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.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Home-grown lettuce a base for this tropical salad with a kick

Absolutely nothing like it—fresh lettuce picked straight from the garden! Within a matter of about five minutes last evening some gorgeous new red-leaf lettuce was plucked from the earth, rinsed in the sink, dried with paper towels, and being passed around at our dinner table as the basis for Tropical Blueberry Salad. I’ve never crunched into something so lovely. Another survivor of the Super Bowl-week freeze in our garden, lettuce is wrongfully presumed to be delicate and vulnerable. Tough as nails yet tender to the taste! If folks had any idea of the difference between supermarket lettuce and the kind that is home-grown, they’d be outside turning up any square inch of dirt they could muster into a mini-garden for greens.

The salad itself was not to be outdone by the dynamite lettuce. Tropical Blueberry Salad coupled fresh blueberries with fresh pineapple chunks. Giving it a real kick was a jalapeño pepper, grated lime peel, and hot-pepper sauce. Although the recipe (courtesy Celebrating a Healthy Harvest) suggested refrigerating the mixture for one hour before serving, I’d recommend letting this marinate overnight so the unusual flavor combo of the sweet and the fire-laden elements can blend and work their magic in this odd-couple pairing.

High in antioxidants and manganese, pineapple also has been lauded for maintaining good eye health, particularly in preventing age-related eye problems such as macular degeneration. And of course the health benefits of blueberries continue to be sung loudly from the highest hill: they’re said to rank number-one in the world of anti-oxidants. For the aging they’re considered bright rays of hope to those of us in Geezerville, because they’re thought to help keep the memory sharp for a long time.

Along with the never-been-fresher red-leaf lettuce (since red and dark-green leafy vegetables are generally higher in nutrients than light greens), who could argue with this salad combination?

Tropical Blueberry Salad

2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
1 tablespoon fresh jalapeño peppers, chopped
2 teaspoons lime peel, grated
dash of hot-pepper sauce
enough red-leaf lettuce to line four salad plates

Combine blueberries, pineapple, jalapeño peppers, lime peel, and hot-pepper sauce; stir gently to blend. Refrigerate for 1 hour or preferably overnight. Serve on a bed of lettuce. Makes 4 servings.

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