Kay Wheeler Moore

Welcome to my blog

Hello. . .

The Newfangled Country Gardener is for anyone who has a garden, would like to have a garden, or who simply enjoys eating the garden-fresh way. I don't claim to be an expert; in this blog I'm simply sharing some of the experiences my husband and I have in preparing food that is home-grown.

About the author

Kay Wheeler Moore is the author of a new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, that features six generations of recipes that call for ingredients that are fresh from the garden. With home gardening surging in popularity as frugal people become more resourceful, this recipe collection and the stories that accompany it ideally will inspire others to cook the garden-fresh way and to preserve their own family food stories as well. The stories in this book center around the Three Red-Haired Miller Girls (Kay's mother and aunts) who grew up in Delta County, TX, with their own backyard garden so lavish that they felt as though they were royalty after their Mama wielded her kitchen magic on all that was homegrown. Introduced in Kay's previous book, Way Back in the Country, the lively Miller Girls again draw readers into their growing-up world, in which a stringent economic era--not unlike today's tight times--saw people turn to the earth to put food on the table for their loved ones. The rollicking yarns (all with recipes attached) have love, family, and faith as common denominators and show how food evocatively bonds us to our life experiences.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Asparagus Mimosa blooms with color and rich flavor

This was just as pretty as it was healthy—a very nice touch to Hubby’s birthday dinner this past weekend. Asparagus Mimosa—doesn’t it just sound appealing? The name relates to the fact that the grated hard-cooked eggs have the look of yellow mimosa blossoms, according to the original recipe source.

The diced smoked sausage was an added extra to the fresh asparagus that had been cooked in boiling salted water, drained, and then plunged into ice water to make it crisp-tender.

We enjoyed this dish served both hot and cold. It was a great accompaniment to the grilled-chicken main course (more on that later this week). A little hot sauce (I used Tabasco) was the perfect crowning touch.

Asparagus Mimosa

1 pound fresh asparagus
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 grated hard-cooked egg
2 tablespoons sautéed finely diced spicy smoked sausage (I used turkey sausage)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
hot sauce

Trim fresh asparagus. Cook in boiling water to cover 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain. Plunge asparagus into ice water; drain. Toss with cider vinegar, olive oil, salt (I used salt substitute), and pepper. Place on a serving platter; top with grated hard-cooked egg, sausage, and chives. Serve with hot sauce. Makes 4 servings. (Source: Southern Living, April 2013)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Nicey, spicey–loved this squash and curry stew

A simple soup supper on a weeknight—with a soup packed with all kinds of goodness. That’s what emerged when I tried Yellow Squash and Curry Stew.

I’ve always loved the kicky spice of curry and was intrigued with the idea of combining it with yellow squash. I made my own vegetable broth instead of purchasing the canned variety; that contributed to the health factor. Hubby’s question when I served it: “Is anything about this not healthy?” Nada, nada.

Roasting the squash in the oven before pureeing part of it enhanced the flavor. And talk about colorful! This fairly danced off the table with its color burst. Fragrant, too! Wondrous aromas filled the house while the stew was cooking.

Yellow Squash and Curry Stew

2 pounds yellow squash, coarsely chopped
1 medium-sized sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided (or salt substitute)
3 cups organic vegetable or chicken broth, divided
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup torn fresh basil
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss together first 7 ingredients and 1 teaspoon salt. Arrange in a single layer in a 15-by-10-inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned. Stir halfway through roasting process. Remove from oven; process 2 cups squash mixture and 1 cup broth in a blender or food processor until all is smooth. Divide remaining squash mixture among 4 shallow soup bowls. Stir together vegetable puree and remaining 2 cups broth in a 3-quart saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat; whisk in butter, lime juice, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spoon broth mixture over squash mixture in bowls. Sprinkle with fresh herbs; serve immediately. Makes 4 servings. (Source: Southern Living, May 2013)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Charming chips give zucchini a new look

From the mixture for Roasted Veggie Tacos that I blogged about earlier in the week I still had some extra medium zucchini. I pulled into service a second recipe from my Kroger flyer and baked up some crispy zucchini chips.

These zucchini thin slices were tossed in a seasoned bread-crumb mixture, sprayed with cooking spray, and oven-baked, so all was healthy. After being flipped in the oven only once, they were nicely browned. They made a wonderful side for some turkey/mushroom burgers we had for dinner last night.

