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, April 1, 2011

Red-leaf lettuce on a pizza? You can bet the garden on it.

We just couldn’t get enough of our very own, garden-grown red-leaf lettuce, so I dug out another recipe that would assure that I’d be dining on it for the next several days.

For more than a year I’d just been staring at my torn-out Prevention magazine page that gave the directions for Salad Pizza. I just couldn’t fathom it—salad atop golden-brown pizza crust? As my hubby remarked when he bit into this entree last evening, “Are you sure this thing doesn’t have meat on it?” At the outset I puzzled over the same matter. Except for browning the pizza dough in an oven for 8 minutes, the resulting “pizza” wasn’t even warmed. How did this work?

Yet Prevention vowed that a somewhat sizable helping of the pizza contained only 410 calories even when served with a 5-ounce glass of red wine (in our case, a 5-ounce glass of sparkling red grape juice.) And our wonderful fresh lettuce formed the base of it all.

Besides enjoying dining on more of the lettuce, Hubby liked the finished product because it called for 1/4-cup walnuts sprinkled over it. No one can deny that the walnut is the Grand Pooh-Bah of cholesterol-lowering nuts—supposedly even better for a person than the more tasty almonds, pecans, or pistachios. But walnuts seem bitter and bland to me. I go for the tastier but less power-packed nut snacks.

In this melange, however, the walnuts are sprinkled on as pizza toppings alongside feta cheese, tomatoes, green onions, and the like, so they absorb the flavors of that which is around them. Walnuts provided a crunch to the topping that made this dish all the more unusual.

Dining on this amazing pizza made us sad we hadn’t planted more red-leaf lettuce; it’ll be gone all too soon, but my new, memorable recipe for Salad Pizza will prompt us to put in more lettuce rows next year.

Salad Pizza

1 13-ounce package refrigerated pizza dough (tested with Pillsbury brand)
2 cups torn red-leaf lettuce
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 diced small red onion
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped green onion
2 tablespoons dried herbs (I used a mixture of Italian seasoning and parsley)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)

On nonstick baking sheet pat pizza dough into a thin circle or rectangle. Bake according to package directions. Let cool. Top with torn lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cheese, walnuts, green onion, and herbs. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt substitute. Drizzle over entire pizza topping. Makes 4 servings.

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