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.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cool your socks off with this refreshing Cucumber Raita

Now for a dish that’s probably not going to automatically relegate itself to the “comfort-food” category as yesterday’s Peach Cobbler did, but I guarantee you that if you’re adventuresome enough to try it, it soon will become a favorite.

In fact, at first glance, to these Southern eyes this recipe for Cucumber Raita seems to have weird written all over it. I wasn’t familiar with the dish, so I did a little Internet research and found that quite frequently it pops up on cooking-idea websites; it often is served with Indian or Moroccan food. Interesting, since the provider for the recipe was the Native American tribe of which my hubby is a member. Yep, this is yet another dish that inspired by the Chickasaw Nation Health Services (see the inscription on the wooden spoon in the photo?), a favorite recipe source for me. They always have such good, though different, ideas.

Cucumber Raita is a magical, cooling salad that’s perfect for a hot, summer day. I could imagine taking it to a covered-dish picnic and having guests crow about this refreshing dish that’s way past the norm of potluck fare. Cucumbers, raisins, toasted walnuts, and mint leaves are stirred into plain, non-fat yogurt. The mixture is allowed to chill for at least 30 minutes before serving (but the longer, the better). Mint leaves make an attractive garnish.

Forget your ambrosia, cherry dream salad (made with whipped topping), or any of the other blissfully cool but standard summer-day dishes. When high temps are blowing the top out of the thermometer, cool Cucumber Raita with its healthy ingredients blows the top out of all the other choices.

Cucumber Raita

1 cup raisins
1 cup water
1/3 cup walnuts, broken by hand (not finely chopped)
1 large cucumber, seeded and died
2 tablespoons mint leaves, minced
2 cups plain, non-fat yogurt, drained
fresh ground black pepper

In 1 cup water boil raisins for 1 minute. Leave to soak for 5 minutes; then drain well. Toast walnuts for 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Cool walnuts completely. In a bowl combine all ingredients. Chill for 30 minutes; stir before serving. Makes 4-6 servings.

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