Hubby has decided that the mystery plant in his garden has turned out to be zucchini, so once the garden’s up, we should be growing our own of the veggie and have even more excuses for Zucchini Chips.

We liked these so much for dinner, we didn’t even need to smother them with ketchup. The seasoned breading made them plenty tangy. An easy, healthy side!

Zucchini Chips

cooking spray
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or salt substitute)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup milk (I used skim)
4 medium zucchini, thinly sliced

Prepare oven to 450 degrees; grease two baking sheets with cooking spray. In a shallow bowl combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, dried basil, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine. Pour milk into another shallow bowl. Dip zucchini slices in milk and dredge them in breadcrumb mixture. Place coated zucchini slices on prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Spray the tops of the slices with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes or until slices are crisp and brown. Flip and bake for another 10 minutes or until chips are crisp and brown. For a pretty presentation serve pre-dished in small bowls lined with parchment paper or large cupcake liners. Refrigerate any leftovers. Serves 6. (Source: Kroger mymagazine)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Glad recipe for Roasted Veggie Tacos with Avocado Cream caught my eye

If I weren’t writing a regular blog on cooking the country-fresh way, I totally wouldn’t have found myself trying this recipe for Roasted Veggie Tacos with Avocado Cream. I would have passed right by it. But I’m sure glad it caught my eye as a possible something to blog about. Hubby and I dined on these for dinner last night; they were superb.

A Kroger grocery flyer introduced this recipe to me. (More and more often I find these flyers to be great recipe sources.) Diced zucchini, mushrooms, red onions, corn, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, and black beans—all tossed in seasoned oil—are roasted in a pan in the oven until the items are tender. This mixture, with feta cheese and fresh cilantro, is spread on a warmed flour tortilla. A delightful avocado cream sauce is the garnish.

When I say that the stuffing makes an abundant amount, I’ll borrow a term from my husband’s mother—“It makes thousands”, Grandmother used to say when she stirred up a goodly amount of something. The recipe on the flyer said the entrée served 6, but that would be six people having four or five tacos each. We had “thousands” of the stuffing left over for several more meals. I’m looking forward to it.

Roasted Veggie Tacos with Avocado Cream

3 small zucchini, diced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 medium red onions, diced
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed (I used 2 ears fresh corn)
3 medium red peppers, diced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 cans black beans, rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
4 1/2 teaspoons cumin
feta or goat cheese and freshly chopped cilantro, for topping
12-18 small corn or flour tortillas

Avocado cream:
2 large, ripe avocados, halved, pitted, and flesh removed
1 cup sour cream (I used fat-free)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine veggies, tomatoes, and black beans in a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic, salt, and cumin. Toss with veggie mixture to coat. Spread evenly in a large roasting pan (or two). Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until vegetables are cooked through and browned (about 20 minutes total). Meanwhile in a serving bowl mash avocado, sour cream, and lime juice until smooth. Stir in salt and cilantro to taste. To serve, warm tortillas and fill with veggies and avocado cream; top with cheese and cilantro. Refrigerate any leftovers. Serves 6. (Source: Kroger My Magazine flyer)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Peach Dumplings dessert a delicious reminder of upcoming garden season

The peach season is so near at hand, I couldn’t resist jumping the gun. Besides our “faithful four”—the four trees that are the regular peach producers in our garden—we have two new peach trees this year. They popped up from random seeds in the oddest places: one in a gravel walkway near our greenhouse and another near our back fence, far from our orchard area. Can’t wait to see what they do.

We have a few weeks to go before those green knobs that are showing up among the bushy leaves begin to yield yummy, cook-worthy fruit. But I saw a peach recipe I had to try, so I used a package of frozen ones and imagined what life will be like a few weeks hence when fresh peaches are piled high in our garden baskets.

Peach Dumplings was an easy recipe because it relied on packaged refrigerated piecrusts, rolled out and cut into 4-inch circles. Into each “bundle” went peach slices; the bundle edges were gathered around the peaches and pinched to seal. With the peach packets lined up in a 11-inch-by-7-inch glass baking dish, a syrup of sugar, melted butter, ground cinnamon, and water was poured over.

The recipe says you can substitute canned or fresh biscuits for the piecrust rounds. This was a great little dessert that assembled quickly and held a terrific promise of one of my favorite times of year—peach season.

