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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Apples and More Apples!

I love books about England
and in a search on Amazon,
I came up with this book

Cobwebs and Cream Teas!
(and she's written a couple more!)
About life in a National Trust property
How fun!
We've visited a lot of those properties
when we spent that Spring in England
And now to read about "behind the scenes" working of those houses!

But . . . I had a commitment this morning
Then lunch with a friend
And those apples . . . 
I'm working my way through those apples . . .
And I can almost see the bottom of the basket!

So today I worked the last of the apples

Into cinnamon apple rings!

And finally, when the apples were bubbling away in the jars in the Water Bath,
I brewed a pot of tea,
Grabbed my new book, and

The last piece of last night's caramel apple upside down cake

And had tea!

It was a small piece
I made it for a meeting
And this little guy survived until this afternoon!

It's a nice apple cake
One that I'll make again!
It's easy and really good!
(And it's a Betty Crocker recipe --
We at Linderhof adore Betty Crocker!)


1/4 c. butter
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 medium apples, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch wedges

1 1/3 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 c. milk

Heat oven to 325.    Spray bottom and sides of a 9 inch round cake tin with cooking spray.

In a 1 quart saucepan, melt 1/4 c. butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally.    Stir in brown sugar.   Heat to boiling, remove from heat.   Stir in 1/2 t. cinnamon.   Pour into pan, spread evenly.    Arrange apple wedges over brown sugar mixture, overlapping lightly and making 2 layers if necessary.

In medium bowl, mix flower, baking powder, 1/2 t. cinnamon and salt.     Set aside.   In large bowl, beat 1 cup sugar and 1/2 c. butter with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until fluffy.     Beat in eggs, one at a time, until smooth.    Add vanilla.    Gradually beat in flour mixture alternately with milk, beating after each addition until smooth.     Spread batter over apple wedges in brown sugar mixture.

Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.     Cool on cooling rack 15 minutes.   

Run knife  around sides of pan to loosen cake.    Place heatproof serving plate upside down over pan, turn plate and pan over.    Remove pan.    Serve warm cake with whipped cream.     Store cake loosely covered.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tea and A Treat

Every afternoon at half past three
I have a cup of tea
And a treat.

Mostly in the breakfast room
Where I can look out over the garden

My treat is always a cookie

I love these little pecan dandies
from my culinary hero, Ina Garten
I do like cookies small enough to tuck on a saucer
And two seems to be perfect!

Of course, there's more in the larder
for teas this week.


1 cup pecan halves
2 cups flour, divided
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. demerara or turbinado sugar
2 t. vanilla
24 whole pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 350

Place the 1 cup of pecan halves on a sheet pan and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until toasted.    Set aside to cool.    Place the cooled pecans plus 1/4 cup of flour in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the nuts are finely ground.

Place the mixture in a medium bowl and add the remaining 1 3/4 c. flour, salt, baking powder.    Stir to combine.   In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.    With the mixer on low, add the vanilla and the flour mixture, mixing just until the dough comes together.

Using a small ice cream scoop form the batter into balls about 1 inch in diameter (1 ounce on a scale).   Place the balls 1 inch apart on a sheet pan lined with parchment or silpat.    Press a pecan half into the center of each ball, pressing the pecan halfway down into the cookie.    Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cookies turn golden brown around the edges.     Cool for 5 minutes.    Place on a  wire rack and cool completely.

NOTE:   The cooled cookies may be stored in an airtight container for several days.

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

Sunday, September 28, 2014

It's The Little Things

We've lived at Linderhof for a long time
Big changes were done eons ago
When we first moved in

But houses still can have little changes
Little improvements 

Things that need changing and you finally do!

And in the master bedroom

For years I've had this "dust ruffle" on the Master bed
I call them "dust ruffle" because that's what I grew up calling them
That was before they became as "bed skirts"!

