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, September 28, 2012

Inspired by farmer's-market trip, Eggplant Parmesan is wonderful meal

Time for a farmer’s market trip; we arrived home with some lovely eggplant, among some other items.

I wasn’t just spilling over with recipes for fresh eggplant, but an Internet search turned up more than 250 of them from allrecipes.com

This one for Eggplant Parmesan with Easy Homemade Sauce made a delicious meal. I’m glad it yielded bunches so we have plenty left over for tonight.

It directed me to peel the eggplant and slice it into 1/2-inch rounds. A simple breading (which I made by blender-whisking pieces of wheat bread and Italian seasoning) coated the slices after they were brushed with olive oil. A quick homemade tomato sauce went over the breaded slices as they were baked in the oven with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese on top. I boiled a handful of eggless noodles to serve with the eggplant/tomato dish.

I didn’t have worlds of time to get dinner on the table, so I was glad this stirred up rather quickly. A great selection with our fresh-from-the-garden eggplant.

Eggplant Parmesan with Easy Homemade Sauce

1/2 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 eggplant, trimmed, peeled, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/2 cup olive oil
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 1/2 (6-ounce) cans water
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon brown sugar
sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 (8-ounce) package fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-by-14-inch baking dish. In a shallow bowl mix seasoned bread crumbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes. Brush eggplant sliced with olive oil; press into bread-crumb mixture to coat. Lay slices onto a baking sheet; bake in the preheated oven until browned and tender (about 15 minutes). Remove eggplant; reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. In a saucepan whisk tomato paste and water; place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Stir in basil, oregano, parsley, garlic, brown sugar, sea salt, and black pepper. Place eggplant slices into prepared baking dish; overlap the slices. Spoon tomato sauce over eggplant; top with mozzarella cheese and 3/4 cup Parmesan. Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. If desired broil for 1 to 2 more minutes to give the cheese topping a golden color. Let stand for 5 minutes before you serve. Makes 6 servings. (Source: www.allrecipes.com

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Nutritious meal-on-the-go—the colorful breakfast rollup

I love the way this recipe item was billed—as a nutritious, on-the-go breakfast treat for kids on school mornings “when singing ‘Kumbaya’ around the breakfast table just isn’t going to happen”, the magazine stated.
At our house we don’t have any racing schoolkids, but as grandparents we do plenty of breakfast “inhaling”. Lots of other meals, too. 

The photo on these Sausage-Egg Rollups (which I adapted and called Sausage-Egg-Tomato-Avocado Rollups) looked as though it would be a good comfort-food dinner item. Hubby sure gave it his heartiest “Like”. The addition of the chopped tomato and avocado brought the garden into it and just mellowed it out even more.

I loved the recipe’s suggestion about wrapping these in parchment for easier handling and then for freezing by popping them in a zip-top plastic bag. They keep in the freezer for about a month, it states—a great idea when company’s expected.

Sausage-Egg-Tomato-Avocado Rollups

1/2 pound ground pork sausage, browned and drained (I used turkey sausage)
5 large eggs (I used 1 1/4 cups egg substitute)
1 tablespoon milk (I used skim)
pinch of salt (or salt substitute) and pepper
3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
salsa of your choice
6 (6-inch) fajita-sized flour tortillas
chopped tomato
chopped avocado

Scramble eggs in nonstick skillet over medium heat to desired consistency. Divide sausage, scrambled eggs, cheese, and salsa equally among the 6 tortillas. Spoon ingredients down center of each tortilla. Add chopped tomato and avocado. Roll tortillas up. To make ahead, wrap in parchment paper. Chill in a zip-top plastic bag up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. If frozen thaw overnight in fridge before reheating. To reheat microwave at high 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. If freezing add tomato and avocado after you thaw and not before you freeze. Makes 6. (Source: Southern Living September 2012)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A veggie dressed-up topping for the standard spud

The prosaic baked spud got a makeover with the addition of some healthy, crunchy toppings.

In a recent issue of Southern Living readers were encouraged to think outside the spud with some “good-for-you” subs for the typical sour cream and cheese potato-toppers.

