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.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Braving the stickiest of the sticky trips to the okra patch worth it for fresh, golden-fried batch

Around the table at the family gathering last weekend, the hot topic (and I do mean hot!) among those who had gardens was about picking okra--how on these scorcheroo days nobody can bear the thought of that necessary task.

Even the most seasoned gardeners were quietly admitting that they let days go by now without making a trek to their garden's okra "bushes". The sticky plants get even stickier in this Texas heat. Nobody can bear the thought of sweltering while getting attacked by thousands of little okra-skin prickles.

Miss a day now, and the okra pods are just too big and tough. But doggone it, that's what we've--and everyone else apparently has--been doing. The heat is just too stifling. The gargantuan okra pods have become rejects (a.k.a. gone into the pod-drying pile for seeds for next year.)

Tonight my guilty conscience--and my desire for just one more helping of summer staple Golden Fried Okra--got to me. Hubby answered my pitiful entreaty and dashed out to the okra rows, quickly cut what he could, threw the bigger ones into his "seed pile",and raced back in to take a birdbath and guzzle down some bottled water after the venture. The 20 pods he brought in were perfect for my eggwash and flour-cornmeal dusting before I popped them into a sizzling skillet.

I'm not promising what tomorrow might bring. With yet another 100-plus August day in store, we may become okra slackers again. But on tonight's dinner table was the freshest, goldenest fried okra you can imagine--worth every bit of trouble (Hubby to wife: "That's easy for you to say, since you weren't the picker!")

Golden Fried Okra

20 okra pods, washed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt (I used salt substitute)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 eggs, beaten (I used egg substitute)
olive oil

In medium-sized bowl beat eggs or pour egg substitute. In plastic zipper bag combine flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and paprika. Stir cut okra into egg until it is covered. Remove okra from egg and dip in flour mixture in the plastic bag until okra is thoroughly coated. Heat 1-inch oil in a large skillet. When oil is heated, remove coated okra to skillet. Fry in small batches until coating is golden brown and okra tender (about 5-7 minutes). Continue to fry in batches until all okra is fried. Drain on paper towels.

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