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.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

It's Time for Summer Annuals

In March
pansies come to the prairie
I adore pansies
They're the flowers that "smile" at you!

And I put them on cookies and cakes and fairy cakes and on salads
Who doesn't like food that "smiles"!

But, alas, warm weather causes the pansies to wilt and die
So their time in the garden is short lived
Although they are prolific bloomers
during March, April and May!

Well worth the money I spend on them!

And although they were still pretty
Annuals in the garden centers are getting scarce.

Today was the day we said goodbye to the pansies!

The good news is that most of my summer annuals
were half price -- it pays, sometimes, to be late!
But not all garden centers feel like that after Memorial Day
there should be a price reduction on remaining stock --
They should
for many plants at the garden centers definitely need TLC
And are not the healthy specimens that they were in April!

I did find some nice, healthy plants
And these in the herb garden planter
Were half price!
I saved a whole $20!

In the middle are the annuals that I plant
Around the edge is the thyme
(because there is always "thyme" in the garden)
And permanent planted pansies
(I'll see if these come back this fall)
Here, too, early on the grape hyacinth bloomed

 The yellow violas, really
(I call both pansies -- which is incorrect)
filled the bottom of the armillary
I replanted this area with
Profusion zinnas and salvia

White Profussion Zinnias
Four individual plants which came in 4" pots
They do well here on the prairie
They don't seem to mind the heat.
White, because I like white flowers in the garden!

And purple annual salvia
A four pack -- four of them -- one for each side

And at the "back door" as we call this entry

Are red begonias
I consider it the workhorse of annuals.
I try to plant the red ones --
they go so well with the brick
And match the ones in the planters in front
(which I planted way back in April)

We're having an all school reunion this year
And were encouraged to plant red and white flowers
(the school colors)
I think the red flowers in the white planters fit the red and white bill!

Oh, and the pansies
They did get pitched
But before they did
I picked blooms
Some for a vase on the living room desk
And others

I candied!

Such a treat to top baked goods in the winter
It brings a touch of spring to a winter day!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Cookbook Book Club Vol. 5 -- CREPES

Our fifth meeting of the Cookbook Book Club was last night
The theme this month was Crepes!
Angela was the hostess
And a terrific hostess she was too!

We gathered in the kitchen for drinks
(including the best mint tea!)

And then proceeded to the dining room where we
experienced almost all things crepes!

We did have a salad
(a girl cannot live by crepes alone -- even though there was both sweet and savory)
You just need a salad!

A wonderful Strawberry Poppyseed and Bacon Chopped Salad

brought by Sarah

With the most amazing salad dressing
I could have eaten that huge bowl of just salad --
But then I wouldn't have room for the crepes!

Crepes -- The savory

We girls who brought savory crepes noticed the fact that there are way more sweet crepes than savory ones!

A fancy French name which translates to
Spinach Hidden Under a Giant Crepe

A Mastering the Art of French Cooking recipe that had far more steps than I would like just to  cook the spinach -- but we all admitted that it was delicious spinach!

Savory Stuffed Crepes

Brought by Donna
Filled with scrambled eggs, fresh mushrooms, cheeses
We all felt that if you didn't want to make crepes that it would be a good breakfast burrito filling!

Savory Crepes With Bacon and Mushroom Filling

Brought by Liz

These were tasty and creamy and a very classic crepe, I think.

Crepes -- The Sweet

Starting at the top clockwise:
Apple Cinnamon Crepes (brought by Sarah)
Apple Crepes with Caramel Sauce (brought by Rita)
Strawberry Cream Crepes (brought by Michelle)

Oh, my, were they all good!

When we draw to see what we're going to bring, we never tell what dish we'll do --
which is why we had two mushroom crepes and two apple crepes
But they were different recipes and tasted nothing alike.
In a way, it is interesting to see how apples crepes can be too entirely different dishes!
How mushrooms with eggs and mushrooms with bacon are entirely different.

Part of the reason for the club is to stretch our culinary wings a bit
And crepes were certainly a stretch --
For out of the group only Liz and I and Angela had made crepes before --
Liz many times, me once and Angela a few

And Angela as hostess made all of the crepes!
We just brought the fillings!

A big Thank You to Angela for hosting a wonderful evening.
We stayed and talked at table until after 10!
Full of crepes both sweet and savory!

Our June meeting will be themed:

Red, White and Blue
(I think it will be a fun Volume!)

