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, January 4, 2011

Warm chicken salad recipe, though from a "dated" source, is very "today" with health-consciousness

My goal for the holiday getaway, besides total relaxation, of course, was to emerge with one new, healthy, garden-fresh recipe.

I succeeded, but the "find" sprang from a most unusual source.

Hubby and I chose to spend our New Year's Eve night in an amazing bed-and-breakfast accommodation not far from the Metroplex—in the town of Weatherford, west of Fort Worth. We discovered the Angel's Nest B&B, a magnificently restored Victorian beauty high on a hill overlooking this town where the West is in full sway. An in-room breakfast, a Jacuzzi, a fireplace, and some breathtaking antiques add to the ambience of this escape place.

Fortunately my recipe source wasn't as ancient as is the 114-year-old lodging—once the belle of Weatherford dwellings situated on the highest point in Parker County—but it was up in years by today's fresh recipe standards. Our in-room reading contained the 1991 edition of the Bon Appetit Recipe Yearbook, a collection of recipes from Bon Appetit magazine from that year. Twenty years ago health-conscious eating wasn't a biggie, but this gem of a recipe certainly reflected all that people today espouse about eating the garden-fresh way.

The recipe for Warm Wild Rice and Chicken Salad called for delicious ingredients such as fresh apples, red and green bell pepper, dried cranberries, red onion, and toasted pecans, all diced. Usually warm chicken-salad recipes get "heavy" with the addition of cheeses or mayonnaise, but this one contained a simple balsamic vinegar and olive-oil dressing that kept the salad light. Served over spinach leaves, this food item was health personified—an amazing attribute for a recipe originated two decades ago.

After our getaway, we brought the recipe home and tried it out for dinner last night—a wonderful souvenir of a memorable start to 2011.

Warm Wild Rice and Chicken Salad

3/4 cups wild rice
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt or salt substitute
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 large red apple, unpeeled, cord, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
spinach leaves

In large saucepan put water, rice, and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer about 35 minutes or until rice is cooked and water absorbed. To cooked rice add shredded chicken, cranberries, and chopped red onion, bell peppers, and pecans. Season with pepper. Toss with vinegar, oil, and salt. Arrange spinach leaves on salad plates; top with warm salad. Makes 4 servings.

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