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, December 9, 2011

Gingered Pumpkin Bisque a lovely first course for Christmas meals

Our orange Thanksgiving pumpkin had brightly cheered us during the entire fall, but the time had arrived to put it out to pasture and to claim its succulent insides for some pre-Christmas meals.

A recipe for a pretty Gingered Pumpkin Bisque had leaped off the page at me as I first surfed my Taste of Home resource. I was glad I now had the fresh puree (after we carved and boiled the aforementioned pumpkin) to cook this delicious soup.

The recipe called for 1/2 cup whipping cream or half-and-half. I recoiled at this and wondered whether the bisque would be just too, too watered down if I made it with only skim milk.

Not to obsess about this at all—the skim milk worked just fine, so I could dine in good conscience. Processing a portion of the well-drained batch in the blender, as the recipe directs, makes the soup thick and rich, so the substitution worked just fine. The recipe (from Taste of Home Thanksgiving Recipe Cards) said this made enough for four servings, but Hubby and I used it as a main course, so in our giant soup mugs we found none left over after the two of us consumed it readily.

This would be a great first course at a sit-down Christmas dinner. Guests would think you were utterly amazing if you tantalized them with a bowl of this special delight.

Gingered Pumpkin Bisque

1/3 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced fresh gingerroot
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup apple cider or apple juice
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin (or fresh pumpkin puree)
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup (I used the sugar-free variety)
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon pepper
dash ground cloves
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream or half-and-half cream (I used skim milk)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
additional whipping cream, optional
fresh thyme sprigs, optional
(I dusted the top with a little cinnamon.)

In a small saucepan sauté the shallots, onion, and ginger in oil until tender. Stir in flour until blended; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Gradually stir in broth and cider. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the pumpkin, maple syrup, thyme, cinnamon, pepper, and cloves. Return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly. In a blender process soup in batches until soup is smooth. Return all to the pan. Stir in cream and vanilla; heat through (do not boil). Drizzle individual servings with additional cream. If desired garnish with thyme sprigs. Makes 4 servings.

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