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, July 5, 2019

ONE of our Favorite Kansas City BBQs

We love BBQ
Always have
As a child, Daddy would sometimes bring home a package of BBQ ribs
from Arthur Bryant's for Saturday night supper.
The ribs, still warm, on top of plain old white bread
the sauce soaked into that bread
And on top of the ribs was a handful of dill pickle slices.
We ate it off of the paper it came wrapped in
And even as children, my brother and I thought this was one of the best meals!

Today, I was at Jack Stack in Lee's Summit

My lunch
a "Poor Russ"
the same sandwich that we've been eating "forever"!
At our second favorite BBQ Restaurant
Only it used to be 89 cents
It used to be called an "89er"
And it used to be twice as big!!!!
1959's 89 cents equals $7.74 today
But the "Poor Russ" costs $12.95!
Half the sandwich for twice the money!

Named "Poor Russ" in honor of Dad, Russ Fiorella who started it all!

There's quite.a bit of history about Smokestack/Jack Stack

Smokestack was started in 1957 by Russ Fiorella

In this unassuming building on Hickman Mills Drive.
And although we didn't eat out all that often,
when we did it was often at Smokestack.

Russ's son, Jack,  worked with his Dad until 1974
when he opened Fiorella's Jack Stack of Martin City

We've eaten there a couple of times but as long as it remained open,
we preferred the original location
And then, it grew and grew . . . 

You see this sign on buildings all over the city --
in the Freight House District, Lee's Summit, Overland Park, Martin City, and the Country Club Plaza

Jack Fiorella has certainly taken his father's BBQ joint and created a BBQ empire!
And now it's being run by the third generation

Their meat is good but their sides are outstanding!
Their beans are the best ever -- hands down

And their cheesy corn bake is delicious as well.

And years ago, they Kindly shared those recipes
So I make them often when we smoke meats at Linderhof!

But if I'm in the city and someone says BBQ --
my "joint" of choice is still Jack Stack!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Cookbook Book Club - July -- Gobbler's Roost

There is a restaurant outside of Nevada
That's been in business eight years or so
And except for me, none of the Cookbook Book Club had been there
They're usually open on Fridays and Saturdays
but in June, they also do Thursdays
(which is Cookbook Book Club night)
so this week we ventured East
to Nevada and "the boonies" to dine at

It is on gravel roads
(so don't wash your car before you go -- you'll have to wash after!)

The property consists of a cabin, an event center and the restaurant
owned by Kent and Kathy Abele

And there are turkeys "everywhere"
Even turkey tracks on the floor.

On Thursday's it's an abbreviated menu.
Normally, dinner consists of appetizer, soup, salad, bread, entree with potato and dessert for one price
But on Thursdays, appetizers are separate.   There is no soup and dessert is ice cream.

Kathy, for us, made us appetizers and a dessert
But alas, we had no soup!

The group was enchanted by the property and restaurant
(And amazed that I could drive right to it!!!)

As we say every month --
"It was the best one"!!!

The food:

Onion rings
Everybody agreed they were the best ever!
(and believe me, we live in "onion ring" country so that's quite a compliment!)
We inhaled them!

served with an Asian sauce
OMG was it good!

 A salad with choice of Housemade Sweet Onion vinaigrette or Ranch
We all chose the vinaigrette, fell in love, and were clamoring for the recipe!

Some of our entrees:

Sara chose ribs

Donna chose pork chop

Michelle was one of four fried chicken eaters!
Sorry, did not get a picture of the steak eaters!

I chose fried chicken as well.    Delicious and enough that I took the breast home
and we both shared it for lunch!
Those "little brown things" on the plate?    They're called M and L potatoes.
Why M and L.    They stand for Mary and Lonnie
Who ran Marlon's Cafe in Bronaugh for years!
That was the way they fixed their "baked potatoes"
(it's hard to call something "baked" when it's never seen an oven -- but Marlon's did!)
I like that Kathy kept a little bit of local history in her choice of potato

And we did have ice cream for dessert
(it came with the meal)
But then Kathy made for us:

This wonderful summer dessert.
Two kinds of sherbet rolled into an angel food cake!