It doesn't make much of a statement
It came with one of the comforters that I had on the bed
And it just stayed!
Because it was so "plain vanilla" it never clashed with what was on top
And it also seemed to have the
"high pockets" look -- like guys whose pants are just a bit too short

And then I got an L L Bean Home catalogue
And fell in love

With this tucked and crocheted "dust ruffle"
(only if you look to order it on-line, you need to look under "bed skirts")

I think it looks smashing on the bed
An old fashioned quality to the dust ruffle
Which goes well with the English duvet and the sweet wallpaper in the Master bedroom

And in the kitchen
I've always hated the fact that there were so few drawers
And the "miscellaneous" drawer was the smallest of all
See the top drawer in the picture below
(that was the drawer for all of those needed utensils!)
The other two drawers were big deep drawers
Which would hold a lot but then you'd never be able to find anything!
(I use them for dish towels and cloths and casual tablecloths)

And then I got the idea of taking a door off of the cabinet below
Buy some baskets and put the extra stuff in the baskets
A perfect solution
And the cost . . . just the price of a basket
And they are handy!

Why it took me over 20 years to think of it, I'll not know
But it did!
Now, however, it is the perfect solution!

It's Monday and my small changes -- my "Little Things" are being shared with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Met Monday.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

It's Pumpkin Time

Last year,
I roasted a real pumpkin
And made a pie

Once you taste "real" pumpkin,
you'll never go back to the canned stuff.

This year, for both decor and eating
I'm only buying pie pumpkins
And I'll snatch them from my decorating
as I make pies and breads and muffins!

I roasted the first
and made pumpkin bread
(the first of many October and November loaves)

It's an old recipe,
My grandmother's recipe
It makes two loaves
a bundt cake
a loaf and 4 mini loaves

I find it a small economy when making banana or pumpkin breads
to use a recipe that doesn't make two loaves.

The small ones are great for gifts

The recipe is pretty "plain jane" but you could add raisins or nuts 
or even chocolate chips!

But we like it just so
Like grandmother always baked it!


3 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 cup oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
2 cups canned pumpkin (or pumpkin puree from a "real" pumpkin)
3 cups sugar

Sift dry ingredients together. Mix pumpkin, water, oil and eggs together. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into greased and floured bundt cake pan and small loaf pan or two medium size loaf pans or one loaf pan and 4 small loaf pans. For big loaf pans or bundt pan, bake 1 hour 15 minutes at 350. For small loaf pans, the time is less — just watch them. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

NOTE: I always put a piece of parchment in the bottom of any pan — then I’m assured that the product will come out okay. I also grease and flour the parchment.

It's Friday and I'm sharing my pumpkin bread with Michael at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dinner in the Breakfast Room

When it's just us, I like to set a nice table
With a tablecloth, real napkins
my beloved blue and white
And a centerpiece

An heirloom crochet tablecloth,
linen napkins in "our" silver napkin rings
the blue and white transfer ware

My ivy topiary
(bought in 2000 for my first Valentine's luncheon --
I am so glad I decided on the ball rather than the heart)
And a bowl of apples
(It is apple season, after all)

And for dinner

A new recipe from Bon Appetit -- called "Franks and Beans"
Husband thought it quite tasty
And the best cornbread I've ever made
(I've always been disappointed with my cornbread)
"Sweet and Cakey Northern Cornbread"
from America's Test Kitchen

I'll definitely be making the cornbread again
(In fact, it will be the cornbread recipe from now on)
and the Franks and Beans will grace our table many times this winter!


         3 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic cloves, smashed
1½ lb sweet Italian sausage links (about 6), divided
2 15-oz. cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
1 cup dry white wine
10 flat-leaf parsley stems
10 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (such as oregano, flat-leaf parsley, and tarragon), divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5–8 minutes. Remove and discard casings from 2 sausages; add sausages to pot. Cook, breaking up with a spoon, until sausages and onions are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Add beans and wine to pot and cook until wine is reduced by half, 8–10 minutes. Using kitchen twine, tie parsley and thyme into a bundle; add to pot along with bay leaves and broth. Cook on medium-low heat, partially covered and stirring often, until liquid thickens, 40–50 minutes. Discard bundle and bay leaves. Mix in butter and 2 Tbsp. chopped herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, after beans have been cooking for about 25 minutes, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook remaining sausages, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 15–20 minutes. Slice.
Divide bean mixture among bowls. Top with sausage slices and remaining 1 Tbsp. chopped herbs.

