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.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Another Andre's Tea

Mother didn't bake a lot of cookies
Peanut butter ones
and cutout sugar cookies for holidays.

Most of the cookies I enjoyed as a child were bought
But not Oreos (or Hydrox) but rather bakery cookies.

Wolferman's was one of her stops
(and I adored their Hermits (and I have that recipe)
As was the Cake Box

But it was always a red letter day when we came home from school
and found
this box 
in the kitchen!

 Andre's had the best cookies
And mostly, when that box was in the kitchen, it usually meant that Mother had company coming
For they were "company" cookies and not family cookies.

Andre's (unlike Wolferman's or Cake Box) is still in business
And it is a favorite stop of mine!

For cookies!

Last week friend Linda and I had lunch there
And after lunch there is always a stop at the pastry counter
To bring home some tea treats

My selection
(all almond cookies)

And they made a great tea

Which I kindly shared with Husband Jim!
(I'm nice like that "sometimes"!)

A pewter vase with florist flowers,
A Spode blue and white teapot
And Wheildon Ware tea plate, creamer and cups and saucers.
An estate sale find

A lacy tablecloth
Cookies and tea
Life is good!

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

Friday, August 28, 2015

Cookbook Book Club Vol. VIII -- Cooking Light

We met last night --
for the Eighth Volumn

The theme?

And we came up with all this delicious food
That didn't taste "light" as all!

Red Pepper Hummus with homebred pita chips

Sweet potato casserole
(as good as the original but low in fat and calories!)

Oven friend Chicken

Two kinds of rolls

Pasta Salad with Red Caesar Dressing

Butternut Squash

A salad of avocado, red onion and tomatoes

And with all those calories we saved with that wonderful "light" dinner
we had two desserts --
A pear tart and California Ambrosia
(both having a touch of "booze!)

We had a great time as always.
The meal was terrific, as always
Considering that we never talk to each other about what we're bringing

We're looking forward to September
When the Cookbook Book Club will eat "Mexican"!

I'm bringing an appetizer and am madly looking online for a dish to bring!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Lavender and Lemon for Tea

Last week, I gave a talk to a nearby town's garden club

Whenever I do, I take an herbal treat.
This time I chose a lemon lavender cake

And besides the one I made for them
I made one for me as well
And so I invited friends to join me for tea

In the breakfast room
Where there is only room for three!

A lemon lavender cake

The Spode Blue Italian
a sweetgrass vase with flowers
Alas, not garden ones but some lovely bought carnations

It's a very good tea cake
A dense cake lightly scented with lavender and highly spiked with lemon!

We visited and sipped and enjoyed the afternoon and each other's company.


For the cake: 

  • 8 sprigs pesticide-free fresh lavender flowers, or 1 tsp. finely chopped, pesticide-free fresh lavender leaves, plus flowers for deecorating (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups ground blanched almonds
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

For the icing: 

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 large lemon, or as needed
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

To make the cake, strip the flowers from the lavender sprigs. Place in a food processor and add the superfine sugar, butter, lemon zest and salt. Process until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, alternating with one-fourth of the flour, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition. Gently stir in the ground almonds and the lemon juice.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and bake until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn the cake out onto the rack. Place right side up and let cool.

Meanwhile, make the icing: Sift the confectioners' sugar into a bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the lemon juice, a few drops at a time. The icing should be thick but spreadable. If it is too stiff, add a little more lemon juice.

Using a knife and dipping it in hot water if it becomes too sticky, spread the icing over the cooled cake, making sure that it drips down the sides. Let stand until the icing is set, about 1 hour. Decorate the cake with fresh lavender flowers. The cake will keep, stored in an airtight container without the flower garnish, for up to 3 days. Serves 8 to 10.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Tomato Luncheon

The "Tomato Girls" trialed the tomatoes
Now what to do with the ones that weren't tasted?

Have a luncheon, of course!

Every dish is made with a different "color" of tomato
Every dish is made with a different "variety" of tomato
It was fun!

The centerpiece
Tomatoes, of course!
These are Christas

A simple place setting for a simple luncheon

New placemats -- woven with green and beige
On sale for $2 each . . . 
The napkins, however, are from Pottery Barn
and they are not $2 each
But I think they compliment my new mats!

I always love to get a bargain!
But sometimes it ends up costing you more!

Spode Blue Room Plates
Jim's grandmother's cutlery
And my water glasses
French that we've had for eons
That are really parfait glasses
Commercial parfait glasses
Which is why they have held up so well!

And for lunch?

The red tomatoes are Red Mountain
This soup is served chilled and it was tomatoey creamy goodness!

