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, June 29, 2012

Peach cake takes a delightful tumble—and sets world on its right side

Nothing sets the world more delightfully upright  than does a peach upside-down cake.

When we were in our Hawaiian Paradise a few weeks back (sigh—such a memory!), a mango upside-down cake that we were served caught my fancy and went on my cooking wish-list. Since right now we have more peaches than we do hairs on the head, I decided to spring for a peach version before I recreated the mango variety (which I fully intend to do down the road).

This recipe recommended making the cake in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, into which you pour the mix and bake in the oven. My skillet is at our place at the lake and not at the ready, so I used my largest cake pan to house the batter. Things worked just as well. The recipe also calls for the seeds from 1 vanilla bean. I know this would have been delicious, but no time to round up a vanilla bean. One Internet site said an emergency sub is 2 teaspoons vanilla extract for 1 vanilla bean—a good suggestion.

The resulting dessert ended up being part of Hubby’s Father’s Day fare; he was happy to see the fresh peaches he hauled in off peach tree #4 being put to good use. The cake tumbled out cleverly from the cake pan. We plunked some sugar-free whipped topping on it and had ourselves a peachy good time.

Peach Upside-Down Cake

Parchment paper
4 medium peaches (about 1 1/2 pounds) unpeeled and cut into 1/3-inch-thick wedges
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
1 cup cake flour (be sure to use cake flour and not self-rising)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided (I used sugar substitute)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature and divided
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
2 large eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
1/2 cup sour cream (I used fat-free)
sweetened whipped cream (or sugar-free whipped topping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (This helps with cleanup.) Toss peaches with lemon juice. Sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Cook 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, 10 minutes or until sugar melts and turns a deep amber color. Remove from heat. Immediately add 1/4 cup butter. Stir vigorously. Spread caramelized sugar to coat bottom of skillet evenly; sprinkle with brown sugar. Arrange peach wedges in concentric circles over sugar mixture, overlapping as needed. Split vanilla bean lengthwise; scrape out seeds into bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer. Beat vanilla seeds and remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup butter at medium speed until all is smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time; beat until blended after each addition. Add sour cream. Beat until blended. Gradually add sifted flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended; stop to scrape bowl as needed. Spoon batter over peaches in skillet; spread to cover. Place skillet on prepared baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until cake is golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center emerges clean. Cool in skillet on a wire rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge to loosen. Carefully pour out any excess liquid (if you have any excess) from skillet into measuring cup and reserve. Carefully invert cake onto a serving plate; drizzle with any reserved liquid. Cool slightly (about 10 minutes). Using a serrated knife, cut cake into wedges. Top with whipped topping, if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 8 to 12 servings. (Source: Southern Living June 2012)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

You can't be crabby with this peachy peach-crab dish

In my eternal quest for ways with peaches, I believe I stumbled on the most-unusual ever when I found the recipe for Crab Salad with Peaches and Avacados.

A smooth layer of fresh peaches puréed and tossed with honey forms the essence of peachy goodness for this unique salad. A crabmeat mixture that has been zested up with jalapeno, lemon zest, and lemon juice lies on top of the peach layer, with avocado chunks in-between.
Arugula, or in my case, spinach leaves, were sprinkled around the edges.

This made a cool summertime dinner dish, with the coolness growing more welcome as summer heats up. I love being able to walk through my kitchen without a heatwave from the oven knocking me in the face as I approach. No-bake dinners are much-desired these days.

Crab Salad with Peaches and Avocados

1 pound fresh jumbo lump crabmeat
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/4 cup finely diced celery
2 green onions, chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
5 to 6 medium peaches (about 1 3/4 pound) unpeeled and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
3 medium avocados, diced

Pick crabmeat and remove any bits of shell. Whisk together lemon zest, next 2 ingredients, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Fold in jalapeno pepper, next 2 ingredients, and crabmeat. Use a rubber spatula to fold in. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste. Stir together peaches and remaining 4 tablespoons lemon juice. Reserve 3 cups peach mixture. Pulse honey and remaining peach mixture in a food processor 8 to 10 times or until smooth. Season puréed peach mixture with kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste. Spoon 1/4 cup puréed peach mixture onto a chilled plate. Place a 3 1/2-inch round cutter in center of peach mixture on plate. (a clean, empty tuna can with both ends removed may be used instead.) Spoon one-sixth of diced avocados and 1/2 cup reserved chopped peach mixture into cutter. Pack each layer firmly and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste. Top with about 1/2 cup crab mixture. Carefully remove cutter from plate. Repeat procedure with remaining puréed peach mixture, avocado, chopped peach mixture, and crab mixture. Arrange desired amount of arugula around each layered salad; serve immediately. Makes 6 servings. (Source: Southern Living June 2012)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fried Green Tomatoes take the edge off waiting on those vines

