Friday, May 27, 2011

Candy Corn!

Calling all corn lovers! Callin' all corn lovers!  COME AND GET IT! ding-a-ling-aling!
Y'all know who you are! hahah!

I'm talking about those who wait every year for Silver Queen or Golden Queen or any other sweet corn to finally come to market. Sweet corn, loaded in big coolers with tons of ice on top to keep it next to frozen. Oh, what a magical time at market. Everyone rushes to ya asking for 8 ears and some picky people shuck them right there, which I think is rude, and look at it and go to the next and shuck that one, you aren't picking out a Christmas tree or Wedding China, it's just sweet corn and it's gonna be good!

Those who love candy corn and johnny cakes or Hoe Cakes, hey!, that dear, ol' Paula Deen used to make.  Paula, I love you, but why didn't you come to meet me at your restaurant when I went to the Lady and Sons to drop off my spices and lollipops for you and your staff.  It was very rude of you not to even send me a thank you card.  I did travel from Caroline Co, Virginia all the way to Savannah, Georgia to see you. Where are your manners my dear! Ugh, when I'm big and famous, I'm gonna remember my fans who got me there.

Y'all who are nodding, salivating, or have shot your arm straight up in the air and said that's me! Oh ME! I love corn too! We have something in common.  I love corn!
Corn was the very first thing I remember eating at 11 months.  Homegrown sweet corn. Ain't nothing like it in the world! (sorry but I just had to use the words ain't and y'all when talking about corn).

So I ate my first ear of RAW sweet corn last night that I had picked up from market and then Usher song played in my head as the world melted away and I was left with all of the yummy sensations of eating raw sweet corn right off of the ear!

Oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh, oh my gosh!

to quote Usher or Will I Am from BEPs, who I think wrote the song but Ush sang it. Any who.  I'm sure neither hip-hop-popstars were talking about raw sweet corn when they laid down that track, hahah!

Talking about pop-songs, we have a song that we sing while washing our hands at GreenHearts Farm.  It's actually to the tune of Beyonce's All My Single Ladies.  We sing "all my dirty farmers, all my dirty farmer, all my dirty farmers put your hands UP!" While we are washing up in the utility sink.  Even my husband, VMI CLASS of 2002!!! sings this song, I think he actually started singing it first!  He's quite the clever minx.

How come no one has ever stopped me on the street and told me never to boil water for sweet corn.  People tell me the craziest things that I could never use and never remember either! Why wasn't something as important and life changing as this, one of the whispers in my ear, hahah! Dagnabbit, I had to wait almost three decades to figure this one out, on my own, out of sheer survival.

Last night, after my farmer's market, I was so hungry I just couldn't wait for the water to boil and the corn looked all lovely and the color of butter and I just went for it. I enjoyed it so much that I had to research immediately, before I shucked the second ear, so I could start gnawing on another ear knowing that it was not poisonous or deleterious to my body or whatevs.  I had to have more! I found out that people eat raw corn all of the time! and guess what?! 


So, now I have a new song in my head as I weed my no-till Silver Queen corn patches and irrigate them in today's Virginia simmering heat.  That Tim McGraw song.  I'm changing the lyrics to "watch my CANDY CORN pop up in rows, every night be tucked in close to YOU-O-oooo."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Farm Girl Glam!

Hi Friends! I don't really know why I have to blog about this but I just do! I feel like I have to pass it on to you and you and you! So a very Merry Unbirthday to you!  Here's my latest and greatest "and that's a good thing", hahah! Martha Stewart.  She and I have so many things in common, our love of lemons, and I really liked her crocheted shawl thing when she got out of jail.  She looked lovely and set a trend for like two years with that little number. You go Girl! Now, you know I don't agree with her business practices of the past and what landed her in jail but I think she is cute and quirky. And we all learn from our mistakes.  I'm not judging.

Back to why I brought you here, hahah!  Two words: Baking Soda. . .BAM!

Oh yes, baking soda is the word, haven't you heard?!  It's good for so many things, cooking kale and washing and exfoliating your face so you look Farm Girl Glam!  So get on your sundress, cowgirls, and but on your boots! Let's ham it up with this homemade recipe for baby soft skin!