NOTE:   I used cans of three mixed beans — kidney, cannellini and black bean.


1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. cornmeal
2 t. baking powder
2/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 c. frozen corn, thawed
1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
8 T. butter, melted and cooled

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400.

Generously coat an 8 inch square baking pan with vegetable spray

Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and baking soda together in 
a large bowl.

Mix the buttermilk, corn, brown sugar and eggs together.    

Gently fold the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, then fold in the melted
butter until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake until deep golden brown and a pick inserted into the middle comes out with 
a few crumbs, about 35 minutes.

Let the cornbread cool in the pan for 10 minutes before unfolding onto a wire 
rack to cool for 10 minutes.

NOTE:   I made a half recipe and baked it in two individual cast iron skillets.

It's Thursday and I'm sharing my dinner table with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for 
Tablescape Thursday.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Lavender Tea

A Lavender Tea, you say!

I see another blue and white transfer tea set

No lavender there!
And no lavender flowers, either!

So where is the lavender?

How can you have a lavender tea
with blue china?

Tea on the porch this afternoon
With a friend

And yes, there was lavender for tea

The cookies were lavender cookies
Not in the cookies but the jam on the cookies!

The tea set is my Wedgwood one,
It's Asiatic Pheasant in pattern
It fits well on the tea tray
and also comes with sugar and creamer
I've had it "forever"

The jam?
A gift Saturday from a friend
Lavender jelly

I baked my favorite thumbprint cookies
And instead of raspberry or apricot jam,
used the lavender jelly

Oh, and instead of the almond extract called for in the recipe,
I used lemon and for an extra hint of lemon, grated the rind of one lemon into the dough.

Lavender and lemon seem to have an affinity for one another.

And for the friend,

I sent her home with a sack of lavender cookies
lingonberry cookies
(for she gave me some lingonberry jam as well)
(And tomato bacon jam but that's not for dainty tea cookies --
it's a "man's" jam!)

We spent a pleasant afternoon
Talking food
nibbling cookies
And sipping tea
(Earl Grey -- not lavender!)

The recipe -- from Tasha Tudor
I make these quite often for they are a perfect tea cookie!
And you really can use any kind of jam you like -- raspberry is not mandatory!


1 cup butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 egg yolks
2 cups flour
1/2 t. almond extract
Raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350.   Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat.   

In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the jam.    Chill dough for a half hour.    Roll dough into small balls and make an indentation with your thumb; fill indentation with jam.

Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until golden brown.    Place on a rack to cool.

I like to sprinkle with powdered sugar after they cool.

It's Tuesday and I'm sharing my lavender tea with Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday.

It's Finally Fall!

Or will be at 10 something tonight

Most years we relish fall
for summer has been both hot and dry
And we're ready for cooler weather
And perhaps some fall rains.

But this year, summer has been pleasant
A few weeks of really hot weather
But mostly it was cooler and wetter than normal.

The perfect summer?

And once fall comes

We buy jack o lantern pumpkins for the front of the house
Used as pumpkins until Halloween
when they'll be carved into scary jack-o-lanterns

And in the back garden, 

We've planted mums in the armillary planter in the herb garden
And some pansies as well

The first of the pie pumpkins that decorate the house
until we decide to eat them!

Made into gratin, pie, bread or muffins

And a fall tradition
But the reward is not until next Spring

This year I got greedy and bought two bags
White daffs and red and white tulips
I'll plant them in big bunches for impact

I almost can't wait until Spring!