 We were happy campers!
And full campers!

After dinner, Kathy gave us a tour of the kitchen.
A small kitchen to be sure
And we learned a lot

We also fell in love with the Sweet Onion Salad Dressing
And bottles can be bought to bring home
Which several of us did!

Kathy wouldn't give us the recipe but she did share the ingredients
(it's no secret -- it's on the label!)
My goal this week is to try to replicate it!
(And I think I can!)

We'll all be back.
It's really that good of a restaurant
A hidden gem in Vernon County, Missouri

Monday, June 10, 2019

Afternoon Tea with Another "Tea Cupper"

I belong to a facebook group entitled 
"Tea Cups and Cupcakes"

It's about all things tea
and members share their tea ware, their tea food, their tea experiences
and even their recipes.

In talking about a tea room in Ozark, Missouri,
I found not only a kindred spirit but one who lives in Kansas City!

Donna Beauchamp

And last Friday we decided to meet up at

for Afternoon Tea

She's never been --
I've been before --
Many times!

In fact, I'll meet anyone there at the drop of a hat!
It is that good!
And it's the closest to a real English tea than any I've had in America!

She told me she was bringing a friend --
so it was tea for three!
(which meant we could chose two kinds of tea -- for with 3 you get two teapots!)

And they do it nicely --
white tablecloth
china tea ware

The curate

(it's proper name -- others may call it a three tier server)
properly  filled with sandwiches and savories on the bottom,
scones in the middle
and sweets on top.

You work your way from bottom up!

And unlike many American tea rooms, food, although dainty, is not postage stamp size.
For afternoon tea, after all, is really a meal!

The curate held the sandwiches

The scones -- round scones -- real English scones
(and somehow the shortbread jumped ship and landed on the scone plate)
and they're  served with real clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam

The top layer held the sweets.
And although small, they're not minuscule!

The sandwich offerings:
(per person)
2 cucumber (made correctly -- bread, butter and cucumber)
a finger of chicken salad
a finger of egg salad
two bite size sausage rolls
and a slice of baguette with brie and pear jam

The scones were delicious and we all gobbled ours down
slathered with real clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam!

Our sweets:
(and I still have my brie bite!)
A square of pistachio shortbread that's out of this world!
A cream puff
a lemon bar
a strawberry macaron dipped in chocolate
A millionaire shortbread
Battenburg cake

Donna and friend Penny posing with the tea and treats!

We had a grand time.
Donna and I both took food home
But I don't think we left any tea!
We chose Earl Grey and an English breakfast
They were perfect with the tea offerings.

IF you're within driving distance of Kansas City
(it's actually on the Kansas side -- downtown Overland Park)
and want an amazing Afternoon Tea experience
Clock Tower Bakery

The price is very reasonable -- $23 and change with tax

And if you're looking for a tea companion,
let me know for I'll show up for tea at Clock Tower at the drop of a hat!

There are two requirements for tea, however --
1 - you need to book a day or two in advance
2 - you need to pay when you book with a credit card
(since we each were buying our own, they let us book and pay for our individual teas)

It's nice to have a real English tea without having to spend 12 hours in an airplane!!!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

A Rite of Spring -- Candying Pansies

I plant pansies and violas every spring -- in the back window box, in the boxes beside the back door and in the front planters.

Because I adore pansies!!!
But unfortunately pansies and violas don't "adore" Kansas summers
And so around Memorial Day, they tend to get leggy and their blooms are smaller.
They need to be replaced with summer annuals -- begonias!

But before I dig them up and throw them away, I harvest their blossoms
To candy!
And I did that last Saturday

A basket of pansies, a bowl of sugar and a small bowl filled with whipped egg white and a small paint brush -- all ready for candying!

I paint the egg white on the pansy or viola

Turn them over and paint the back side

Then I bury it in the bowl of sugar

Six seems the perfect number
For you want the pansies to be completely sugar coated!

And onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet to dry 

Upside down!
It takes overnight before they are completely dry and the sugar is hardened

Then I turn them right side up
I love the "hazy" look of the sugar coated pansies and violas

I store them in a Sees Candy tin that an internet friend sent me 12 years or so ago
and in an old tin that I've hand "forever" -- a candy container for "Mrs. Steven's Candies" -- and I'm not sure where I got the tin but I'm sure it was a flea market find early in my marriage because I liked the flowers on the top.

