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.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Essence of summer" food must-have list just got a new addition

Some foods literally exude summer. Everyone has his or her faves, but my "essence of summer" foods are lemon ice-box pie, strawberry shortcake, marinated cucumber salad, and calico beef burgers, to name a few.

They're the menu items that I just can't "do" the summer season without. So early on, I start making a mental list to be sure I'm not having to cram in some last-minute gorging as the season wanes.

A new quintessential summer dish moved onto my radar screen this week. I wasn't looking for a summer synonym--but simply something to use the ample ears of corn my hubby brought home from Kroger this week because the produce area had it at a good sale price. (The corn in our garden is materializing but isn't quite as high as an elephant's eye yet, so we're still supplementing from the grocery until we bring in our own corn ears.)

So I stumbled on a recipe for "Avocado Salsa". I thought the mingling of avocados, cherry tomatoes, and fresh corn sounded, well, colorful at least. Like several other recipes I've mentioned in this blog, this one inspired skepticism also. "It just seems like it would need some kind of a dressing," I reported to Hubby as I assembled the ingredients.

Interesting role-reversal. He's usually the one who raises a dubious eyebrow about whether a recipe will "work". This time he was the Encouraging Barnabas of the kitchen. "I bet the lime juice is all it needs," he assessed as he scanned the salsa recipe in the "Celebrating a Healthy Harvest" booklet from the Chickasaw Nation.

He was right. The lime juice, mixed with the salt and chopped cilantro, worked miracles on the avocado, tomato, and corn combination (and even more so the second day after the concoction refrigerated overnight.)

The result! "Avocado Salsa", which we served over spinach but also could be an appetizer alongside tortilla chips--became instant, edible summer--a new dish perfect for summer staple events such as picnics, family reunions, church potlucks, lunches at the lake, or as we experienced it--a simple summer dinner-for-two at home.

Avocado Salsa

2 avocados, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
1 cup corn, cooked and cut off cob
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon salt (we use salt substitute)

Combine avocado, tomatoes, corn, and cilantro; toss. Slowly pour lime juice over the salsa and toss to combine. Chill for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend.


  1. This is very similar to something I make, however I also include black beans. We love it as a side dish to grilled chicken or as a "dip" with baked Tostitos.

  2. That sounds wonderful, Lynda. Save it for another family cookbook--perhaps your "girls" can compile the next one!