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, July 28, 2016

Cookbook Book Club, Volume Two - Seventh Edition

We all traveled to Arma tonight
For Arma Angela hosted dinner
Her theme:    Memory Food

The hostess always provides the entree and Angela chose

Round Steak
Which her Aunt Ollie always made in a cast iron skillet.
Angela and her Mom  have perfected Aunt Ollie's recipe although not in a cast iron skillet but an electric one
"And you buy the round steak at Ron's" Angela informed us "and have it run through the tenderizer TWICE!"
It was good.   It was comfort food.    And, to me, it tasted like "home" --
it tasted like what my mother made!

Mashed potatoes and gravy
Angela M. (original Angela) chose this dish for it is a family favorite!

Donna's Salad
Which I brought.    Chosen because Donna's not a long time relative but in the mid 70's when Salad
Suppers and Salad Luncheons were so popular,  and Donna brought this to an early one.   (Hence the name)  I loved the combination of broccoli and cauliflower (probably the first broccoli/cauliflower I ever had) and with green onions, sliced olives and a dressing made from Ott's dressing and mayonnaise, it was to me a "gourmet" dish.    Probably my first "gourmet" dish.    And I still make it occasionally!

Spinach, Avocado, Orange Salad
This was California Barbara's contribution and although it is not that old of a recipe, it is a favorite and she always brings an empty bowl home when she takes it anywhere.    I didn't get the "real" name of the salad but I shall always call it "Barbara's Salad"!    With the avocado and walnuts, it definitely has a California flair!

A pretty plate of food on Angela's Fiesta.

But women do not live by food alone . . . we like dessert!

Impossible Coconut Pie
A recipe from Donna's grandmother.    She made it for family holidays and the one pie turned out to eventually be TEN pies because everyone in the family wanted a piece of this dessert!
It's a good dessert and has a nice coconut flavor!

Gooey Butter Bars
From Donna's other grandmother who lived in Arizona.    She would make these and pack them for the trip home that Donna and her family made.    Donna said that by the time they left Grandma's city limits, the bars were gone!

 Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake
Edgar's contribution to night.   It's an old fashioned chocolate cake but a good chocolate cake.    Picnic cake!    It's like what my Mom or grandma would make for picnic desserts or if they took dessert for a bereavement.    It's a chocolate cake that can't be beat!

And what a nice plate of desserts.
And we all ate every bite!

Because we don't have any "connection" other than loving good food, conversation is usually lively and diverse.     Since we were down "south", we had some Mafia stories tonight.    But talk also turned to beloved Aunts and grandmothers. . . . and how fooled we could be at Christmas when Santa was to come!

We're looking forward to the next edition!

I'll share Edra's cake recipe.    If you're looking for a good 9 x 13 chocolate cake, this one is a winner:


Grease and flour 9 x 13 pan


3/4 c. oleo
2 cups sugar
**Cream these well.    Add 2 whole eggs and stir well.

Sift Together:

1 2/1 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 t. salt

Add these two mixtures together alternately with 1 cup sour milk** or buttermilk and 1 t. vanilla.    Place 1 rounded teaspoon baking soda in a large bowl and add 1 cup boiling coffee.    This will fizz.   Stir quickly with spoon and then pour into batter hot.    Mix thoroughly.    Batter will be thin.    Bake at 325 approximately 35 to 40 minutes.

**Sour milk:

To make sour milk.    1 cup of milk less 2 T and add 2 T. vinegar.    Stir well.


2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
1/4 cup oleo
1 t. vanilla

Mix until crumbly.    Add enough boiling black coffee to melt cocoa and make a good spread (about 2 T. coffee)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Ladies Who Lunch

The Lunch Bunch came for the July luncheon
The Lunch Bunch Plus One
for dear friend Priscilla came as well

The dining room 
in luncheon finery
Lace and china and silver and crystal

And Flowers
dark pink carnations
(the workhorse of grocery store flowers
But they echo the flowers on the china -- Aynsley Pembroke)

It's been hot on the prairie
so I thought a cold lunch would be perfect

A first course of gazpacho with a scoop of Tomato Sherbet

Pasta Salad with hot rolls

Lemon Frost Cake
with blueberry sauce
Frozen so it's cool as well

And goes well with coffee

I love the centerpiece which is reflective of the china as well as the birds on either side of the centerpiece.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Naked Lady Sightings

It's early this year . . . 
The Naked Lady sightings
in our little town . . . 
(It's usually August before such scandalous happenings occur)

Driving around, we found them . . . 

On Sixth Street

On Judson

On National

One lone lily at the edge of a vacant lot . . . 

And in the garden at Linderhof

Ha, not scantily clad ladies cavorting in yards,

But rather, the flowers known as "Naked Ladies"
(Or resurrection lilies, surprise lilies, flamingo lilies,  surprise lily, magic lily)

You can see where some of the names come from
The "naked" I think from the fact that the "bare" stem rises from the ground and into bloom
No foliage!
The other names -- magic, surprise refer to the plant's split personality.

For in Spring, when the daffodils and tulips are blooming,
this foliage springs up
This is your first "naked lady" sighting
The leaves in the spring.

Like feuding in-laws, the leaves and flowers refuse to appear together!

The good news is that they are an easy plant to grow for they're not picky and they're great in a border where their foliage helps fill in before other later perennials appear.

