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, October 12, 2011

A dish you don’t see every day—Stuffed Patty-Pan Squash

Patty-pan squash had always fascinated me. I had seen the little round, scalloped, somewhat flattened veggies on display at farmers markets and was curious about them. What would they taste like? How did one cook them? I heard various versions of how-to’s described but never had tried any out.
Then at the most recent outdoor farm stand we visited, I finally succumbed. Two varieties were present—one, a pale yellow-green and another, deep golden with green flecks. They just looked so . . . well, like fall. I knew that with a little online help, I could turn up some cooking instructions.
Cooks.com helped me out with this recipe that used a filling of chopped onion and celery, tomato soup, and crushed cheese crackers, plus the cooked innards that have been chopped and stirred back in. Hubby and I snack on lots of Ritz Hint-of-Salt crackers, so we always have those around. The key was cooking the patty-pans until they were soft enough to scoop out but not so soft that they cratered and couldn’t hold up to the stuffing process (think the doneness of a green Bell pepper just before the meat mixture goes inside).
The recipe didn’t say to, but to me, almost anything tastes better with a little cheese on top. Some shredded Italian-blend cheese worked just fine dusted atop the baked patty-pans. The two different colors of squash made a unique contrast in the dish. Crumb topping and the cheese made the patty-pans look appealing and taste like one’s own personal squash casserole. Mixing in the touch of tomato soup gave them a good flavor.
I was really pleased with myself for pursuing this original recipe and thought Stuffed Patty-Pan Squash would be a nice addition to a Thanksgiving table (and prompt an exercise of “name-the-vegetable”). It’s definitely a dish you don’t see every day.
Stuffed Patty-Pan Squash
6-8 patty pans
2 tablespoons butter
3-4 tablespoons chopped onion
3-4 tablespoons chopped celery
4 tablespoons tomato soup
salt (or salt substitute) to taste
10-12 cheese crackers, crushed (I used Ritz Hint-of-Salt round crackers.)

Wash and trim squash. Drop in boiling water and simmer until squash are about half done. Drain and cool. Spoon out centers. Leave shell of about 1/2-inch in thickness. Do not cut through to bottom. Chop removed centers and set aside. In skillet melt butter; sauté onion and celery until they are soft. Add chopped centers, tomato soup, salt, and pepper. Mix and then add enough crushed cheese crackers to thicken filling (thick enough to stuff). Fill shells with mixture. Sprinkle a handful of crushed cheese crackers over tops. Bake at 350 degrees until squash is done (about 20 to 30 minutes). (I topped the baked patty-pans with about 1 cup Italian-blend shredded cheese.) Makes 6-8 servings.

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