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, February 23, 2011

This Friendly Puppy salad brings smiles to kids of all ages

My son’s request for fried okra on his Dream Birthday Dinner menu went afoul. As much as I desired to serve him heaping helpings of this Southern delicacy, dipped in egg and cornmeal batter and golden-fried to perfection, the local produce departments of supermarkets at which I shopped didn’t help me out.

In one place no okra was to be found at all. In another place the small handful of okra that was available was $4.29 per pound and looked as though it was about to sprout fungus at any second. Possibly this was occurring because we were away from the part of the U.S. in which okra is king. In the Western region, in which our son lives, okra isn’t exactly everyone’s first-choice veggie.

The designated hour for our guests to arrive fast approached. Hubby encouraged me to try no more stores and reminded me that before too many months we’d be fighting off the okra “trees” that take over our backyard garden in the summer, so we could have our fill of it then.

Since I had to make an emergency switch-out, I opted for "Friendly Puppy” Salad. Part of our party decor was a terra-cotta pot that had been handpainted with a Snoopy dog on it as a centerpiece for our son’s third birthday when he was a child. All these years I had saved it; now for his 35th I was using it as the base for a balloon bouquet. The Friendly Puppy with his doleful eyes (made from raisins) and his floppy ears (made from prunes) would fit with this party theme.

Wish I’d had time to peel fresh pears for the occasion, but since the moments sped by, I drained pear halves from a can, rinsed them, and plopped each on a spinach-lined salad plate. Onto each pear went the raisin, the prune, orange sections for the dog’s collar, and a cherry for his nose. This made a very healthy substitution—one that the kids in the audience (grown kids as well as the munchkin variety) would find appealing.

Maybe on his next Texas visit, when the garden is up and running (and over-running) with this Southern staple, our son can drop in for some fried okra. Meanwhile the healthful Friendly Puppy brought smiles and made a great substitution.

Friendly Puppy Salad

4 pear halves (fresh, peeled pears are preferred, although canned, drained pears can be used)
dried, seedless raisins
oranges (fresh orange sections are preferred, although canned, drained Mandarin orange pieces
can be subbed)
cherries (fresh cherries are preferred if in season, although jarred, drained cherries can be subbed)
dried prunes
spinach leaves

Arrange these items as described above and as illustrated in the photo. Chill before serving.

No comments:

Post a Comment