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, October 14, 2011

Little Thanksgiving in sandwich form—Turkey Burger Patty Melts

I have been using them oh-so-sparingly—my tiny horde of pecans—all that remains from the last big pecan production of our favorite tree. Who knew that the fall of two years ago would be the last time our prized pecan, a giant paper-shell producer up near our side door, would shower its blessings on us for a long while? 

This fall was supposed to be THE YEAR for a great pecan harvest again, but all that was foiled by this past summer’s drought. We're very dubious about what kind of pecan crop we’ll see this year. I’m down to only a few cupsful in my stash that I keep in my freezer. Only the most appealing project causes me to dig in. Actually I was saving the last tiny batch for Thanksgiving and Christmas baking—no more than for just a couple of pies.

Then arrived the Southern Living October 2011 issue—all about pecans. No fair! So many tempting things to try; so few pecans (and they’re SO expensive at the grocery store). What weakened my resolve occurred when I saw the recipe for Turkey Burger Patty Melts. 

I’ve already blogged about my yearning for all kinds of burgers. This featured recipe had some great combinations—ground turkey mixed with chopped, toasted pecans and Gorgonzola cheese plus seasonings. The bread (recipe called for sourdough, but I used some whole-grain sandwich bread I had on hand) was spread with a cranberry sauce-Dijon mustard combination. Over the warm meat patty went a slice of Monterey Jack cheese. Last went on pieces of fresh arugula (I used pieces of fresh spinach instead). The whole combination was skillet-toasted on both sides. 

So I gave in and yielded up the 3/4 cup chopped, treasured pecans required by the recipe. It was tough to part with them but so rewarding! Hubby called this creation “Thanksgiving in sandwich form”. So true—it had turkey, cranberry sauce, nuts, and even spinach—tastes that remind one of the Thanksgiving table. Preparation was a wee-bit time-consuming (first toast the pecans, then broil the meat, then toast the entire sandwich), but the good news was that the same skillet could be used for all three stages with no clean-up in between.

We had some good eatin’ out of these patty melts, but after this, the pecans go back under lock-and-key for sure. No more sacrifices until my annual holiday pecan pie!

Turkey Burger Patty Melts

3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
2/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 teaspoon garlic salt (or garlic powder)
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup canned whole berry cranberry sauce
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
12 sourdough bread slices (I used whole-grain bread)
6 (1/4-ounce) Monterey Jack cheese slices
3 cups loosely packed fresh arugula (I used fresh spinach)

Heat pecans in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Stir often. Heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until pecans are toasted and fragrant. In a large bowl combine ground turkey, next 3 ingredients, and pecans. Shape into 6 (1/2-inch thick) patties, shaped to fit bread slices. Cook patties in a large, lightly greased skillet over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until done. Stir together cranberry sauce and Dijon mustard. Spread 1 tablespoon cranberry mixture on 1 side of each bread slice. Layer 6 bread slices with Monterey Jack cheese, spinach, and turkey burgers. Top with remaining bread slices. With cranberry mixture side down, cook sandwiches in batches on hot griddle or in a lightly greased skillet over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until sandwiches are golden brown and cheese melts. Makes 6 servings.  

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