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.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Grape and Feta Salad is naturally sweet and vitamin-loaded

This salad just about emptied the refrigerator, in a totally wonderful way. Green leafies, fruit, veggies—all things good for you, with a lively topping of nuts and vinaigrette dressing woven around it. Grape and Feta Salad is one of our best-ever, to my way of thinking.

I was looking for a different kind of salad that would use a bunch of fresh radishes that were lying around the vegetable bin and needing to be used in a food dish. I did an Internet search for salads using radishes and turned up Grape and Feta Salad, which called not only for my radishes but the contents of several other partial containers of items that awaited use.

Other than the perquisite chopping time, this vitamin-loaded salad was quick to prepare. Need to fill out the Easter menu with a colorful and nourishing side dish? This will do it for you.

Grape and Feta Salad

1 head iceberg lettuce, rinsed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces (I substituted red-leaf lettuce)
1 head leaf lettuce, rinsed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces (I substituted torn spinach)
2 carrots, sliced
8 ounces broccoli florets, chopped
5 radishes, chopped
3 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
1 pound red seedless grapes, sliced
1 cup sliced almonds
1 5/8 cups crumbled feta cheese
1 cup Greek vinaigrette salad dressing (your choice of prepared, low-fat dressing)

In a large serving bowl toss together the iceberg lettuce, leaf lettuce (or substitutions), carrots, broccoli, radishes, and tomatoes. Place the grapes on top. At this point if you wish, you may chill the salad until serving time. Just before serving sprinkle in the almonds and feta cheese. Toss with the salad dressing to taste, if desired. Makes 8 servings. (Source: allrecipes.com)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spiced muffins with crunchy topping headed for the Easter breakfast table

With a name that contains the word gingerbread, this recipe seems as though it would be relegated to Christmas. But I know what muffins will be on my Easter-morning breakfast table! These Gingerbread Muffins with Spiced-Nut Streusel are wonderful treats that are seasonless. Addition of the applesauce (and I stirred in some shredded apples as well) contribute to the moistness of this melt-in-your-mouth goodie.

The recipe appeared in a magazine article that featured lightened-up versions of old faves. The recipe says that it calls for half the standard amount of sugar and butter and that the applesauce and coffee add moisture without the extra calories. Instead of 1/2 cup applesauce I finely chopped one small apple and put it in a 1/2-cup measure; then I finished filling the cup with the remaining applesauce. Loved the random bits of shredded apple as I bit into my muffin.

These muffins freeze extremely well. The streusel topping is the crowning touch. Hubby was all a-twitter about these. I had to quickly get my plasticware tub filled with the to-keep muffins wrapped and stored in the freezer before he inhaled them all.

Gingerbread Muffins with Spiced-Nut Streusel

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar (or sugar substitute)
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
1 cup hot brewed coffee
1/3 cup unsulphured molasses
12 paper baking cups
vegetable cooking spray
Spiced-Nut Streusel

Spiced-Nut Streusel:
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup chopped lightly toasted pecans
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare Spiced-Nut Streusel by stirring together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and cloves in a small bowl; stir in pecans and melted butter until mixture is crumbly. For muffins process flour and next 5 ingredients in a food processor until ginger is finely ground (about 1 minute). In a large bowl beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until the mixture is creamy. Gradually add sugars; beat until light and fluffy. Beat in applesauce until all is blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Combine hot brewed coffee and molasses in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with coffee mixture. Begin and end with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Place 12 paper baking cups in a 12-cup muffin pan. Coat cups with cooking spray. Spoon batter into cups. Fill almost full. Sprinkle tops with with Spiced-Nut Streusel. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center emerges clean. Remove muffins from pan to wire rack and cool 10 minutes; serve warm. Makes 1 dozen. (Source: Southern Living January 2013)

With a name that contains the word gingerbread, this recipe seems as though it would be relegated to Christmas. But I know what muffins will be on my Easter-morning breakfast table! These are wonderful treats that are seasonless. Addition of the applesauce (and I added some shredded apples as well) contribute to the moistness of this melt-in-your-mouth goodie.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wholesome, vegetable-rich chicken soup is a guaranteed soother

Hurry spring, for real! We are SO over the plaints of winter—upper-respiratory woes that sneak in to steal our joy. For weeks our kitchen island has been lined with over-the-counter remedies and implements for salt-water gargle. Yuk!

But I’m here to report that chicken soup truly is the best solution, just like everyone’s grannies told them. This recipe, Granny’s Best Chicken Soup, didn’t originate with my granny but through an Internet search one evening when Hubby was in the throes of another sniffle. To the veggies called for I added some fresh green beans and green peas. 

This chicken soup indeed was a soother. We all felt better instantly. The fresh-made chicken stock was good by itself (inhaling it as it cooks is supposed to be just what the doctor ordered.) We recommend this even if everyone around your house is in the pink of health. It makes enough to freeze and store a batch for the next time you need this most basic of wholesome dishes.

