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, May 11, 2011

With every bite Pickled Okra and Shrimp Salad with Gouda Grits says "Southern"

For the next round of Hubby’s birthday “season” (we’ve finally arrived at THE day, by the way. Happy Birthday today, sweet Hubby), I wanted to make something distinctly Southern.

Besides his being a card-carrying (literally. His card hangs framed on our wall.) citizen of the Chickasaw Nation through his paternal heritage, Hubby has roots in the Deep South. His maternal forebears evacuated Georgia after Sherman’s destructive march to the sea at the end of the Civil War. (Think all those carriages stampeding away from burning Atlanta in Gone with the Wind.)

So for this Southern gentleman, who’s 65-years young today, I borrowed from the pages of Southern Living magazine and prepared Pickled Okra and Shrimp Salad, which I served alongside Gouda Grits (mentioned in an earlier blog). Now if okra, shrimp, and grits don’t bespeak of the South, I don’t know what does. Pickled okra, by the way, will be something fun to make from our okra crop once it materializes in the garden; for now I used a jar from the condiment shelves at the grocery store.

The recipe combines red onion, sliced pickled okra, pimiento, and shrimp that has been boiled in a purchased, packaged boil. Tossed with a mixture of mayonnaise, lime juice, and lime zest, the salad is chilled for a few hours before serving. The recipe suggests accompanying this with sliced avocado, which I did as a presentation for the above photo before I dished up the warmed Gouda Grits as an accompaniment.

If I were making this dish over, I would have chosen a less spicy shrimp-and-crab boil for the shrimp. The package I inadvertently picked would have raised the hair on a dog (speaking of Southern sayings). Spicy, spicy—so you tended to get overwhelmed by the seasoning on the shrimp and lose the flavor of this unique salad mixture.

Southern Living touted this dish in its “What’s for Supper? Quick-Fix Meals” section. I agree with the tout: it was quick to prepare and most unusual. After Hubby paused from putting the fire out (spicy shrimp!) long enough to speak, he extolled the dish. I wanted to make sure this would be a birthday he’d not be forgetting for a long time; even with advancing age (just had to get my 65-rib in somewhere). I feel certain he’ll be remembering this one.

Pickled Okra and Shrimp Salad

1 (3-ounce) package boil-in-bag shrimp-and-crab boil
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined, medium-size raw shrimp (31/40 count)
1/2 cup sliced sweet-hot pickled okra
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimiento, drained
1/3 cup lite mayonnaise
3 tablespoons minced red onion
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
3 large avocados, sliced

Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan; add crab boil and cook 5 minutes. Add shrimp; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 10 minutes or just until shrimp turns pink. Drain and cool 10 minutes. Meanwhile combine pickled okra, diced pimiento, and next 6 ingredients. Add shrimp; chill and serve with avocado slices. Makes 6 servings.

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