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.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Okra-Shrimp Beignets a novel way to enjoy a combo of some faves

I love okra. I love shrimp. I love beignets. Who ever would have imagined that a recipe existed that combined all three?

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that Southern Living, in its September 2011 feature on Lowcountry fare, ran this recipe for Okra-Shrimp Beignets plus Fresh Tomato Salsa and Cilantro Sour Cream condiments. This was a have-to-try and turned out to be one of the most fun items I’ve ever cooked and served.

Easy, easy, easy. Chop the shrimp, slice the okra, dice the green pepper, onion, and jalapeño. Add egg, flour, and heavy cream (I subbed skim milk) to make a batter. Drop the batter into hot oil and deep fry. Even with making the salsa and sour cream, this entire process took no more than 45 minutes (the recipe says 47, but I was a little more speedy).

At this stage in the game the diners around our table are getting a wee-bit bored with okra, but it’s out there in the garden still bloomin’ like crazy. Having a delightful new recipe to try sent me out to the okra plants with renewed enthusiasm. The fresh jalapeno was in the row next to the peppers; the fresh onion was from our garden of weeks ago.

We were so entranced, we could have turned around and made a fresh batch of these beignets the next night. Topped with the fresh salsa and sour cream mixture, the whole ensemble made a memorable meal.

Okra-Shrimp Beignets

Peanut oil
2 cups sliced fresh okra
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 large egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy cream (I subbed 1/4 cup skim milk)
1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 pound unpeeled, medium-sized raw shrimp, peeled and coarsely chopped
Fresh Tomato Salsa
Cilantro Sour Cream

Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 350 degrees. Stir together okra and next 8 ingredients in a large bowl until all are blended. Stir in shrimp. Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls into hot oil. Fry, in batches, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels. Serve with salsa and sour cream. Makes about 30.

Fresh Tomato Salsa

4 large plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
3 tablespoons finely diced red onion
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt (or salt substitute) and pepper to taste

Stir all ingredients together. Chill until time to serve.

Cilantro Sour Cream

1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
salt (or salt substitute) and pepper to taste

Stir all ingredients together. Chill until time to serve.

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