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, September 22, 2011

Pie! Pie! Tomato Pie! So fresh, it could walk off the table.

With my vegetable bin now filled with tomatoes the size of grapefruit (thanks to my previously mentioned, roadside-stand haul), I was into my pile of tomato recipes big-time. I had dogeared one for Tomato Pie, featured in Southern Living’s August 2011 issue featuring summer favorites. I thought it looked absolutely mouth-watering. I also was intrigued by the idea of the Sour Cream Pastry crust that underlay it.

The recipe called for four tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. I admit that in the interest of time, I didn’t peel mine. I don’t think I’ve peeled a tomato in years and wasn’t about to start now. (The most nutritious part of everything is the peel, right? At least that’s a mom-ism I remember from my childhood. Hubby says that a lot, too.)

Atop the tomato layer of the pie went a marvelous blend of mayo, green onions, fresh basil, and Parmesan cheese. I was a little worried about the sour-cream pastry, made with a combination of shortening and sour cream, being a little flimsy, but after the dough chilled for an hour, it rolled out into a very substantial, workable crust that I baked for 10-12 minutes before I piled on the filling.

I can’t say that I ever before sampled a tomato pie, even though it was conceptualized as an iconic Southern item (and my great-grandmother was a Mississippi transplant to Texas. How Southern can you get?). But this one was an amazing way to start. Fresh tomatoes, a new take on a pie crust, and an herb-y, cheesy topping. Like, like, like!

Tomato Pie

4 medium tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
Sour Cream Pastry (below)

Sour Cream Pastry

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sour cream (I used fat-free)

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Prepare Sour Cream Pastry. Meanwhile, place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels; sprinkle with salt. Let tomatoes stand 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels. Stir together next 3 ingredients and 3/4 cup of cheese. Roll Sour Cream Pastry into a 13-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate; fold edges under and crimp. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from oven; sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese over bottom of crust. Arrange tomato slices over cheese in crust; spread mayonnaise mixture over tomatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 34 to 37 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before you serve. If desired garnish with basil leaves. Makes 6 servings.

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