What to do when the tomato vines are loaded with mouth-watering tomatoes but they’re all the color of St. Augustine grass? If God didn’t love Fried Green Tomatoes, he would have made the red ones first.

Waiting out the green-into-red ripening cycle, I grabbed the Fried Green Tomatoes recipe from my new Cooking on the Home Front cookbook that I mentioned having bought at the Pearl Harbor gift shop earlier this month. In WWII days victory gardens were the source of many meatless meals. Clearly a plate of Fried Green Tomatoes was a dinner-table staple then as homemakers everywhere (not just in the South, although this typically is thought to be a Southern dish) got creative with their produce.

I love these crispy fried slices of green, especially as they’re smeared in ketchup. I used whole-wheat bread crumbs (day-old bread whisked in a blender) for my first batch but switched to Panko (Japanese bread crumbs) for the second. That switch made them extra-crispy.

We couldn’t get enough of these; the next day, we dived into the leftovers and ate them cold straight out of the refrigerator. The tomatoes on our vines don’t seem to be in a big hurry to ripen, so I imagine plenty more Fried Green Tomatoes will be destined for our table.

Fried Green Tomatoes

6 large green tomatoes
1 tablespoon sugar (or sugar substitute)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1 egg, well-beaten (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Wash tomatoes; cut into 1/2-inch slices. Soak slices for 1 hour in cold salted water. Add sugar, pepper, and salt to the beaten egg. Dip each tomato slice in mixture and then in bread crumbs. In skillet fry on both sides in hot oil (I used extra-virgin olive oil) until tomatoes are brown. Makes 6 servings.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Spicy aromas greet as Peach Breakfast Dish bakes

I’m not sure which was the better part of this dish—actually consuming it on Father’s Day morning or the wonderful aroma that greeted us after it had baked in the slow-cooker overnight. Spicy waves permeated every corner of the house as we woke and were reminded of what was for breakfast.

Hubby’s holiday breakfast had to be a peach one, of course, since we’re harvesting peaches from our third of six trees (three more to go) in the back yard. Few cooking decisions are made these days that don’t involve using peaches in some way.

Fortunately great peach recipes are everywhere. An Internet search turned up this one for Slow-Cooker Peach Breakfast from mnn.com. As the blogger who wrote about it stated, the dish made a great breakfast but just as easily could be a dessert. We crowned it with sugar-free whipped topping. It lasted us throughout most of the week, as it made ample.

Slow-Cooker Peach Breakfast

2/3 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk baking mix (I used heart-healthy Bisquick lowfat mix)
3/4 cup whole wheat buttermilk pancake mix (the recipe originator used Hodgson Mills brand)
4 eggs (or 1 cup egg substitute)
4 teaspoons vanilla
4 teaspoons melted butter
12-ounce can evaporated milk (I used fat-free)
8-10 peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Combine sugars and baking mixes. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add butter and milk. Mix well. Add peaches and cinnamon. Mix well. Pour into greased 6-quart slow cooker. Cover. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve warm. (Ours made 10-12 servings.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Warm Pear Salad makes a grand entrance at garden party

A new definition of garden party was born. For Father’s Day our daughter and I pooled the yield of our respective summer gardens to honor the fathers in our midst—a really memorable way to celebrate that dad-honoring day.

What a colorful table as fresh yellow squash, zucchini, onions, corn, and peaches were served in various dishes! 

My contribution was Warm Pear Salad with Walnuts and Parmesan Cheese, made with pears from our abundant pear tree. This year our faithful pear is trying to out-produce its garden-mate, the prolific peach. I plunked some sliced fresh pear slices into a skillet and sautéed them in butter and sugar until they were tender. 

The pears then were tossed with spinach, toasted walnuts, Parmesan cheese shavings, and a honey-mustard vinaigrette. It brought back memories of a Warm Pear Salad that an innovative chef served us only a few weeks ago during our joint family vacation in Hawaii. I was happy to attempt to recreate his dish on the U.S. Mainland and bring back happy memories of our visit.