I'd like to share the salad dressing with you
It was almost good enough to eat with a spoon out of the jar!


1 t. garlic, minced
1 t. diced red onion
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. white vinegar
1/4 c. strawberries, chopped
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 t. salt
1 T. poppyseeds

In a food processor or blender, add all dressing ingredients and plus 1 to 2 minutes until smooth.     If you're going to store it in the fridge, remember olive oil congeals so I often use vegetable oil instead. Makes for a more pourable dressing.

I'm sharing Vol. 5 - Crepes of the Cookbook Book Club with Michael at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Strawberry Breakfast

Last week we had a
"Strawberry Breakfast"
For I've been bringing home pounds and pounds and pounds of local strawberries!

We always breakfast in the Breakfast Room
for it is the breakfast room
(although for the first 19 years we lived at Linderhof, we ate
breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining room)

The only time we don't is those perfect Spring mornings
when we eat in the garden.

And even if it is just Husband Jim and I, I believe in setting a nice table
A tablecloth (sometimes)
Real cloth napkins
And flowers (or a bowl of fruit) as a centerpiece!

And old English walnut table that we found for "cheap" at an Estate Sale
A bit of lace in the middle
Real linen napkins in silver rings
(I prefer linen -- it wears so well)
Our Johnson Brothers Indies (which is our breakfast china)
Jim has an odd cup -- because that's the cup he prefers!

 The strawberries in the muffins
An old silver coffee pot (a cheap Thrift Store purchase because it was black --
it has the nicest feel when you pour and I simple adore the pot
And it lends elegance to breakfast -- serving the morning coffee in silver)
Cream served in an Indies creamer brought home on a long ago trip to England

Always flowers and a lot of time in this antique blue and white transfer ware pitcher.
The only thing blooming in the yard were the honeysuckle.    They are a pest (and I fight them constantly in the garden) -- but they do smell heavenly!

Breakfast --

Strawberry muffins made with fresh strawberries.
Enough for breakfast and enough for tea that afternoon!

Served with a cheese omelet.    I adore muffins and omelets (especially cheese ones)

We leisurely eat our breakfast.
The dogs hover around Jim for he is the one making sure they get a share.
We pour one more cup of coffee and talk about the day to be.

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

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Pansy Candy

It happens this time of the year
It will soon get warm
And the pansies will have to be replaced with summer annuals

So, I go and clip these smiley blossoms

For pansies is one of our first "crop" of the year
To savor for winter

With egg white and sugar
We transform the pansies

Into bits of candied delight
We put them in an old candy tin
separated by sheets of parchment paper

And during the winter . . .

We use them to decorate cakes and cupcakes
especially for tea
It brings a bit of spring to dreary winter days!

I'm sharing my candied pansies with Bernideen for Friends Sharing Tea

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

Today, we honor those who gave their all
So that we could be free

See the soldiers, little ones!
Hark the drummers' beat!
See them with their flags and guns
Marching down the street!
Tattered flags from out the wars,
Let us follow these
To the little stripes and stars
Twinkling through the trees.
Watch them waving through the grass
Where the heroes sleep!
Thither gently let us pass
On this day we keep.
Let us bring our blossoms, too,
All our gardens grow;
Lilacs honey-sweet with dew,
And the lilies' snow.
Every posy of the May,
Every bloomy stem,
Every bud that breaks today
Gather now for them.
Lay the lilies o'er them thus,
Lovingly, for so
Down they laid their lives for us,
Long and long ago.
Heap above them bud and bough;
Softly, ere we cease,
God, we pray Thee, gently now
Fold them in Thy peace!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Second Strawberry Week

Strawberries are adored at Linderhof
And we enjoy the May Strawberry Weeks
A flat a week as we almost founder on the local berries
We eat so many of them.

This weeks cache were used to "put by" --
Two cups into the Tutti Fruiti
And 2 quarts were made into

Strawberry Jam

Made in small batches
And not enough to have strawberry jam all winter
But a few jars -- for special occasions
For cream teas for special friends!

Friday, my jam output was two jars and enough for breakfast --
except that I ended up giving it away to a friend --
not a regular jar -- just that little bit of "breakfast jam"


My output was two more jars but a whole bowlful for tomorrow's Wolferman's English Muffin!

My recipe is a simple one -- one of just berries and sugar
And an easy one -- no stirring (well, very little)

And it makes great jam that tastes of May strawberries.
Which we shall enjoy this winter as the snow falls!

