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, July 31, 2014

Crostata or Galette or Croustade?

I love fruit desserts
Cobblers or crumbles
But my favorite is

 An Italian Crostata (if spaghetti is the entree)
a French Galette (if onion soup grantinee is the entree)

They're easy
Made even easier if you use the Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust
And no pie pan to wash!

Last week I made a blueberry peach one

Tons of fresh blueberries, some really ripe peaches
piled in the middle
The edges brought up and over
And the whole baked 

Best served with whipped cream
(spiked with a little Cassis)
or ice cream
(to melt over the warm dessert)

I have company for lunch
So three portions please
(which leaves three more portions for us for dinner dessert!)

(depending on whether I'm cooking Italian or French!)

2 cups blueberries
2 cups peeled and sliced peached
1/4 c. light brown sugar
2 T. flour
1/4 t. cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 large egg, beaten
2 T. demerara sugar
1 pie crust of your choice rolled into a round

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, toss the peaches and blueberries with the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt.

Lightly flour a large work surface and roll out the dough to a 12 to 13 inch round.    Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone mat.   

Arrange the fruit in the center of the dough, leaving about 1 1/2 inches of space around the perimeter of the dough empty.    Fold the outside edge of the dough over the fruit, making occasionally pleats.   Brush the crust with the egg.    Sprinkle the demara sugar evenly over the dough and fruit.

Bake the pastry until the crust turns a light brown and the filling bubbles, about 50 minutes.    Let cool for 10 minutes, sprinkle with powdered sugar, then cut into wedges and serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

You can make the galette or crostata with any seasonal fruit following the above recipe.    Just make sure to adjust sugar to the sweetness or tartness of the fruit.

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lunch for Three

The Lunch Bunch comes once a month
or they did until this Spring and Summer
Between doctors visits and grandkids visiting and traveling . . .

Well, we've not been together since February!

And July was no exception
One of the Bunch had an out of town guest
I issued an invitation to join us . . .
But it was "talk shop" lunch and so she declined.
But the other two came and we had a good time
Even though I had just gotten home the night before from a week long trip
to Minneapolis
(the grand's first birthday bash!)

So with what my mother called 
"a lick and a promise"
I tidied the downstairs
Set the table with the best china and silver
Made a "from scratch" lunch
And was ready to greet my guests at noon

The lilies are blooming in the garden
But not these -- from the market
But had I had that many lilies in the garden,
they would have been on  the table!

Since it's just three
(and the garden was weedy and needy
So, alas, we were not lunching in the breakfast room
For the many "garden sins" were obvious!)
I set up in the dining room on one half of the dining room table.

With one of my Italian cloths,
The Aynsley Pembroke plates
And Grandmother Scott's silver
Italian napkins in silver napkin rings

And, of course, a menu for each place
With yellow lilies on them as well!

It was an easy lunch
A quick run to the store and some Farmer's market produce I brought home

We started with

What I call an "Italian" salad
Like so many we had in Italy 
Romaine, sliced tomatoes and topped with a mound of shredded carrots
All tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper
(And I used my "good" balsamic -- the really old balsamic!)

Fresh pasta sauce over angel hair pasta
Farmer's market cherry tomatoes, basil and garlic
And a goodly shower of freshly grated Parmesan
Rolls from the mark down bin, rubbed with olive oil, sprinkled with fresh rosemary
And sea salt and then warmed in the oven

Summer is fruit and so a croustade
blueberry and peach
With a mound of cassis spiked whipped cream

They were amazed that I was able to have them for lunch the day after the trip
And were astounded at the meal.
"Takeout" said one, "is what I would have done!"
While the other nodded that only I could pull that off!

(And not only lunch but I also managed to wash, dry, fold and put away, the laundry we brought home from the trip!)

It's Thursday and I'm sharing my Lunch Bunch table with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Naked Ladies Are Seen Cavorting in the Gardens at Linderhof . . .

