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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grilled Corn-and-Butter Bean Salad—love it, love it!

When I saw the recipe for Grilled Corn-and-Butterbean Salad, I had to try it because of my Aunt Frances’ stories about canning butter beans from her victory garden during World War II.

In my cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, I share Aunt Frances’s recollections about working for hours alongside her friend Olive as they put up vast amounts of fresh butter beans from the garden Uncle Herbert planted. 

I’m not sure how many helpings of butter beans I’ve consumed in my lifetime; we certainly never have planted any to grow in our garden. But the recipe said using frozen ones would be OK, so Hubby picked some up from the store for me and I plowed ahead. I had the requisite corn left over from the Mexican-Style Grilled Corn that I blogged about last week.

This was a most unusual and enjoyable salad that got better as it aged. (No wonder the recipe said you could store it in the refrigerator up to three days. At three days of life it was still going strong in terms of flavor.)

Red onion, red bell pepper, chopped fresh basil, and halved grape tomatoes are some other infusions of freshness that made this little stir-up spring alive. The magazine featured this as a side dish for a fish fry. We served it as a main course with only a side of roasted potatoes added.

Grilled Corn-and-Butter Bean Salad

1 (16-ounce) package frozen butter beans (can also use fresh butter beans)
4 ears fresh corn, husks removed
1 large red onion, cut into thick slices
1 large red bell pepper, cut into thick rings
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup halved grape tomatoes

Cook butter beans according to package directions; drain and cool completely (about 20 minutes). Meanwhile preheat grill to 350 to 400 degrees (medium-high) heat. Grill corn, covered with grill lid, 15 minutes or until done. Turn every 4 to 5 minutes. At the same time grill onion and bell pepper, covered with grill lid, 5 minutes on each side or until tender. Cool all vegetables completely (about 20 minutes). Cut kernels from cobs. Discard cobs. Chop onion and bell pepper into 1/2-inch pieces. Stir together mayonnaise and next 5 ingredients. Stir in tomatoes, corn kernels, and onion and pepper pieces. Add salt or salt substitute to taste. Cover and chill 2 to 8 hours before you serve. Store in refrigerator up to 3 days. Makes 8 to 10 servings. (Source: Southern Living July 2012)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole powerfully addresses comfort, leftovers

Sometimes comfort food is just called for—especially at the end of a wearisome week. Having half a head of broccoli left over from my Slow Cooker Broccoli-Cheddar Soup of last week’s post sped the whole idea along. Having a plastic container filled with shredded, cooked chicken bits also contributed to the plan.

A small Internet search turned up Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole from www.skinnytaste.com. I was ready to go to work on this combo of comfort/broccoli/and chicken. The recipe proclaimed it to be “a simple dish the whole family will love–even the little ones!” The little one that has a standing grandparental visit on Friday nights made that a true statement. He loved it as we did.

No-yolk noodles, a creamy sauce of fat-free chicken broth and skim milk, and reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese were the pull-togethers for this lightened version of an old standby. I love recipes (as this one did) that call for breadcrumbs, since I can retrieve from my bread bin a couple of leftover heels I have stashed away and pulse them in a blender to make the topping.

We were comforted; good use was found for leftovers. Happy us!

Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole

6 ounces noodles (I used no-yolk)
2 teaspoons oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
12 ounces fresh broccoli florets, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium shallot, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cups fat-free chicken broth
1 cup 1-percent milk (I used skim)
12 ounces cooked shredded chicken breast
4 ounces shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
cooking spray
3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons seasoned breadcrumbs (I used whole wheat)

Cook noodles in water until al dente, or slightly undercooked by 2 minutes. Set aside. In a large skillet heat oil. Add garlic; cook over medium heat until golden, about 1 minute. Add the broccoli and a little salt; sauté and cover the broccoli for about 3 minutes on medium heat until the broccoli begins to soften. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use cooking spray to lightly spray a 12-inch-by-9-inch casserole dish. In a large pot heat butter over medium-low heat; when butter is melted add the shallot. Cook until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add the flour and a pinch of salt (or salt substitute) and stir well. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth until it is well combined over medium heat; whisk well for 30 seconds; then add milk and bring to a boil. Simmer on medium heat; mix occasionally until it thickens (about 6-7 minutes). Remove mixture from heat and add reduced-fat sharp Cheddar and 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese. Mix well until the cheese melts. Add to the sauce shredded chicken, noodles, and broccoli; mix well until they are evenly coated. Pour into a casserole dish; top with Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little more cooking spray on top; bake for about 20-25 minutes. For a few minutes place the casserole under the broiler to get the crumbs crisp and golden (careful not to burn). Makes 6 servings. (Source: http://www.skinnytaste.com)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Slight drop in temps summons Soup Night and Slow Cooker Broccoli-Cheddar

Soup Night in the middle of August? Yes ma’am/sir, we had one of those. A few days ago we experienced a brief break from our outdoor ovenlike temps, with a slight nip of fall in the air—a promise that we won’t always be roasting. Seemed like a good prompt for some slow-cooker soup.

