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.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Comfort food reaches new heights with this veggie-laden Shepherd's Pie

I always wondered what might happen. Then I didn’t have to wonder any more. A tummy bug laid me low for the weekend—my usual prime time for cooking and blog-readying. Too yucky-feeling to lift more than a finger, I was panicked. This was zero hour for stirring things up in the kitchen, yet there I lay, stretched out on the sofa, dishrag-limp. Plus I needed some mild comfort food to try to digest for my own well-being.

Hubby to the rescue—as always. My wonder-spouse who cheerfully dashes off to the grocery at the last minute to ferry home obscure missing ingredients so I can cook some blog item stepped up to the plate (pun intended?) He’d make some of the dishes I had had on my weekend wish list! Bless him!

No better food could have existed than Shepherd’s Pie, with the recipe furnished by a recent Kroger grocery circular. It was just what the doc ordered for my recovering system—and it contained some wondrous fresh veggies that helped make it a meal-in-one.

Carrots and onion wedges roasted in olive oil in a 425-degree oven until they were tender (Hubby says 20-25 minutes wasn’t quite long enough; he went for about 35). Then the meat mixture (we subbed ground turkey), its seasonings, cornstarch, and broth simmered in a skillet until thickened; the roasted veggies stirred into that. Atop all was a layer of mashed potatoes, which can be ready-made, leftover, or instant. In our case hubby found in the veggie bin several potatoes he needed to use up. Nothing makes him jollier than being caught in the act of preventing food wastage.

Hubby muttered a little about the logistics of the assembly process (his tendency would be to get all ingredients neatly lined up on the counter first, whereas I would just fling them from the shelf as needed). But after he got in the groove, he kinda found himself having fun—and took pride in the finished product. (A future foods blogger in the making?)

Shepherd’s Pie was soothing and flavorful—best of all, in this case, it was prepared by someone else, which says something about the relative ease of this recipe. Meat and potatoes—a true guy-thing that warmed this gal’s heart.

Shepherd’s Pie

3 carrots, cut in 1- or 2-inch pieces
1 onion, half-diced and half cut in rough wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt (or salt substitute), pepper, and dried Italian herbs, to taste
1 pound ground beef (I used ground turkey)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/4 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 cup frozen peas
3 cups mashed potatoes (ready-made, leftover, or instant)

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place carrots and onion wedges in baking dish; toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until fork-tender. Meanwhile brown the ground beef, diced onion, and garlic in a large skillet. Drain excess fat. Combine beef broth, cornstarch, Worcestershire sauce, and spices in a separate bowl. Pour liquid over meat; simmer over medium heat until rich and bubbly. If desired chop roasted vegetables into smaller pieces. Add peas and roasted vegetables to meat mixture; pour into a casserole dish. Top with prepared mashed potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown. Serves 6.

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