They do best in full sun but as you can see from the sightings around town (and in Linderhof's garden), they will be okay in partial shade.
I'm told that the bulbs multiply and every 5 years or so should be dug and separated after flowering . . . but I've never done that.
I also have some that come back every spring with their leaves but don't bloom in the summer.
Next year, I'm going to mark them and then move them next summer
(for they're best separated after flowering and now I can't remember where they are!)

When it's hot in summer and gardening is limited mostly to just watering the plants so that they will survive the heat and humidity until later summer or early fall coolness comes,
the naked ladies bring a smile to my face.

I love the faithfulness of their blooming year and year
With very little attention on my part!

Do you ever see any "Naked Ladies" in your town?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ladies Who Lunch

Friends came from Nevada for lunch
It was a celebratory occasion
for it was Frankie's birthday!
And Judy decided that Linderhof was the perfect place to celebrate
this occasion!

The lace tablecloth
My Aynsley Pembroke

Jim's grandmother's cutlery
Damask napkins in silver rings

There's always herbs in the garden
And garden herbs make good luncheon centerpieces
This one is fennel

A three course luncheon

A blue and blue salad
Blueberries and blue cheese
Crisp romaine dressed with my favorite homemade poppyseed dressing

Chutney chicken and white and wild rice

Chocolate charlotte for dessert
A cool dessert for a hot day

Creamy cool chocolate and whipped cream surrounded by boozy ladyfingers
Served with a creme brûlée coffee

I enjoy friends coming for lunch
I get to try new dishes!

And all of these I would make again
And that dessert . . . . 

Monday, July 18, 2016

What! Another Chair?

I have a chair fetish . . .
It goes with my lamp fetish . . . 

I won't say I buy EVERY chair or lamp I see -- 
but I've bought more than I should
of both
(check the lamp graveyard in the basement
or the extra chairs in the attic)

And on a trip to Minnesota for oldest grand's third birthday,
we shopped a bit

Patting myself on my back,
 I did leave a lamp that I was going to buy
And right now it's a decision I don't regret

But at one of our favorite consignment stores, I ran into this:

It's a corner chair
I've always coveted one
(And actually I still have room in the car for more furniture and lamps!)
It's a nice chair and there was a 20% off sale going on in the whole store on
furniture and dishes and such

The seat didn't need to be recovered and the colors would work
with the other living room furniture at Linderhof

But what sold me on the chair was this:

Queen Anne corner chair made between 1702 and 1714 found in pieces

And another similar sticker that read
that the chair was found in pieces in a barn in Denver, Colorado
and the owner paid $4 for the pieces
There was the word "antique" and then there looked like there were two other stickers
that might have told more of the story.

But . . . the story is not true for it's not an 18th century chair
But rather a late 19th century or early 20th century one

Antique dealers back in the day often told the story of how 
"the piece" was found in pieces in a barn . . . 
and was far older than it was.

I'm thinking that the person who consigned the chair, probably did not write the messages.
They probably were suckered in by the messages
(as I was, sort of)
And felt that the chair was far older than it is.

Did they ever find out the truth?
Perhaps which is why it was consigned.

But I think not for although the fabric's colors go well with the rest of Linderhof's living room fabrics, it is an older piece of fabric.      I'm thinking 60s or70s.
Which means that it may be part of an estate that was consigned to the shop.

The chair in a "corner" of the living room
It's handy and now we can seat 10 in the living room without borrowing any chairs from dining room or breakfast room!

Did we find anything else?
A wonderful sewing basket, some old picture frames (the dime store brass ones from the 60s) for I have grands now and their pictures are everywhere!, an old cookbook and a fine linen dresser scarf with handmade crochet edging.

I did have my head turned by another chair or two (or three) but I held fast . . . 
I was pressing my luck on getting another chair 

But it makes the furnishings of Linderhof fun!
For almost everything "has a story"!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

An Early Summer Tradition

Forty years ago on a trip to Branson,
I bought this crock

About five years later I painted the strawberries on it
I took a tole painting class

And for years and years, it's been my tutti fruit crock

What's tutti fruiti you may ask,
Why it's the best fruit sauce to use on ice cream or pound cake
And it's homemade!

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
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

Then we put it in my "tutti fruiti" crock!

As fruit comes in season, we'll add equal amounts of fruit and sugar 
peaches, cherries (both tart and sweet) , apricots, blackberries and even pineapple!

Once all the fruit is added, we take it back down cellar
to age!

The sauce is wonderful on plain vanilla ice cream and plain pound cake
And by the time strawberry time comes again,
the crock is empty!

The sauce also makes great Christmas gifts for special friends.
But only special friends.

Try your hand at tutti fruiti -- you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


When I think of violets, I think of my Mother

She had violets in the garden
(as do I)

She had African violets on the windowsill
(as do I)

She had a violet tea set
(as do I -- it's hers!)

Beautifully handprinted
Delicate China
And I use it "sometimes"

While out and about in town Friday, I found

A violet cake plate

Which I thought would go well with Mother's violet tea set
Cups and saucers for tea

And a plate for a cookie or scone

To celebrate, I made my version of Nordstrom's Lemon Ricotta Cookies
(My version is orange!)

Though the cake plate goes well with Mother's cups, saucers and tea plates,
my new cake plate

Is Bavarian

While the cups, saucers and tea plates are


However, even though they have different "pedigrees"

I think they look smashing together
And with a plate to hold tea treats, I'm sure I'll use them more often.
There's just something about purple violets and lace, to bring a smile to your face!