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.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sweet potato-chicken stir-fry combo warms all the way to the hair follicles on a cold night

An icy, biting went had blown in from the north. Overnight forecasts sent us to start the faucets dripping as protection in a freeze. Even our puppy dog made haste in from the cold as we let him out to do his business. The night called for a good warm meal—nothing but a skillet supper would fill the bill.

A recent Prevention magazine issue featured some inviting skillet-supper recipes. I clipped this one for Chicken-Sweet Potato Stir-Fry because sweet potatoes are one of Hubby’s heart's-dearest veggie (not to mention that they rate high as a super-food these days). I'd never before seen sweet potatoes in a stir-fry recipe. Healthy ingredients such as red peppers, peas, and cilantro, along with the bright orange of the sweet potato, made the dish colorful and appealing.

Prevention's recipe had called for quinoa as the grain in this recipe, but without that on hand and without desiring to venture out into the cold for a special trip to the grocery, I adapted this to use brown rice as a substitute. Addition of the jalapeno plus the cumin spice gave this stir-fry a little South-of-the-Border kick.

Good and filling, with mouth-watering zest. We thanked the Good Lord for the shelter of a cozy home and a dinner that warmed us from our hair follicles down to our tippy-toes.

Chicken-Sweet Potato Stir-Fry

1 cup water
1/2 cup brown rice
1 medium sweet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 teaspoons canola oil
12-ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno chile pepper, finely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Combine water and rice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Put sweet potato in a small saucepan with enough cold water to cover by 2-inches while rice is cooking. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in large nonstick frying pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl Return pan to heat and add remaining 2 teaspoons of oil. Stir in onion and jalapeno pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Add bell pepper, garlic, and cumin. Cook until vegetables start to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in peas and reserved chicken. Cook 2 minutes. Add rice and sweet potato. Cook, stir frequently, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro, salt, and black pepper. Makes 6 servings.

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