Roasted Vegetable Loaded Potatoes was the suggestion (out of four very good ones) I chose to try. I’ve never seen a baked potato emerge so dressed in its Sunday finest.

To a potato baked the standard way (I bake mine in the microwave, although some people prefer them cooked in the oven) you add chopped fresh cauliflower and Brussels sprouts along with sliced red onion, olive oil, and salt and pepper. All gets roasted in the oven for 25 minutes.

After all that’s done, I tossed in some raisins and walnuts and lite bottled vinaigrette dressing. This made a delicious, unusual side that was heaping with health and texture.

Roasted Vegetable Loaded Potatoes

3 cups chopped fresh cauliflower
2 cups sliced fresh Brussels sprouts
1/2 medium-size red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or salt substitute)
basic baked potatoes
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
2 tablespoon lite bottled Italian vinaigrette

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Toss together first 6 ingredients on a lightly greased 15-inch-by-10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare potatoes as directed. Bake cauliflower mixture with potatoes, 25 minutes or until cauliflower is brown. Stir once. Toss with raisins, walnuts, and vinaigrette. Spoon over potatoes. Makes 6 servings. (Source: Southern Living, September 2012)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Open foil packets to reveal a simple, dramatic salmon-and-green beans meal

Impressive! What a memorable presentation when you unfurl this entrée, Salmon Baked in a Foil Parcel with Green Beans and Pesto, to reveal a sumptuous, steaming, one-dish feast of fish and a fresh veggie.

The AARP’s recent magazine had as a dinner feature this easy-to-assemble delight. I liked the fact that this dish had enough panache for use at a dinner party but was simple and basic enough for a quick weeknight meal.

A little lemon juice squeezed on top of the fillet and some quality green pesto are all the adornments needed. In the interest of time I subbed some lemon-pepper seasoning for the green pesto. That seasoning in itself made the duo plenty tasty.

Opening the parcel at the dinner table is dramatic. The salmon and green bean combination is an excellent pairing. And we all need to eat more fish!

Salmon Baked in a Foil Parcel with Green Beans and Pesto

2 handfuls green beans
2 salmon fillets (4 ounces each), skin on, scaled, and bones removed
olive oil, as needed
sea salt (or salt substitute) and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon
2 heaping tablespoons green pesto

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim the beans by cutting off the stalk ends but leaving on the wispy tips. Halve the lemon. Take a yard of aluminum foil; fold it in half. Bring the narrow sides together to make 2 layers. Put a handful of green beans in the middle of the folded aluminum foil. Lay a salmon fillet, skin-side down, across the beans. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of green pesto on top. Drizzle with olive oil, squeeze the juice from one of the lemon halves over all, and season with salt and pepper. Pull the aluminum-foil edges together and scrunch them up to seal the parcel. Repeat these steps to make your second salmon-fillet parcel; place both foil parcels onto a sheet pan. Put the sheet pan in the oven and cook the parcels for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it stand for 1 minute before you carefully unwrap and check that the salmon is cooked through. Serve the parcels either on plates as they are or carefully unwrap them before you serve. Makes 2 servings. (Source: AARP The Magazine, September 2012)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Grilled tomato sandwich yummy to the last Goud-a bite

A grilled-cheese sandwich always will be one of my great loves. Give me a grilled cheese for lunch and I’m a happy camper any day. If I can’t figure out what to order on a restaurant menu, grilled cheese is my default button. 

The AARP magazine (one of the benefits of being that “certain age” is that you get to read this classy publication) recently featured an upscale G.C. that takes a healthiness detour. It combines grilled tomatoes with shredded Gouda over whole- wheat bread sautéed in olive oil. The Tomato and Gouda Grilled Cheese Sandwich is touted for its health benefits because it says cooked tomatoes have more healthful antioxidants than do raw ones. 

This made a wonderful lunch option for us. I was happy to eat it open-faced without the top layer of bread. This menu item was ready in minutes and was yummy to the last Goud-a bite. 

