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.


Bernideen said...

Looking lovely so spring must be on the way!

Pondside said...

Pansies are everywhere here too, though they were planted in December and January. Like you, I prefer violas because I find that they stand up to the rain better than their larger cousins.

Francie Newcomb said...

Martha, I loved seeing your pansies and the lemon ricotta cookies! The cookies look beautiful with the pansies! I planted pansies in pots a couple of weeks ago and it is surprising how cheerful they make everything look. Hurry, spring!

Ginene Nagel - Fox and Finch Antiques said...

Martha, you've got a handle on spring already, which I dream I might if I had those wonderful brick planters to decorate. Gosh, those are really nice!

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

The color looks so good in your planters. No pansies available here yet. Hopefully, soon!

Rue said...

I just purchased pansies myself, Martha. I am trying to bring back the violas from last year and I see a few buds, but we'll see. They're definitely hardier, since one lasted all the way until December.

I so wish I could have been at your Julia Child inspired dinner. I love her recipes, but shame on me... I've never made one. I've only eaten her food made by others. I really need to do it, but for some weird reason, I feel intimidated. Silly, huh?

Anyway, I hope you have a lovely week :)


Ruth from Eugene Oregon said...

Where did you get that darling bird cookie cutter?You did a good job

Ruth from Eugene Oregon said...

Love your bird cookie cutter, could you tell me where I could purchase one , you did a great job, love to have attended your event to listen to the butterfly lady