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.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Pansies Herald Spring

We garden by dates --
Houseplants inside on Columbus Day and outside for the summer on Truman's Birthday;
lettuces planted on Valentine's; annuals and herbs planted after Mother's Day
Pansies planted on March 1!

Friday, I called our local hardware store
They had just gotten their pansies in
Doogie and I went to get a flat!

Which look so pretty on the front porch
A breath of color for the porch

Mixed colors because that's how they come.
But actually, I have a hard time deciding which color if given a choice
Mixed colors are a good choice!

The pansies are planted

in the chippy planters in the front

The cement planters at the side of the house

That flank our regular elegant entrance to our basement!
(Notice the haint blue painted ceiling)

And in the back planter, pansies surround the dove

A big plus for pansy planting day
is the first picking of the pansies

Brought inside and placed in the pansy vase that was a Christmas gift a few years ago from a dear friend

The very first garden flowers brought inside for the breakfast room table  for 2016!

Which makes a lovely centerpiece for an after planting tea this afternoon.
Tea and Nordstrom's lemon ricotta cookies

A favorite of mine and one that I don't make often enough
But they are a bit fussy
Decorated with pansies -- just because the yellow of the pansies echo the lemon of the cookies

Pansies -- the flowers that smile at you!

Disclaimer -- these are really violas -- small pansy type flowers.
I prefer them to their larger cousins.    I think they're heartier!

and the cookies . . . 


2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1 T. kosher salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
2 large eggs
16 oz. whole-milk Ricotta cheese (note - it’s sold in 15 oz. cartons so that’s what I used)
3 T. freshly grated lemon zest
1 T. lemon juice
1 stick unsalted butter
3 c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 c. lemon juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon

At least 1 day before baking the cookies, make the dough.Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium bowl.  Beat the butter and sugar together in a  large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  One at a time, beat in the eggs.  With the mixer on low speed, in three additions beat in the ricotta, then the lemon zest and juice.  Gradually add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.  Do not over mix the dough.  It will be very soft.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Using an ice cream scoop, drop balls of dough onto the baking sheet.   Freeze, uncovered, until solid.   Once frozen, the cookies can be removed from the baking sheet to a freezer bag and stored up to 2 weeks in the freezer.
Remove the dough from the freezer and let them thaw for 30 minutes until cold – but not still frozen.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Bake for about 20-22 minutes. If the cookies look like they are baking unevenly, rotate pans half way through the cooking process.  Let the cookies cool on the plans for 5 minutes and transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.
To make the icing, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together in a  large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.  Add the lemon juice and continue mixing until the icing is smooth and about the consistency of cake frosting.

Frost the cookies, spreading it in an even, thick layer over 3/4 of the cookie and then sprinkle with lemon zest.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Cookbook Book Club, Year Two, Volume Two

Our Original Angela was the hostess
She picked:

Julia Child
(Not just from Mastering, but any of Julia's works)

And the "pot luck gods" were in our favor
For our meal was varied and excellent:
(Disclaimer:    descriptions all in English!)

Potato Cheese Sticks
(an appetizer according to Julia
We thought they tasted a lot like potato pancakes!)

Michelle and Belinda's
Onion Soup
(in France it's not called "French" onion soup)
It was really good and made a perfect first course

Our Hostess (Original Angela)
made two entrees:

Chicken and mushrooms in a cream and butter sauce

A wonderful beef roll up dish

A vegetable and a salad

Barbara's "Greek" vegetables.   Not a salad but a cold vegetable dish
(we judged it the pretties)

Liz's beet and rice salad.    A yummy combination which we thought was the most colorful!
(and we decided that on a buffet table it might be confused with the strawberry pretzel salad.
As good as it was, that may be a cruel turn of affairs.)

Rita's zucchini and cheese casserole and
New Angela's  potatoes gratin (well, actually Angela's Mom made it -- because
New Angela broke her leg in three places on a ski trip!   But she was a trooper, coming to our dinner tonight!)

Sarah's raspberry mousse
went well with

My blueberry clafoutis
(made with local frozen blueberries!)

