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, February 18, 2011

Think cream-of-mushroom soup only happens in a can? Try this from-scratch version.

Recently someone told me she dined on “mushroom soup—not the kind you get from a can, but mushroom soup from scratch”. That idea tickled my fancy. I mean, don’t you just get mushroom soup by visiting the Campbell’s section of the soups aisle at the store and run the can rim under the opener? What would something of this nature taste like if it were from-scratch?

My recipe yesterday for Mushroom Burger Topping provided me with some leftover fresh mushrooms and a couple of additional leeks. Lo and behold, my Celebrating a Healthy Harvest cookbooklet featured a Fresh Mushroom Soup recipe that included both of these. I was ready to tackle it and see what difference is made from preparing this pantry staple from one's own ingredients.

I browned the sliced, fresh mushrooms in the bottom of a heavy stock pot; I removed them and then browned the chopped leek and added the wheat flour for thickening. (You also can use chopped onion if you don't have leeks on hand.) Into the mix went homemade chicken broth (collected from my stovetop pan after earlier boiling some chicken pieces). The simmered, thickened mixture went into a blender for pureeing before I added the low-fat evaporated mix and seasonings.

Man, did I feel pleased with myself when I finally was able to sample the finished brew! Homemade mushroom soup, along with some warm, crusty wheat bread—and the only can I opened was the one for the evaporated milk!

Fresh Mushroom Soup

2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 1/2 pounds fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 large leek, chopped (white and green parts)
3 tablespoons wheat flour or corn starch
6 cups chicken broth (if using canned variety, choose reduced-sodium broth)
3/4 cup low-fat evaporated milk
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot over medium heat cook mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of oil until the mushrooms are browned. Set mushrooms aside. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add the chopped leek. Cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the flour (or corn starch); cook for another 2 minutes. Set aside one cup of mushrooms. To the pan add remaining mushrooms and broth. Gently simmer for 15 minutes; stir occasionally. Cool soup, then puree it in the blender until the liquid reaches desired texture. Add in reserved mushrooms, evaporated milk, and parsley. Stir; heat to serving temperature. Makes 6 servings.

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