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, February 13, 2012

Fun to say, fun to serve, Ratatouille is great sauteéd veggie dish

The minute I saw photos of the slightly aged, typewritten recipe cards in the article, I knew I would adore the food suggestions associated with the January 2012 issue of Southern Living. The writer was honoring her mom, a longtime food editor of the Shreveport Times. She was featuring some of her mother’s prized recipes; the headline read, “Every Recipe Has a Story.” The subject of my two cookbooks exactly! Plus, a blessing of my own past was to share office space with Ann Criswell, revered former food editor of the Houston Chronicle. I remembered the pride in taking some of Ann’s recipe classics and making them my own.

I hope to be able to try out each of the recipes of editor Carolyn Flournoy, as discussed in the magazine by her daughter, Kate Nicholson, but the one I started with was Ratatouille. Who could argue with that great melting pot of fresh veggies—yellow squash, zucchini squash, red pepper, green pepper, yellow pepper, eggplant, and tomatoes? The author said that as much fun as consuming the dish was listening to her mother say its name—“Ra-tuh-TOO-ee”. I tried it out on my granddaughter, to whom I was serving the Ra-tuh-TOO-ee, with emphasis on the TOO-ee part. She giggled at the odd sound. (But she didn’t buy my tease that it was so named because it contained rat’s tails. Wonder why?)

The author states that all the chopping and dicing (which takes way longer than does the ultimate cooking time) is plenty worth it when the end-result is this fresh veggie dish. I might also add that the recipe fixes worlds! Four to six servings, the recipe tells us, but Hubby and I say this is a way-conservative estimate. Unless you’re preparing to feed a soccer team, you could halve what’s called for and still have an ample amount to serve.

You’ll find yourself stuck on this delightful dish as well as stuck on saying the enticing word Ra-tuh-TOO-ee—fun whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart.


1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1/2 pound zucchini
1/2 pound yellow squash
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes (I used the no-salt variety)
1 small eggplant (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
2 tablespoons chopped basil
freshly ground pepper

Cut the first 5 ingredients into 1-inch pieces. In a large skillet over medium heat sauté onion and garlic 5 to 7 minutes or just until onion is tener. Stir in tomatoes and next 2 ingredients. Sauté 8 to 10 minutes or just until eggplant begins to soften. Stir in bell peppers, zucchini, and squash; cover and cook. Stir occasionally and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and liquid is slightly reduced. Stir in basil. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and sauté 3 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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