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, May 25, 2017

Cookbook Book Club - May

Backyard BBQ was the theme for May
How fitting for the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend
(probably the second day in grill meals -- Father's Day is first!)

A sign welcomed us!

And a lovely table was set out in the garden!

 Complete with "ants" -- which in this case were perfectly acceptable!

We started off the evening with

A lemonade tasting --
my favorite (and the majority of the club's) was A
It was fresh squeezed lemon juice and simple syrup!
Sweet and tangy

The hostess always provides the entree --
In this case sometimes member Belynda helped Michelle

The best hamburgers (because they were made from Belynda's father's beef (and pork), filled with cheese (Provel), more cheese on top (Smoked Gouda) as well as sautéed mushrooms.
All served on brioche buns with a balsamic vinegar aioli!

We all brought traditional BBQ sides . . but with a twist.
One rule we have is that you cannot make tried and true

Liz brought the potato salad -- a Weight Watcher's German Potato Salad
that was very good.    With cucumber and a hit of Dijon, one member remarked that 
this was her favorite potato salad!

What's a bbq picnic without corn on the cob?     Rita brought this traditional side dish but with a twist -- grilled with basil which gave the corn a wonderful sweet flavor!

I brought coleslaw.     Traditional coleslaw with a twist -- a tequila/lime dressing
Everyone raved!

You can't have a picnic without a pasta salad and Rhonda brought a pasta salad with spinach, peas, cherry tomatoes, a good shower of Parmesan and a lemon cream dressing 

Donna's grilled vegetables that she had to do inside.     They were really good and a good compliment with everything else.

And woman doesn't live by food alone --
There needs to be dessert!

Michelle's Banana Split Cake
(and old time favorite but Michelle had never made it although she's eaten it --
and that's a rule -- you can never had made it before!)

And for the second dessert . . . 

Angela's lemon ice cream -- not sorbet, not sherbet but
ice cream!
She'd eaten it on vacation with gingersnaps and that's what I topped mine with --
but she brought raspberry puree, toasted coconut and lemon curd to add as well.

The weather was perfect for dining outside and as always the "pot luck" gods smiled on us
for we had no duplicates!

Looking forward to June -- it's Venezulean!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


We've been away
Not vacationing but rather visiting
to Minnesota to see the Grands
(and daughter and son in law)

One thing we like to do as we travel is to visit antique malls, flea markets
and thrift shops.

Some of my "loot" from this trip!

I'm always on the lookout for books.    I love new books on herbs and this seems like a good one, I have all of Edith Holden's books except her cookery one -- now I have that one too!   The other book which is on the kitchen garden plans should be an invaluable resource as I change my herb beds this year.

I'm a sucker for silver . . . and it was something I needed!

A small silver punch ladle . . . for my small punch bowl.
I find I use that more than my big ones . . .
For I never make punch for 100 . . . but often make punch for 20 to 30!

I've been on the lookout for one
and while in Minnesota we went to an amazing estate sale . . . 
There were two for sale at the sale --


was what interested me the most in this one -- I'm also a sucker for something monogramed
but what sold me on

was what was on the back!
dated 1873 -- which makes it 144 years old
and I assume the "X" stands for Christmas --
much cheaper to put an "X" rather than to spell out "Christmas" or "Xmas"
(plus it's a ladle handle -- there isn't a whole lot of room!)

And from a silver ladle to the mundane . . . 

Two smaller wooden spoons (a nice size I find)
for 25 cents total!

I like linens -- both bed and table
I'm extremely fond of lacy ones and these pillowcases are perfect!

Everyone knows my love of blue and white

A milk jug -- not a cream pitcher -- it holds about 3 cups

It's English (of course)
and is by Wood and sons -- the "potters for 100 years" date it to 
pre World War 2

You can see how much bigger it is than my cream pitcher.
It should look stunning on the breakfast room table
filled with garden flowers!

And my last "loot"

A sterling silver napkin ring . . . from the same place I bought the ladle.
I've collected them for a long time and I have lots
so I now get picky.

I've not bought one in a long time --
In fact, I think the last time was in 2013
(which is 4 years!)

But I couldn't pass this up!
(Plus it was only $28 which for a sterling one is quite a bargain!)
But I never buy plain napkin rings
They have to have a name and now I'm getting more particular about that name.
This had a Scandinavian name on it . . . and I don't have a Scandinavian one,


Once home, I wanted to look up the Grinhild family . . . 
Turns out that it isn't the Grinhild "family"
It's Grinhild 
as in a first name
Now the napkin ring is even more special to me
for I adore that name!

