ask questions . . . of yourself!

At Linderhof
I've had a dressing table "forever"
It's in what is really a closet off the master bedroom
Separated from the bedroom by French doors
And it has a window, a full size window

And so, early on, I chose to make this space
my "dressing room"
With table and chair

It's where I sit last thing at night to comb my hair
(but, alas, not 100 strokes)
And first thing in the morning when I "put on my face"!

An English sofa table serves as the dressing table
A cherval shaving mirror sits on top
(It's not an antique but rather a Bombay purchase -- 
with Christmas money one year.    The one on top of Husband Jim's dresser is an antique)

A small silver tray holds jars of lavender and lotions
The brushes were gifts from Husband Jim
The one on the left was a wedding present.

And (like Lady Mary) a silver dresser set
to brush my hair
(but alas, not those 100 strokes!)

The piece of "lace" came from Italy this fall
The small Asian box was bought by husband Jim over 40 years ago

Two lamps with crystals
And the perfume bottles

Every dressing table needs perfume bottles!

And on the right -- two Bibles
A very old one that belonged to my German uncle and was given to me by my cousin the day of his funeral, because he knew I would want something to remember Uncle Laurence by.    And I did! And the bigger one was given to my mother when she was baptized.

It's a peaceful place,
this dressing table of mine
And although I don't have an Anna to take care of my clothes
and wait on me.
I do feel special whenever I sit at my dressing table

Alas, I am still trying to figure out how, as a married lady, I can have breakfast in bed!