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 30, 2010

Lima-bean and pork skillet remembered for special occasion on which it was served four decades ago

Some meals evaporate from the memory as quickly as they're prepared; others linger in one's thoughts forever.

The latter was true for the first meal I ever fixed for my parents after Hubby and I were wed 41 years ago today. After we said our "I-do"s, we blitzed out of the church parking lot in Texas and headed for our new home in Kentucky. Long months would go by before we would lay eyes on loved ones again. For my parents to travel to Kentucky to visit us in our newlywed apartment was a true red-letter day indeed.

Armed with my Betty Crocker's New Dinner for Two cookbook that was my lifesaver in those first months as a new bride and inexperienced cook, I selected what I believed was just the right meal to serve my parents for the first dinner of their visit. I didn't even consider whether they liked pork chops; in fact, I don't recall my mother ever preparing them as I was growing up. Perhaps she did and I had forgotten, but for me my parents' preferences really didn't count as much as did my proficiency at this one dish. It represented one thing I, as a novice, had mastered on the stove, so Pork and Lima Skillet it would be.

Pork and Lima Skillet was colorful, healthy, and kind of a no-brainer (I really couldn't mess it up much). The limas were frozen, but the recipe would be a wonderful use of limas from the garden for gardeners who like to grow them (hopefully this will be us next year). My parents, bless their hearts, were full of praise for their daughter's fledgling culinary efforts. All these years the recipe has been a favorite and now bears a place of honor in my new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, in the chapter entitled "Little Dusty and the Missing Wedding Dress".

Also, a special thank-you to my hubby for bearing with me while I struggled to learn to cook and for being the always-affirming guinea pig for my recipe try-outs (some great and some not-so much) for 41 years. Happy anniversary!

Pork and Lima Skillet

3 1/2 cups fresh (or 2 10-ounce packages frozen) lima beans
5 or 6 smoked pork loin chops
1 teaspoon chicken-flavored gravy base
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
3/4 cup water

Cook limas in boiling water until they are tender. If you are using frozen limas, cook according to package directions. Omit salt in cooking water; drain. In skillet brown chops over medium heat. Remove chops from skillet. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings. To skillet add gravy base. Blend in flour and basil. Add 3/4 cup water; cook and stir over medium heat until sauce is thickened and bubbly. Add limas to skillet; stir to coat with sauce. Arrange chops over limas. Cover and cook over low heat about 5 minutes or until mixture is heated through. Serves 5 or 6.

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