I always think I never need anything . . . 
But I came home this trip loaded with loot!

The only thing I didn't come home with is plants!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Ladies Meeting

I remember as a child going with Mother sometimes to her ladies meetings.
Why I didn't stay at home with my brother and my father, I don't know
but I didn't . . . and I felt so grown up!

Dessert and coffee were served after the meeting
(and I must not have been bored for there was the promise of cake
and mother took me to more than one so I must have been good!)

Last night, ladies met at Linderhof . . . 

The table set up in the dining room
With teacups in Spode's blue room
(I have a lot of those)
as well as Spode Blue Italian
(the nice thing about liking blue and white china, it all works together!
so you can use it when you have a crowd!)

My common glass plates that I bought eons ago -- 50 of them for $1 each
And I have used them over and over again in place of paper goods.
I cannot tell you how much I've saved by using glass instead of paper
And it's just a bit nicer whenever you use "real" dishes!

The centerpiece is "borrowed" -- my new favorite petunia, Indian Summer, bought
for the mother's at church tomorrow but I snagged them and put them pot and all in
one of my blue and white bowls.     Their color is a good compliment to the blue and white!

Dessert was simple:

Gingerbread with a maple cream sauce to spoon over the top
(the sauce topped with some freshly grated nutmeg)
The ladies pronounced it "delicious"!

And in the middle of my meeting, I had an "aha" moment . . . 
Too many ladies, not enough tables and each lady would have a cup and saucer and a plate of cake and a fork to eat it with!
My original plan of clear glass plates for cake and a cup and sauce for tea

would not work!

In mother's day, everyone had those little "hostess sets"
The big glass plate and the little matching cup
which could hold either punch or coffee

For meetings (both social and church), for showers
Each woman had at least a dozen and if you expected more,
a friend would lend you theirs.

You can find them at flea markets and such, although not totally all there.
They're often cheap enough.
And they do make a lot of sense . . . a big plate, a cup that fits on it so that you can hold it in one hand and eat your cake with the other and then sip your beverage . . . 

Halfway through the meeting, I had an idea . . . 
I brought out my Spode Blue Room dinner plates,
took the glass plates back to the cupboard
and stacked the saucers in the kitchen . . . 

I made my own hostess set . . .

A Spode Blue Room or Blue Italian dinner plate
The cup filled with tea, dessert and a fork
Worked just as well as the hostess set
And actually there was one less dish to wash
(no saucer!)

If you're ever faced with a similar situation, look no further than your cupboard
A dinner plate and matching cup
makes a great "hostess" set when you have the ladies over for a meeting!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What I Did To Celebrate Harry Truman's Birthday!

Do you celebrate Truman's Birthday?
I always do and have since the 70s

Harry S Truman
"The Man From Independence"
Growing up in Kansas City, he was "our" President
and you often saw he and his wife out and about

So how do I celebrate?

By moving the houseplants outside to the Baker's rack on the Patio
Where they will stretch their stems toward the sun 
And bask in the warm of the summer and the light of outside
And be happy plants

But inside . . . 

The breakfast room looks barren!
No greenery, only remnants of plant care on the floor
However, fresh garden flowers are on the table
which is a trade off of sorts

Why do I celebrate Harry's birthday this way?
Because in my other life when I worked, it was a State holiday
And I had the day off
In our zone 6, Mother's Day is a safe date to plant or move plants outside
No more chance of frost
Harry Truman was born on May 8, and Mother's Day is always falls somewhat close
Thus, it's a great day to move the plants out
And really clean the breakfast room!

But I usually also celebrate food wise

If you want the recipe, it will be in Saturday's issue of The Nevada Daily Mail or The Fort Scott Tribune

This year I made Bess's frozen lemon pie for dessert
Monday night

The plants are happy although I have the chore of more constant watering once they're outside
But come fall, I enjoy seeing how much they've grown over the summer.

And it's a rite of Spring
Moving the plants outside on Harry's Birthday

Friday, May 5, 2017

Ferns and Wicker and Geraniums, Oh, My!

As you know, Linderhof has a "new" porch . . . 
New in the fact that the screens are finally down and it's a real front porch!