Warm Pear Salad was just the right combination of sweet, salty, nutty, and leafy. It helped make some dads (other diners, too) pretty happy.

Warm Pear Salad with Walnuts and Parmesan Cheese

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
 juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 pears—peeled, cored, and cut into 1/3-inch slices
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar (or sugar substitute)
pinch of salt (or salt substitute)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Parmesan cheese, shaved to garnish
8 cups mesculun greens, washed and dried (I used fresh spinach)

In a small bowl combine vinegar, honey, mustard, lemon, salt, and pepper. In a small saucepan melt butter over medium-high heat. Toss the pear slices in the sugar and add to melted butter. Sauté pears until they are slightly caramelized but still firm. Add 3 turns of cracked black pepper and a pinch of salt. Remove pears from pan; keep warm. Add walnuts to the pan; toss in the remaining butter to coat and warm through. Toss greens in enough vinaigrette to coat them. Divide the greens among the plates. Top with the pear slices and walnuts. Shave some Parmesan cheese on top. Add extra vinaigrette if desired. Makes 4 servings. (Source: www.thedragonskitchen.com)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cucumber-and-tomato pasta trendy dish recalling earlier time

I couldn’t get it off my mind. All my life I had heard my mother and others of her generation speak of victory gardens, ration books, meatless meals, and shortages during the World War II years. My mother even worked as a ration-board clerk. As I grew up, stories of how the American cook had to stretch the food supply and be ingenious in the kitchen were legendary.

Just a few days back Hubby and I were on a vacation tour to Pearl Harbor in Honolulu. In the gift shop was the book, Cooking on the Home Front: Favorite Recipes of the World War II Years, by Hugh and Judy Gowan. Someone actually had put on paper a collection of those penny-pinching recipes that my mother and those who lived through those times mentioned. 

All during my trip through the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Missouri, the Bowfin Submarine, and other stops at the Pearl Harbor site, I thought about the cookbook. Then, at the very end of the tour, I returned to the gift shop, purchased it, and brought it home.

Here’s the first of those recipes for me to prepare. The topping of well-seasoned, diced cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes, and fresh parsley was so delicious, no one thought about the absence of meat. This dish was good hot or cold. (We had it as leftovers the second day.) I remarked to Hubby that this kind of veggie pasta seemed more like a trendy dish that one would cook today than a meal that would have been common 70 years ago. 

For a moment I caught a glimpse of how the homemaker of my mother’s era felt she was part of the pull-together effort that the Pearl Harbor museum described. 

Cucumbers with Pasta

1 pound cucumbers
1/2 cup chopped red onions
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1-1/2 pounds tomatoes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute) 
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
grated Parmesan cheese (I used shaved Parmesan)

Peel and seed cucumbers. Dice the flesh into 1/4-inch pieces; toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute), 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, and a dash of pepper. Let set for 20 minutes; drain. Peel, seed, and dice tomatoes; combine with cucumbers, onions, garlic, herbs, and olive oil. Boil spaghetti in several quarts of water until done. Toss the hot spaghetti with the cucumber and tomatoes. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Makes 6 servings.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Peach-and-tomato gazpacho makes refreshing summer cooler

You can’t capture summer in a soup bowl any more than you can with this Peach-and-Tomato Gazpacho with Cucumber Yogurt.

With our trees still almost bent to the ground with fresh peaches on their branches, this recipe was a welcome solution to use up some of that delicious harvest. The inclusion of ripe tomatoes (these were from the grocery’s produce department, but very soon we’ll have more than we can count from our own vines) made a nice pairing with the peaches.

Then we had the cucumber yogurt spooned on top. How heavenly! Yogurt with diced cucumber and fresh chives—it also would make a great dipping sauce for veggies.

With the summer temps now on the climb, this peach combination was a perfect and refreshing summer-evening meal. Cool to the bone!

