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, January 2, 2012

Black-Eyed Pea Salad—what could bring better luck in the new year?

They were a “must” to be prepared, of course—the requisite black-eyed peas for good luck on New Year’s Day. I had saved a Southern Living recipe from last year and thought it was just perfect for getting the deed accomplished in a tasty way.

Assembling it was no trouble, but rounding up one of the ingredients involved a small marathon. Red-pepper jelly was one of the main parts of the marinade; our standby Kroger didn’t seem to have it. Hubby pawed around in the traditional jams-and-jellies aisle, the international foods aisle, and the health-foods aisle. He called over the manager, which he never hesitates to do when he needs help. He even encountered a neighbor who makes delicious jalapeno salsa with some of the peppers from our garden. No one seemed to know where to get red-pepper or even jalapeno jelly.

Thankfully the good ole Internet let our fingers do the walking. Hubby tippy-typed a question about where to purchase red-pepper jelly in our area. He was directed to the Wal-Mart that was on our way to pick up our grandbaby who was our New Year’s Eve charge. Hubby walked into the store and immediately spotted the red-pepper jelly—tons of it—on the jams-and-jellies aisle. He didn’t even have to scour the store. What a nod to technology!

The recipe itself was immensely simple and merely involved marinating cooked black-eyes, red onions, cilantro, red bell pepper (although I used yellow bell pepper since I had it on hand), red-pepper jelly, red-wine vinegar, and cut-up jalapeno for about eight hours and then tossing in two diced peaches and some shredded spinach just before serving. The salad recipe definitely was a suggestion worth saving for an entire year. Sweet, tangy, and unusual, this pea salad was a great way to take care of that New Year’s tradition. Even little grandboy ate a morsel—a lucky 2012 is guaranteed for him!

I may not wait until New Year’s 2013 to prepare Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Salad again. This is a great salad side for any important occasion.

Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Salad

1 (16-ounce) package frozen black-eyed peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup red-pepper jelly
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup diced red onion
2 large fresh peaches, peeled and diced
2 cups torn watercress (I subbed shredded spinach, which I had on hand)

Prepare peas according to package direction. Simmer them only until tender; drain and let cool 1 hour. Whisk together cilantro and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add cooked black-eyed peas, bell pepper, and onion, tossing to coat, and cover and chill for 8 hours. Stir peaches and watercress (or spinach) into pea mixture just before you serve. Makes 6 servings.

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