The orange tomatoes are Chef's Choice Orange
(an indeterminate variety)
A favorite recipe from Susan Mason
Made mostly with regular red tomatoes
But we felt that they were tasty with these.

Made not with a green color tomato but an unripe tomato
ones that are still "green"
These are Christas
If you can make cake with carrots you can make them with green tomatoes
And, heck, if you put cream cheese frosting on, it's always good!
I garnished them with green pear tomatoes from my garden, cut in half
So you would know that it was a green tomato cake and not a carrot cake!

We had fun with our tomato luncheon
I also served a lettuce salad with a roasted red tomato vinaigrette
which was exceedingly good and really tomato flavored.
I used Mt. Majesty tomatoes for that -- it was another red tomato.

It's Thursday and I'm joining Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday and Michael at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday

Monday, August 17, 2015

An Andres Kind of Tea

A favorite
(a long time favorite actually)

Which opened when I was a small child near the Plaza
And it was a favorite "ladies" place
where we pretended to be very cosmopolitan
in our choice of restaurant and food!

It has a simple menu
One price for everything
Two entrees to chose from
and quiche
Served with a side or two
(depending upon the entree)

I absolutely adore it
and it now has a location in southern Johnson County that's a bit nearer
And when I enter it, I always feel as if I am somewhere in Europe
(in an Ikea decorated type of place!)

Friend Linda and I went last week
before our needlepoint class

I chose:

The quiche -- classic quiche lorraine and absolutely the best!
Served with a side salad and tomatoes
I, however, substituted their carrot salad
A favorite of mine!

And after you finish you lunch
The bring around the dessert tray

You can select any of the offerings
It's part of "the deal"

They explain them all to you
And it is tempting not to say "all of them" . . . but you don't

My choice?

The little petit four
Cake with cream and frosted and decorated
It's heaven!

However, as the grocery store has candy bars and gum just before you check out
(In the hopes that you'll buy some)
Andrew does too!
(Not gum and candy bars)

But this wonderful case of treats.
I can't pass it up.
I have to bring a few home for tea the next day!

So what did I select?

Three little cookies

Two macaroons and another almond cookie!
They come three ways -- plain (as I bought them) or dipped in dark chocolate or white chocolate!

They made the perfect afternoon tea treat the next day.
In the breakfast room
(We're as housebound in the summer with the heat as we are in the winter with the cold)
The Spode Camilla tea ware and a burlap style runner and a new "vase" -- a seagrass covered pitcher.
Makes one cooler just looking at it!

It's Tuesday and I'm sharing my Andres Tea Time with Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday and Bernideen for Tea in the Garden (even if mine isn't!)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Tomato Girls

Who are the Tomato Girls?    They are five Bourbon County Master Gardeners who  are testing tomatoes for K State Research and Extension this summer.    In two plots in the Community Garden, they have planted 30 tomato plants, 3 of 9 varieties and 6 of one variety.       They have tended the plants and charted their growth to report to K State how well these varieties do in Kansas.   

The "Tomato Girls" in May in between the two plots of just planted tomatoes.

The plants the end of May -- they've grown some
(compare to the above picture)
But they seem really small!

The first of July, lots of foliage but not much product yet!

But here we are in August and we  are reaping the rewards of our labors.       The tomatoes are producing tomatoes!    And lots of the tomatoes.    
In fact Friday we picked over 100 pounds of tomatoes!

 The “Tomato Girls” as they call themselves, were at The Farmer’s Market this Saturday.     We had samples of the tomatoes that we've been growing.     And everyone had  a chance to taste and vote on which variety they liked best!     We had a whole tomato -- a cross section of the inside of the tomato and then samples to taste!     There was also information about the tomatoes that you could take with you.    

The test tomato varieties are:    Hy-Beef, Brickyard, Mt. Majesty, Red Mountain, Mt. Merit, Ultrasonic, and Chef’s Orange Choice.     The varieties being tested against are the well known Jet Star and Christa.  These varieties are available to purchase but the ones that do the best in the trials may receive K State’s stamp of approval.   

One of the "Tomato Girls" explaining to a customer the differences in the tomatoes.

It kept us on our toes to keep the bowls filled with samples!

And because man doesn't live by slices of tomatoes alone . . . 

We made some Tomato Bacon Jam to slather on chunks of homemade bread
And gave the recipe away!

Tomato-Bacon Jam from Slow Food Dinner at Kurlbaum Heirloom Tomato Farm in WyCo, Summer 2014.

