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.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cookbook Book Club, Volume 2, Issue 3

The Third 2016 Cookbook Club met tonight
And unlike other meetings, all of the recipes came from this book

Saveur Italian Comfort Food


Angela M. brought sopressa over ricotta on "good bread"

Liz brought bacon wrapped green onions

A nice starter plate

It was at Donna's and the hostess always provides the main course --
she has access to stove and oven, we feel and it's easier not to have to transport the entree

Donna made

Ground veal in a sweet pepper sauce over fettucini.    Donna's special fettucini!

Angela made a dish of butternut squash with a balsamic reduction, roasted hazel nuts and raisins.
We all agreed that we're making this recipe this fall!   

Barbara's roasted cauliflower with anchovy sauce and capers
Very tasty!

Rita brought a mozzarella, tomato, bread and basil salad
It "screamed" Italian!

Rhonda's bread was outstanding.    Ciabatta with grapes or with rosemary and black olives.

Michelle's peach and amaretti tart.    Her home canned last summer's peaches made it more special.

Edra's Orange Olive Oil Cake.   It's a great cake and Edra explained the tedious process of boiling the oranges three times and that the whole orange is in the cake!

But we had a reason to cook from this one cookbook --
It was a special cookbook
For each page that we cooked from,

We wrote on.    Words of well wishes.    For one of our members is moving away.
And what gift can a cookbook club give a member who's moving away?
Why a cookbook, of course, and the cookbook from which all of the food which was served at Sarah's last meeting was made.

We'll miss Sarah.    She was instructed, however, that in her new home she needed to take our cookbook book club idea and start one there.     What better way to get to know people than over a good meal!

We wish Sarah the best.
We'll miss her.
She'll, however, have a cookbook to remember all of us!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Spring Luncheon

Today was Lunch Bunch Day
Last Tuesday was supposed to be . . . 
But "Teddy" was in town
And so we chose the following Tuesday for our monthly luncheon

It's Spring . . . deep purple iris is the centerpiece
The white lace tablecloth and white damask napkins
(Actually, the last 4 ironed ones . . . no more company until I iron the ones in the laundry basket!)

Aynsley Pembroke for the luncheon

I received a new cookbook last week

The recipes are seasonal and since this was Spring,
I decided that my April Lunch Bunch luncheon
would come entirely from the pages of this book!

Spring Fling Asparagus Soup (an approved variation of Nancy's Fiddlehead Fern Soup) and Lawn Chicken Salad served with a hot roll

I renamed her carrot cake "Queen Anne's Lace Cake" because
Queen Anne's Lace is a cousin to the lowly carrot.
Frosted, of course, with pineapple flavored cream cheese frosting

that and a cup of coffee make a great ending to a ladies lunch

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Breakfast With "The President"

Well, not the current President
nor even a recent past President
But rather a long ago president . . .

Theodore Roosevelt

An actor portraying President Roosevelt performed at our annual
Friends Fest on Tuesday evening
I invited him to breakfast on Wednesday morning before he headed out of town

An early breakfast
8 a.m.
had me up at the crack of dawn . . . 

The table set the night before
Lace tablecloth

The Spode Blue Room, Jim's grandmother's cutlery, small German wine glasses for juice
and damask napkins in silver rings, of course!

Always a menu
A caricature of Teddy
and his place card

Orange alstromeria in a silver bowl

A typical breakfast menu 


Rosemary roasted potatoes

Scrambled eggs with onions, peppers, mushrooms and cheese

Classic cinnamon streusel coffee cake

 All served family style

"Teddy" regaled us with stories
And there was much laughter around the table!

And then everyone left

But the table shows a good time was had by all!
(And I wished that I had the staff that Teddy had to clean up!)

But before he left . . . picture taking!

Thank you, Joe
You were great!

If you need a program for any event, check out
Or if you just want to visit with a President
it also tells you where Teddy will make his appearances!

Friday, April 15, 2016

My Five Favorite Herbs . . .

I was asked to do a program yesterday on herbs
for our Pioneer Kiwanis

When I give a program, I always come with treats . . .

Orange rosemary cupcakes
(for it is a luncheon meeting and everyone needs dessert)

The recipe?
Just a regular cupcake that I make all the time (which makes an even dozen cupcakes)
with a tablespoon of chopped rosemary added as well as the grated peel of one orange.   Frosted with a buttercream to which I added the grated peel of another orange and enough orange juice to make the icing spreadable.
(You could even make them with a box mix -- adding the rosemary and orange zest to the batter and then adding orange zest to the canned frosting)

I always like to bring "show and tell" when I give a program

Herbs (to be planted in the garden)
Some gardening books (my favorite is the Betty Crocker Kitchen Gardens -- it is my herbal bible)
and a couple of herbal cookbooks (these by Nicole Richardson -- a cookbook author I adore (she's right up there with Anna Pump and Ina Garten and her basil ice cream with chocolate sauce --
pure nirvana)

I have a hard time talking about just five herbs
But, if I had to have only five . . . these would be my choice:


But then, I can't imagine living without parsley, garlic chives, lavender, bay, fennel, tarragon

It was a fun meeting and I always love to share my love and knowledge of herbs!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Wedgwood Diaries

When we married we were poor as church mice
Husband Jim had just come back from Vietnam
(loaded with camera and stereo equipment
and some Johnson Brothers ironstone)

And I yearned for china -- real china
Ainsley Pembroke was a pattern that I coveted

And everytime I would go to Thomas Pharmacy in Nevada
I would drool over it.
But I could never afford it -- it was way too pricey for my meager purse.