Here are the deets. . .I made a paste with two tablespoons of baking soda and a wee bit of water.  Mixed it up and rubbed it gently on my face.  Then, using lukewarm water, I slowly massaged the paste, adding water until it was completely gone, like a one minute process. Towel dried, and VIOLA! Instant Farm Girl Glam that cost me mere pennies! Y'all, I'm serious. Baby soft skin!

Go out there and GLAM! and HAM! it up.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I dream in BBQ

Me stirring up a winner at the chili cook off!
I was hanging out with some of my nearest and dearest old friends at Benji's 30th birthday party on this Saturday past.  Everything was lovely, the conversation, the salad, the lighting. Just good friends having a grand time.  One of my dears, Jason, said the most extraordinary compliment to me. He said something like, "being different is just your thang, because you are Jenny Lane." Well, I've never been good at quoting what was said verbatim but I tell you, it made my glow. Thank you, Jason for making this little farm lady feel special.

As I write this now, I'm dreaming of big things like entering into a BBQ competition on my birthday, no less, with a vegan gluten-free BBQ recipe.  You may be asking yourself, How the heck does she think she's going to pull this one off?! And the answer to the question would be, well, I will bring the best recipe I can make with my spices and such and see if the judges like it as much as I do.

For lunch today I had vegan, gluten-free BBQ that I made using TVP, chopped apples, onions, parsley, homemade Carolina sauce with BANG!, grape jelly and a dab of peanut butter.  It was out of this world good.  I had to have seconds! Then thirds! I'm quite stuffed now and I don't feel like lifting a finger, well, only figuritively speaking that is, since I am typing away at my usual 110 words per minute. 

When home computers first came out, one of my favorite games was a typing game which would load words in the middle of the screen and you would have to type them as fast as your little fingers could click, clack and it kept me completely occupied for hours on end.  The second game I loved to play was BRICKS! I found out I have that game on my new phone.  The new version is way more challenging and not as mind numbing as I remembered.  I actually had furrowed brows and pursed lips as I played on my blackberry.  IT's JUST A GAME JENNY LANE! hahah!

Back to lunch, I'm not quite sure which recipe that I have created will be the one that I submit for final judging but I'm cooking up another one involving deep-fried pieces of gluten-free seitan and dipped in my smokey, grape jam sauce. I think that one will be the golden ticket. But we will see. The recipe for my famous chili was like this too.  Thinking and dreaming of what would highten the flavor experience so that the food is so delictable and hits every high and low note that it leaves you saying, "that is DANG! good. Hit me again!" And I would say, "with pleasure! KRAPOW!" and serve another heapin' helpin onto your plate.

I am literally dreaming in BBQ now.  I've had a couple of dreams where I was foraging for the best ingredients, sampling steaming wooden spoons, chopping and stirring. My dreams are staring into a deep silver pot looking at bubbling burgundy.  I dream in BBQ! WAHOO!

Monday, May 23, 2011

GreenHearts Farm is Making House Blessings

Birds and Bells
This Sari is on my Wishlist
Since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated and down right intoxicated by the sweet tune of brass bells clinking in the wind. What kind of childhood did I have you may ask, and indeed I'd answer a fine one.  In our quiet neighborhood that ran along one side of Lake Pelham in Culpeper, Virginia, we were quite an eclectic bunch of people, which is no wonder I like to cook the way I do.  Across the street we had the influence of Japan from one neighbor whose wife moved to the states to marry and make merry. Then we had childhood friends, Matt, G and Boo whose mother is from Lebanon and makes the most wondrous Lebanese food.  Our next door neighbors were from Pakistan and would fly these ginormous kites on Pelham View Drive that seemed to stretch to the sun.  I remember the father of Ravi, who was a little younger than myself, told me that when he lived in India he used to put glass on his spool of rope so when you were competing against the other kite flyers you could cut their lines easier.  I loved to imagine the place he had come from, battling kites, eating strong smelling foods, sari's and all of that jazz.
Kite flying in Pak

We would stand outside and watch him fly his kite while listening to the strands of hanging bells dance about in the wind whipped front porch and the whoosh, whoosh, whooooooosh of the kite as it would fly high and then take a dive.

