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.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Keep things cool (and appliance-free) during dinner prep with Tuna Avocado Sandwiches

Every afternoon we, like many others, receive the automated warning call: please restrict use of appliances, lights, electronic devices, etc., during the peak hours from 3 to 7 p.m. to conserve energy during the heat crisis. That means we look for alternative ways to prepare dinner—no oven usage.

Into the recipe file to see what can be stirred up on the kitchen counter. Countertop grills don’t count: they’re appliances. Same with microwaveables. Nix that idea.

A canned tuna advertisement in Southern Living sprang to mind: Tuna Avocado Sandwich Spread. I reviewed the ingredients; I had all on hand, including three that were from my very own garden. I got to work—and used no energy source the entire time! The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which enacts the heat-wave warnings, would be proud of me.

Tuna Avocado sandwich spread utilizes two mashed, ripe avocados, fresh parsley, chopped red pepper, a 5-ounce can of tuna, a small red onion, and seasonings of lime juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. The mixture is lavishly spread on whole-grain bread slices with sliced fresh tomatoes (the last from our garden before we set out fall tomatoes later) layered on.

Hubby and I sat down to dinner with just the light from the kitchen window streaming in. Amazing how much cooler our rooms feel with the window shades drawn during the day (the guideline the granny ladies practiced long ago) and the lights off. Our Tuna Avocado sandwiches were the perfect counter to the heat wave outdoors. Hubby remarked, “All these years I’ve been an apples/celery man for my tuna sandwiches. I didn’t dream they could be fixed another way.” The smooth filling was just the right blend and was seasoned to perfection with the seasoning combination. Having fresh parsley on hand was the icing on the cake.

We finished dinner several degrees cooler on the inside as well as on the outside. Not one kilowatt of anything perished during our dinner prep; we found a new take on the old tuna sandwich stuffing as well.

Tuna Avocado Sandwich Stuffing

2 medium-sized ripe avocados, peeled and mashed, seed removed
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 (5-ounce) can tuna packed in water, drained and flaked
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin
whole-grain bread slices

Mash avocados until smooth, add red onions, parsley, tuna, red pepper, lime juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. With a fork blend until mixture is smooth. Chill until ready to serve. Spread on slices of whole-grain bread. Top with thinly sliced tomatoes. Cut sandwiches in half and serve.

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