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, April 6, 2011

See what you get when you merge standby pie recipe with healthy fruit already on hand?

I really had to see it to believe it. The Dallas Morning News recipe section featured an “add-a-fruit” idea to make old standby favorite recipes more healthy. To one of my favorite pies in all the world—chess pie–the newspaper column suggested adding one of my favorite fruit in all the world—blueberries. Much as I loved the flavors of each, I couldn’t imagine blending them.

Furthermore the blending process seemed odd. The recipe said to puree 10 ounces of frozen (you could use whole, fresh blueberries as well) blueberries and spread this layer on the bottom of a prepared pie crust. (I always have frozen ones on hand because we use them on our breakfast cereal.) Then stir up the traditional chess pie mixture (which features cornmeal and vinegar) and pour it over the blueberries. How would this work? The blueberry puree wasn’t heavy enough to stay on bottom to make a separate, distinct layer. When I poured the liquid chess-pie mixture over the blueberries, the bottom layer rose to the top. Originally I envisioned cutting into the pie that contained the blueberries as a surprise layer on the bottom. Now, from the looks of things, the blueberries would cook up indistinguishable from the chess. I prepared for a bummer and was ready to send the Dallas Morning News an email of complaint.

Was I in for a surprise? Layers did occur in the baking; however, they reversed themselves. What I retrieved from the oven after baking finished was a pie that was solid purple on top but, on carving into it, had the nice golden chess layer on the bottom. What a hoot! Both layers solidified just fine. And the flavor of the fruit on top of the chess was indescribable. The addition of a tiny sliver of sugar-free ice cream or cool whip (the merest teaspoon is all that’s needed; don’t go overboard, as I cautioned Hubby) is a crowning touch.

The email of complaint drafted in my head turned into the draft of an email of congratulations. I was so thankful for the “add-a-fruit” to old favorites for the recipe column. For the blueberry vines Hubby planted in our weekend of gardening I had high hopes. Once they spring forth with succulent berries, I have my first recipe ready for them.

Blueberry Chess Pie

1 prepared pie crust
1 (10-ounce) package frozen blueberries, thawed
1/4 cup sugar (or sugar substitute such as Splenda)
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (I used fat-free)
2 eggs, lightly beaten (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
blueberries and mint leaves (optional garnish)
sugar-free ice cream or whipped topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place blueberries in blender container and puree. Stir in sugar substitute. Set aside. Place blueberries in blender container and puree. Pour blueberry puree into prepared pie crust. Combine sweetened condensed milk, eggs, butter, vinegar, cornmeal, and salt. Pour over blueberry puree. Bake for 50 minutes or until knife inserted in the center emerges clean (I actually had to bake mine for 1 hour until it was fully set.) Cool completely. Garnish with berries and mint leaves if you desire. Serve with sugar-free ice cream or whipped topping if you desire. Serves 8.

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