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 19, 2011

This veggie pasta toss has Christmas written all over it

I’m surprised I remembered it. After all, a full year had passed. I’d slept a lot since I made the notation to myself.

But on a page of my Christmas binder in which I keep the recipes I love to cook at Christmastime, I found a notation—“Make this for next year’s holiday gathering.” I further noted that the green and red colors of the salad contents would look festive on a party buffet.

So when my cousin called to announce the date she was having folks in for a pre-Christmas lunch, I was ready to sign up for my food item: the Italian Vegetable Toss.

One luncheon guest, as she dined on my salad, asked me what all was in the melange. Another question might be, “What’s not in it?” Lots of fresh veggies—broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes, avocado, green onion, and artichoke hearts—along with cooked bow-tie pasta (which I subbed for the called-for shell macaroni) and the simple addition of bottled Italian salad dressing are mixed up to make this winner of a food item.

Unfortunately the recipe in my Christmas binder was clipped in the long ago and doesn’t contain the source. I’m going to guess it’s from a holiday Southern Living issue at some point in the distant past. The demo dish was photographed with pine cones and Christmas greenery around it, so I’m not the only person who once deemed this perfect for a holiday occasion.

The salad tasted great, but the best part for me was serving it in my mother’s cut-glass salad bowl, which has contained countless other salads in past years as we made the trek to my cousin’s house for holiday get-togethers. Although the elegant bowl didn’t house her usual gelatin, I think she would have enjoyed this dish that just looks like Christmas.

Italian Vegetable Toss

1 1/2 cups shell macaroni (I subbed with bow-tie pasta)
2 cups broccoli flowerets
1 cup cauliflower flowerets
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 (6-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and chopped
1 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2/3 cup Italian salad dressing
1 medium avocado, seeded, peeled, and sliced
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. In a large bowl combine macaroni, broccoli flowerets, cauliflower flowerets, sliced mushrooms, artichoke hearts, ripe olives, and chopped green onion. Toss with Italian dressing. Cover and chill for several hours. At serving time toss vegetable mixture with avocado and tomato. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

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