Oh, my, is that scandalous or what?
But the gardens seem to be full of naked ladies!
Do you think anyone notices as they drive past?

In the Spring, this foliage comes
about the time of the daffodils and tulips and hyacinths
But nothing blooms
And then it goes away
And you forget about it!

And then one day in late July or early August

You see this in the garden
Called naked lady because there is no foliage
(And I think because they are pink --
like real naked ladies!)

Another name for them is "Surprise" Lily
(but I like Naked Lady better)
for all of a sudden
There is a flower and no leaves to let you know there should be a flower!

They are a pretty pink lily
From the amaryllis family
(Can't you tell?)
They look somewhat like amaryllis blooms!

Other names these lilies go by are
Resurrection Lily
(because they grow, die, and rise again)
Magic Lily
(because they "magically appear)
I, however, favor naked ladies
Because that's what my mother called them
And it seems just a little bit edgy --
to say that you have naked ladies in the garden!

And our town cannot be more scandalous
With naked ladies in the garden
And "Painted Ladies" along the sidewalks

One of our pretty Victorians in town
With the multiple paint colors on trim
That style of house painting is called
painted lady

Rose Haven
Just down the street from Linderhof
home to dear friend and antiquing buddy, Sally

And out in the garden
in all this heat
and no rain for the last week

Is this little guy
blooming it's heart out
Not stressed at all
And looking much better
than the petunias I spent good money on
for some of the pots!

And I've left it
to grow and to bloom
To outshow it's pedigreed brothers!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Turning One -- The Celebration!

It takes quite a celebration
When a person turns one!

First, there is the real birthday --
the day that you entered the world
Which, usually, for that first year isn't on a weekend
And so you celebrate

With the immediate family
(parents and both sets of grands)
And a cake --
And a candle . . .

And cards

But on the weekend . . . 
parents will pull out all stops

Sarah's table on her deck reminds me of a Pottery Barn ad

For a party for family and friends!

Bright colors and bouquets of garden hydrangeas
And party favors
for dinner will be served buffet style

Vegetables and dips, Lucy's Birthday Tomato Zucchini Pasta Salad, Smokestack Baked Beans (Sarah's version), and son-in-law Andy's fabulous smoked brisket
Pink lemonade for the little ones . . .
Adult beverages for the big ones!

Friends (big and small) filled the deck

And grand girl Lucy enjoyed being the center of attention!

Dessert . . .

Cookies, baked and decorated by her mother and both her grands

And, of course,

A cake
(for their has to be cake and ice cream at a birthday party!)

And just this once . . . 

A wee cake just for Lucy . . . 
Known as a "smash cake", because . . . 

Well, you smash it!

Not so all those years ago when Daughter Sarah turned one!

But what's a little cake and frosting on your face
When it is your birthday?
Because . . . 

It is fun being the center of attention!

And of course, the "gift"

The toy trunk
Which, hopefully, she'll pass on to her daughter
and tell her the stories of the dogs and cats painted on the chest
And stories of the Nana who painted it
All those years ago!

It's Thursday and I'm sharing Lucy's birthday party with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Maple and Bacon -- Together Again

Aren't they two of the food groups?

Together again in a wonderful breakfast muffin

Even though there is just the two of us
You need more than two muffins on a plate
(or perhaps in a tummy!)

In the breakfast room
With the Johnson Brothers Indies
(for it's the set that has a coffee pot)
And a bouquet of sunflowers
(for we are, after all, in Kansas)

A maple bacon muffin
A cup of coffee

Makes for a perfect breakfast


1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract (or 1/2 t. maple flavor)
2 2/3 c. flour
1 cup milk


6 slices bacon, cooked, cooled and snipped into squares
3 to 4 T. real maple syrup


1 c. powdered sugar
pinch of salt
about 1/4 c. maple syrup, enough to make a spreadable frosting

Preheat the oven to 425.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, vegetable oil and sugars till smooth.    Add eggs, beating to combine.

Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, salt and vanilla or maple flavor.

Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.