Tomato and Gouda Grilled Cheese Sandwich

1 medium vine-ripened tomato, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices (I used several Roma tomatoes)
3 ounces Gouda
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the bread
Kosher salt (or salt substitute) and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices whole-wheat bread

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the oil; swirl to coat. When the oil is hot, add the tomato slices; season tomatoes with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer the tomatoes to a plate. Use oil to brush the bread on both sides. Set 2 or 3 tomato slices onto 2 of the bread slices. Grate Gouda over the tomatoes; top with the remaining bread. Wipe out the sauté pan and place it over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the sandwiches; cook until the bread is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the sandwiches over and grill to brown on the other side, another 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 2. (Source: AARP The Magazine, September 2012)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Caramel Apple Muffins and promises of fall refresh the heart

What pleasant thoughts get conjured up by a magazine feature entitled “Apple Delights”! Who doesn’t feel hopeful reading about a variety of ways with apples? Fall and the promises it holds suddenly feel a lot closer when a recipe for Caramel Apple Muffins sits on my kitchen counter with ingredients for it gathered.

Muffins from this recipe appeared on the cover of the September issue of Southern Living magazine. Darling little muffins that resemble real caramel apples, with a nut-sprinkled caramel glaze on top and little twig handles for decor, were so appealing, I had to bake them first thing.

A basic muffin batter with 2 cups diced apples fills muffin cups, with a cinnamon topping sprinkled on before all is baked. Once removed from the pan these muffins remain top-side down. You melt the caramels and dip the bottom side of the muffin surface (yes, I did a double-take on that one, too!) and then roll this surface in nuts. I decided to forego inserting sticks or twigs and enjoy these without the dress-up, but the idea is cute indeed.

Not long after those delicious-beyond-words muffins popped out of the oven, our part of the world experienced a refreshing cool spell that put everyone in a better state of mind. Fall and its promises and Caramel Apple Muffins—they make the heart sing.

                                                               Caramel Apple Muffins

1 (8-ounce) container sour cream (I used fat-free)
1 cup sugar (I used sugar substitute)
2 large eggs (I used egg substitute)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used salt substitute)
2 cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apples
1 (14-ounce) package caramels
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1 cup chopped lightly salted roasted pecans (I used walnuts)
wax paper
food-safe twigs or craft sticks

Cinnamon topping:
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl prepare cinnamon topping by combining brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse meal. Set topping aside. Beat sour cream and next 3 ingredients at a low speed with an electric mixer 30 seconds or until all is blended. Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients. Add to sour-cream mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended. (Do not overmix.) Stir in diced apples. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 12-cup muffin pan. Fill muffin cups three-fourths full. Sprinkle with cinnamon topping. Bake at 375 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center emerges clean. Immediately remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely (about 30 minutes). Microwave caramels and cream in a microwave-safe bowl at high 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture is smooth. Stir at 30-second intervals. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until thick enough to coat muffins. Quickly dip bottom three-fourths of each muffin into caramel mixture; roll bottom half of caramel-coated portion of muffin in chopped nuts. Place muffins, caramel sides up, on lightly greased wax paper. (If caramel mixture begins to harden before you’ve dipped all the muffins, microwave mixture a few seconds to siften.) Insert food-safe twigs or craft sticks into caramel-covered portions of muffins. Makes 1 dozen muffins. (Source: Southern Living September 2012)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Colorful salad pizza is a meal in one

I had a new kitchen utensil and was eager to use it. My daughter had been to a party that featured cooking gadgets and had bought for me a chopping instrument to smooth out ground meat or turkey crumbles (see below). Accompanying my purchase was a featured recipe. Hubby and I were keeping the grandmunchkin over the weekend; I knew he liked pizza. I thought this salad pizza would be a good way to encourage his veggie intake.

It encouraged the rest of us as well. Wow, what a great dish—and an easy one. Refrigerated roll dough formed the crust. After browning the dough in the oven the cook piles on a sour-cream layer and then a cooked ground turkey mixture that has been stirred with salsa and seasonings; then the healthy toppings. After the crust nothing else gets baked. A wonderful, colorful meal is ready in minutes. 