And a bowl of perfect apples on the sideboard
For snacking

And a big basket of apples
(a gift from friend Mary Ann)
for apple chutney and apple butter

I made a recipe of each on Sunday
And they're on the shelves in the cellar.

I love the natural decorations of fall,
the mums, the pumpkins, the apples

It's Monday and I'm joining Susan at Between Naps On The Porch for Met Monday

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Lazy Saturday Tea

As much as I bake myself,
I do buy baked goods
When it is a "fundraising" bake sale

Photo by Kate Emmett-Sweetser
 This one held by the Old Fort Genealogical Society
At the Farmers Market this morning

I bought a loaf of Apricot Nut Bread
It's something I don't usually bake
And I needed a tea treat for this afternoon

Two slices, a wee pot of tea and my latest mystery
for a tea for a lazy (and too warm for the garden) afternoon tea.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The September Garden Part 2

Part Two
Because the "haul" from Family Tree
has been planted

Some you can see
like the chives and pansies
And some you can't
Like the bulbs!

I spent the morning in the garden!

The weather was perfect!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The September Garden

I was in the city today
I stopped by my favorite
Garden Store

Family Tree Nursery

From bulbs to pansies to herbs
I'll be busy tomorrow

I should hang out my sign

So any company can come to the back gate.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A September Lunch

The Lunch Bunch comes once a month
Except this year . . . 
We've missed many a month this Spring
I've a fat file of recipes I want to try
And no one to try them on!

But we were all together in Sepember
of us!

I first chose the menu,
then the table follows
I prefer white tablecloths and napkins
And, of course, there is my beloved
Blue transfer ware!

Yellow flowers in a Williamsburg flower frog
Store flowers -- the garden is winding down!

A menu, of course,
the French water goblets
A lace tablecloth
The Spode Blue Room

A white damask napkin in one of my silver rings
and Jim's grandmother's cutlery

The lunch?

If I do casseroles, I like individual ones
They look pretty when they're in a dish
versus piled on a plate
(piled on a plate looks like a dog's breakfast!)

A Gaida recipe
penne with roasted vegetables and cheeses

Served with a salad with tomatoes and carrot
and roasted garlic bread

Dessert is an old family dessert

Dutch Peach Pie
Grandmother made it,
perhaps her mother as well
And as far as I know it's never been written down
Passed from mother to daughter-in-law by mouth only

And only served in the summer
during peach season
For it is a fresh peach pie!

At home, we always cut it into fourths
(for it is a thin pie)
But the girls wouldn't hear of it
So I cut it into sixths
Which left two pieces
for Husband Jim and I for dessert that evening.
(Of course, my childhood serving size would have been only one piece
But I played nice and shared!)
(And it is the only recipe that I will never share)

The table setting that I like best
Is not that perfect table of the before luncheon

But the empty, messy table of the after luncheon
Not a crumb remains
The coffee pot is empty
It means that everyone had a good time!

The casserole is good, easy, and can be made ahead of time.
I baked it a little less because mine were in smaller dishes.
And I'm sure you can use whatever vegetables you want


2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1 inch wide strips
2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cremini mushrooms, halved
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or herbs de Provence
1 pound penne pasta
3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.

In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.

Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and butter pieces. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

NOTE:   I only made a half recipe which filled 5 gratin dishes plus one bigger one.    I also baked it at 350 instead of the higher 450.   And since I couldn't find smoked mozzarella and fontina cheese, I used the Italian type cheeses I could find at our grocery store.

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Frost Isn't On the Pumpkins But the Pumpkins Are On The Mantle

Pumpkins are at the Farmer's Market
Most are jack-o-lantern pumpkins

But one vendor does have the little sugar pumpkins
Three came home with me today

They'll be decoration until we eat our way through them!

Practical as well as decorative!

I see pies and breads and muffins
in the future at Linderhof!

And if you've never had pumpkin pie made from a real pumpkin
Let's just say that you're in for a treat!

You can compare canned pumpkin to real pumpkin
Like you can compare fish to fish sticks!

