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, December 1, 2010

What's red and green and just the best thing ever for a pre-Christmas crazy-ness meal? Don't pass up these quesadillas

The first major freeze of the year sent us racing to the garden to raid the bell pepper bushes of every last pepper down to the smallest babies that were just popping out. Now a huge bushel basket of peppers sits in wait to be chopped and frozen to carry us through the winter until garden time next spring.

All those peppers, both green and red, plus holiday leftovers netted us one of the best meals ever—a true delight for a busy night that saw me start to decorate the Christmas tree and wade right into the swirling current of December crazy-ness.

Fresh Ham and Pepper Quesadillas were ready in almost as much time as one could sing "Here Comes Santa Claus" and brought so much cheer that the Grinch just had to stay far away on this Christmas-prep night.

Into a hot skillet went a flour tortilla that had been spread with mustard and topped with Monterey Jack cheese. Atop that went the mixture of ham, green peppers, and green onions and another cheese layer, with a second mustard-spread tortilla on top. A quick browning in the skillet melted the cheese and stuck the layers together. Dinner—ready with a maximum of 15 minutes' work from the time I chopped the first pepper to the moment the quesadillas were sliced with a pizza cutter and placed on the dinner plate. Love it, love it, love it!

Fresh Ham & Pepper Quesadillas

1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
2 ounces sliced ham, cut in strips
1/4 cup green onions, minced
4 large flour tortillas
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
salsa, sour cream (optional)

Combine peppers, ham, and onions. Spread 2 tablespoons yellow mustard on two tortillas. Spread a thin layer of cheese over the mustard; sprinkle with ham mixture. Spread remaining cheese over the top and cover with a second tortilla. Spray a skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Place one quesadilla in the pan and cook until lightly browned. Flip the quesadilla gently and cook until the bottom is lightly browned. Repeat with the second quesadilla. Remove the quesadilla from the pan; cut and serve with your favorite salsa and/or sour cream. Makes four servings.

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