There are three things that every porch needs in the summer --
white wicker
red geraniums

We've almost always had wicker -- sometimes white and sometimes brown . . . 
And I sometimes think about painting it that Savannah green . . but with the porch screens,
it was dark and the green wouldn't look good!

We've never had hanging ferns -- they hung from the portico -- there was no place to hang them on the porch, really, 
but the last couple of years I had a big pot with "Big Fern" in it on the small column by the front porch door

And I've tried geraniums and the pretty blooming geraniums I put not he porch turned to non-blooming green plants -- not enough sun!

But now . . . screens removed . . . 

We have ferns and we have white wicker and we have red geraniums!

Methinks of it as an old fashioned porch . . .
the wicker, the geraniums, the ferns!

The wicker plant stand Jim gifted me with last year --
just because
he knew I liked wicker and I didn't have one -- it's perfect for that big geranium

We removed the holiday greenery from the upstairs window box in February
and it looked barren
(for we don't plant pansies there in the spring)

Today, with a geranium on the porch, we got red geraniums for the window box

 Bright and cheery red geraniums against the white trim of the sunroom windows

And we rehung our flag as well
For every house needs to fly a flag

We're ready for summer on the porch
ferns hanging, red geraniums blooming, wicker to sit in
and a flag a flying!
I see it as a great place for lemonade and cookies!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Cookbook Book Club -- April

After a long hiatus
From meeting on the first Tuesday (in March)
back to the last Thursday (in April)
we met Angela's challenge
Her choice for April:
Middle Eastern but not Greek

We all were familiar with Greek food --
gosh, I've even fixed Moussaka lots, made a walnut lemon cake lots, and took a turn or two at Baklava

But other Middle Eastern countries . . . 
I've not even eaten much from them!

The hostess not only selects the theme (chef or cookbook) 
but also prepares the entree

Angela's entree:

A lemon olive oil chicken . . . 

With couscous
(She has fixed this dish before . . . but she had never cut up a chicken --
so she considered that the learning part of her dish!)
(It did lead to a spirited discussion on chicken cutting!)

Our side dishes:

Rita's Lebanese rice and tomato salad
(Yes, it says rice and Rita didn't substitute pasta -- that was part of the recipe)
It was refreshing with a hint of ginger --
we all agreed it was quite good!

Michelle's Lebanese Roasted Stuff Onions
With a whole bag of Vidalia onions, Michelle chose this dish.
Like a stuffed paper only it was an onion instead of a pepper
and it had those Middle Eastern spices . . . 
Several of us took more than one serving!

Donna's Middle Eastern Rice and Lentils
Definitely the flavor of the Middle East in this dish that had lentils, rice, carrots and peas . . 
and all of those Middle Eastern spices

Sara's Lebanese Thyme Bread
It was good -- not quite as crisp as some Middle Eastern bread but not "puffy" either like a pita.
Those of us who took a half, ended up taking the other half!
It was the perfect bread to go with the meal!

My Armenian Nutmeg Cake
We all liked it -- more like a coffee cake and perfect with the French press coffee that Angela's daughter brewed for us.
It had a crispy crust and more sugar than a similar American cake.
Several said that they would make it and I would make it again.
It was just a plain good dessert!

Our plate of Middle Eastern Food
Not as many countries as could have visited
(Lebanon seems to be the choice of most of us)
But it certainly was a different meal and a meal that definitely stretched our comfort zone.

Thank you Angela for a great choice!

Next month it's Michelle's turn . . . she's making up her mind
It will be either
a - pies (or tarts) sweet and savory
(Where you bring either a sweet pie or a savory pie)
b - cooking from the 50s

I'm happy either way and if it's a) I'm hoping to get savory for I
know one that I want to make!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Fundraising Lunch

I often donate a luncheon to non-profits
for fundraising
It's what I can do to help worthwhile causes

Today, I had guests . . . 
they were the high bidder on my lunch

It's Spring . . . 

A Waterford biscuit barrel holds iris from the garden

My Quaker Lace cloth, the Spode Blue Room, Jim's grandmother's cutlery and a white damask napkin in a silver ring . . . 
And, of course, the menu!

We started with a salad.   Greens with a vinaigrette
Simple but classic

Lunch was Stephenson's chicken in butter and cream
and their green rice casserole

Since we had men for lunch as well as women,
I made a pie
Men like pie!

A meringue pie

Chocolate meringue
My Aunt Oceana's recipe

It was a fun afternoon
I love to share Linderhof