The recipe -- from my old copy of Joy of Cooking
And I simple adore the name --

Red Red Strawberry Jam!


1 quart of strawberries, stemmed and cored.    A few cut into to release their juices
4 cups sugar

Mix berries and sugar and put into a large pot (I like my Le Creuset Dutch Oven).   Stir the mixture very gently with a wooden spoon over low heat until it has "juiced up".    Then raise heat to moderate and stop stirring.    As soon as it bubbles up, time for 15 minutes and cook without stirring.    After 15 minutes remove from heat and allow to cool uncovered.    Sprinkle surface when cool with the juice of a half lemon.    When cool, stir lightly and put into sterilized jars. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Strawberry Time is Tutti Fruiti Time

The first strawberries are in the kitchen at Linderhof
Time to get out a jar and start the Tutti Fruiti!

This year I'm using one of my English "Sweetie Jars"

Into this jar goes . . .

A pint of "good" brandy
(you notice recipes never say "cheap" or "average" --
it's always "good"!!!

Then . . .

We add two cups of halved strawberries
Part of the flat I brought home yesterday.
Local strawberries make the best Tutti Fruiti!

Then . . .

We add two cups of sugar
And stir

And it sits on the kitchen counter so we can stir it every day
with a wooden spoon
Until the sugar is all dissolved

As fruit comes in season, we'll add equal amounts of fruit and sugar 
peaches, cherries, apricots, blackberries and pneapple!

Watch the jar fill with the wonderful boozy fruity sauce!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lunch Bunch Luncheon . . . Minus One

Our monthly Lunch Bunch luncheon
was yesterday . . .
But Lunch Buncher Joyce was unable to attend
We decided years ago 
that we would not change the date of the luncheon if one couldn't make it
And we would cancel the luncheon if two couldn't!

With only three, we had an opportunity to enjoy lunch in the breakfast room

Even though we have four chairs around the table -- it really is too small a space for four!
But for three, it couldn't be more perfect!

A crochet tablecloth, damask napkins in silver rings and Jim's grandmother's cutlery

The Spode blue and white because it seems more casual in the breakfast room!

And garden flowers -- honeysuckle in an old blue and white pitcher!


Wolferman's Chicken Salad

Served with a salad of garden greens from Linderhof's garden dressed with a poppyseed dressing
and corn madeleines


Rhubarb cream pie
Which is far better, in my opinion, than a two crust rhubarb pie

Big slices served with freshly brewed coffee
On Spode's Blue Italian

And after the guests were gone,
the table says "a fun time was had by all"!

Napkins on the table, empty plates and empty cups!

The recipes:

Rhubarb Cream Pie

1 1/2 c. rhubarb, fresh, diced
2 T. flour
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cream

Preheat oven to 350.      In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except rhubarb.    Put rhubarb in unbaked 9" pie shell and pour mixture over the rhubarb.    Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour or until set.

Wolferman's Chicken Salad

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 cup diced celery
1/2 c. diced onion
3/4 c. sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/4 c. sliced pimentos, drained


1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 c. sour cream
1 T. prepared mustard
2 t. sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. white pepper
1 T. lemon juice

Stir together chicken, celery, onion, water chestnuts and pimentos in a large bowl.    Set aside.   

Place all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl and stir together.    Pour dressing over chicken mixture and toss well.    Cover and chill before serving.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Strawberries and Rhubarb and Asparagus Oh My!

Aah -- May

And the Farmers Markets

When local strawberries (which are red all the way through)
local asparagus (which are tender to the tip)
local rhubarb (which are smaller and tenderer than the grocery store product)

come to Linderhof's kitchen

I feel rich when I have a big supply of these spring favorites!


This rhubarb is going in a pie
To be taken to a "do" on Sunday

But one of my favorite ways to eat rhubarb
is not in pie

But stewed!    With a vanilla bean for flavor.
Cold from the fridge -- for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
And rhubarb season is all too short!


It's also good for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Asparagus goes well with a cheese omelets or scrambled eggs 
and leftover asparagus (is there ever such a thing)
is a good addition to a frittata!

But mostly we like it roasted
With a squeeze of lemon
And leftovers are good the next day
With a vinaigrette poured over!


Everyone loves strawberries
If they didn't we wouldn't have them available in the market
12 months of the year.

