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.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The First Lunch Bunch Luncheon of 2015

With this luncheon, the Lunch Bunch celebrated 15 years of monthly luncheons!     We've gotten together mostly once a month to catch up and visit and to enjoy good food.

I love to cook and I love to have people over and so when I first invited friends, Sally, JoAnn and Joyce, to Linderhof for lunch, it was to try some new recipes.      Ladies lunch recipes mostly.      And they've come back!

Two or three times a year we do a road trip and go out to lunch but mostly it is here, at Linderhof.    Usually the day after (sometimes the day of), I start going through cookbooks looking for recipes to make a menu for the next month's luncheon.     Occasionally, I will do tried and true, but mostly, they are recipes untested -- at least by me!

The table, too, is always fun to set.    With seasonal elements and sometimes some whimsy!     We started out in the dining room and had lunch there for years until we built the breakfast room, and then we had lunch there until I moved things around and it's now a little tight for four!

In January,  the paperwhites are blooming and so I called this a "Paperwhite Luncheon"!

 With a Christmas present lace tablecloth on the table.    Unusual for it looks like fern leaves and flowers rather than the more traditional lace patterns.

A centerpiece of paperwhites in my grandmother's bulb bowl, Spode Blue Room plates, Jim's grandmother's cutlery and white damask napkins in the silver napkin rings.      A menu at each place, showing the growth cycle of a paperweight bulb!

The table all set and ready for company.     A ladies lunch table!   It's January and as the house seems almost bare and sparse so does the table.     The place settings and the paperweight centerpiece.       

I chose to serve a menu my Mother would have served when she had the ladies over.

Mother's Luncheon Chicken, an individual frozen fruit salad (on a lettuce leaf -- an iceberg lettuce leaf!) and a Sister Shubert roll.      Sister Shubert's rolls were not in my Mother's day, but she served (aghast) brown n serves!

Dessert when the ladies came always seemed to be pie.    A luncheonette pie whose recipe I clipped from the Kansas City Star eons ago (even before I had begun to cook) and never made.     I cull my recipes from time to time, but this one always seemed to make the cut.      Perhaps because it is pecan and I adore pecan!

Pecan Chiffon Pie -- creamy, with roasted pecans and a whipped cream topping.    Not as cloyingly sweet as most pecan pies, it is creamy goodness with a little pecan crunch.

Coffee and dessert are always the last course.    And as we drink the pot of coffee, we visit some more.    It's always a good Tuesday, this third Tuesday of the month, when the Lunch Bunch comes to visit!


8 slices white loaf bread (I used Sara Lee's Iron Kids -- mother used Wonder)
2 T plus 1 stick butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh button mushrooms
1/2 c. flour
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half
3 cups diced cooked chicken breast
1/4 c. finely chopped pimentos (I used chopped red peppers that I had in the freezer)
1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds
1/2 c. semidry sherry

Trim the edges of the bread, cut each slice in half diagonally, toast the pieces lightly and set aside.

In a small skillet, melt the 2 T. butter over moderate heat, then add the mushrooms, cook, stirring till they absorb the butter, about 8 minutes, and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the remaining 1 stick butter over moderate heat, then add the flour, salt and pepper and stir till well blended and smooth.     Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add the broth and half-and-half, stirring constantly till well blended and smooth.     Return the pan to the heat, reduce the heat to low and cook till thick, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.     Fold n the reserved mushrooms, the chicken, pimentos, almonds and sherry and cook till the mixture is heated thoroughly.

Arrange two pieces of toast with the points aimed outward on each serving plate and spoon equal amounts of creamed chicken over the top of each.


1/2 c. coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup water
2 T. cornstarch mixed with 2 T. water
2 medium size egg whites, at room temperature
2 T. granulated sugar
One 9 inch baked pie shell (yours or frozen or Pillsbury)
3/4 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. finely chopped pecans for garnish

Preheat the oven to 275

Spread the coarsely chopped pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven till barely browned, 10 to 15 minutes.    Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar and water and bring to a boil.    Using a whisk, stir in the cornstarch and stir constantly till the mixture becomes clear and has the consistency of a thick pudding.    Remove from the heat.

In a bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer till peaks form, then gradually add the white sugar, and beat till the peaks are stiff.     With the mixture on low speed, gradually add the pecans and the brown sugar mixture but do not overmix.    Pile the filling ito the pie shell.     Whip the cream till stiff peaks form, spread over the top of the pie, and sprinkle the chopped pecans on top.

It's Thursday and I'm sharing the First Lunch Bunch Lunch of 2015 with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.


LauraC said...

That's not a Quaker Lace tablecloth, is it? It hangs like one and I adore it.

Martha said...

Laura -- I don't know -- there is no label on it but it is heavy like a Quaker Lace one -- the pattern is just really different from any I've seen before!

Michelle said...

I so wish I was part of your lunch bunch! First of all, I die over your menus. Those are so pretty! Love the stages of growth of the paperwhites, which look gorgeous in your grandmother's bulb bowl. Thanks for sharing the recipes. I can't wait to try them both! Love your tablecloth with the ferns. I've never seen one like that. I was looking at linens at Mission Road today and thought of you! I was looking for a tea cloth, but no luck today! Great post...

zooperson said...

Where do live, I 'm coming ' over! What fun you guys must be having.

Autumn's Glory said...

What a nice tradition you have of sharing special times with special friends. Your table looked so pretty. The tablecloth was a bit different; but so lovely. The flowers as the centerpiece were perfect and the menu sounds delicious.

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

You set a lovely table and had a tasty menu for the lunch bunch Martha. I find the creamed chicken on toast points appealing, thanks for the recipes.

Anonymous said...

So beautiful...that pie looks delicious. Love the Spode and the narcissus.

LL Farm said...

What a nice tradition you have going on. The menu looks delicious!

Carolyn said...

So wonder they come all looks lovely! That is such a nice tradition.

Carolyn said...

Your paperwhite menu is such a brilliant touch! The paperwhites are so pretty on that tablecloth~never heard of Pecan Chiffon Pie, yum!

Lulu said...

I am also part of a group called Lunch Bunch. For more than 30 years about 30 of us have gathered once a month. At one time we talked about kids, now we talk about grandkids and there's not nearly as much angst!

Pat said...

Lovely tablescape for the first Lunch Bunch Luncheon, dear friend!!!
I adore that you included the cycle of paper whites atop the menu!!!
Thank you for sharing your divinely delicious recipes with us!!!
Here's to third Tuesdays!!!