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 7, 2011

Sweet potato fries are all the rage; here's a healthy take on them

I mentioned that the food demonstration we observed this week when we visited the Chickasaw Nation Nutrition Services had more goodies in store besides the marvelous Autumn Spice Cake that we sampled after the demo.

Also amazing were the Southwest Sweet Potato Fries and the dipping sauces that accompanied them. Food Demo Specialist Kathy Bean sliced some sweet potatoes into strips (similar to the size of restaurant fries) and then placed them in a zip-top bag that contained spices. The spices consisted merely of cumin and a Southwest chipotle seasoning (the one she used was produced by the Mrs. Dash brand of salt-free seasoning).

Several shakes of the bag to evenly distribute the seasoning over all of the potato wedges—then the potatoes were arranged onto a cooking-spray sprayed pan. After I returned home from seeing these prepared and from sampling them, I had to try cooking these myself. After I baked the potatoes for about 20 minutes in a 425-degree oven, as the recipe instructed I turned them once and cooked the other side of the fries during the remaining cooking time (15 to 20 minutes).

The Southwest kick these oven-baked fries had to them by having been dredged into these two simple seasonings was incredible. These were terrific by themselves but were even better with the homemade dipping sauces that Kathy had arrayed on the counter. The one I chose to try with the Sweet Potato Fries was Honey Mustard Sauce, featured below. I tried the fries warm straight from the oven and cold straight from the fridge after I had stored them a while. I found them to be good warm or cold, if you can believe it.

Kathy had extolled all the health benefits of sweet potatoes, not the least of which was the fiber aspect (one serving of the sweet potato fries, with a serving estimated to be about 10 fries) was 5 grams of fiber. Oven-baking them instead of frying in oil on the stove gave them a zero-gram fat and cholesterol content with only 85 grams of sodium. She spoke of how sweet potato fries are becoming a popular restaurant menu item.

Now, with this recipe for Southwest Sweet Potato Fries, appreciators can make their own, the healthy way.

Southwest Sweet Potato Fries

2 pounds sweet potatoes
2 teaspoons no-salt Southwest chipotle seasoning (prepared with Mrs. Dash brand)
1 teaspoon cumin
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Cut each potato into 4-inch chunks; then cut chunks crosswise into strips. In a large zip-top bag mix Southwest and cumin seasonings. Add potatoes and toss until coated. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange potatoes in a single layer. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Turn once until potatoes are lightly browned. Makes 6 servings.

Honey Mustard Sauce

1/2 cup light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Chill. Makes 10 1-tablespoon servings.

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