I'll keep you advised as to what dishes these little beauties are made into!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Kitchen Sink

It was a busy Saturday
Up early and to the Farmers Market
to give away the more than 7 dozen muffins I baked
as a thank you to Market Patrons

But not just muffins
vegetable muffins
Butternut Squash, Chocolate Zucchini and Tomato Spice

And there was a handout with recipes as well,
for those who wished to buy produce and make them at home.

Cleaning anything is always risky!
Last week, I cleaned out the pantry
And found almost empty gold and regular raisin boxes,
a handful of dried cranberries
A "dab" of oatmeal in the box
And the freezer yielded some toasted coconut and some walnut pieces

So today I used them --
used them all
And made cookies!

Cookies that I will never be able to duplicate
(for who wants to put in seven golden raisins?)

I did use a recipe as a guide
For the flours and sugar and eggs and butter
But then I just emptied the packages of raisins, cranberries, coconut and walnuts into the dough

Dropped them on a cookie sheet and put them in a 350 oven

I got some nice cookies -- buttery and filled with "things"

Alas, not tea cookies

But rather milk cookies!

These particular cookies
And only these particular cookies
Will be known to me as "Kitchen Sink" cookies
For they have everything in them but the kitchen sink
And I have a pantry shelf that's empty
No raisins, no dried cranberries

(The Guide)

3/4 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 t. soda
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350

Cream butter and sugars with electric mixer.    Add egg and beat.    Add flour, oats, soda and salt.     Add dried fruit (cranberries, golden raisins, raisins), add toasted coconut and finely chopped walnuts.
Mix thoroughly.    Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet and bake about 12 minutes.    They should be soft when you remove them unless you like a crisp cookie -- then bake a little longer.     Cool.

NOTE:   I just had a cup of oats in that box!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Past and Repast . . .

We've been mostly entertaining in the dining room lately,
leaving the more casual breakfast room
for just us

When I have three for lunch, I like to do one at the end
and the other two across from the other
Taking up, just one end of the table
The "centerpiece", then can be taller than what normally would be proper
for company -- for it doesn't block a view.

Alas, with no flowers in the garden,
And no flowers at the market . . . 
I brought in my fourteen year old ivy topiary
(it was the centerpiece at my very first Valentine's Luncheon after I retired)

A tablecloth that I bought in the Azores anchored the table,
The Aynsley Pembroke was the china of choice,
a white damask napkin in a silver napkin ring
Jim's grandmother's cutlery,
a menu
And two little cookies to take home
To savor at tea that afternoon
And because there were no flowers in the center of the table,
a wee Waterford vase
held liarope and angelonia from the garden
(about the only thing blooming now)

Since my guests were from Missouri,
I got a favorite cookbook from the shelf,
Past and Repast
Recipes from the Missouri Governor's Mansion
a project of then First Lady of Missouri Carolyn Bond

I copied a menu that she said that they often served in the mansion,
One, I suspect, was fed to many ladies groups who the First Lady entertained at lunch

Chicken Bombay, Tomato Chutney (homemade) in a peach half (fresh Farmer's Market peach half) and roasted broccoli

And for dessert -- also from the same cookbook

Frozen Cappuccino in Tasse
Coffee ice cream, toffee bits, some Cappuccino mix, and brandy
frozen into china cups, then topped with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick
and liberally sprinkled with cinnamon

And even though I had company for lunch,
I still managed a quick weed of the garden
(Not that I'm that good at doing that -- there were just a few and I quickly plucked them)

And before my guests arrived, 
I was able to can two quarts of those very same Farmer's Market peaches!

We had a delightful lunch
Visiting and catching up on children and grandchildren
Pictures were shamelessly passed
And it was fun to see the kids of the little kids we knew all those years ago!

No nap for me, after the company left
for I had dishes to do
(the downside of using the Pembroke)
and shopping at the Tuesday Farmers Market

It was a very busy Tuesday at Linderhof!

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.