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, May 17, 2011

Fresh mango, warm bacon dressing gives this salad its Southern sizzle

I just can’t seem to put down that page of recipes that featured “God’s Bookmark”—the nickname that in its recent Bacon Boot Camp feature Southern Living applied to bacon. I’d already prepared Cantaloupe Bacon Relish for Easter 2011 lunch and BLT Benedict with Avocado-Tomato Relish for Hubby's Birthday Brunch. But now another recipe in the collection beckoned: Mango-Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette. How good that sounded! Just had to try it.

I don’t think I ever had eaten a mango-and- spinach combo before, but the mix of fruit and spinach seems to be a resilient pairing (spinach/strawberry and spinach/orange salads are popular). The dressing of lime juice, honey, and red-wine vinegar combined with drippings from the bacon and the sautéed red onion was a charmer. The sprinkling of Mexican cheese made a perfect topping. The Southern Living recipe suggested that this would be a great partner for grilled fish and fresh, crusty bread. Hubby and I dined on it solo as a main-dish dinner salad (along with a few bites of warmed-up pasta left over from a lunch out.)

This is a very special salad that will get sent to my idea-list for my next bring-a-dish to attend. I can’t imagine guests not going nuts over it. Now the question is: will I prepare the final recipe on the “Southern Sizzle” page: Springtime Pasta with Bacon? Time will tell.

Mango-Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

4 thick bacon slices, diced (I used turkey bacon)
1/2 medium-sized red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 (9-ounce) package fresh spinach
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/3 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese
salt (or salt substitute) and pepper to taste

In a skillet cook bacon over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels. Reserve 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet. Sauté onion in hot drippings for 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is soft. To the skillet add vinegar, lime juice, and honey; cook 2 minutes. Stir to loosen particles from bottom of skillet; stir them into the dressing. Place spinach in a serving bowl. Add warm vinaigrette and toss to coat. Top with mango, cheese, and bacon; season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately while dressing is warm. Makes about 2 1/2 cups salad.

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