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, August 30, 2019

Cookbook Book Club -- Mary Berry Edition

The Cookbook Book Club met at Linderhof last night
The theme:
Mary Berry
a) I really like her on Great British Bake Off
b) I am an Anglophile

The dining room all set up and waiting for company:

I tried for an English look
Spode (of course)
instead of a tablecloth, my English cork bottom placemats
Whenever we've traveled to England and stayed in B and B's, they always had a "bare" table and these mats for plates.
Alas, I didn't bring mine home from England
because everyone else does and you can find them still in the boxes at flea markets and antique malls
for pennies on the dollar.
Mine are English in origin but all bought here

Dessert service set out the "English" way at the top of the plate.

Our food:


Parma ham, goats cheese and rocket canapés

Main Course:

The Hostess always provides the main course!
Quick Chicken Curry

Go Withs:


Spanish Tortilla


Carrot and Poppy Seed Salad


Roasted vegetables with herbs and feta



Little Cottage Rolls



Butternut Squash Soup

And the most important of all!!!!


Baked Berry Cheesecake

Absolutely delicious and one that, I think, will find it's way onto
our tables in the future!

We have cooked "English" before.
Jamie Oliver
But Mary Berry is more traditional, and definitely more well known in Britain than in the US

We learned a lot from cooking with Mary:

1 - there are no appetizers in Britain -- they're either canapés or starters
2 - many of the recipes were British measurements which meant grams rather than cups
3 - biscuits are really cookies
4 - Aubergine is really eggplant
5 - Courgette is really zucchini
6 - there were several ingredients that were not available here
(so we did some creative subbing)
7 - the food was all very good

We had a grand time and who knows, perhaps will visit the British Isles again in the future!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

An August Dinner Party

We've not had company for dinner in a long time
A very long time

It feel good having dinner guests share our table!

My two favorite parts of having company are:

The anticipatory look of the dining room just before the guests arrive --
where everything is ready -- just waiting to light the candles and the guests sit down!

And the table after everyone has gone.
Where it shows burned down candles and empty plates and the fact that everyone had a good time!

A family table -- my grandmother's china, Jim's grandmother's cutlery, wine glasses that the guest gave us one Christmas, damask napkins in silver rings all on top of a vintage Quaker Lace cloth!

We start with drinks on the porch or parlor
But you need a nibble -- always pick ups rather than dunks
(Husband Jim's rule)

Fresh from the oven stuffed mushrooms
An appetizer I adore and one that I don't make often enough

Dinner doesn't have to be gourmet with sauces and French food
Smoked meatloaf, loaded mashed potatoes
 and fresh green beans (cooked with bacon like Mother did)
Not fancy food but good food!

Dessert needs to be a star!
People will always remember dessert!

A lemon cheesecake

EVERYONE likes cheesecake
This one is lemon.    Full of lemon zest and some lemon juice
Creamy and delicious.
A new recipe
(I can't have a dinner party and not serve something new)
But it is a keeper and I will definitely make again.

Soon the bottles of wine were empty, the coffee gone, the dessert plates
"almost" licked clean
Our company said their goodbyes and Husband Jim and and I and the pups
sat on the porch commenting on what a nice evening it was.

An evening with friends and food is always a good evening!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Pembroke Resurfaces Again!

Back in the 70s, I feel in love with an Aynsley pattern

Alas, I had neither the funds nor the dining room for such fine dishes
And so I lusted after them from afar.

We did buy china eventually but it was Wedgwood not Aysnley
Runnymead Dark Blue
A small set bought on a trip to England
I was giddy to finally have china!

Time passes, kids grow up, and like fine things, too.
Daughter Sarah lusted after my Wedgwood
And when she got engaged, we gifted her with it

Thus I went from three
(Royal Dolton Tartan, Wedgwood Runnymeade and Grandmother's Noritake)
to two
(the Tartan and Grandmother's china)

Then friend Shirley Ann and I went to a small, out of the way, flea market
in El Dorado Springs
There on a shelf in the back was a set of Pembroke
(the china I had always wanted)
for $30!!!
It was January -- I had just done my January clean
and couldn't imagine bringing more "stuff" home!
So I left it.

Later that week, I realized how dumb I was.
It was a pattern I wanted and it was only $30
for the whole set!!!

I called up friend Shirley Ann and asked her if she wanted to go back to El Dorado the next day --
she would!

We arrive at the flea market, I flew back to the booth with the china and it was still there!

So it came home with me!
It was a mostly set for eight
It was the newer Pembroke -- made in 2000

It does set a pretty table
I added the tea pot, cream pitcher and sugar bowl

And a coffee pot
(Ebay is wonderful!)

Today at an Estate Sale, on a shelf . . . 

There were eight -- yes, count them -- eight!
Cream soups and saucers
For a very reasonable price
(but alas -- not $30! -- no, they were more than $30 but still a bargain)

And I also found a great tray at the Estate Sale
When I serve after dinner coffee (whether in china or silver), it's nice to bring the
coffee service to the table on a tray -- a manageable tray -- and the one
seems perfect!

The difference between a cream soup and a tea cup
The soup is much larger and I see things other than soups being served from the cup
Individual cobblers
 (filling cooked and warm and topped with a piece of pie pastry baked on a sheet pan)
chocolate mousse, individual floating islands

I was so excited when I found them that my hands were shaking.
You rarely see it in antique shops or flea markets

It looks right at home on the Aynsley shelf in the china cabinet!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Queen and The Princess Take Tea

I waited for this day for six years
Ever since 2013 when first Granddaughter Lucy was born
And it finally came to be
A real Tea Party at a Tea Room With Lucy

We decided before we went that we would be a Queen and a Princess -
Nana would be Queen while Lucy was a Princess!

Our tea room of choice
The Mad Hatter in Anoka, Minnesota

I made reservations in June -- I wanted to be sure that there was room at the tea
table for the Queen and the Princess!

We were seated at a lovely table for two

And Lucy had her very own menu!

Which had entertainment on the back

Our server came and poured first Lucy's tea

Princess Tea

Her first sip.
She pronounced it "outstanding"
with notes of strawberry, lemon and mint!

And "Pinkies Up, Nana"

When I inquired as to how she knew that she replied,

"I'm a tea expert!"

Happy Smiles at her first "grown up" tea!

Our first of many birthday teas!

Lucy had the Children's Tea -- 
three sandwiches, a cupcake and applesauce
cucumber, brie and apple and turkey

I had the full tea -- savories, scones, sweets

My curate
(although I will admit that they got the scone and sandwiches courses mixed up --
it should be sandwiches on the bottom, scones in the middle and sweets on top -- you eat your way up the curate!)

My sandwiches -- cucumber, lemon caper dill, chicken salad on an orange blossom muffin,  old fashioned peas and cheese in a phyllo cup and blueberry, basil, brie bruschetta

A lavender orange scone and a vanilla scone served with lemon curd, orange marmalade and cream
(Lucy ate my vanilla scone but I got even, I ate her cucumber sandwich!)

A chocolate orange cupcake, a lemon cupcake and a jam tart!
We both were full and brought our desserts home!

Lucy stopped to admire the toadstools!

We both agreed that we would do this next year for her birthday!
We've started a tradition and what a great tradition it is!

On the way home . . . 

In the backseat . . . 
Having tea with a Queen wears the Princess out!

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