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.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fresh tomato and corn "Pico" and grits make delicious nest for poached-egg topping

I told Hubby he would laugh, laugh, laugh when he sat down to last night’s meal.

After all, when was the last time his dinner plate contained “porched” (as my mother called them) eggs? He decided I might have poached some eggs in early marriage. I was actually thinking I hadn’t dined on one since I was in kindergarten.

Anyway, the meal was a a Tex-Mex melange of some favorite things: cheese grits (who can beat it?), Pico de Gallo, poached eggs, and fried tortillas. The grits formed a birds’ nest for the remaining items.

Hubby looked at me as though I had made up the whole thing in a desperation dinner-time act, but I waggled in front of him the torn-out magazine page on which the combo was featured. “Just dig in,” I adjured. “You’ll be happy.”

The only part that took some assembly was the Pico de Gallo, which also was the element that added the most pizzazz. Fresh chopped tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, sweet corn kernels, onion, and avocados came together quickly and were refrigerated for a couple of hours for the items to get acquainted with each other. A simple cheese grits recipe (everyone’s recommending stone-ground grits these days) cooked and thickened on the stove. A poached egg cooked to the desired degree of doneness (I like mine pretty non-runny) is the top layer.

This was cute as could be and made a wonderful entrée. Hubby wasn’t laughing when he asked whether we’d have leftovers the next night. But he sure was smiling real big when I said yes.

Cheese Grits with Poached Eggs

2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoon table salt (I used salt substitute)
1 cup stone-ground grits
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) freshly shredded pepper jack cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
6 large eggs
Pico de Gallo (below)
tortilla strips

Bring milk, salt, and 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in grits; return mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and butter. Cover and keep warm. Pour water to depth of 2 inches into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and maintain at a light simmer. Add vinegar. Break eggs and slip into water, 1 at a time, as close as possible to surface of water. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or to desired degree of doneness. Remove with a slotted spoon. Trim edges if desired. Spoon grits into 6 bowls; top with Pico de Gallo, eggs, and tortilla strips.

Pico de Gallo

1 medium tomato, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh corn kernels
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon table salt (or salt substitute)
2 avocados, coarsely chopped 

Stir together first eight ingredients. Just before you serve, stir in chopped avocados. Makes 1 1/2 cups. (Source: Southern Living, March 2013)

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