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.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stir-fry veggies add healthy touch to efforts to replicate time-honored baked fish recipe

Recently I mentioned how our route to the downtown hospital in which our grandbaby was born took us past the scene of the old Casa Linda Wyatt's cafeteria, where my parents took me to dine at least once a week as I grew up. I mentioned my affection for carrot salad, which always has seemed like a taste of heaven and which I've never been able to replicate--or even move close to it--in my own kitchen.

Another Wyatt's staple during that era was its baked fish with a piled-high crusty topping of crushed almonds and bread crumbs. Carrot salad, baked fish, Wyatt's inimitable green beans, and a layer chocolate cake--those were my selections in the cafeteria line. Those choices never varied. How I longed now to be able to prepare something akin to that fish entree as well!

A few years back Family Circle magazine helped my cause by printing a recipe for Nut-Crusted Fish Fillets with Stir-Fry. The herbed bread-crumb-and-almond topping absolutely made the flounder underneath it to die for. Just last week I turned to this long-preserved-but-yet-untried recipe in my binder. With the deed accomplished, I thought I was back in the cafeteria line and dining at Wyatt's again in the secure company of my parents, one on either side. Precious memories!

Healthening-up this Family Circle recipe is the inclusion of the stir-fried vegetables ("stir-fry" being surely unheard-of, at least in my family, in my growing-up days). Green beans and matchstick carrots made the dinner complete, not to mention colorful as everything.

Nut-Crusted Fish Fillets

4 slices reduced-calorie wheat bread
1/3 cup sliced almonds, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 flounder fillets, about 6-ounces each

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 gloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 carrots (1/4 pound), peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 large scallions, chopped, for garnish
lemon slices, for garnish

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Place bread in bowl of food processor; whirl until fine crumbs are formed. In a small bowl combine crumbs, chopped almonds, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Stir in olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest until all ingredients are moistened. Season fish with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Fold fillets in half and place in prepared baking dish. Spoon 1/4 of the bread topping over each fillet. Bake in 400- degree oven for 17 to 19 minutes or until fish flakes easily.

Stir-Fry: While fish is baking, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add green beans and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Stir-fry for 14 to 16 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. If skillet gets too dry, add a tablespoon or two of water. Serve fish with stir-fry vegetables. Garnish with scallions and lemon slices.

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