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, December 30, 2010

Nothing short of spectacular about New Year's breakfast of Cinnamon-Pecan Rolls

A New Year's breakfast deserves something spectacular. The most spectacular item our garden ever produces is its pecans. Unfortunately—for us and for scads of other people—this wasn't a pecan year, so we have to live with our memories (and our pecan supply nestled in our freezer). Thankfully we have ample nuts from the past year of great harvest, so we can rest on our laurels and look forward to better times, pecan-wise. Hopefully the every-other-year rule of pecan crops will hold true; this time next year we'll be rejoicing in a new harvest.

Meanwhile, onto the spectacular New Year's breakfast. This year I have a recent issue of Southern Living magazine to thank for motivating me to try this easy, feather-light yeast dough that rises in 30 minutes and makes the house smell absolutely fabulous while these rolls are cooking. Cinnamon-Pecan Rolls employed one cup of our pecans (I broke them into bits instead of chopping them) and called for them to be toasted for five minutes until fragrant (talk about another wonderful smell—toasted pecans fresh from being browned in the oven!)

The magic of this recipe occurs with the packaged hot-roll mix (I tested with Pillsbury Specialty Mix Hot Roll Mix), which contains the yeast as well as the flour mixture. The recipe instructs the cook to prepare the hot-roll dough as the package directs. Everything else is simple as pie (or as cinnamon rolls—the recipe says the mixture is "simple enough for a beginning baker".)

The recipe says this makes a dozen rolls, but I filled two full pans—making at least 18 plump cinnamon rounds—one batch to enjoy now and one to freeze for later.

With these simple rolls to welcome the celebratory morning, how can 2011 help but get off to a terrific start?

Cinnamon-Pecan Rolls

1 cup broken pecans
1 (16-ounce) package hot-roll mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (1/2 cup if using brown-sugar substitute)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Powdered sugar, sifted to make 1 cup
2 tablespoons milk (I use skim milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Stir halfway through. Prepare hot-roll dough as back of package directs; let dough stand 5 minutes. Roll dough into a 15-by-10-inch rectangle; spread with softened butter. Stir together brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over butter. Sprinkle pecans over brown-sugar mixture. Roll up tightly; start at one long end; cut into 12 slices (more if dough allows). Place rolls, cut sides down, in a lightly greased 12-inch cast-iron skillet or 13-by-9-inch glass pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a cloth towel; let rise in a warm place (free from drafts) about 30 minutes or until rolls are doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Uncover rolls and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until center rolls are golden brown and done. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Stir together sifted powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Drizzle over rolls.

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