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.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

God and green peppers--some things never change

Gardens come; gardens go. Some of ours are abundant; some are bleak. Some have given us such a plethora of pumpkins, we practically have to dump our overage out on the street corner for passersby to help themselves; some are grand disappointments, especially when I was counting on a big beet crop to make Aunt Bonnie's beet pickles. At some point we've had luck with just about every vegetable, yet the following year we'd have to get out our magnifying glass to find even one tomato on our tomato vine.

But one thing about our garden never changes--green peppers. They're always there; they're never-fail garden yield. (That one'll preach, won't it? What does Lamentations 3:22-23 say: "His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness"?) Yup, God and green peppers; you can always count on both of them to be just the same, year after year, regardless where we have lived and grown a garden.

Not only that, but our peppers keep producing until the last dog is dead, as it were. Right up until the first freeze--and sometimes even afterward--they're out there just blooming their faithful heads off. Just about the time we think we're ready to hack down the vines to winterize the garden, out crops another flurry of green peppers to bring in. They're indefatigable--always sending me back to the drawing board--scraping through my recipe files for yet another suggested way to use them up.

I'm not scraping yet. Apple Dressing-Stuffed Peppers, written on a gold recipe card with its source not noted so I don't know who to thank for this idea that was like gold to me, was waiting in the wings for another green-pepper haul. I'm thankful it was. Hubby kept remarking, "This doesn't have any meat in it. This doesn't have any meat in it." He wasn't unhappy; he was just marveling at how good and substantial a stuffed-green-pepper recipe could be without the usual addition of ground beef or ground turkey.

Green peppers and pecans, always two things we have plenty of on our property, are combined with apples, apple juice, and chopped celery and topped with Parmesan. Though I love them, I usually regard stuffed green peppers as a laborious enterprise, but this version was surprisingly quick and made an ample amount. One round was served up for our dinner, a second round went into the deepfreeze to pop out for those Desperation December Dinners about which I've already blogged.

Who'd like to bet that in deepest December, when we dig into that welcome, set-aside Apple Dressing-Stuffed Peppers batch, we can still spot some green peppers trying to push their way through in our otherwise spent garden? O, to be like them in the "winter" of my life. (That one'll preach, too!)

Apple Dressing-Stuffed Peppers

5 medium green peppers, cored and seeds removed
2 cups apples, diced
1 cup stuffing mix (tried with Kroger-brand cornbread stuffing mix)
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook green peppers in boiling water about 5 minutes. Remove boiled peppers to a paper towel and drain upside-down. Mix remaining ingredients. Spoon into drained green peppers; stand peppers upright in a greased baking dish. Sprinkle tops with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Serves 5.

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