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, October 18, 2010

State Fair souvenir helps serve up healthy zucchini atop mac and cheese dish

My souvenir from the State Fair of Texas this year wasn't a giant stuffed teddy bear or a monkey on a stick. It was a dynamite recipe I picked up while I visited the Food and Fiber Pavillion, where you literally can make a meal out of the food samples that exhibitors prepare on the spot and dole out to boothgoers.

The Southwest Dairy Farmers, who have the museum in Sulphur Springs, TX, sponsored an exhibit bragging on the merits of dairy products. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw their freebie recipe handout for Zucchini with Cheese Macaroni. I'm a mac-and-cheese girl from the word "go", but adding zucchini to it? I had never tried it but was determined to do so.

The dairy farmers' recipe called for provolone and mozzarella, but I subbed Swiss for the provolone because Swiss was what I had on hand. The red peppers from our garden, along with the featured zucchini, gave it lots of color and added a delightful flavor. The whole-grain macaroni added health to the project. I loved serving this in the individual gratin dishes--the portions were just right.

Thank you, State Fair of Texas! Your gates are closed now for another year, but Zucchini with Cheese Macaroni was a big success and will cause us to sing the Rogers & Hammerstein tune, "Our State Fair is a Great State Fair", for a long time in the future.

(By the way, check out my new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, to read about the mega-souvenir I brought home from the fair several years back. It's in the chapter entitled "Peach Trees and the Wedding Plywood.")

Zucchini with Cheese Macaroni

2 tablespoons butter
4 cups thinly-sliced zucchini
1/2 cup chopped sweet red peppers
1/2 teaspoon each salt and oregano
dash of pepper
8 ounces whole-grain shell macaroni, uncooked
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons skim milk
1 cup shredded Provolone cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Melt butter. Saute zucchini and red pepper until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add salt, oregano, and pepper. Meanwhile, cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Stir butter, cream, and Provolone cheese into macaroni. Divide macaroni mixture into six gratin dishes or individual shallow baking dishes. Divide zucchini mixture over macaroni; top with Mozzarella cheese. Broil 3 to 4 inches from source of heat until lightly browned. Makes 4 servings.

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