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.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Just when I thought our chance had passed, cucumbers saved the best 'till last!

The cries of victory likely could be heard to the next county--or to the next back yard, at least.

"We have one!" I heard Hubby exult somewhere amid the large expanse of vine in the middle of the garden. "It really did produce this year."

The cucumber vines had been gorgeous--all green and growing and huge. One would think that from them we'd have enough cucumbers to supply everyone in our hometown, or at least to make enough bread-and-butters to give to the family.

But alas! For weeks now, no cucumbers had turned up. Almost daily hubby would peer and paw around for some sign of life. The vines continued to spread out and become more lush, but very forelornly he would return from his hunt. No baby cukes under there.

That's what made this week's cry of joy from somewhere under the cucumber vines such a shock. We'd given up. Isn't that the way things just go? A popular song from a few years back sums things up pretty well: "Just when I thought our chance had passed, you went and saved the best 'till last."

Here as the summer moves on toward its finale, cucumbers--which usually are history at this point in the year--are starting to show. Just when time to plant the fall garden draws near, the cucumbers show promise (he says more blossoms are growing near the cucumber that's burst forth.)

But that's not all. Watermelons and cantaloupe are experiencing a late start as well. The watermelon vine, at this late date, has three promising melons and numerous other possibilities. The cantaloupe might have a late-summer bumper crop, too. Isn't life amazing?

Last night we celebrated our late-bloomer cuke with one of my all-time favorite cucumber dishes--Fried Cucumbers (prepared just like Fried Green Tomatoes) from my new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden. We shouldn't have, but Hubby and I were so ecstatic that the cucumbers had "made" this year, we poured a tiny bit of ketchup on and ate the whole bloomin' plate full.

Fried Cucumbers

4 medium cucumbers, washed, peeled, and sliced crosswise in thin slices
2 eggs, beaten (we use egg substitute)
1 cup milk (we use skim milk)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt (we use salt substitute)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
olive oil

Wash, peel, an slice fresh cucumbers. A few at a time, dip cucumber slices in a mixture of beaten eggs combined with milk. Place flour and corn meal in a clear plastic zip bag; add salt and pepper. Into bag place cucumbers that have been dipped in egg-mik mixture. In skillet heat about 1-inch oil. Fry coated cucumbers in hot oil. Fry as you would fried green tomatoes.

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