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, August 3, 2010

Zucchini adds the magic touch to keep this Chicken Tortilla Soup from being ho-hum boring

As everyone knows, Chicken Tortilla Soup recipes are a dime a dozen. Most people have a favorite; most recipes follow a certain predictable pattern of ingredients.

Except this one--it had sliced, fresh zucchini added! Now, how Newfangled Country Gardener-ish can you get? Zucchini, to go with all the other fresh vegetables in this mixture--fresh corn off the cob, fresh tomatoes, cilantro. It sounded as though it would an extremely healthy rendition of an old favorite.

Thank you, Fry's'. (Fry's is not the electronics store but is the Arizona version of our Kroger grocery. When we're in AZ visiting our little family there, we're devoted Fry's shoppers, so we get on the mailing list for the Fry's circular just as we do the Kroger one. (By the way, Fry's and Kroger's are owned by the same parent corporation.) The Fry's circular featured this Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe.)

Talk about a dish that got healthier the longer it stuck around. The first night we served it, I just scattered a dash of cheddar cheese on top. The next day for lunch (I'm telling ya, this recipe made enough for two armies) I topped it with a little dash of sour cream. That night for dinner (this soup was so good, we never tired of leftovers; Hubby tolerated it for both lunch and dinner in the same day) I chopped up some fresh avocado and touched it up with a little more fresh tomato for garnish over all the other items. A meal in one, for sure!

Five meals later (no joke!) today at lunch I think Hubby and I will be polishing off the last morsel of this flavorful, healthy soup. I think the zucchini added the magic touch and kept it from being boring and left-overy. And best of all, it gives us just one more boost in the 5-to-9 fruit-and-vegetables category that we're supposed to have every day.

Never toss out that grocery-store circular without looking over the featured recipes. You might just find a gold mine like we did--probably the best chicken-tortilla soup ever!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 zucchini, cut into cubes
1 can (29-ounces) crushed tomatoes (or 2 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes, sliced in chunks)
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup fresh corn, cut off the cob
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
optional toppings: sliced avocados, tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, fresh limes, sour cream, chopped fresh tomatoes (any or all will do)

In a stockpot heat the oil. Add zucchini and saute for 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, corn, cumin, cayenne pepper, and shredded chicken. Heat to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in a handful of chopped cilantro just before serving. To serve place a handful of tortilla chips in the bottom of a soup bowl. Ladle hot soup over the tortilla chips. Add a generous squeeze of lime and top with avocado, cheese, cilantro, tomatoes, and sour cream, if desired. Refrigerate any leftovers. Serves 4 to 6.

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