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, March 2, 2011

How to cook plantains? Don’t bite into them and expect a banana taste.

My hubby has been on a potassium and magnesium hunt like some people hunt buried treasure.

He’s been reading about how a boost in potassium and magnesium actually constitutes a natural way for preventing hypertension. For years, on that account we've watched the sodium content in foods.

Now the new deal seems to be boosting the body’s consumption of potassium and magnesium to keep one’s blood pressure from soaring to new heights. With Hubby many new foods (well, new to him in terms of daily intake) now regularly go down the hatch: a box of raisins a day, multiple bananas, and anything that would help lower BP via a natural means and not through medication.

His latest discovery was about plantains. In a new book, The Doctor's Book of Food Remedies,
plantains were tub-thumped as being practically a wonder-food (although they hardly taste like its look-alike cousin, a banana. Bite into a raw plantain would be like taking a bite of uncooked potato. Yuk!). One cup of sliced, cooked plantain delivers a potassium lode of 716 milligrams, or about 20 percent of the recommended daily value. Not only is it a key mineral to counteract hypertension, a potassium-rich diet reduces the risk of stoke significantly, prevents and treats ulcers, and prevents constipation.

The new book just mentioned happily includes some recipes after each food is discussed. Happily because I’d otherwise have no idea what to do with a raw plantain. Plaintains with Garlic and Thyme was the first recipe it mentioned. Hubby helped me prepare this one, since seeing is believing was his motto, too, about how this unusual dish would turn out.

I’m pleased to report a pleasant surprise. The cooked plantain (it had to be steamed first before it was stir-fried) tasted more like skillet fried potatoes than anything banana-y. It had a wonderful texture and flavor (when tossed with the recommended garlic, paprika, salt, and thyme.) Hubby said he could eat it without pouring ketchup on it (for him, a real accomplishment). I can see it served with meat loaf or other meat dishes; I also sprinkled a little grated Cheddar cheese on top because a little cheese perks up anything and adds to the color.

A final factoid about plantains: they’re reputed for strengthening the immune system. This means being able to better stave off whatever illnesses travel your way. Not a bad commendation when you realize we’re still in the midst of the flu season (Hubby and I both were laid low with the Bad Old Flu just about this time 35 years ago. It’s not a situation we want to repeat.)

Wonder food? Now I understand it. The newly concocted Plantains with Garlic and Thyme provided a truly teachable moment.

Plantains with Garlic and Thyme

2 large green plantains
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced

Cut the tips off both ends of the plantains and discard. Run a knife lengthwise down a “seam” of each plantain. Peel off and discard the skin. Cut into 1/8-inch thick slices. In a large nonstick skillet, bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Add the plantains. Cover and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting the tip of a sharp knife into a slice. With tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the plantains to paper towels to drain. Pour off the liquid from the skillet and wipe the skillet with paper towels. In a large bowl combine the thyme, paprika, and salt. Add the plantain slices and with your hands toss to coat. Add the oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the plantain slices and spread them evenly in the skillet. Cook until the plantains are golden on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and scatter the garlic over the plantains. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until golden on the bottom. Toss gently to coat with the garlic. Makes 4 servings.

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