I got a great recipe from a magazine ad by cabotcheese.coop; it featured the most gorgeous photo of Slow Cooker Broccoli-Cheddar Soup. I grabbed some fresh broccoli from the grocery and got these ingredients stuffed into my crockpot in a flash.

The outcome was major-delicious. A few days ago soup would have just added to the misery everyone felt from the sweatbox outdoors, but on this little jewel of a cooler day, dropped into the middle of a heatwave, it was a perfect dinner item.

Back-to-school’s on Monday; can a little bit of autumn be very far away?

Slow Cooker Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

2 tablespoons salted butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 (14.5-ounce) cans chicken broth (or homemade chicken broth)
2 cups peeled and diced boiling potatoes
3 cups broccoli (chopped florets and thinly sliced stems)
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
12 ounces sharp cheddar, grated (about 3 cups)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
ground black pepper to taste 

In a large skillet over medium-high heat melt butter. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until tender and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds longer. Gradually whisk in 1 can broth and stir until mixture is simmering and thickened. Transfer onion mixture to slow cooker. Add potatoes and remaining can of broth; stir to combine. Cover and cook on high setting for 2 hours or until mixture starts to simmer. Stir in broccoli and evaporated milk. Cover and cook 30 minutes longer or until broccoli is tender. Add cheese and stir until it is melted. Stir in lemon juice; season with pepper. Makes 6 servings. (Source: Southern Living January 2012 advertisement—in the recipe, Cabot brands are recommended)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mexican-style Grilled Corn--a great serving of summer’s gold

Corn, marvelous corn. Hubby had toted home a bucket-load of it and filled the refrigerator’s vegetable bins. I loved the grocery circular’s recipe for Mexican-style grilled corn, designed to be served with a wonderful creamy coating mixture of sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, and cilantro. But I didn’t want to fire up the outdoor grill just for roasting some ears.

The recipe suggested that as an alternate to grilling, simply cook the corn in a cast-iron skillet set over high heat. That I could do. Then in the end, you take the grilled corn and toss it in the bowl with the mayonnaise mixture to give it an even coating. This is the type of corn that the recipe says you see as South-of-the-Border street food—often served on a stick to simplify the act of walking around with this portable snack.

Best thing was (besides the coated grilled corn being a delight) you could set aside some of the mayo/sour cream/cilantro mixture as a dip for veggies after you used the other portion to surround the corn. Great dip!

Mexican-style Grilled Corn

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream (I used fat-free)
1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup lime juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 ears corn, husked
lime wedges, for serving

In a large bowl combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, cheese, lime juice, and cayenne. Preheat a grill to high (or heat up a cast-iron skillet). Brush the corn with vegetable oil. Grill the corn; turn every minute or two, until it is lightly charred in places, about 5 minutes total. Toss the grilled corn with the mayonnaise mixture. Serve immediately with lime wedges and plenty of napkins. Refrigerate any leftovers. Serve 8. (Source: Kroger grocery circular)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rethinking the BLT: never better than in this salad

Who doesn’t love a BLT sandwich? On Sunday nights during my growing-up days, Bacon-Lettuce-Tomato on toasted bread with mayonnaise slathered on was a staple. Years had elapsed since I’d had one of these productions. So a sweet reminder of that childhood icon surfaced recently in a magazine article on options for the summer’s tomato crop—BLT Salad!

O, was this reinvented BLT sandwich ever yummy! The only change I made from the magazine recommendation was that I diced the bread into chunks to use as croutons in the salad instead of serving it as wedges on the side. The dressing of mayo/lemon juice/garlic tossed around the greens, tomatoes, and bacon slices was the tangy crowning touch.

Before long we’ll be missing those tomatoes of summer (although Hubby plans a fall crop just as soon as this summer’s broil gives way to more garden-worthy days). How great to have this BLT Salad as a remembrance of summer’s last tomato gasp.

