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.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Good job, cantaloupe and bacon. You brighten up what otherwise would have been a most ordinary salad.

Something had to be done with the cantaloupe half that remained after I made melon balls for Ruby Fruit Salad and its dressing (earlier blog) that I had served at Easter.

A recent issue of Southern Living magazine had featured bacon as its “wonder” dish and demonstrated scads of ways to use this Southern food staple. But Cantaloupe-Bacon Relish? Whoever heard of pairing cantaloupe with bacon (as well as with cucumber and mint) as the magazine suggested?

Guess these cooks figured that if you ever had eaten fruit alongside bacon and eggs for breakfast, you would have ingested this type of mixture anyway. The magazine suggested that the relish be served over fresh salad greens topped by sliced grilled chicken. I had set aside some romaine lettuce from our garden and thought this would be a great way to use it. The recipe also suggests that you could try the relish as an appetizer and serve it atop grilled crostini with goat cheese.

The article from which I borrowed the recipe said pork-lovers playfully refer to bacon as “God’s bookmark” and notes that its sweet-salty-smoky flavor lends a heavenly touch to a variety of foods. Even turkey bacon, which we always use, still qualifies in the “bookmark” category.

Bottom line was, we adored the salad. The flavor combination was intriguing. To quote Hubby, “I’ve never had a salad like that before.”

Better yet, three of the 10 recipe items were plucked straight from our garden (make that six in a few more weeks when our cucumber and cantaloupe crops are ready for harvest). And all the rain we’ve received lately is making that happen sooner than later!

Cantaloupe-Bacon Relish with Grilled Chicken and Salad Greens

1 1/2 cups finely diced cantaloupe
1/2 cup seeded, diced cucumber
5 turkey bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1 green onion, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon pepper and pinch of salt
6 cups romaine lettuce, torn
1 1/2 pounds (about 3) boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, grilled and sliced into strips

In a small bowl combine first eight ingredients. In a salad bowl place torn romaine leaves and grilled chicken strips. Top this with relish. Toss and serve. Serves 4.

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