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.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beautiful first-course salad for Christmas (or anytime) meal makes great impression

Don’t let the recipe title fool you. This salad can be the “Taste-of” whatever season in which you desire to serve it—a perfectly beautiful Christmas salad for the first course of a holiday meal; an Easter menu item; or a cooling, refreshing summer buffet number. Take your pick—but this recipe, named Taste-of-Fall Salad, is a winner.

The toasted pecan halves that have been bathed in a balsamic vinegar wash and seasoned with cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and sugar (or sugar substitute) make a flavorful, crunchy topping. The simple oil-and-Dijon mustard dressing is terrific; shredded Parmesan is dusted on the greens; thinly sliced pears, of course, represent the key ingredient.

The recipe hailed from my Taste of Home Thanksgiving Recipe Cards, which suggested it for the Thanksgiving table. I’m still mining them for ideas that seem to work just as well pre-Christmas as they did for the previous holiday. This salad is a beauty, for sure.

Taste-of-Fall Salad

2/3 cup pecan halves
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, divided
dash cayenne pepper
dash ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar (or sugar substitute), divided
1 package (5 ounces) spring mix salad greens (I used fresh spinach)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 medium pear, thinly sliced
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large, heavy skillet cook the pecans, 2 tablespoons vinegar, cayenne, and cinnamon over medium heat until nuts are toasted, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Cook and stir for 2-4 minutes or until sugar is melted. Spread nuts on foil to cool. Place salad greens in a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk oil, mustard, salt, and remaining vinegar and sugar; drizzle over greens and toss to coat. Arrange the greens, pear slices, and pecans on six salad plates. Sprinkle top of salad with cheese. Makes 6 servings.

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