Mexican Fiesta Salad Pizza

2 packages (8-ounces each) refrigerator crescent rolls
1 1/4 pound lean ground turkey
1 1/4 cups medium thick and chunky salsa
1 (1-ounce) envelope taco seasoning mix
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 cup sour cream (I used fat-free)
2 cups thinly sliced iceberg lettuce
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup pitted ripe olives, coarsely chopped
additional salsa (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll crescent dough; separate into 16 triangles. Arrange 14 of the triangles in a circle on lightly floured round baking stone (I used a regular, rectangular cookie sheet) with wide ends even with edge of baking stone and points toward the center. Place the remaining two triangles in the center; pinch seams to seal. Roll dough to create a smooth surface. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until dough is golden brown. Remove from oven; cool completely. In 12-inch skillet, cook ground turkey over medium heat 10-12 minutes or until it no longer is pink. Break turkey into crumbles. (Recipe recommends using a Mix ’n Chop cooking utensil that is sold by the recipe source, The Pampered Chef.) Drain if necessary. In a medium bowl combine salsa, seasoning mix, and garlic; mix well. Add to turkey in skillet; toss to coat. Spread sour cream over crust. Spoon turkey mixture over sour cream. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, and olives. Serve immediately with additional salsa, if desired. Makes 8 servings. (Source: The Pampered Chef.)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tomato-can label prompts a great veggie soup

Another of those unlikely places to find a great recipe—the label on the can of diced peeled tomatoes. The store brand, at that. But the recipe on the side attracted me with the words “Chunky Tomato Basil Soup”. It called for several items, including fresh basil and carrot, I already had on hand. I decided to give it a try.

End result: Hubby said it was one of the best soups he had in a long time. I cheated a little and added a few veggie leftovers, including some speckled butterbeans left from last week’s blog, to up the healthiness content.

This soup got better every day it sat in the refrigerator. We were so sad when we ladeled out the last few vegetable chunks and tomato broth. This is a dream recipe in terms of speed of preparation—lightning fast. Chopping the carrots, celery, and onion is the most involved part.

I’m already saving and freezing chopped vegetables for a repeat performance.

Chunky Tomato Basil Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14.5-ounce) cans No Salt Added Diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
salt (or salt substitute) and black pepper to taste

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat add oil and saute´ onion, celery, and carrots until all are tender—about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add the diced tomatoes, dried basil, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Ladle into bowls; garnish with fresh basil. Serve hot. Refrigerate any leftovers. Makes 6 servings. (Source: label for Kroger-brand No Salt Added Diced Peeled Tomatoes in Tomato Juice) 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A garden-fresh hot-dog topping to remember

I’m probably not the only one who has been trying to squeeze the last bit of life out of summer before fall sets in. Not that we wouldn’t like to jettison the summer temps that surged again late last week to turn Labor Day weekend into another oven. But the foods of summer—I wouldn’t mind keeping them around a while.

I saved my upscale hot-dog recipes for the holiday weekend that we just observed. “Build a Better Hot Dog” was the theme of a recent Southern Living feature that taught everyone how to dress up the average frankfurter.

Among the four dress-ups proposed I liked best the Greek-style version because it called for some garden-fresh elements—cucumber, lettuce (I used spinach), red onion, and tomato, along with fresh dill. A creamy sauce with Greek yogurt as its base accompanied a marinated salad-like topping. The recipe called for sun-dried tomato chicken sausages, but I used a simple turkey frank and a hoagie bun.

Previously Hubby might have turned his nose up at the thought of hot dogs for supper, but he consumed these eagerly and asked whether he could split a second one with me. In his mind this was a feast. I echo what the magazine reported—it was frankly delicious.

Greek-Style Dogs

1 (7-ounce) container 2-percent reduced-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon grated cucumber
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
salt (or salt substitute) and pepper to taste
4 sun-dried tomato chicken sausages (I used turkey franks)
reduced-fat hot-dog buns
toppings: shredded romaine lettuce, thinly sliced red onion, diced tomato, diced cucumber, bottled Greek dressing

Stir together yogurt, mayonnaise, grated cucumber, chives, dill, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Cook sausages according to package directions. Place sausages in buns. Top with yogurt mixture, lettuce, red onion, tomato, cucumber, and Greek dressing. Makes 4 servings.