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.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

For this "J", flexibility with recipe ingredients can have big payoffs

Where recipes are concerned, I've never been much for adapting.

If a recipe says 1 cup pecans, to me that means 1 cup and not a sprinkling more. If it calls for six ingredients, I follow it to the letter of the law. If I don't possess all the items it calls for, I simply bypass the recipe and select another one.

I recently edited a book in which the author stated that she viewed any recipe as merely as "suggestion" as to how a food item should be prepared. To the basic framework she always added, subtracted, and modified at will.

When I ran across that statement in her copy, I mentally rolled my eyes. A suggestion? I'd starve before I ever failed to follow a recipe down to the last jot and tittle.

My hubby of course would assess that this is because I'm a die-hard "J" on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a renowned personality inventory that helps people understand themselves better. A "J" doesn't flex much and usually is as rigid as the day is long, according to my hubby, who naturally is a Myers-Briggs "P" (don't fence him in! Give him lots of room to go with the flow!) Yes, opposites attract!

All this is a prelude for saying that surprisingly, I've found myself actually flexing a lot more lately when I'm preparing a recipe. For example to the ingredients for "Lemony Vegetable Medley" in yesterday's blog--I shocked myself by adding some thinly sliced carrots to the green bean-corn-radish-red pepper potpourri before marinating. I had some leftover carrot chips on hand and thought, "Bet that would add some extra zing." Yes, that's me, Kay--the die-hard "J"--actually coloring outside the box from what the recipe originally said.

But because I adapted with that recipe and added the carrot on a whim, that left me carrot-less last night when the time arrived to prepare "Calico Beef Burgers", which I earlier mentioned is one of my summer "must-have"s. Calico Beef Burgers, which we sub with ground turkey instead of ground beef, calls for 1/2 cup grated carrot to be mixed in with the meat before one forms the burger patty. Since I was without a carrot, I surveyed the fridge and with a nonchalance that would make any "P" proud, asked myself, "Now what do I have . . .?"

The answer? Corn--left over from Monday night and the "Lemony Vegetable Medley." A couple of ears still were available. Hubby had picked them from his garden a few days earlier. I quickly microwaved them, cut the kernels from the cob, and stirred in the corn in place of the 1/2 cup grated carrot.

The result? An absolute meal in a burger patty, which contained meat, cheese (dairy), green veggie (green onions), potato (carbohydrate/fiber), and corn (fiber again). On a whole wheat bun I added spinach leaves (which we usually substitute for lettuce) to make the whole thing even more healthy.

Hubby said he didn't miss the carrot at all, though I'll probably return to the original recipe when I stir up some "Calico Beef Burgers" (from my cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden) again. On the other hand, flexing was so enjoyable, I might just sub a little grated zucchini next time!

Calico Beef Burgers

3/4 cup pound ground beef or ground turkey
1 cup cold cooked potatoes, riced or mashed
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon steak sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Combine ingredients; shape into patties. Grill burgers. May be served on a toasted bun or by themselves with a little salt-free ketchup on top.

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