Farm Recipes – Savory Collard Greens

Savory Collard Greens

In honor of the holidays, and to give you a real taste of the farm, we’ve decided to share a few of our favorite recipes with you. You’re likely to find some of these dishes featured on our menus, depending on the season, but until we can invite you all down as our guests, we’ve decided to post a few of them here on our blog. This one is for cooking collard greens, but with a twist.

Savory Collard Greens with Bacon

This vegan-friendly collard green recipe has some things in common with typical Southern recipes, but this one adds a dash of hot sauce and dried cranberries at the end to give it a savory kick. It’s easy to make, but this recipe works best if you have a dutch oven to cook them in.

1 bunch collard greens, cleaned, stems removed, and chopped
3 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup (125ml) low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth*
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce**
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

*NOTE: We often make this with vegetable broth instead. But, if you made our Aunt Sissy’s cornbread dressing recipe, then make enough chicken broth to make this dish for your holiday meal too!

**NOTE: We used a Chipotle hot sauce to give it a hint of smoke, but it works very well with Sriracha too.

Place the bacon pieces in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pot and chop into pieces. Set half of it aside for later, but put the remainder back in the pot. Drain off some of the bacon fat if there’s too much.

Add the chopped onion to the Dutch oven and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper, then cook for 30 seconds, just until the garlic is fragrant.

Add the chopped collard greens to the Dutch oven and cook for 3 minutes or until collard greens are wilted. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.

Reduce the heat to a low simmer, then cover the pot and steam the collard greens for 5 minutes or until they are tender. Stir in the hot sauce and cook for an additional 5 minutes to reduce the sauce.

Sprinkle the cooked collard greens with the remaining bacon and cranberries and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and  serve the sauteed collard greens immediately.

Farm Recipes – Aunt Sissie’s Dressing

Aunt Sissie's cornbread dressing

In honor of the holidays, and to give you a real taste of the farm, we’ve decided to share a few of our favorite recipes with you. You’re likely to find some of these dishes featured on our menus, depending on the season, but until we can invite you all down as our guests, we’ve decided to post a few of them here on our blog.

It’s almost Thanksgiving, so there’s no better time than now to post our Aunt Sissie’s recipe for a traditional holiday favorite: cornbread dressing.

Aunt Sissie’s Cornbread Dressing

Our Aunt Sissie makes this for a big crowd, so she upsizes these quantities accordingly. But if you just want to make a smaller amount for a small family dinner, the recipe below should give you a delicious starting point.

Chicken broth**
1 medium onion
4 ribs of celery
Rubbed sage (to taste)
1 stick of margarine or butter (optional***)
2 eggs beaten

*NOTE: Aunt Sissie says the dressing will be better if you’ve make the cornbread a few days in advance and just freeze it until it’s time to make the dressing.

**NOTE: Aunt Sissie boils bone-in chicken leg quarters and breast meat to make her broth because it gives the recipe a little more fat, which help binds the dressing together and makes it more flavorful.

***NOTE: If your chicken was a little too lean, you can add a stick of butter or margarine to add a little additional fat to the mixture.

First, make an 8-10″ skillet full of your favorite cornbread recipe. (Naturally, we recommend our own.) Let it cool, remove it from the skillet, and then set it aside in a separate container.

Make your chicken broth. Once you have your broth, pour it over the cornbread. Set the chicken meat aside for later.

Next, chop your celery and onion and add it to the cornbread mix. Add some rubbed sage to taste. Mix it all up thoroughly.

Pull your chicken meat off the bone and mix it into the cornbread.  Add a stick of margarine or butter if needed.

Beat your eggs and pour over the entire cornbread mixture. Mix well.

Put your cornbread mixture into a 2 quart casserole or baking pan. Cover it with aluminum foil and bake at 400°F for between 30-40 minutes. At that point, remove the foil and check to see if the celery and onion is cooked. If not, put back into the oven for a little longer, but check on it every 5 minutes. When the onion and celery are cooked, remove the foil and brown for another 5-10 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!


Farm Recipes – Mama’s Cornbread

Mama's cornbread muffins

In honor of the holidays, and to give you a real taste of the farm, we’ve decided to share a few of our favorite recipes with you. You’re likely to find some of these dishes featured on our menus, depending on the season, but until we can invite you all down as our guests, we’ve decided to post a few of them here on our blog.

Next up: cornbread, made with our very own Jimmy Red cornmeal.

Mama’s Cornbread

1 cup milk
1/4 cup stick margarine or butter, melted
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups yellow, white, blue or pink (that’s our preference) cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour*
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

*NOTE: You probably already know this, but if you use self-rising flour instead of all purpose, just omit the baking powder and salt from the recipe.

NOTE: Some people like to add a 1/2 cup sugar to this recipe, but we prefer it without.

Preheat oven to 400°F then grease bottom and sides of a round  (9″ X 1 1/2″) or square (8″ X 8″ X 2″) baking pan with shortening. Beat together the milk, margarine or butter, and egg in a large mixing bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients all at once, just until the flour is moistened. The batter will be lumpy. Pour it into your greased pan and bake for 25 minutes.  To check if it is done, stick a toothpick in it; if the toothpick comes out clean, it’s ready to take out of the oven.

For cornbread muffins, as in the photo, just pour the batter into 12 geased medium muffin cups instead and fill each about 3/4 full.