Peach-and-Tomato Gazpacho with Cucumber Yogurt

5 large peaches, peeled and divided
3 large tomatoes, cored and divided
1/2 medium-sized sweet onion, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
3/4 cup finely diced English cucumber
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 garlic clove, minced
Extra virgin olive oil
garnishes: fresh chive pieces

Quarter 4 peaches and 2 tomatoes. Process quartered peaches and tomatoes and next 2 ingredients in a food processor until mixture is smooth. Chop remaining peach and tomato. Stir into pureed mixture. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Meanwhile in a medium bowl combine cucumber and next 3 ingredients. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste. Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours. (Chilling can dull the seasoning, so you may need to add more salt and pepper before you serve.) Ladle gazpacho into bowls. Spoon cucumber mixture over gazpacho. Drizzle each serving with about 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately. (Source: Southern Living June 2012)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Marinated Shrimp Salad with Avocado—summer food at its finest

This was as refreshing a summer salad as you could want—and talk about colorful! Red from the bell pepper and onion, green from the avocado plus salad greens, mint, and cilantro, and then orange sections—beautiful in appearance and delightfully healthy.

From my garden were the red onion and mint, although we expect the red bell pepper before the summer’s over. Shrimp and avocado have got to be one of the best combinations around.

To amp up the color one more notch I enjoyed serving this on my grandmother’s Fiesta dishes—not today’s new Fiesta so popular with brides but the authentic issue, which as a child I dined on at her table. Platters full of fried chicken were heaped on those plates once upon a time; today’s fare is a little more health-conscious, but the memories remain. What will our grandkids remember being served at our house?

Marinated Shrimp Salad with Avocado looks a lot more complicated than it is. All these steps are a breeze. As with the typical salad prep, the only time-consuming part is the chopping and slicing. It’s a goodie!

Marinated Shrimp Salad with Avocado

1 pound Perfect Poached Shrimp (see below)
4 oranges, sectioned
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
Citrus Vinaigrette (see below)
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce (I subbed spinach)
2 medium avocados, cubed

Citrus Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon country-style Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Perfect Poached Shrimp:
4 quarts water
juice from 1 lemon
lemon halves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt (or salt substitute)
2 pounds unpeeled, large raw shrimp (this recipe calls for 1 pound; you have 1 pound remaining for another recipe)

To prepare shrimp, fill a large bowl halfway with ice and water. Pour 4 quarts water into a Dutch oven; squeeze juice from the lemon into the Dutch oven. Stir in lemon halves, peppercorns, bay leaves, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; add 2 pounds (26/30 count) large raw shrimp. Cover and let stand 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Stir shrimp into ice water; let stand 10 minutes. Peel and devein shrimp.

For salad combine first six ingredients in a large bowl; whisk together ingredients for Citrus Vinaigrette and pour over shrimp mixture. Gently toss to combine. Cover and chill 4 to 24 hours. Place lettuce on a platter. Spoon shrimp mixture over lettuce. Reserve vinaigrette. Drizzle with reserved vinaigrette. Top with avocado. Makes 6 servings. (Source: Southern Living May 2012)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The essence of summer: homemade Peach Cobbler

When I want to find the best of the best in terms of recipes, I have an inviolable source: the cookbook produced by my former compadre, Ann Criswell, the revered longtime food editor of the Houston Chronicle.

For several years I was privileged to work in an adjacent office cubby with Ann, so she was always available to answer my food questions and more than willing to share recipes. 

I have about three of hers that are absolute favorites; when peach cobblers are concerned, I head straight to her cookbook, The Food Chronicles, which features her most stellar recipes of 30 years in the business. She ran this one in her weekly food section in 1986.

This cobbler meets all the requirements: flaky, tender crust and sweet filling stuffed with chunky, delicious peaches—in this case, the produce of our trees, which just keep churnin’ ’em out.

Hill Country Peach Cobbler

2 - 2 1/2 cups sugar (or sugar substitute)
1/3 cup cornstarch
8 cups sliced fresh or frozen peaches
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup melted butter
purchased crust or your favorite recipe for a 2-crust pie

In a large bowl combine sugar and cornstarch. Add peaches; toss to coat. Stir in extract and butter. Pour filling into a buttered 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish. (I divided mine into two square baking dishes.) Cut dough for crust into strips. Crisscross dough strips over filling. Brush pastry with melted butter; sprinkle with sugar. Bake in 400-dgree oven 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Makes 10 to 12 servings.
(Source: Candy Wagner, author of Cooking Texas Style, with recipe appearing in the Houston Chronicle 8/13/1986).

