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, December 14, 2010

Invention truly was the mother of this fabulous winter-night veggie pasta dish

What a great idea for a winter night, I thought as I pulled together my ingredients for Vegetable and Cheese Pasta. I could just see it residing in my large pasta bowl of my blue spongeware dishes. I could imagine how beautiful it would look and how satisfying it would taste.

Ready to begin cooking, I surveyed the recipe, which I had in my files from a 2000 of Prevention magazine. No biggie, I thought to myself. I can whip this together in no time. I accomplished steps 1 and 2—boil pasta, drain, cook onion in oil.

Then I looked again. Where was the remainder of my recipe? I looked on the back of the magazine clipping. The back contained the directions for other recipes, but this one had managed to be continued on a page I didn't save. I dashed to the computer to Google it. Alas, Prevention didn't appear to keep recipes from a decade ago. I did an online search of veggie pasta recipes in general. Nothing seemed exactly what I had in mind. I would have to wing it.

Now, winging it is tough for those of my "J" personality type. As I've mentioned before, I have to have things outlined for me methodically, with no deviations allowed. Don't change directions on me, and for heaven's sakes, don't require me to improvise. But my ingredients already were assembled; I couldn't turn back. I simply would have to invent my own version of how this dish should be made.

Well, as you can see from the attached photo, bottom line was that things turned out just fine. To fill in the gaps I added the remaining steps that seemed to be provided. This dish was an easy thing, with no oven preparation required—mainly a heat-and-stir operation. So I "made do" by using my own ingenuity. And invention seemed to be part of this recipe anyway, since you could build your own dish by adding whatever veggies and whatever kind of cheese you desired or had on hand.

The result was a wonderful winter-evening meal—and to suit the constraints of No-Time December perfectly, it made enough for two or three meals for Hubby and me. That's at least one or maybe two more December nights I get a pass on cooking. Hooray for me! I overrode my "J-ness" and used my head to create a to-die-for entree that even could show up at a Christmas bring-a-dish with no shame whatsoever.

Vegetable and Cheese Pasta

12-ounces angel hair or linguine pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into small wedges
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth
4 cups cooked vegetables (any combination, such as cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, beets, cabbage, rutabagas, parsnips)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces cheese (such as Cheddar, feta, or Monterey Jack), crumbled
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain; reserving some of the liquid. Set aside. Meanwhile heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 minutes or until the onion is almost soft. Add the garlic and cook one more minute. Into the same skillet stir in the balsamic vinegar, vegetable broth, cooked vegetables, fresh oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add pasta and stir, mixing thoroughly. If necessary for moisture add a few tablespoons of the reserved liquid from cooking the pasta. Add all the cheese, reserving the two tablespoons Parmesan for topping. Stir until cheese is melted. Pour mixture into large pasta bowl. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan on top. Serves 8.

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