It was a fun evening.
We all agreed that Julia (even though she picked up a chicken off the floor)  was really a perfectionist in getting the most flavor out of each and every dish.    There was, after all, extra steps that we weren't used to.   But those steps definitely got the best flavor out of the ingredients which made the end result so much better!

We also felt that even though there were more steps in some of her recipes, they were all easy to follow.     She was very precise in how you put the dish together.

We all agreed that this was a good theme and are looking forward to Volume Three --

Spring Fling -- Recipes from the March and April Issues of Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Road Work

We've known for some time it was coming . . . 
It was supposed to be started in 2013
But got delayed
And then in August of this year . . .

Blue pipe (and an outhouse next door)
appeared magically in front of Linderhof!

And then BIG equipment showed up in front of the house

And a hole was dug and the blue pipe was laid inside

And we'd sit on the porch and watch them work . . .
And then they moved on . . . 
To another block

One of the "perks" of the street project is new driveways

Linderhof's was in sad shape.
It was, after all, almost 100 years old

 And the north drive wasn't much better!

Thursday they dug out our drives!    We were "landlocked"!

They poured curbs and gutters on Thursday.
The house was built in 1920 and it's never had a curb or gutter!
I think the old girl is busting her buttons at the attention she's getting!

With Friday came more workers, and forms and rebar was placed in our drives

And a concrete truck appeared as if by magic

To pour new drives!

Which look so much better than the old ones!
And we only had to park on the street on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
The "closed" street I might add.
It was a little tricky Friday with wet concrete to traverse the piles of dirt and the ups and downs of construction to get to the car in the street!
But I looked at it as an "adventure"!
And it was only an adventure for one day!

The guys work really hard
And they're all from out of town
(The construction firm is located out of Kansas City, Kansas)
They're hear during the week and leave about 4 on Friday afternoons for the drive home,
arriving back in Fort Scott at 730 or so on Monday morning.

It's their job and I suppose they are used to it . . . 
But to show my appreciation for their willingness to work with us 
I baked a batch of oatmeal cookies

And brought it out to them.

Every time I came or went on Friday, someone would thank me for the cookies!

They're finishing up with this part of the project and soon will be down the street
to finish up there.

The foreman told me that with the great weather in December and February that they are ahead of schedule and perhaps they will be gone by June!

It will be dull around Linderhof when they're gone.
Sigh -- they're will now be traffic once again in front of the house!
I got used to being able to pull right out onto National -- no waiting for traffic to clear!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Of Linens and Lace

I've entertained a lot lately
Entertaining means napkins
And a lot means a lot!

There is nothing like vintage damask napkins.    Pure linen and soft from laundering.   
Ironed to a smoothness.    
The stack is almost all of my damask napkins
(I do have 8 more upstairs that match a tablecloth)
and some are my grandmother's and mother's
Damask napkins to me are a luxury but one that I embrace.

Gently rolled and inserted in my silver napkin rings

They lend an elegance, I feel, to the table.

The short pile are my new linen napkins
From Williams Sonoma or Pottery Barn
My everyday napkins
(And the everyday ones were much more expensive than the ones I save for company!)

They have their own napkin ring and we use them until they get too grimy
Which is why you have napkin rings!
In Victorian times, there wasn't a new napkin for every meal.
You inserted your napkin back in your napkin ring
And the next meal, there it would be at your place!

When I entertain, I like to use vintage tablecloths
Mostly the lace ones
Quaker Lace

The big one that I got at an estate sale for $5
(big as in it fits the table with all three leaves in it!)
Due to three old red wine stains.
There is a great product which I used
Which got out the stain
And I got an expensive tablecloth!
And one that I just adore!

A hand crochet one
There is just something elegant about lace!

I have two or three more Quaker Lace ones -- but they're smaller
But there is something pretty about the pattern of the lace on the wood table
With a soft vintage linen napkin
And some pretty china!

I have three damask tablecloths and I use them . . . sometimes
But they're a bit more fiddly than the lace ones.
But one was my grandmother's and I treasure it!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

February Lunch with The Lunch Bunch

We've had snow
We've had ice
(in fact last month while we were chatting away, rain fell and froze --
it was interesting as the Lunch Bunchers slid to their cars!

