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.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Cookbook Book Club - June - Venezuela

Hostess Sara declared that the theme for June would be


None of us have ever been to Venezuela
Nor has any of us been to a Venezuelan restaurant

We did learn that:

Venezuelan food is both tropical and Andean, with European infuences (especially Italian) as well as traditional dishes from native cultures.  Coconut, plantains, seafood, goat, corn, and Italian pasta dishes are all part of the vibrant mix that makes up Venezuelan cuisine.

And we learned enough to put on a very traditional Venezuelan meal:

The food on the table --
We're ready to tuck in

The food:

My contribution which was "bread"
Not a dinner bread but a sweeter dough, wrapped around ham, brushed with egg white mixed with sugar and baked.     They're eaten for breakfast.    
They're not all that difficult and they are tasty.
I think of them more as an appetizer than a breakfast bread!

Venezuelan Chicken and Avocato Salad
Donna's Contribution -- a chicken salad with no mayo and no dairy.
We all thought it was a good recipe and I think some of us may make it instead of our tried and true chicken salad

Main Course Beef
The hostess always provides the entree and Sara choose this beef dish
She took 3 recipes to come up with this final dish --
We all liked it!

However, it needs to be served with:

A cornmeal bread that is the National Bread of Venezuela
You put the meat inside . . . and you can use Donna's chicken salad to fill arepas as well.
It does take an ingredient that's not readily found in a small town
but Sara improvised.
They tasted to me like a thick corn tortilla

Corn cakes with cheese
Michelle brought these filled not with a Spanish cheese but rather with provel from St. Louis.
They were good!

Rhonda brought this.   It's fried plantains and yes, you can find plantains in
a small town on the prairie.    Rhonda told us that they needed to be black to be ripe . . .
 unfortunately, our markets think the black ones are past their time . . . 

Ensalada de Remolacha
Beet Salad.    A pretty pink dish that Rita brought.   It's really potato salad with beet and it was good! And look how pretty it is!

Angela brought the next dish which is a two part dish . . . 

The rice

The beans

Pabellon Criollo

Very good and very Spanish -- beans and rice.   We all liked the flavors

Corn Cakes 2
Similar to Corn Cakes 1 -- but no cheese and Rhonda, who brought this version, added a cilantro lime sauce which we all thought was very good!

A tale of two flans . . . 
Our dessert persons were not in attendance
And so, Sara and Belynda stepped to the plate
And each made a flan!

The first one served with strawberries
And a light caramel

The second one with a deeper caramel
And, of course, we all had to have a slice of each!

It was a fun choice.
We all agreed that we really felt as if we were really in Venezuela and had been invited
to a local's home for dinner.
It was that good!

And just before we started . . . 
Around the table at Sara's . . . 
ready for our first experience with Venezuelan food!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A June Tradition -- Salads!

The church we belonged to when we lived in Nevada, Missouri
St. Paul's Lutheran

Holds a Salad Luncheon every year as a fundraiser.
I forget initially what we were raising funds for
But it's been happening ever since 1979
(with only two cancellations in those 39 years)
And over those 37 years, it has raised lots of money not only for St. Paul's
but also for local charities
(this year it was Nevada's Outreach Soup Kitchen)

As we came in, there was a rosette iron
(a very welcomed cookie for the first few luncheons)
And the three cookbooks that St. Paul's had published

The ladies were busy in the kitchen . . . 
A much bigger kitchen in this newer church
than the first 10 or so luncheons they had in the old one.
The kitchen built, I am sure, with the salad luncheon in mind!

A tradition is giving the recipes for the salads

Instead of filing them in with recipes I like to try,
they now get tucked into the blue St. Paul's cookbook
(which means that I have each and every salad recipe since the first one in 1979)

They decided that this year they would recreate that very first one
Held on December 4, 1979
So decorations were Christmas!
evergreen surrounding a candleholder with a red candle
(the very same decorations they used for that first one)

They also decided to serve two meat, two vegetable and two fruit salads
along with a bread and dessert

They've kept to that tradition every year since
(although the first few years one of the meat salads was always a hot one --
now all of the salads are cold)

And the salads this year?

