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, September 17, 2010

Out-of-order watermelon patch continues to inspire creative use, such as this Melon Salsa

Back to that watermelon again--that out-of-order surprise that cropped up, not in the midst of summer but just as fall was arriving. We're out of picnic season; July 4th celebrations have passed. Watermelon-seed-spitting contests don't accompany fall festivals and Halloween carnivals. Yet here we are with a fall bumper crop of a summer wonder.

In a treasure-hunt for watermelon recipes, I hit the jackpot with Melon Salsa. A more oddball combination of ingredients I've never seen (I know I say that every time, but read this list and tell me if I'm not correct at the oddity of it), but Melon Salsa was a true winner.

It took a cup of our watermelon, finely chopped, along with cantaloupe, onion, mint, and . . . cucumber? Then jalapeno?

The recipe (from "Celebrating a Healthy Harvest"--my dependable source for the healthy but offbeat) called for letting the melange chill for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors absorb into each other, but I was fortunate to be able to let it meld for 24 hours. By the next evening when we sat down to our meal of homemade chicken nuggets and piled the salsa onto our plates, the flavors were as though they had been joined at the hip forever. Outstanding!

The recipe for Melon Salsa suggests that it be served atop chicken or fish. The chicken I had on hand happened to be nuggets, which I was preparing in advance for the visit of grandkids a few days from now, but I've saved some behind to use atop baked salmon for tonight's meal. Or it could be a salad served by itself and not as a relish or condiment.

Beautiful, colorful, unusual . . . you'll never see or taste anything quite like Melon Salsa. Thank you, watermelon patch, for arriving out-of-order and for giving us a reason to search out melon recipes and to avoid relying on the obvious usage.

Melon Salsa

1 cup watermelon, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 cup cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint or cilantro, chopped
1/2 to 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped, or hot sauce to taste
1/4 cup lime juice or lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey

In a medium-sized bowl stir together all ingredients. Taste and season with more lemon or lime juice or honey, if desired. Add salt and pepper if desired. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. Serve over grilled or broiled fish or chicken. Makes 5 1/2-cup servings.

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