BLT Salad

6 artisan bread slices, halved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided (I used salt substitute)
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
6 thick applewood-smoked bacon slices, chopped (I used turkey bacon) 
1 sweet onion, halved and sliced
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 pound assorted heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 (5-ounce) package arugula (I used spinach)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle bread slices with oil; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoons each kosher salt and pepper. Bake bread in a single layer in a jelly-roll pan 12 minutes or until golden. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until crisp. Drain on paper towels; reserve 1 tablespoon drippings in a skillet. Sauté onion in hot drippings over medium-low heat 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Smash garlic to make a paste. Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic paste, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. (If you want the dressing a tad thinner, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water.) In a large bowl toss together tomatoes, arugula, bacon, onion, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour mayonnaise mixture over tomato mixture; toss to coat. Serve immediately with toasted bread. Makes 4 servings. (Source: Southern Living July 2012)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Joy in the the simple wonders of Fried Corn

When our one-and-only son shows up in town on a business trip and journeys out to stay with the parents, we don’t have to ponder long to hatch up a meal idea. Meat loaf, creamy mashed potatoes, fried okra, cornbread—his faves make menu planning a breeze. Just the simple things of life, over and over again, served amid the delight of having him home, even if for only one night.

Since sweet corn is plentiful in the grocery produce bins right now, a simple side to go with this simple meal was easy—Aunt Bonnie’s recipe for Fried Corn. My latest cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, presents this beloved recipe as it tells how she lovingly prepared it for Hubby after we first were married and she learned how much he adored it. Although it was included in the cookbook, I never had featured it in this blog, so the recent meal for our son gave me a great excuse to cook it again and to celebrate it here.

Eight ears of the freshest corn are shucked and the kernels removed. The cook mixes milk, salt, and pepper into the bowl containing the corn and in a heavy skillet melts 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) of butter. After the corn becomes tender from being “fried” in the butter, the cook stirs in eggs and lets the mixture cool. This makes a dish that’s wonderful beyond belief and can bring forth more admiring comments than can the fanciest, most ingenious side.

Hubby and I never sleep as sweetly as we do when loved ones rest under the same roof. A fulfilling meal and a good night’s sleep—thank the Lord for the simple things.

Fried Corn

8 ears fresh corn
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons butter
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)

Cut corn from cob and add milk, salt, and pepper. In a heavy skillet melt butter. When skillet is hot, add corn. Cook until tender (this can take anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes). Stir occasionally. Remove from burner, add beaten eggs, and blend well. (Makes 8 servings.)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tomato parfaits? Last of the garden yield hops right into these treats

The last few tomatoes of summer just had to have a worthy adios. I had pledged to save this recipe for the next time I needed an inventive New Year’s Day black-eyed pea recipe, but the tomato topping just begged for this to be a summer recipe. Just before the last of our tomato vines were pulled up, we found a few remainders of the red fruit. Into this recipe for Hoppin’ John Parfaits they went.

How cute! Layers of black-eyed peas, rice, a tomato-green onion-celery salsa mix, turkey bacon bits, and pepper Jack cheese all stacked up in a parfait glass. This parfait wasn’t a dessert at all but was a lively entree, although it just as easily could have been a salad or a side.

So long, tomatoes (although we well may plant a fall installment after the drought leaves us). High produce prices spawned by the national weather nightmare may drive a lot more folks to grow their own this fall. Hoppin’ John Parfaits helped create a noteworthy parting for our summer crop.

Hoppin’ John Parfaits

1 cup uncooked basmati rice
3 bacon slices (I used turkey bacon)
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 (15.8-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 cup water
1 large tomato, finely chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded pepper Jack cheese

Prepare rice according to package directions. Meanwhile cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium-high heat 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon and drain it on paper towels. In skillet reserve 1 tablespoon drippings. Crumble bacon. Sauté onion and jalapeno pepper in hot drippings for 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned; stir in black-eyed peas and 1 cup water. Reduce heat to medium and simmer; stir occasionally for 5 to 7 minutes, or until liquid has almost completely evaporated. 
In a small bowl stir together tomato and next 5 ingredients. Layer black-eyed pea mixture, hot cooked rice, and tomato mixture in 12 (7-ounce) glasses. Top with cheese and crumbled bacon. (Source: Southern Living April 2012)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sweet Potato Cornbread—just thinking about it spices up the day

The okra is in. If anyone can bear the heat to undertake it, snipping some of the baby okra outcroppings is a ready task out there among the okra rows. We just had to dine on fried okra for dinner to celebrate a few (a very few. No one wanted to linger in the 109 degrees.) of the new arrivals.