But this month we had


Look, Ma, no driveway!

But they preservered!
Parking on the street behind me, walking around BIG heavy construction equipment
and through the neighbor's yard dodging the big pile of dirt and tree roots!

Our menu reflected this "red letter day" of construction!

The table covered with the Quaker Lace cloth

Damask napkins in silver rings, Jim's grandmother's cutlery, the Wedgwood Cuckoo (I only have plates -- sigh) and my mother's iced tea glasses

Leftover Valentine's Luncheon flowers in the crystal ice bucket with silver trim.
The colors of the flowers are reflected in the colors on the plate

Aynsley Pembroke for dessert

 Coffee service set up on the mahogany serving piece

A typical ladies lunch
Hot Chicken Salad, Freshly baked biscuits and Millionaire Salad

Marinated vegetables and mushrooms
(called "Millionaire" because it is a "can" salad and every can costs $3 to $4 --
so it costs "a million bucks" to make!

My favorite and easily made Cream Biscuits

Strawberry Jam Cake
Found on one of my favorite blogs:
Mary's recipes are always good!

It was a good dessert cake for lunch
But would be a perfect coffee cake for a ladies Bible study!


2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups chopped celery
1 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. Cheddar cheese, grated
2 t. lemon juice
1/2 c. slivered almonds
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup crushed potato chips

Stir together all ingredients except potato chips.   Put into a casserole or 9 inch square pan.    Top with chips.
Bake at 450 for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.


14 oz. can quartered artichoke hearts
14 oz. can hearts of palm, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
14 oz. can pitted ripe olives, sliced
2 ounce jar diced pimentos
5 ounce jar roasted red peppers (packed in oil) diced
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 clover garlic, minced
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 c. chopped parsley
1/2 t. thyme
2/3 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. red wine vinegar

Drain artichoke hearts, hearts of palm olives, pimentos and red peppers.    Place with sliced mushrooms in large glass bowl.

Combine other ingredients.    Marinate vegetables in oil mixture overnight.     Remove vegetables from marinade with slotted spoon.    Serve chilled in lettuce lined bowl.    For individual servings, line plate with lettuce and top with salad.


2 cups self rising flour
1 1/2 c. heavy cream

Mix together until it forms a dough.    Knead a few times.    Pat out on work surface and cut with biscuit cutter.     Bake in a preheated 500 degree oven for 10 minutes.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup strawberry jam
Optional: confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan or tube pan.   (I prefer the tube pan).

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

 Beat butter until light and creamy. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in sour cream and vanilla, beating until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing just until blended.

 Transfer 1/2 cup of batter to a small bowl. Stir in jam, mixing well. Set aside.

 Pour remaining batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Make a 1-inch trough in the center of the batter all the way around the pan. Spoon batter/jam mixture into trough, spreading evenly.

Bake for 1 hour, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake begins pulling away from the edges of the pan. Cool cake in pan for about 15 minutes. Then, invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. If you wish Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving. Yield: 12 servings.

NOTE:   I used homemade strawberry jam for the cake.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Another Adventure . . . .

We love Estate Sales and always have . . . 
We prefer them over auctions
for you come, you look, you buy or not
And then you leave

No waiting hours and hours
and then going home empty handed
because you were outbid
as often happens at an auction.

At an Estate Sale,
the price is there
you buy it or not
or you could wait for the last day
and if it's still there get it for half price!

There is a great site called
Estate sales all over the United States are listed there
We have automatic emails about the ones in the cities
surrounding our little town

The good news is that you can see the offerings at the sale
The bad news is that often the description creates imagination
Which means that you think the offerings are better than they actually are
and tells the "ugly" truth
about that walnut end table or the silver serving pieces!

And actually, since it is a drive, we go less now for we find the sales less interesting.
Or perhaps we go less now because we need less!

I was trolling this week's offerings when I came across this picture:

With this tag:

And if you looked at the picture and enlarged it the price seemed reasonable.