Sadly, those market strawberries are for pretty only --
They (like tomatoes) are tasteless morsels!
They're not even red all the way through!
The inside is often white!

Strawberries are good for breakfast, lunch and dinner, too!
And we eat strawberries every which way --
plain with a shower of sugar and a pour of cream
Mashed and sugared to bring out the juices to pour over shortcake
(Husband Jim likes cake while I prefer the biscuit --
So we alternate)
Whichever cake the strawberries are poured over
There's always a good dollop of whipped cream on top!

And then there is the new favorite . . . 

Strawberry Cobbler
If you haven't cobbled strawberries, you're in for a treat
Especially when you put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!

And it's easy
And actually leftovers are good the next day!
Or just before you go to bed that night!
(Of course, leftovers at Linderhof are often non-existent!)


1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter, softened
3 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 T. cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350.   Mix together four, 1 cup sugar and butter in food processor (or with pastry cutter).   In a separate bowl, toss strawberries with 1/4 c. sugar, vanilla and cornstarch.   Butter a deep 8 or 9 inch casserole dish and pour in strawberry mixture.    Top with crumbled flour mixture.    Place on baking sheet to catch spill-over and bake until golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes.    Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Violets for Tea

 I love violets
In the house
In the garden
On china
On food

And last week, I had a violet tea
To celebrate adding some garden violets to the garden
For a friend and I

Violets on the table, decorating the tea set and on the food!

Not just violet sugar on the cookies but candied violets as well
Not mine, alas, but boughten ones
That taste faintly of violets
(and they are pricey little violets!)

The tea set is one of Mother's
handpainted violets on four plates, four tea cups and four saucers
Used only for special teas
In the Springtime!

The cookie recipe I got from a board i visit -- it's a good sugar cookie
Soft but not too soft but with a bit of a crunch but not crunchy
And a good keeper as well!

In fact, a tin of them is in the larder

For tea time this week
Alas, not decorated with the candied violet
That was just for company!


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing glass
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for dipping
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt

Blue sanding sugar, for sprinkling (about 1/2 teaspoon per cookie)
Purple sanding sugar, for sprinkling (about 1/2 teaspoon per cookie)
(use the color of sugar you desire — including white)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, oil, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla and eggs. Add the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt and mix well. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.

Using a cookie scoop, drop balls of dough onto ungreased, unlined baking sheets. Smear a dab of butter all over the bottom of a glass, then dip the glass in granulated sugar. Use the glass to flatten each ball of dough, dipping again into the sugar each time. Then sprinkle blue sanding sugar (about 1/2 teaspoon per cookie) over half of the cookies, and purple sanding sugar over the other half.

Bake until the cookies are just barely turning brown, 9 to 11 minutes. Don't overbrown! Allow to cool before eating. The cookies are ultra crumbly!

Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond

It's Tuesday and i'm joining Sandy at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday and Bernideen for Friends Sharing Tea.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Basil Is In The Garden

On my prairie, April is too early to plant basil
Even though it is offered for sale in the garden centers.
Basil adores warm weather
And if you plant it too early, it will sit and shiver and not grow a smidgen!

When I bring the houseplants out, is when I plant the basil
This year I chose 5 plants
I don't go in for creative varieties
because we eat it either fresh in tomato dishes
or made into pesto for the freezer
A bigger leaf basil better suits my needs.

And once the basil is bought . . . 
And planted . . .

I pinch about 1/3 of the plant back --
See that top few sprigs -- just before the plant has two more leaves?
That's where I pinch!

And what do I do with those pinchings?

Why bring them into the kitchen to use!
The first basil harvest of the season!

And a very special harvest it is!
Too bad there are no luscious tomatoes to use it with!
Store tomatoes and that wonderful garden basil just doesn't compute!

Friday night we enjoyed

We enjoyed spaghetti and meatballs for dinner
With basil in the sauce and a shower of basil over all before it was brought to the table.

And Saturday lunch

Creamy tomato soup with basil (and another shower of basil on top)_
Made with some of the last of the tomatoes I canned last year
Tomatoes that taste of summer!
Served with grilled cheese!

In about a month or so, I shall pinch them back once again
And usually there is enough that pinching to make into pesto for the freezer.

And, of course, I pick leaves whenever I need them in the kitchen
From now until I pull up the plants when the first frost is anticipated!

Basil is one of my friends in the herb garden!
It's harvest lasting all summer long
And basil does smell of summer!