For more than half the year I had been saving a recipe for the perfect accompaniment to fried okra: Sweet Potato Cornbread. With two cups of cooked mashed potatoes and pumpkin-pie spice, this bread just had to be delightful. I had imagined all the spicy goodness emerging from the oven as it baked and the aroma infiltrated every corner of the house.

The addition of self-rising cornmeal, eggs, sour cream, and butter guaranteed that the bread would be moist and not have the dryness that sometimes is a turnoff with cornbread. A dash of sugar substitute would deliver just a touch of sweetness. The recipe said hands-on time was 15 minutes—an easy food item to prepare, compared to the end-result enjoyment.

A new season of okra never went on the table amid such fanfare. Sweet Potato Cornbread and fried okra made for a Southern summer dinner experience; we just loved the flavor and moistness of this substantial bread.

Sweet Potato Cornbread

2 cups self-rising white cornmeal mix
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
5 large eggs
2 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pound sweet potatoes)
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl stir together first 3 ingredients; make a well in the center of mixture. Whisk together eggs and next 3 ingredients; add to cornmeal mixture. Stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into a lightly greased 9-inch square pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 6 servings. (Source: Southern Living January 2012)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tomato-Peach Preserves—atop chicken, waffles, fondue, you name it

I had committed the ultimate foods-blogger goof: I had forgotten to photograph my food item before it was consumed. I had made jars of Tomato-Peach Preserves as gifts for some folks on our recent Colorado trip but hadn’t snapped the “blog shot” before I handed the jars off to recipients. How could I expect to display the ultimate yumminess of this great recipe?

Then I remembered a cute little presentation of chicken and mini-waffles that I had seen in a magazine. When we visit our son in Phoenix, he takes us to a memorable soul-food eating establishment that specializes in chicken and waffles. I had wanted to try to replicate that dish.

Wouldn’t some of my Tomato-Peach Preserves be just dandy topping the mini-waffle bites? In the fridge I had just a few remaining tablespoons of the preserves I had kept for our own enjoyment. I didn’t have a whole jar to photograph, but I could use a few scoops atop the waffles and throw myself a save.

So, long-story short, this blog isn’t about chicken and waffles (although Southern Living’s April 2012 issue tells you how to make the ones pictured above). This blog is about the Tomato-Peach Preserves that adorn the waffle morsels. I can’t tell you what a great (though unlikely) combination the tomatoes and peaches make for preserves. Since this is a refrigerated preserve recipe, the mixture doesn’t require the usual boiling-water bath and needs only to be scooped into sterilized jars, so preparation’s a breeze. (The mixture stores up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.) It also cooks in minutes in the microwave.

Tomatoes, peaches, and the rosemary that spiced it up—all were from our garden. (On our recent trip, one family member even tasted it alongside some cheese fondue and pronounced it a great pairing.)
Easy preserves, indeed.

Tomato-Peach Preserves

2 1/4 cups peeled and diced peaches
2 1/4 cups seeded and diced plum tomatoes
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 (1.75-ounce) package powdered fruit pectin
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In a 4-quart microwave-safe glass bowl stir together peaches tomatoes, sugar, lemon juice, and fruit pectin. Microwave at high for 8 minutes (mixture will boil). Stir mixture and microwave at high 12 to 16 minutes or until mixture is thickened. (Mixture should be the thickness of pancake syrup. After it cools and chills, it will thicken to soft-set preserves.) Stir rosemary and pepper into warm preserves. Cool mixture completely (about 2 hours). Serve immediately or cover and chill preserves in an airtight container until ready to serve. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 3 cups. (Source: Southern Living August 2011)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mission accomplished—homemade peach ice cream churned and consumed!

Summer was clicking along, and no rite-of-passage homemade peach ice cream had slipped over our tastebuds yet. A travesty.

All those peaches—we had been drowning in them, as this blog has reported. All those recipes for peach endeavors, but no homemade peach ice cream had been churned and enjoyed. With this omission, how could we still be living and breathing?

Aha, a loved one to the rescue! During our recent trip to Colorado (and may I say cool Colorado! At the risk of being lynched by some charbroiled Texans and Midwesterners right now, for three straight mornings we woke up to 44-degree mountain temps) a family gathering solved this dilemma. My sister, Cathy, produced some of the finest homemade peach ice cream that Hubby and I have ever experienced. Cathy was kind enough to copy down her recipe and send it home with me.

