Entertaining visitors

Our weekend was devoted to entertaining visitors, in both meanings of the phrase.  Sophie’s graduation and party were big successes.  Our families extended their visit so we brainstormed ways to entertain our urban (Steve) and suburban (Beth) relatives and show them a bit of Wisconsin life.  Keep these ideas in mind next time you have visitors.

Green County Dairy Breakfast
The annual dairy breakfast was just down the road this past weekend.  It’s a slice of Wisconsin life: breakfast, farm tours, arts & crafts, antique tractor displays, petting zoo, educational stations and a live band.  I assured Steve’s bachelor brother that all the local dairy queens would be in attendance.  Breakfast was eggs, sausage, cheese, coffee cake, orange juice, coffee, and strawberry sundaes.  Local families contribute homemade coffee cake, all using the same recipe and dropping their cakes off at local banks in Albany or Monticello for collection.

It was a beautiful day (finally) so turnout was good.

Instead of a sandbox, there’s a box filled with shelled corn.  Those kids went home with pockets, underwear and hats filled with kernels.

Steve’s brother Nate with the calves.

Below is the coffee cake recipe used by the volunteer bakers.

Explore a State Natural Area (SNA)
Wisconsin has amazing State Natural Areas, “outstanding examples of Wisconsin’s native landscape of natural communities, significant geological formations and archeological sites.”  The DNR’s Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine features a tempting photo of a different SNA on the back of each issue.  Of course this lovely self-funded magazine is on the chopping block.  Subscribe today.  My favorite SNA is Muralt Bluff, just 20 minutes west of our farm.  It is short-grass prairie, up on a ridge that just escaped the glacier’s edge 10,000 years ago.  The density of native plants is remarkable.  My mom turned 80 the day after our hike so I am very proud of her and my dad for getting up on the bluff.

From front, my aunt Cathy, father Jack, mother Rose and uncle Tom.

As my mom said, it seems like we’re closer to the clouds up on the bluff.

June 1 checks

Many of you paid us with checks post-dated to June 1. We will deposit those checks next week, on June 5 or 6.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes

This week’s produce will be much less muddy than last week but still needs careful washing, a remnant of rains over the past few weeks.  However, it is much better than last week.  Sampler share members, we provide detailed information about a vegetable the first week we pack it in the CSA boxes.  Review the previous newsletters for this info.

Asparagus, 0.9  lb
Portobello mushrooms, about 8 oz
Spinach, 1 bunch
Red bibb lettuce
White salad turnips, 1 bunch
Salad radishes, 1 bunch
Scallions, 1 bunch
Green garlic, 1 bunch

Next week’s box is likely to contain asparagus, napa cabbage, spinach, lettuce, scallions and more.

Escarole (large head of wavy green leaves) – This member of the chicory family can be eaten raw or cooked.  Its slightly bitter flavor is a good addition to mixed salads.  It is excellent cooked alone or mixed with other greens.  It cooks quickly, but not as quickly as spinach.  Cover and refrigerate.
Portobello mushrooms – These beauties are from Mary at Hidden Valley Mushrooms in the Wisconsin Dells.  We will pack them in brown paper bags.  Mary says to store them in your fridge in the paper bag.  Eat soon; they are fresh, lovely and perishable.
Red bibb lettuce – This is my favorite type of lettuce.  Bibb lettuce is tender and yummy.  Handle gently.  Enjoy.
Scallions (bundle of green onions) – These are useful raw or cooked.  Thinly-sliced raw scallions can be folded into biscuit dough or sprinkled on top of soups or salads.  Terrific garnish for pasta dishes.  Think pad thai.  We will send both scallions and green garlic so see photo below.

Green garlic (left) and scallions (right) look so much alike!  Distinguish them this week by whether the leaves are trimmed (green garlic) or untrimmed (scallions).  They smell very different too.  However, it’s not a crime if you interchange them in recipes.  The green garlic leaves are increasingly fibrous; use just the white and pale green sections.  You can use scallions all the way to the tips.