Monday, June 4, 2012

Melt-in-your-mouth Chocolate Pecan Waffles make a breakfast memorable

Pecans—love ’em and hate ’em. Love ’em right now because of the promise of many this fall. The past two years, our pecan crop (from our dozen trees) has been terrible. This year we are full of hope—mainly because everything else that grows on our property is doing so well. Lots of catkins (those stringy green/brown droppings that are part of the pecan’s growth cycle) have fallen everywhere around us. After reading lots of material on the Internet, I’m still unsure whether a ton of dropped catkins means pecans will be abundant of a particular tree, but I’m counting on a great harvest this fall to replenish our supply.

The downside is that when those trees shed in the spring, my eyes almost itch themselves out of their sockets. (That's the “hate ’em” part.) Usually my allergy to pecan sheddings puts me out of my contacts for weeks on end. I just stumbled onto some great over-the-counter anti-itch drops that have made a huge difference in this regard, but sometimes the physical price (itchy, weepy eyes) seems pretty high to pay to have those divine nutmeats just outside every door to our home in the fall. No true Texan would ever think such thoughts, but I understand why Hubby (sympathizing with my misery) sometimes entertains the idea of chopping them all down and replacing them with other fruit-producing trees.

So the nuts contained within this recipe still had to be storebought (for now), but these Chocolate Pecan Waffles reminded me of how lucky we were to once have bag on top of bag full of shelled pecans in our freezer.

Chocolate Pecan Waffles, which I made during Hubby’s recent birthday celebration, are just about the best waffles you’ll ever put in your mouth. Hubby thought this was a sufficient gift for him and that he needn’t receive another thing to have the best birthday on record.

The recipe hails from an old PTA cookbook that my mother was given shortly after she married and moved to Garland in 1941. Her down-the-block neighbor, Mrs. Bradfield, originated the recipe. Mrs. Bradfield was a mentor to my mother after she arrived in a new city. Mrs. B also was a great friend to me and always bought anything I had to sell (magazine subscriptions, band candy, etc.) as a school fund-raiser. Later on, Hubby and I purchased the old Bradfield home and kept it as rental property until we sold it some years later. I knew that this dish that brought us such a treat once had been prepared in that very kitchen that was our own for a time.

Later on, Chocolate Pecan Waffles was one of the featured recipes in my Way Back in the Country Garden cookbook—a great way to honor a former neighbor and to share a dessert that we were nuts, er pecans, over.

Chocolate Pecan Waffles

1 cup butter, melted
2 squares semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup milk (I use skim)
2 eggs, beaten (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
1 cup sugar (I use sugar substitute)
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped (or broken) pecans

In medium pan melt butter and chocolate squares. Remove from burner and cool. Add milk and beaten eggs. Add sugar, flour, baking powder. Fold in pecans. Pour mixture onto prepared, hot waffle griddle. Makes 4 servings.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Queen of Desserts—this Blackberry Cobbler gets my vote

Homemade blackberry cobbler—quadruple yum! Am I livin’ the dream, or what? . . . walking out to my own blackberry vines, hosing down those fresh berries in my own kitchen sink, laying them out on the bottom of an oiled dish, dusting on the sugar mixture, and lacing a lattice crust over the top. It made a beautiful cobbler on which we’ve been feasting for days.

This recipe, I’m proud to report, is from my very own cookbook—Way Back in the Country Garden. It’s the dessert that my cousins Bill and Jana brought to the meal served before Aunt Frances’ funeral three years ago. An absolutely superb and fail-proof recipe. I really think that Blackberry Cobbler must be the queen of desserts, rivaled only by homemade Peach Cobbler, which is upcoming soon on this blog.

It has reigned around our house for several days—best news yet, I divided the cobbler into two square pans and managed to squire one away for the days in which those vines of summer are a memory.

Blackberry Cobbler

2 quarts blackberries
2 cups sugar (or sugar substitute)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick butter
1 purchased pie crust, or crust made from your favorite recipe
melted butter for brushing crust
extra sugar (or sugar substitute) for sprinkling over crust

Spray with cooking oil a 13-by-9-inch baking dish (or two square baking dishes). Spread the blackberries into the dish. Mix sugar and flour; then sprinkle mixture over berries. Slice the stick of butter into 1/2-inch slices; then dot the butter pats over berries, sugar, and flour. Place pie crust strips in a crisscross pattern over the berries. Brush the crust with melted butter; sprinkle with extra sugar. Bake at 350 degrees until the cobbler is golden brown. Makes 6 servings.