Scoop the batter into lightly greased or paper lined muffin pans.

Top with bacon and drizzle with syrup (about 1 t. per muffin), being sure to keep the bacon mounded in the center (it will distribute during baking).

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.    Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.    When they’re nearly cool, spread with the glaze.

To Make The Glaze:

Stir together the powdered sugar, salt and enough maple syrup to make a spreadable glaze.   Spread the glaze over the muffins.      Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

They Say It's Your Birthday . . . .

They Say It's Your Birthday . . . They Say It's Your Birthday . . . 

A year ago
we were in Minnesota
for a very special event . . . 

And today is Her Birthday
Grand Girl Lucy turns one!

A tradition started when
Daughter Sarah turned one . . . 

A hand painted toy trunk

Painted in the style of Holly Hobby
Popular when she was small
It's lived the test of time and Daughter Sarah took it to college with her
And on all of the moves after
And she still treasures it.

For Grand Girl Lucy
a joint gift from her parents and her grands
the chest a gift from her parents
the painting a gift from me

A new trunk
(for old trunks have lids that don't stay up and metal edges can hurt fingers)

Painted in the style of Tasha Tudor
of prairie girls at Daughter Sarah's request

Besides the girls and the gardens,
Sarah's cat on the left
Dog Doogie on the right

And on the side, our two corgis
Dolly on the left 
Our dear Ollie on the right

And Sarah's (and Lucy's) cat, Rome on this side

And the top is filled with flowers
and some surprises --
a robin, two chickadees, four leaf clovers, a squirrel and two butterflies
It will be fun for Lucy to find them

Lucy and her trunk
On her birthday

Monday, July 14, 2014

An Icy Tea

I still drink hot tea in the morning in the summer
But often afternoon tea is served over ice
The Brits would never understand
how their beloved elixir could be served
"over ice"!

But it is a refreshing beverage
especially if one has been working
in the garden

If I'm alone, I'll get my current book
And a nosh, of course
lemon raisin cookies
A favorite

The book is usually a mystery
This is the first in a series set in Wales
by author, Elizabeth Duncan
I liked it
And am now on my third book
about Penny Brannigan, a manicurist in a small village
in Wales

Most of my books come from the library
But, alas, they had none of the others in these series
And so I turned to Amazon and my kindle!

A pleasant afternoon, this
inside in the air-conditioning
with a glass of icy tea,
a couple of great cookies
And a good book.

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday and Bernideen for Tea in the Garden.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Glad . . .

I'm glad
for glads!
One of the vendors at our Farmers Market today gifted me with

this lovely bouquet

Looks pretty smashing, me thinks
on the table by the wing chair . . .
It picks up the flower colors in the needlepoint pillow.

Friday, July 11, 2014

National Blueberry Muffin Day

So what was for breakfast today

It's Blueberry Muffin Cake
and I found it at

Mary and I have been friends for a long time
And I think she's a spectacular cook
and always has some great recipes.

It's a great cake
Easy to put together . . . 
Two bowls, no mixer, one wooden spoon
And blueberries are in season, too

I did let it sit a while but it was still warm for breakfast
With a cup of coffee

Obviously, with just the two of us, there were leftovers.
The leftover, me thinks, will be great for a cup of tea this afternoon.

(From One Perfect Bite)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly; more for the pan
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups fresh blueberries
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

 Position rack in center of oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter bottom and sides of a 9-inch round springform pan.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. 

In a small bowl, whisk butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla. 

Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until incorporated. Fold in berries. Scrape the batter into prepared pan, spreading it evenly. Tap pan on counter once or twice to break any air bubbles.

Bake until golden-brown and a tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes (if the top gets too brown, tent with aluminum foil).

 Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a paring knife around edge of the cake and remove ring. Transfer cake to a serving plate and serve warm or at room temperature, with confectioners’ sugar sifted over top, if you like. Yield: 8 servings.

It's Friday, National Blueberry Day, and I'm joining Michael at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.