Peach Dumplings

1 (14.1-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts
1 (20-ounce) package frozen sliced peaches, thawed and divided, or 4 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll piecrusts on a lightly floured surface. Roll each into a 10-inch circle. Cut 5 (4-inch) circles from each crust. Roll each circle into an approximately 5 1/2-inch circle. Coarsely chop 2 cups peach slices. Divide chopped peaches among dough. Place fruit in center of each circle (about 1/4 cup per circle). Pull dough edges over peaches and gather in center. Pinch to seal and form a bundle. Place in a lightly greased 11-inch-by-7-inch baking dish. Arrange remaining peaches around bundles. Stir together sugar, next 2 ingredients, an 1/2 cup water until blended. Pour over bundles and peaches. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown; cool 10 minutes. Makes 10 servings. Can be served with sugar-free whipped topping. (Source: Southern Living, February 2013)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fresh tomato and corn "Pico" and grits make delicious nest for poached-egg topping

I told Hubby he would laugh, laugh, laugh when he sat down to last night’s meal.

After all, when was the last time his dinner plate contained “porched” (as my mother called them) eggs? He decided I might have poached some eggs in early marriage. I was actually thinking I hadn’t dined on one since I was in kindergarten.

Anyway, the meal was a a Tex-Mex melange of some favorite things: cheese grits (who can beat it?), Pico de Gallo, poached eggs, and fried tortillas. The grits formed a birds’ nest for the remaining items.

Hubby looked at me as though I had made up the whole thing in a desperation dinner-time act, but I waggled in front of him the torn-out magazine page on which the combo was featured. “Just dig in,” I adjured. “You’ll be happy.”

The only part that took some assembly was the Pico de Gallo, which also was the element that added the most pizzazz. Fresh chopped tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, sweet corn kernels, onion, and avocados came together quickly and were refrigerated for a couple of hours for the items to get acquainted with each other. A simple cheese grits recipe (everyone’s recommending stone-ground grits these days) cooked and thickened on the stove. A poached egg cooked to the desired degree of doneness (I like mine pretty non-runny) is the top layer.

This was cute as could be and made a wonderful entrée. Hubby wasn’t laughing when he asked whether we’d have leftovers the next night. But he sure was smiling real big when I said yes.

Cheese Grits with Poached Eggs

2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoon table salt (I used salt substitute)
1 cup stone-ground grits
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) freshly shredded pepper jack cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
6 large eggs
Pico de Gallo (below)
tortilla strips

Bring milk, salt, and 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in grits; return mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and butter. Cover and keep warm. Pour water to depth of 2 inches into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and maintain at a light simmer. Add vinegar. Break eggs and slip into water, 1 at a time, as close as possible to surface of water. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or to desired degree of doneness. Remove with a slotted spoon. Trim edges if desired. Spoon grits into 6 bowls; top with Pico de Gallo, eggs, and tortilla strips.

Pico de Gallo

1 medium tomato, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh corn kernels
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon table salt (or salt substitute)
2 avocados, coarsely chopped 

Stir together first eight ingredients. Just before you serve, stir in chopped avocados. Makes 1 1/2 cups. (Source: Southern Living, March 2013)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Broccoli-Cauliflower Casserole a terrific make-ahead side dish

This was one of the greatest veggie casseroles we can remember having. The title says Broccoli-Cauliflower Casserole, but I fudged a little and also added green peas and carrots into this veggie mélange. Honestly, you could toss any just about any fresh or frozen veggie; it would turn out just great.

A delicious cream sauce prepared with low-fat cream cheese and a flavorful, crisp topping help make this recipe a wonderful side dish. Hubby and I enjoyed our favorite meat loaf as an entrée; this veggie casserole just made the meal.

Broccoli-Cauliflower Casserole can be prepared a day ahead, refrigerated, and then baked just before dinner.

Broccoli-Cauliflower Casserole

1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1 (16-ounce) package frozen cauliflower florets, thawed
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon garlic salt (I used garlic powder)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 cups milk
4 ounces (1/2 packages) cream cheese, cubed (I used low-fat)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl mix bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Set aside; cut into bite-sized pieces any large broccoli or cauliflower florets. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir about 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in flour, remaining 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and pepper. Add milk; cook and stir until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Add cream cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese; cook and stir until cream cheese is melted. Add vegetables; toss gently to coat. Spoon into 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with crumb mixture. Bake 40 minutes or until casserole is heated through and top is browned. Makes 10 servings. (Source: www.mccormick.com)