I immediately called my friend Shirley Ann
She and I are the friends of Adventure
for she was looking for several pieces of
Pfaltzgraff Folk Art
A pattern that she had used and loved in the 80s when it first came out,
fell out of love because she couldn't find pieces to replace those lost to breakage
thus resulting in an incomplete set
And what old is new again
And there it was
Lots of pieces including ones that she didn't care about
Sold not as a set but by the pieces


Lenexa Estate Sale Full of Arts & Crafts Furniture 

Saturday was the third day
And the half price day
She came over and we left by 7:15
And arrived at the Estate Sale location a full half hour before the sale began
(a must)
And sat in the car chatting until 8:45 when we went with the others to stand in line
at the front door
A full fifteen minutes before the door opened!
It was cold -- really cold
She doesn't do well in cold but she was bundled up
And with frozen noses and chilly fingers
We stood, visited, stomped our feet
(And I reminded her that when I bought my china cabinet that it was colder,
it was also rainy, and my crocs that day had more holes in them!
So this was good!)

Finally, finally, the door opened
From the pictures, we knew that the dishes originally were in the kitchen
And we had a plan
We both would go for the dishes,
I would stand guard over them while she took the ones she wanted to the cashier

If they were still there!

And they were!

She bought:

Dinner plates
(way more than she needed but hey, extras are always nice)

Salad plates

And more cups (because they were so reasonable)
which also came with saucers!

We were both giddy with excitement over her purchase!

Once the dishes were securely behind the cashier's counter with her name on them, we looked the other items over.     Neither of us were impressed with the remainder of the stuff
And so, the dishes were our only purchase!

Pfaltzgraff dishes were really popular in the 80's
Which was when she originally bought hers

The blue and grey pattern, Yorktown, is the top selling pattern in history.    First produced in 1967 it is still in production today.    Which is probably why you see more of it in flea markets and antique malls than any of the other Pflatzgraff patterns.
The pattern is reminiscent of salt-glazed stoneware.     
It is sad that Yorktown is no longer made in the United States.
which means in my opinion, that buying used from flea markets, garage sales, antique malls or estate sales is the way to get the better quality Yorktown.

The brown Villager pattern runs a close second to Yorktown.    It does say 80's, doesn't it?    It was first introduced in 1975.    This is the warm earth tones of the 70's translated into dinnerware.   It is a classic Early American look which was popular with the 70's country decorating style.    The pattern was retired in 1996 but by popular demand was brought back in 2004 for 11 years.
The length of production and the fact that newer pieces were made means that pieces are prevalent in flea markets and antique malls.

And the third color/pattern was the brown and dark blue Folk Art,
Friend Shirley Ann's pattern of choice.
And to me, I think the classiest of the three.
It was in production from 1977 to 1983.
By far the shortest production period of the three
Which is probably why you don't see as much of it in the secondary market.

But half the fun of collecting something is "the hunt"!

And Saturday we definitely were on the hunt!

Our entire time at the estate sale was a little less than an hour.
We loaded the one box of dishes in the car
And off we went in search of a warming cup of coffee.

We stopped at a couple of other places and then felt we needed lunch.

A new place in the city that I wanted to try was

It had been given good reviews on Facebook
And friend Shirley Ann loves Southern food!

At around 11 p.m., it was both breakfast and lunch

With only a cup of coffee for breakfast, I was hoping for something
hearty and was thinking lunch
But Magnolias breakfast won us both over.

I had the biscuits and gravy
The best I've had outside my own kitchen
The gravy was especially yummy
And probably the best biscuits I've ever had.
Square -- not round!

Shirley Ann had Magnolia's French Toast
Cinnamon soaked "7-up" cake, peach cobbler compote, maple whipped cream
Although it was a different French toast, it was so very good.
We, of course, traded tastes!

It was a fun day
Another day of adventure
But in our years of friendship
We've had many of those
(Just ask about our furniture seeking trip to Nebraska, where we winded up in
Weston, Missouri, and Shirley Ann rode home in the back seat surrounded
by two of the four pieces of a parlor set that she bought!)

At least this adventure, the loot of our adventure was on the floor of the back seat
And no one had an uncomfortable ride home!

I'm sharing my Saturday adventure: