Friends visiting from out of town in front of ‘the corn’, sweet corn pudding with fresh blackberries, Bella-boo kitty peeking out from under the bathroom sink, and a butterfly on wild Echinacea.
As someone who has lived most of her life in small towns or suburbs, I have found living in the country agrees with me in so many ways. Besides the benefit of neighborly black Angus cows nodding at me over their fence as I sit on my porch drinking my early morning cup of coffee, the freedom to raise farm animals and grow wild gardens without breaking residential codes, and the opportunity to see wide open sky and and tangled meadows growing along our wandering creek, I have found one aspect of living on a farm that I had not counted on: BARTERING! The unspoken bartering system is alive and thriving in East Cornfield, Indiana.
For instance, when our driveway was covered in two feet of snow last winter, the farmer down the road plowed us a way out, and in turn we baked him several batches of his favorite chocolate chip cookies. A tree blew down in our backyard this spring and our widowed neighbor chugged down the road in his back-hoe and made short duty of removing it. He also received home-baked goodies and a meal or two. He does appreciate a home baked meal now and then.
So, when my 71 year old friend Joy Jean called me up one afternoon and asked if I would like some fresh picked sweet corn I eagerly said “for sure”! I could always use a few bags of corn. She told me her friend Sandy’s farm had a miraculous (raccoons hadn’t gotten into it) abundance of sweet corn and all we had to do was come get it. As we pulled into their driveway, Sandy met us out by their Gator utility vehicle and pointed into the back. The entire bed was filled to the top with corn. Bushels and bushels of corn. We filled Joy’s trunk bursting full and tossed several more bushels in her back seat. We knew we had our work cut out for us, but I was excited. Enough sweet corn to last all winter. And it is the best tasting sweet corn I have ever had.
As soon as we got back to Joy’s place, we set to shucking all of the corn. We sat outside near her burn pile and tossed husk after husk after corn silk well into the late evening. By the time we had finished, the moon had crested over the tree-line and we were ready to take a break. But, there is ‘no rest for the wicked’, or so Joy Jean says, and we got busy blanching the corn, stripping the kernels off the cobs with an old-fangled corn kerneler (that’s its technical name), and scooping serving sizes into freezer bags. By the time we were finished, we were covered in wet corn kernels, smelled of corn, and were hot and weary from our hard work. But we looked at each bag as we placed them into the freezer and smiled in satisfied, tired agreement. Sweet corn is good. Friendship is even better.
If there was some way to package the laid-back, caring, neighborly, sharing attitude of living in the country into freezer bags, I would make sure everybody had their very own.
I hope each of you is having a lovely Whimsical Moon sweet corn day!
Sweet Corn Pudding with Fresh Blackberries:
6 ears sweet corn
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 white cheddar cheese, shredded (I used a little bit more, I like cheese)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp maple syrup
about 1 cup of blackberries (any berry works here)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease casserole dish (or pie plate). Shuck the corn and cut all kernels off with a knife into a bowl, making sure to keep all of the runoff juice from the corn. Reserve. Mix together the milk, heavy cream, cheese, cayenne pepper, eggs, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Add in the reserved corn. Gently stir in the berries. Pour into casserole dish and bake for 35 minutes or until the pudding is set. (Still kind of wobbly.)
(This recipe is an adapted from The Neelys)