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, March 29, 2011

Collard greens from the garden mature just in time for celebratory blog

Today marks the 200th posting for my blog; I had hoped to have something spectacular to blog about to celebrate this milestone. Nature provided just the celebratory item!

Yesterday afternoon from the garden Hubby brought in an armful of collard greens, hardy survivors of the ice storm of Super Bowl week back in February.

I didn’t know I could be so in love with collards. The leaves on these were humongous; they were crisp and fresh and perfect. Hubby says that in the past one of our biggest challenges in growing greens of any kind has been picking them at just the right moment. He says often we wait too late; therefore the taste is slightly bitter. This year’s ferrying in of our new greens occurred at the ideal time while they were succulent.

I had been eyeing a recipe called “Wilted Greens Salad” in my Celebrating a Healthy Harvest handbook. It called for combining any greens one happens to have on hand—collards, mustard, beet, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, dandelion—enough to amount to about a pound (I had some spinach in the fridge already.) These then are mixed and wilted in a hot skillet that contains chicken broth and vinegar as the wilting agent. Since the recipe is designed to be served warm, I was unable to determine how it acquired the “salad” label, except I imagined the vinegar mixture which forms the liquid causes this recipe to be as good chilled in the fridge as it is warmed in the skillet.

And need I extol the wonders of greens? Most everyone knows they deliver more nutrients in fewer calories than virtually any food out there. They help regulate blood pressure and contain the important nutrients magnesium, iron, calcium, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, plus all the cancer- and heart-disease fighting phytochemicals. In fact the difference between people who have heart attacks and those who don’t is said to be how many trips they make to the salad bar, provided they make those salads with greens beyond just iceberg lettuce.

Many suggest trimming the stems on leafy greens because they’re thought to be unpleasantly tough, but for my “Wilted Greens Salad”” I threw in the entire collard leaf, stem and all. The stems cooked up just as tender as the leaves did.

The whole experience was a taste-fest; I was very thankful that the collard leaves were spared in the frost and that they matured just in time to help me celebrate this red-letter day of enjoying my delightful blogging pastime. I look forward to Hubby harvesting the rest of the collard-green crop very soon, so we can have this recipe again and often.

Wilted Greens Salad

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 pound greens blend (spinach, beet, collard, kale, etc.)
freshly ground pepper and salt substitute to taste

Rinse greens thoroughly. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet heat broth and vinegar over high heat until mixture boils. Add greens; stir and cook, covered, until greens are wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Uncover, stir, and cook on high heat until the greens are tender and the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. (Don’t overcook.) Season with salt substitute and pepper to taste. Serve. Makes 4 servings.

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