1/2 # thick-sliced bacon, diced small
2 # Roma tomatoes, seeded & diced
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. packed dark brown sugar
3 Tbl. cider vinegar
2 Tbl. finely mined garlic
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
S&P to taste

Cook bacon in large sauce pan until crisp. Place on plate with paper towels and blot up extra grease. Discard drippings from pan.

To pan, add tomatoes, onion, white & brown sugars, vinegar, garlic, pepper flakes, and bacon pieces. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick with jam-like consistency, about 1h 15m to 1h 30m.

Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Makes about 1 to 1 1/2 cups jam

Serve on meatloaf in place of ketchup, on burgers, on a BLT, on pizza or flatbread, on crostini, etc. 

NOTE: The recipe does not call for canning this, so it should be kept in fridge and used up within a week or so. 

And since we were Master Gardeners, we're hoping other gardeners in our little town will join our ranks.

A reminder sign along with a sign up sheet.
We're hoping to get lots of new Master Gardeners this year!

Four of the five "Tomato Girls" (the missing girl is celebrating her anniversary -- no shirking her Tomato Girl duty!)
Jan Hedges, Sheryl Bloomfield, Martha Scott and Janet Irvin

The results:

K-State Tomato Trial – Taste Voting Summary
Master Gardeners of Fort Scott
August 15, 2015 at Fort Scott Farmers Market
72 people voted

Ranking by total number of votes (not value) Ranking by number of 1st
Crista         33                                                   Crista        19
Jetstar         32                                                  Chef’s Choice Orange 19
Chef’s Choice Orange 32                                  Jetstar           13
Mt. Majesty         26                                         Brickyard          10
Brickyard         25                                             Red Mountain                  8
Red Mountain                 18                              Hy-Beef                  7
Hy Beef                 16                                      Mt. Majesty          5
Mt. Merit              14                                        Mt. Merit          2
Ultra          4                                                    Ultra           2

We're turning our data into the Extension Office as well as our information on growth, durability, output (we have to weigh the tomatoes), and health.

Over coffee, after our big pick on Friday, we agreed that it has been an interesting experience.    And if we did another trial for K State -- we would prefer flowers!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Minnesota Food

We were in Minnesota the first week of August
welcoming our new granddaughter 
I came armed with recipes
And was very impressed with the Minneapolis grocery stores
(stores I dream about!)
And my "job" (besides playing with "first" grand Lucy)
was preparing meals --
not just for Daughter Sarah, her Andy and their Lucy
but also for Andy's parents who were up for the new grand as well.

And with a new baby and a 2 year old, eating out really wasn't much of an option!
I fixed some old favorites and some new recipes
Kid friendly meals for the most part!





   Eggs, a bit of cream, and grated cheese put into a cast iron skillet and baked until done.    (A plain frittata because grand girl Lucy doesn't like "things" in her eggs!)

From Betty Crocker (which is fitting because Daughter works for Betty)


(smoked turkey, cheese, lettuce, garden fresh tomato and Wickles pickles; a choice of breads and a choice of mustards and mayonnaise.

From the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond

I'm not a fan of macaroni salads having too many bad ones
But this is so good -- I've made it like 5 times this summer!
And it's the perfect accompaniment to deli sandwiches!


Served with a big green salad, crusty bread and celebratory wine!
Toasting both to our newest grand girl and our first grand girl's second birthday and our son-in-law's birthday.

From the bakery -- we didn't make a cake!


(A visit to Minneapolis isn't complete without a trip to YoYo's --
the worlds best doughnuts . . . the maple bacon ones are
to die for!)



Mine is fennel less because I forgot to buy some!

Son-in-law Andy grilled an assortment of fresh vegetables.   Olive oil, salt and pepper and a good sprinkling of chives!

A recipe I found years ago in a cookbook.    I've not seen the recipe on-line but it's a great way to eat fresh garden corn full of garlic and cream.

Because son-in-law Andy loves anything blueberry


Our favorite breakfast place, The Original Pancake House
Our favorite meal, their Apple Pancake
Big enough for two!
We were able to slip away alone for our favorite breakfast out!


Our last dinner, a Mexican casserole

We replaced half of the corn with black beans
and feel that it much improved the dish
We went all out on toppings --
Guacamole, fresh salsa, jarred salsa, cheeses, sour cream, tomatoes
and really good tortilla chips

We had ice cream for dessert -- 
there are three ice cream shops in their little town -- and a visit to one of them is a must every visit!

It was a great visit
It was a good food visit!
We left plenty of leftovers for the upcoming week so Daughter Sarah
(or Andy) doesn't need to cook much
And we took the bones and meat from the chickens and made soup
Some for the fridge and some for the freezer

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