Quickly, back in Texas, we had to stir up some of our own. Wish I could say it permanently soothed the byproducts of our murderous heat, but for a few brain-freeze minutes it definitely eased the pain.

I liked this recipe because it called mostly for sugar substitute (I used Splenda-brand sweetener) and because it didn’t require the mixture to chill in the fridge for several hours before you churn it. Immediately after I blended all the ingredients, it headed straight for the electric ice-cream freezer to do its work. Perfection resulted!

OK, summer, you can head out of town now (and take your broil-setting with you). Homemade peach ice cream consumed!

Cathy’s Peach Ice Cream

1 quart chopped and mashed fresh peaches
1/4 cup sugar substitute
1 quart half and half
3 eggs (I used 3/4 cup egg substitute)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup sugar substitute
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute) 
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pint whipping cream
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

In a medium mixing bowl mix mashed peaches and 1/4 cup sugar substitute. Set aside. In a small saucepan scald half and half. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs, 1/3 cup sugar substitute, sugar, salt, vanilla, and whipping cream. Add half and half and mashed peaches. Pour into canister of ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Makes 8 servings.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Relish to remember—Pickled Peppers & Onions

I didn’t have the proverbial peck of pickled peppers, but I did have a nice quart jar full—and they sure livened up dinner last night. 

The green peppers and red onions in the mixture were from our garden; red and yellow peppers, from the grocery produce department. They all combined to make a great topping for an open-faced barbecue chicken sandwich.

The recipe for Pickled Peppers & Onions said to cover and chill the ingredients for 24 hours after the relish is made. I was overly eager and thus used it to accessorize my chicken only a couple of hours after I stirred it up. It already was plenty tangy. (Can’t wait for tonight after these goodies have had lots of hours to talk to each other.)

And talk about colorful! I loved the appearance of these veggies in a clear jar. I shredded some meat off a deli rotisserie chicken from the grocery and draped everything over some toasted whole-grain bread; we were in business for a simple summer supper. 

Pickled Peppers & Onions

1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
ice water
1/2 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1/2 green bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1 cup white vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar (or sugar substitute)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 cup water

In a small bowl soak onion slices in ice water to cover; soak for about 10 minutes; drain. Place onion slices and bell pepper strips in a 1-quart canning jar. In a small nonaluminum saucepan bring vinegar, next 3 ingredients, and 1 cup water to a boil. Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Pour hot vinegar mixture over vegetables in jar. Let stand, uncovered, 1 hour. Cover and chill 24 hours. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week. Makes 1 quart. (Source: Southern Living January 2012)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Honey of a salad recalls days gone by

“This is just like a salad my mother used to make.”
“No, this is a perfect imitation of my grandmother’s salad.”

So went the conversation between me and Hubby about the Honey Apple Salad that we tried out at dinner a couple of nights ago. (Lots of chopping was involved, so when Hubby appeared at the door with his genial “What can I do to help?”, you better believe I shoved the cutting board and knife under his nose promptly.)

But on two things about this dish we did agree: (1) It truly was a honey of a salad, and (2) We surely were glad that on our blitz through Oklahoma recently, we had stopped by the Chickasaw Nation Nutrition Services to pick up some of its new, complimentary recipe cards. I get a lot of cooking ideas, such as this one, from that great source.

Apples, grapes, celery, and golden raisins (the recipe called for chopped prunes, but raisins already were on the shelf) with a light, honey-sweetened dressing—summery to the (apple) core. Honey, er Hubby, kept marveling that the dressing prevented the apples from turning brown. Chopped walnuts were dotted on top.

And, to solve the little debate between us, the recipe certainly must have been a throwback to the past. Considering the ingredients, we could be certain that some version of Honey Apple Salad had been on the tables of many family cooks that have gone before. We were glad it was a classic recipe that lived on to brighten the table on this hot summer night in 2012.

Honey Apple Salad

3 1/2 cups diced apples (we used Golden Delicious)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups grapes, sliced
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped prunes (I subbed golden raisins)
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

In a large bowl toss apples with lemon juice. Add grapes, celery, and prunes. In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, honey, and sour cream. Mix well. Pour mayonnaise mixture over the apple mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle with walnuts. Makes 14 1/2-cup servings.