Farm Recipes – Harvest Apple Tart

Harvest Apple Tart

In honor of the holidays, and to give you a real taste of the farm, we’ve decided to share a few of our favorite recipes with you. You’re likely to find some of these dishes featured on our menus, depending on the season, but until we can invite you all down as our guests, we’ve decided to post a few of them here on our blog.

Harvest Apple Tart

This tasty diabetic-friendly dessert always signifies that Autumn has arrived at the farm, since that’s usually when you can find fresh apples at the grocery store (or in the orchard). It’s also lower in sugar compared to most desserts. If you’d prefer to substitute sugar for the Splenda, just make sure you adjust the amount so the pie won’t be too sweet.

1 pie crust*
1 Honeycrisp or Fuji apple (Gala and Yellow Delicious varieties also work well)
2 packages of cream cheese
2 large eggs
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
1/2 cup Splenda artificial sweetener
Almond flakes
1 tsp. of cinnamon

*NOTE: A regular pie crust tastes best in our opinion (especially if you make it by hand), but it will tend to get soggy if you can’t serve it right away. Graham cracker crusts are a great option when you will be waiting a while before serving.

Thoroughly mix the cream cheese, cinnamon, vanilla, eggs and Splenda in a bowl and pour it into your crust. Cut the apple into thin slices and coat with a mixture of Splenda and cinnamon in a bowl. Layout the apple slices on the pie and bake it at 350°F for 45 minutes. Take it out and then add almonds to the top of the pie. Put back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes to toast the almonds.

Cornmeal and Foraging

Wild Blackberries ripening at the edge of the front lot

It’s high time I posted a new blog, I guess. Things are going well down on the farm, but of course that means, with only two of us technically “on staff,” we’re both really, really busy!

As you probably heard from us, our crop of Jimmy Red corn did really well last year, so we (and a number of kind friends and family) spent the late fall and winter shelling the ears, setting aside our seed corn for this year, and sending some of the remainder to a local miller to turn into cornmeal, grits, and a little bit of cracked corn for Chip to experiment with (we’ve talked about a lot of that over on Engineered Spirits’ social channels).

Then, we had to pivot and figure out how to actually sell what we’d milled. You might think we would already have figured that out beforehand, but, remember, we’re new at this farming thing, or at least I am. Besides, we didn’t expect the size crop we had. So, lesson learned.

I attended the PickTn conference in February and that was very helpful for us to learn about packaging and labelling considerations that apply to such a product. And of course, we still had to find farm stores or other businesses that would actually put our cornmeal and grits on their shelves. Just this past week, we were able to make it available for purchase at The Local Farmer, a farm store in Pulaski that offers products from over 20 local farms, including some of the prettiest beef you ever saw. So now, we just need y’all to go there and buy some cornmeal, as well as a few other of the great products they have on offer. Deal?

In late May we got this year’s Jimmy Red crop in the ground, it’s sprouted and it’s looking very good so far. We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed that the rain comes when it’s needed and the corn borers don’t find us. We planted the whole field this time, so if all goes well, it’s going to be a huge crop. Good thing we got that corn picker at auction last fall!

But we can’t just stand around and watch the corn grow, no matter how hot the weather is. Instead we’re turning our attention to the summer harvest of berries and fruit.  We just recently finished harvesting elderflowers for making cordial. Next up will be the raspberries and blackberries, we have a few peaches on, and after that, we’ll just have to see what the fields and the forest provide us to eat, to cook with and to experiment with.

What we can harvest changes from year to year here. Some years we’ll have a bounty of walnuts or persimmons or pawpaws or berries. Other years, they barely produce at all. But there’s always something else that comes along and thrives to fill the gaps. And it’s always a joy to see how much this land can provide, whether we planted it here, or not.

We’re very grateful.

Welcome to Second Intention Farm

View across Second Intention Farm

Second Intention Farm is a family-owned and operated greenbelt farm with over 100 acres of picturesque pastures, fields and hardwood forests. Located near the junction of US Highways 64 and 31, we are the future home of the Engineered Spirits Distillery. That is what we are. But we aim to be much more than that.

Welcome to our dream-in-progress.

Our farm is a working farm, but it’s only been in the last two years we’ve begun growing Jimmy Red here, a beautiful heirloom dent corn particularly suited for distillation. The fields and pastures where our family used to graze cattle are slowly being converted back to growing crops.  That has taken time and a lot of hard work; the learning curve has been steep. Luckily, our family has a wealth of knowledge and farming equipment, often the very tools our Papa used when he bought this place.

That’s what we are now. But our dream is to be a working, organic farm, specializing in producing heirloom grains, vegetables and fruits, as well as less well- known native nuts, fruits and flowers. We’ll supply the distillery with its springwater, drawn from the farm’s original water source, as well as botanical ingredients for the signature artisanal spirits they plan to produce.  Engineered Spirits will release these unique craft spirits in very small batches because that is the amount of botanical ingredients our farm and nearby local farms can sustainably supply. In exchange, we hope the distillery will give us the opportunity to share this beautiful place with visitors and teach them about the wonderful natural treasures that surround us here in Tennessee.

We hope you’ll come to visit our unique distillery when it’s finished. But we think you’re going to discover that there is so much more here for you and your family to learn, experience and enjoy. We’re currently working hard to renovate the buildings and prepare the farm to welcome you, and as soon as that work is done, we’ll definitely be letting you all know here. And we hope you’ll come visit us then to see it.

In the meantime, please consider following us on our social channels so you can keep up with the latest updates about everything we’re doing #downonthefarm.