A single layer of pansies/violas and then topped with a piece of parchment
Then another layer of pansies

And they keep -- until I use them all
They're great to decorate cakes and cookies in the winter --
it makes winter less dreary when your dessert is topped by a spring pansy!

Sugar coated star cookies with pansies

And plain old Texas sheet cake is made company special with a candied pansy/viola!

It's a rite of Spring and I've been doing it "forever"!

I also will candy mint leaves for tea but do that as needed
And I've been known to candy lavender as well --
it looks pretty on a tea tray.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

May Lunch Bunchers

 The Lunch Bunch come once a month
Unfortunately, friend JoAnn moved to the city
We've not replaced her preferring instead to have a "guest" Lunch Buncher
each month.
So it's the three of us . . . and one guest!

I love when the living room is all expectant -- waiting on company!

It was dark and rainy and lit lamps were a must!

And I always love this view of the dining room table when we're expecting guests!

And this one . .  my view for this is my place!

Garden roses are the centerpiece
A salad of fresh from the garden lettuce, blue cheese, pickled beets and a dressing
made from half homemade poppyseed and half homemade herby vinaigrette

Our main course:

Tomato basil chicken
My first basil harvest of the year
(I always pinch them back when I plant . . . and the trimmings were perfect in this dish!)

Dessert was from one of my beloved cozy mystery books:

Strawberry truffle tart
An amazingly simple dessert that gives a Big Bang for little effort!

It was really good!
This will definitely be one of my go to chocolate company desserts

All too soon, after we discussed the latest movies we've seen, the last book we've read
and things about town, it was after 2 and they headed home!

As is my choice
(no one helps after a party -- they are guests)
I washed the dishes and put the dining room back to it's everyday order!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Cream Tea In the Garden -- Remembering England

 Eight Years Ago in May we were in England
living in a cottage called "Blue Row"
in the Cotswold village of Swerford

It was an old cottage compared to what is in Kansas
for it was built in 1802
But to the Brits, it's rather a "new build"!
It started life out as 4 cottages and now is two
We had this half!

Which had a lovely little garden
And we loved to take tea in the garden if we were home

A linen cloth
(bought as a souvenir and used while we were there)
And the tea ware that came with the cottage

We raided the garden for flowers
And bought our scones, our cream and our jam!

 Scones served properly with cream and jam!

Having been used to the price of Clotted Cream here, I was surprised to
find that it was only 90p (or $1.35 there)

And we always had a container in the fridge.    

We didn't have tea in  Blue Row's garden  every afternoon
But if we were home, we did.
Sometimes more simply

A tray brought everything to the garden

the pot of tea, two scones, cream and jam!

Boughten again.    I never did bake a scone in England!

And on rainy days 

We have our tea inside.

If tea was at Blue Row, it was usually a cream tea
of store bought scones (sometimes fruit, sometimes plain), cream and jam

When I was up in the city,  I stopped by World Market
and brought home a jar

It's good.    But not as good as that we bought in England
And it cost way more than $1.35.   
Like $8 plus tax!
Needless to say, we don't have it that often at Linderhof!

But today, with real clotted cream, homemade strawberry jam, freshly baked scones
(because you can't get a good scone in Fort Scott)
and a beautiful day
(the storms of yesterday have left)
we had tea in the garden

I got out the Spode.    It seems a Spode kind of tea.
Blue Italian.    The "cake" plate (upon which the scones are plated) were found
by dear friend (and Andy's Aunt) Jo
They are a treasure!
I brought out a cloth (but alas, not the same one I used in England)
because tea in the garden warrants a nice cloth I think

We're of the cream first, then the jam school
And we take a little milk in our tea

There is nothing better than a real scone (I used an English recipe), with real clotted (or Devonshire) cream, and homemade strawberry jam!

It was a nice respite in the garden this afternoon
And if talk turned to our time in England, it was great to remember that special
Spring when we lived in Blue Row.