Patsy's Taco Salad
A yummy taco salad dressed with Catalina dressing

Layered Salad
It falls into the meat category because it has bacon in it

Carol's Potato Salad
An eggless potato salad 

 24 Hour Cabbage Slaw
A perennial favorite

Cranberry raspberry salad
There is always a jello salad

 Fruit Salad
An old favorite often taken to potlucks or salad suppers made with
a can of peach pie filling

And there has to be bread
(Susie, one of the original chairs, insists on it)

And although the first two or three luncheons didn't use this recipe,
it is now always served.
A simple recipe made from hot dog buns

There is dessert for everyone and for the first few, dessert was rosettes
Member Julie Sits made all 400 plus rosettes for the dessert this year!

And early on, when it was held in December, beside dessert, the ladies raised even more
money by selling Christmas cookies -- a plate of 12 at those early luncheons was $1
(but it was all profit for each lady was tasked with brining a couple of batches of Christmas cookies.
The members on the day before would make mixed plates of cookies, wrap them in Saran Wrap and stick a bow on them.    They always sold out!

I have done my part in chairing the luncheon, chair of decorations, baking all of the desserts one year (Linda's holiday crescents), and, of course, helping to serve and clean up and dish up the day of.

I must admit that it is nice to come as a guest!

Thank you, St. Paul's, for a great late spring/early summer tradition!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Late Spring Ritual

In February, I plant pansies in the garden
I adore pansies
They're the flower that smiles back at you!

They thrive in the armillary planter in the herb garden
(I've added some Indian summer petunias a few weeks ago -- that's the yellow)

But, alas, with the heat they begin to grow leggy . . . 
Pansies don't like heat!
They're a spring and fall plant on the prairie

My ritual . . . candying them

I harvest a tray full -- all shapes, colors, sizes

With a bowl of egg white and a saucer of sugar, a couple of brushes used just for this ritual,
and a parchment lined tray

I paint egg white on the pansies and then dip them in the sugar

And lay them on the parchment paper to dry


To decorate cakes and cupcakes in the winter

The armillary . . . . 

In it's summer mode --
this year, the Indian Summer petunias
And some deep purple salvia

Monday, June 12, 2017

Fifty Years Ago Today . . .

Fifty Years Ago Today . . . 

This twenty year old

 Landed in Saigon
And then helicoptered to

 Nha Trang Air Force Base

Which would be his home for three years

Nha Trang situated on the South China Sea

The hills across from the base . . . where water buffalo roamed during the day
Where Viet Cong fire came from at night.

And he brought home pictures of his time there . . . 

And he was one of the lucky ones . . . 
He came home!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Lunch for Four

I donate a gift certificate to non-profits for the opportunity to join me for lunch.
Friend Malinda joined me today and invited Whitney and Michelle to join her.

The table in the dining room set for four
No tablecloth but placemats and matching napkins -- from April Cornell

The Spode blue room and because there are birds on the placemats and napkins . . . 
there are also birds on the table
(a Christmas gift from The Lunch Bunch)

Garden flowers in a blue and white Spode bowl
This time of year, I often use my unplanted bedding plants for centerpieces.
After the party is over, I plant them in the garden.

These are petunias and a new variety (or at least to me) --
Indian Summer
A wonderful petunia that's yellow and coral and peach
(depending on how much sun they get)
I adore them!

There's always a menu.
Since there are birds on the placemats and birds on the table,
there needs to be birds on the menu

 It's been hot on the prairie so I opted for a cool lunch --
Anna Pump's chicken with basil cream (a chicken salad full of summer flavors)
a chilled zucchini soup
(I adore cold vegetable soups in the summer and they are so easy)
And corn madeleines

Dessert was seasonal as well --

A cherry tart
Served with coffee

We had a grand time visiting.    And I was sorry to see them go!

Often with one of my donated luncheons, I get to meet new friends
And this lunch was no exception