Our neighbors had strands and strands of hanging birds and bells where most people would hang big, fat, green ferns in our neighborhood. I wasn't curious to know what these bells did but I remember loving them.  The first time I laid eyes on the hanging bells as an adult, I had to get one for me, and one for them, and one for her. and one for him.  It was the first World Market that I had ever been too and there was a little tag that said that these bells where handmade in Pakistan and that they are said to ward off bad spirits.  How romantic! Here all this time, I'd been looking for these bells and now I had them and there was actually great meaning and a story or a legend behind the love.  Oh, I was smitten for these little bits of whimsy.

For years now, I have given them to the brides and grooms as part of their wedding present. I think there is nothing more thoughtful, in my opinion.  Now they hang from my Farmer's Market tent to ward off bad spirits or negative people.  Everyone loves them and now, for the first time in my life. . . I'm going to attempt to make them. Wish me luck!

One of my Besties, Sarah, from Pakistan and me at Senior Prom!
Time to break out the refurbished sewing machine and begin to razzle-dazzle.  I'm through with playing in the garden for the day.  I wanna make some happy!

So let us give a cheer! To Happy Days and Happy Nights! And flying Kites!
ps~ I'll show pics as I progress. OOOOOOhhhhh! I'm so excited!

Hearts! with a little cow bell.
It's 12:17 am and I just finished my first! hahah! Talk about a project!  I think I may have to make them only in the winter because I got nothing done in the house while sewing and stringing.  It was sooo worth it though!
A closer look

Hip! Hip! Hooray!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dinner is Served. . .Feast Your Eyes On This!

I'm posting this with sticky fingers for this recipe is FABU! and you deserve to be razzle-dazzled! Consider it a belated birthday present for Gandhi, October 2nd, when you are savoring these glorious delights that I'm about to put to page.   We are having this scrumptious feast for dinner this evening, and you may be able to do so as well if you have some of these ingredients in your pantry.

I give you a bit of VAVOOM and vegetables! Bon Appetit!

Starting with the base, Tofu Scramble, then topped with a Sweet Potato Hash and I have added some fresh parsley for a fresh flavor from the GreenHearts Garden, chopped coarse, with dollops of the Great Pumpkin butter (but apple butter will do nicely), and to finish it off, some warm maple syrup and a tomato slice for flare. 

Tofu Scramble Ingredients
2 tsp. vegan butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 block of tofu, crumbled
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
fresh parsley, chopped coarse
1/4 tsp. salt
Heat butter in a large skillet and add garlic.  Sauté for 3 minutes and add onion.  Cook until the chopped onion is translucent.  Add crumbled tofu, spices and salt. Stir well so all of tofu is covered in spice.  Remove from heat and stir in parsley.  Serve warm on bottom layer.

Sweet Potato Hash Ingredients
2 medium sweet potatoes, shredded or grated
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
canola oil
In a bowl combine everything except oil.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add hash ingredients.  Cook at least 5 minutes on each side or until golden.  Place a half a cup of more serving in a tea cup and push it all together until packed.  Remove from tea cup and place on top of tofu scramble.  Arrange everything really pretty by sprinkling fresh parsley, dollops of pumpkin or apple butter, and a swirl of warm maple syrup.  Garnish top with parsley or tomato and enjoy warm.