And then we took a trip to England
 And visited

Back in the Day when the potteries were still producing
We visited Royal Dolton and


Took a tour and saw the workers working on the china

And picked out
place settings of china

Runnymede Blue

We actually saw some being made.
It is a raised design
And the blue is really almost black
I love the pink shells, the green leaves and the delicate flowers in the center

It's real bone china
And I hand carried it home on the airplane
On the international flight, I was in my seat with the box between my legs and a blanket over my lap
before anyone came by and so no one checked to see that I did not have everything under the seat in front of me.

I sat there for the entire trip.
Never getting up for anything!

Then we hit Atlanta, I boarded the plane with my precious box.
And again put it between my legs.
But, alas, there was no blanket
And the attendant told me I couldn't do that.
I explained that I had ridden across the entire Atlantic Ocean with it there
and it and I were perfectly fine!

She insisted I check it.
I "glared" at her.
I wasn't about to give up my precious box of dishes.
That were not packed for the mishandling that they would receive if they were taken below!

She left and came back and told me that the pilot would be happy to let the box ride up front in the cockpit with him -- if that would be okay with me!
(Obviously this was way before 9/11!)
I relinquished my box, watched her carry it forward and then settled down for the last leg of the trip.

It arrived home in one piece and over the years, I added place settings until I had 8.
It was expensive in the mid 80s to mid 90s
$200 per place setting

Then I got my grandmother's Noritake
And I had two sets of china.

Daughter Sarah kept telling me that she wanted the Wedgwood.
When she left for college
And I said no
When she graduated and moved to her first apartment and real job
And I said no
When she bought her first house
And I said no

And then she got engaged
Surprisingly she didn't ask for the china
(perhaps I had said no too many times!)

The night of her engagement party,
we gifted her with the china

(My reasoning is that she would get it someday -- why not have it now
rather than picking something else out and then getting another set . . . later)

She was thrilled

Four years ago, I was in a flea market and there, on the floor
was a pile of

The Wedgwood
My yelp of surprise and pleasure alerted my friend that was with me
that I had found a true treasure.

It was $100 and was not quite a set for 4 but almost.

I bought it quickly and then parceled it out over the next four Christmases.
It made a nice Christmas present and I filled in where needed so that she had 12 place settings.

Last Saturday, we were in Minnesota visiting daughter
There are a couple of consignment shops that we must visit everytime we visit.

And in the second one,

We came across this

And this bowl

With the notation that it was $210.00

I stared at it and wondered if I could see if I could get the bowl
But then figured that it was a package deal.
And then I read that it was 51 pieces
TEN five piece place settings
ONE  serving piece
Not just the one place setting and the bowl that were on the shelf!

Sarah had TWELVE place settings --
Did she need ten more?

I talked myself out of it.
Husband Jim was with me and told me that I could have my Wedgwood back
But, I reasoned, I have Grandmother's Noritake and my Aynsley Pembroke
I didn't need another set of China.
"Get it for Sarah", he said
"Oh, she doesn't need it", says I

And so we left it . . . 
(The second time I've left a really good bargain in china --
The Pembroke was the first time!)

And got home and told Sarah about it . . . 
She and I and Lucy jumped in the car
And drove to the shop
It was still there --
She immediately took the tag and the one place setting to the checkout
And home it came!

And I bought for Lucy

The "Mingo" purse
She loves it!
For she was a good girl while her Mommy was making the china deal of the century!

Oh, and I forgot to mention that anything that was regular price was
20% off 
Which made the set around $160 pre tax!

And I passed it up!
Will I ever learn?

The china gods have been smiling on me
For both times that I've done that
It's still been there.

Sarah was thrilled with her additional china
And I am happy that she loves it so much!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

It's A Real Circus!

It's a New Year!
For one of my club's that is!
And that meeting was at my house

I had two great co-hostesses
And we came up
(well, read that as "stole")
the theme of

We met . . .
We planned . . . 
We ordered from Amazon
(All kinds of neat circus stuff)

And tonight, the plan came together.

The dining room table
Red and white like a big top!
(We called it the Midway)

"Snow Cone" cupcakes

With all the circus food, we felt we needed to be a little healthy
(What better than a clown veggie tray)
(We served it with homemade Dill Dip --
I had forgotten how good that recipe was --
have bought way too many containers of commercial dill dip --
there is no comparison)

Popcorn and lemonade (with red and white stripe straws) and Animal Crackers!

And there will be corn dogs when they come out of the oven
And cotton candy -- on sucker sticks -- "appetizer" cotton candy!

And every circus needs a Merry Go Round . . . 
An old one that one of the co-hostesses had
Which made the perfect centerpiece

The hostesses adorned for the evening!

And once we had our circus fun, we settled down to a business meeting

I feel so lucky to belong to an organization full of so many wonderful women
Who do good works!

Linderhof is now back in pre-party order
The dishes are done, the chairs back in the dining room and breakfast room
Jim and I ate leftovers
(for a hostess has no time for food!)