See the RECIPE LOG for recipes from previous weeks.  There are dishes for asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, lettuce and radishes that might be useful with this week’s produce.

Local Thyme Recipes

Comforting Classics
Braised Escarole
Grilled Chicken, Radish and Turnip Salad with Scallion Vinaigrette
Mushroom, Spinach and Fontina Lasagna
Soy and Butter Braised Salad Turnip with Spinach

Outside the Box Recipes
Escarole and Semolina Soup
Radish, Turnip and Smoked Trout Salad with Wasabi Vinaigrette
Beans, Radish, Turnip and Spinach Enchiladas
Quinoa Salad with Radishes, Salad Turnips, and Green Garlic Dressing

Quick and Easy Meal
Thai Red Curry

Recipes from Lauren

Inspired by the great Ina Garten
If you want to use your spinach or escarole for another use, feel free to just toss one of these greens into this lasagna. It won’t change the end result too substantially. If you have extra turnip greens or arugula from last week, they could be substituted as well.

Takes 1 hour, 30 minutes
Serves 6-8 depending on your appetite

Kosher salt
12 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup flour
4 cups warm milk (whole preferred, but 2% will work fine), I throw mine in the microwave for 60†seconds to warm it
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound dried lasagna noodles (or 12 noodles)
2 green garlic, white and light green parts only, minced
1/2 pound portobella mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, and sliced 1/4-inch
1 bunch spinach, roughly chopped (about 2-3 cups)
1/2 head escarole, roughly chopped (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup water
1-1/2 cups freshly shredded Parmesan

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. While waiting for the water to boil, begin your white sauce. Melt 8 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Once fully melted, add the flour and stir constantly with a whisk for 1 minute. Pour in the warm milk, 1 tablespoon Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper and†whisk consistently for 15-20 minutes, scraping the bottom and edges of the pan occasionally, or until mixture is thickened. Remove from heat.
  4. By now, your water is likely boiling. Add the lasagna noodles and cook for 10 minutes or until al dente. Strain, toss with olive oil in colander and set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add green garlic and saute for 3-5 minutes until fragrant. Add mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes until just beginning to release their juices. Add the greens and water and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes longer. There will likely be a lot of liquid in the pan. That’s fine.
  6. In a 9×13-inch pan, begin to layer the lasagna. First spread about a 1/2 cup of sauce on the bottom of the pan, just enough to cover it followed by three noodles, overlapped slightly. Add 1/4†of the remaining sauce followed by 1/3 of the mushroom mixture, and 1/4 cup of parmesan. Continue this layering two more times: noodles, sauce, mushroom mixture and parmesan. Finishing with a fourth layer of noodles, the remaining sauce and cheese.
  7. Bake the lasagna for 45 minutes, until the top is browned and bubbly. Let set for 15 minutes before diving in. Serve with a simple green salad or some roasted asparagus.

Inspired by a recipe in the Near & Far cookbook by Heidi Swanson
This is a great simple side dish for a potluck or to make on the side of some grilled pork chops for dinner. I love cold noodle salads and this one that’s heavy on the veggies is a light, bright tasty spring dish!

Takes 20 minutes
Serves 4

Kosher salt
8 ounces dried soba noodles
1 bunch radishes, greens removed
1 bunch turnips, greens removed
1 bunch scallions, sliced, white and pale green parts only
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool.
  2. While the noodles cook, prep your radishes and turnips. You’ll want to sliver them. The smaller the pieces, the better. To do this, I cut a bit off the top where the green was and then set the radish or turnip on that flat surface. Then cut the radish or turnip into 8 or 12 pieces depending on the size as you would cut a pizza or a pie.
  3. In a small bowl, toss the radishes and turnips with scallions and 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, honey or maple syrup, coriander and paprika. Whisk until well combined. Add noodles and toss to coat with tongs. Add radishes and turnips and toss to combine.
  5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve at room temperature or cold.


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