Granny’s Best Chicken Soup

4 quarts cold water
1 (4- to 5-pound) chicken, quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 to 5 stems parsley
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt (or salt substitute)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Measure water into a large soup pot and add all the ingredients. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, then immediately reduce the heat and simmer for 3 hours. Use a spoon to frequently skim the soup as well as possible. Remove from heat and cool. Skim fat from the surface and strain the soup. Wash out the soup pot and return the strained stock to the pot.
Remove and discard bay leaf and parsley. Mash the carrots, celery, and garlic and stir them into the soup (or leave them whole, as I did). Remove the skin and bones from the chicken, chop the meat, and add it to the soup. (If the chicken meat has completely fallen apart, that's OK, too; just use as is, with bones removed.) Heat and season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Makes 12 servings (Source: http://www.yankeemagazine.com/recipe/for/grannys-best-chicken-soup/1347)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Blueberry Coffee Cake a healthy Easter-morning suggestion

On our spring break trip, which involved multitudinous miles of car travel, I wanted us to have a stupendous breakfast nibble.

The magazine in which I found the recipe for Blueberry Coffee Cake included it in the “lightened-up” category. Fat-free milk and fat-free yogurt, along with a generous addition of healthy blueberries, helped make this a guilt-free baked delight as the miles rolled along.

The blueberries are antioxidant-rich; the recipe is said to contain only 219 calories a slice. I think this would be a great Easter-morning goody as well, as we plan ahead for a holiday breakfast or brunch.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

1 large egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar (or sugar substitute)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl whisk together first 4 ingredients. In another bowl sift together flour and next 3 ingredients. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture just until dry ingredients are moistened. Toss 1 1/4 cups blueberries in 1 tablespoon flour; fold into batter. Pour into a lightly greased 9-inch springform pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining 1/4 cup blueberries. Stir together 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, sliced almonds, and cinnamon; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center emerges clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes; remove sides of pan. Makes 10 servings. (Source: Southern Living January 2013)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Taco Salad with fresh veggies ranks high among time-honored food favorites

In trying to find the most on-trend recipes and the freshest new ideas for the table, I tend to forget my old standbys. This week a trip to a Tex-Mex restaurant at which I dined on a really excellent taco salad prompted me to pull out a recipe from days gone by—truly the best at-home-made taco salad I’ve ever tasted.

That was in the pages of a recipe book called The Food Chronicles, compiled by my longtime co-worker Ann Criswell from the best of her recipes during her legendary tenure as Houston Chronicle foods editor. She often brought this salad to serve her fellow laborers; it was a crowd-pleaser.

Layers of fresh lettuce and tomatoes, South-of-the-Border seasoned ground beef (I used ground turkey), chips, and tomatoes-and-green chilies cheese sauce (the latter two layers served warm) make this recipe a mouth-watering delight. So glad I ventured back to find this familiar favorite to liven up our dinner table.

Taco Salad

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
salt (or salt substitute) or freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chili powder
6-8 dashes ground cumin
1 (1-pound) box pasteurized processed cheese spread loaf
1/2 (10-ounce) can tomatoes with green chilies
1 head lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
2 medium-size tomatoes, chopped
1 (6-ounce) bag corn chips, crumbled

In large skillet brown meat well; then drain grease. Stir in bell pepper and onion. Add salt and black pepper. Brown a few minutes more. Stir in chili powder and cumin. Meanwhile, melt cheese in a saucepan over very low heat (or in microwave); then stir in tomatoes with green chilies. In large bowl layer in this order: lettuce, chopped tomatoes, corn chips, hot meat mixture, and hot cheese mixture. Serve immediately. Makes 4 to 6 servings. (Source: The Food Chronicles)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Eager for spring? Spring Salmon and Vegetable Salad brings in the season.

Not rushing the season or anything (our temps still say otherwise), but a serving of this crisp green Spring Salmon and Vegetable Salad certainly did remind us that wondrous spring is right around the corner.

The most recent issue of Southern Living popped into my mailbox a few days ago; this recipe that featured broiled salmon nuggets and a refrigerator-crisper bin of items such as asparagus, radishes, and edamame really called to me to jump into immediately. Not only was this jewel prep-time fast, it also was a bright garden full of health and flavor.

The Creamy Herb Dressing made from buttermilk, mayo, and fresh herbs was the crowning touch on this menu item, which was pulled together in 20 minutes, just as the magazine article advertised. Perfect time-frame for my life!

Spring Salmon and Vegetable Salad

1/2 pound fresh asparagus
1 cup sugar-snap peas
1 1/4 pound skinless salmon fillets, cut into 2-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups chopped romaine lettuce hearts
1/2 cup uncooked shelled fresh or frozen edamame, thawed
1/4 cup sliced radishes
Creamy Herb Dressing (see below)

Preheat broiler with oven rack 6 inches from heat. Snap off tough ends of asparagus. Cut asparagus into 1-inch-long pieces; cook with sugar-snap peas in boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Plunge into ice water; drain. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper; broil on a lightly greased rack in a broiler pan for 3 to 4 minutes or to desired degree of doneness. On a serving plate arrange lettuce, edamame, radishes, asparagus mixture, and salmon. Drizzle salad with dressing.

Creamy Herb Dressing:
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (such as mint, dill, and chives)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt (or salt substitute) and pepper (to taste)

Whisk all ingredients together. Chill 30 minutes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings. (Source: Southern Living, March 2013)