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, March 2, 2012

Some cookie! Pimiento-cheese with raspberry centers is a P.C.-lover’s dream

For a pimiento-cheese fiend such as I am, it was second-heaven. I’ve already spoken of how delirious I was to see Southern Living February 2011’s spread (pun definitely intended) on all the best ways with pimiento cheese. I’m working down the list to try every one of the five P.C. varieties shown there.

But two pages over is a feature that really goes above and beyond. Pimiento Cheese Cookies appeared in the middle of the page. Now that’s taking things to ludicrously enjoyable limits. A few days ago I pulled out my pastry board, rolling pin, and round cookie-cutter and got some of these going.

I would have baked them regardless, but I saw they would qualify for this column because they contained chopped pecans—that sore subject in these parts since our trees have produced so few the past two years. Ah, springtime is supposed to be the season of hope, so we are viewing our towering pecans with all the hope we can muster. Maybe this is THE year.

The Pimiento Cheese Cookies recipe actually lets you use store-bought, refrigerated pimiento cheese—the kind in containers in the dairy case. Mix a cup of it with flour and softened butter and stir in the chopped pecans. The dough needs to chill in the fridge for two hours before you attempt to roll it out, but once you do, it’s easy to manage and doesn’t stick to a floured board.

When the cookie rounds are cut, they are arranged on a cookie sheet that has been covered with parchment paper. Put one round in place, spoon on some sugar-free strawberry preserves (I subbed sugar-free raspberry because of Hubby’s strawberry intolerance), and top each with another round. Press the edges to seal the two cookie rounds together to hold in the preserves.
On baking, even while using the parchment, my cookies got a little too brown on the bottom, but I’ve since ditched my old, dark cookie sheets for some new fancy ones, which I believe will give them lighter bottoms next time.

Hubby and I went berserk-o over these darling cookies—imaginative and yummy. They were a cross between a cookie and a biscuit and were especially delightful when served with a little extra raspberry preserves on top. They made me glad to be a P.C. Gal!

Pimiento Cheese Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup refrigerated pimiento cheese
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/4 cup butter, softened
Parchment paper
4 tablespoons strawberry preserves (I used sugar-free raspberry)

Beat together flour and pimiento cheese at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer for 1 minute. Add pecans and butter; beat until blended. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; chill 2 hours. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place dough on a well-floured surface; roll to 1/8-inch thickness. With a 2-inch round cutter cut dough into 48 rounds. Re-roll scraps once. Arrange half of rounds 2-inches apart on parchment-paper-lined baking sheets; spoon 1/2 teaspoon preserves onto center of each round; top with remaining rounds. Press edges to seal. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely, about 30 minutes. Makes 2 dozen.

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