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.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

When with Romaine, do as the Romaines do . . .

Our spring/summer garden 2010 is making its debut. From early observations it seems to be shaping up to be our most prolific in years--certainly since the Texas Deluge of 2007 practically wiped it out and stripped the soil of nutrients.

(My new book, Way Back in the Country Garden, contains a chapter, "Peach Trees and the Wedding Plywood", that details exactly why that garden was so memorable.)

My hubby was determined that this year, he would get back in the full swing of things for the first time in those three intervening summers. Early on he applied a high nitrogen fertilizer after he visited with the wise folks at Roach Feed & Seed (an institution in Downtown Garland. They can help with anything!). Already the cornstalks are high and green, the tomatoes look as though they'll be lush, and the okra looks promising. And that's just the beginning.

Anyway, this year, we got so carried away, we decided to grow romaine lettuce--our first attempt at this food item. The first crop arrived a few weeks back. We picked our first bunch and COULD NOT BELIEVE we simply could walk a few steps out our back door and haul in a crunchy head of lettuce that would last us all week. Absolutely NOTHING like fresh romaine on a sandwich.

To celebrate our first romaine pick, we just had to have a special kind of sandwich. I had just read the latest issue of Southern Living and had seen a recipe for Old South Pimiento Cheese. I am a pimiento-cheese addict from the word GO--loved it all my life and am always looking for new ways to prepare it. No one will ever fix pimiento cheese like Betty Ewing, for years the society columnist for the Houston Chronicle. Betty's work cubicle was next to mine during my days as a writer for the Chronicle's Lifestyle section. Probably once a week Betty, who was generous to a fault, brought in a giant jar of pimiento cheese spread and shared it with the rest of the office as we made our lunchtime sandwiches. Again and again she would disclose to her co-workers what was in her magic recipe, but her ingredient list always varied a little each time she described the mixture. I would try to write it down, but the next time she would recite it slightly differently than she had the previous time.

This recipe in Southern Living (it appears below) seems the closest to Betty's that I've run across. It was absolutely perfect with my fresh-beyond-fresh romaine from our very own garden.

If you want a gardening treat that will REALLY make you feel as though you accomplished something, put a little romaine in your gardening life. We did and are thrilled with our romaine crop!

Old South Pimiento Cheese
1 cup chopped/broken pecans
1 (8-ounce) block extra sharp cheese (grate on small side of cheese grater)
1 (8-ounce) block sharp cheese (grate on large side of cheese grater)
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimiento, drained
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon grated onion
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Set oven to 350 degrees. Toast the 1 cup pecans for 8-10 minutes. Stir halfway through the toasting. Mix the grated cheese, mayonnaise, pimiento, worcestershire sauce, onion, and red pepper. Add pecans. Spread on bread.

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