I have my Spiced Nice Rice Pudding on the stove top for dessert for this fabulous feast.  So Happy Belated Birthday Gandhi.  Thank you for everything.
Jennifer Brooks Lane
GreenHearts Farm

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dog Treats and Healthy Eats

I have a funny story to share with all.  I just received a fantastic phone call from the Hubs. Lately, Chris was in receipt of coupons in the Post from McDonalds, how lovely.  He explained to me that he never gets to eat there and this little book was a treasure trove full of foods that he would like to indulge in today while he is out cutting wood for his grandmother on her farm, Rose Hill.  He decided that he would like to take our farm pup, Fally, with him on his little adventure and she loves to hang out with her daddy, ride shotgum and feel like queen for a day, as all daughters should, even fur-baby-girls.  Chris left the house asking me which sandwich had more fat, and what would be the lesser of two-evils, the Big Mac, (or Le Big Mac as we refer to it, thanks to Pulp Fiction's popularity many years ago) or the, well, I don't know, I wasn't paying much attention because I do not condone the consumption of junk food.  So I heard blah, blah, fat, blah, McDonalds, and so forth and so on.

As most of you well know, I adore food.  I love fresh vegetables of all colors of our blessed rainbow and I love them prepared in almost any fashion with loads of exotic spices, see my published works, hahah! I especially love noshing on foods with a purpose. To eat with great gusto, foods that will boost your immunity, improve your mood and mental function and give that much need uumph, when I am need of some uumph!

So, I received a phone call, a moment ago, from X (my abbreviation for Chris), which served as a complete ephiphany for him.  He had just cashed in on his coupons at McDonalds and he was giving one burger to Princess Puppy and he had one burger in his lap to enjoy as he shifted his farm truck along Number One Highway, Route 1, as he was making his way to Gran's.  Princess Puppy scarfs the sandwich down in three bites and looks at X like she is the saddest Princess Puppy that the world has ever known.  She lifts her big, brown eyes to her father, as if asking, "why would you daddy?" and falls immediately ill, losing lunch all over the interior of her chariot.  Don't worry the Lady is fine now and in full bark, but X will never be the same again.

He has informed me that he has a serious distaste for all things referred to as junk food and that he may never get over this experience.  Well, finally we are in agreement on one thing.Haha!  Fast, processed foods, packed with sugar, salt and weird, science fat are poison for your body. Whew! Thank you for this revelation! It takes a fur-baby to show my husband how toxic this stuff really is.

I am taking this opportunity to share with all of my friends and family some healing, helpful foods that are quite the opposite of  McDonalds (that ghastly place that X has sworn off of, even though he has BOGO, buy one get one free, coupons which appeal only to his frugality and nothing more.  So let us all raise our forks for today we dine on something divine!

Here's my list of veggie wonders that will help boost your immune system and polish up our bodies from the inside out, because as you know, I love all things lovely and refined, especially a little coat of gloss for our immune system during this season of colds, molds and all things that put our wondrous health on hold.

Here are the stars of the show: kale, red peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, squash and vegetables that are all beautifully colored in deep, rich reds, royal purples, thick, forest greens (like those pictured in Forks, Washington). They are living art and to eat them is like mining the most brilliant jewels for your collection which will bring your great fortune, as your health can be, for the future.  All of these vegetable beauties are wondrous to behold, then slice, steam, saute and eat with your T lymphocytes declaring war on all things foreign and immune suppressing in your lovely body.  Oh, our bodies and the food that we eat can be so amazing if you just give in to eating well. 

Here are the foods that should be shunned during times of rebuilding health: sugar, oh sugar, how you destroy and damage our immune systems, it should be well known how you disrupt our health, especially when we need it most during times of sickness.  Sugar comes in many forms and should be eliminated when we are feeling a bit frowny.  Avoid glucose, fructose (fruit sugars), sucrose (table sugar), simple carbohydrates, milk, fruit juice and alcohol.  These sugars impair white blood cells to reach their destinations and therefore suppress and depress our immunity even further.  So put down the chip, soda, Starbucks and McDonalds.  No more milk and cookies for you.  Not in time of war!

Attack back with your color wheel of vegetables!  So let's get cooking!  Grab your bag of kale and go to work.  Nosh on your carrots, cook a sweet potato and let it melt in your mouth.  Drizzle on the olive oil all over your fleshy tomatoes, basil and sea salt.  Have that buttery avocado with red onion and cilantro. 

Your health is wondrous. Enjoy it, improve it, and soothe it.  This is the only body you have so please take care.

With much love in my heart for you in this year and for always!