Week #2, HS graduation

Our daughter Sophie graduates from high school this week as valedictorian of her class.  This isn’t exactly farm news, but is a big part of our lives right now.  We are so proud of how hard she has worked.  In fall, she heads to Macalester College in Saint Paul to study math and studio art.  Our families are coming to visit so we are hosting a grad party this weekend.  The low point of the party preparations came a few days ago, when a skunk sprayed in our garage.  The scent is fading but is still very, very recognizable.  The high point has been gathering Sophie’s prolific artwork to display all over our house.  Anyway, we will be busy this weekend.  I will watch for emails but might be slow to respond.  Thank you in advance for your patience.  Beth

Just a few years ago.

Beth, Sophie and Steve on academic awards night, with all of Sophie’s academic swag.

Recipe Log

Over the winter, some of you asked for better organization to review recipes from previous weeks of the current season.  This is a good idea.  The vegetables often overlap from week-to-week so the previous week’s recipes can be quite useful.  I’ve started a webpage to collect the recipes.  Go to our 2017 Recipe Log.  I’ll try to keep it updated each week, although that might not happen until Friday each week.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes

Heads up.  It has rained a lot this week.  Rain splashes soil and grit into your asparagus, lettuce and spinach.  These vegetables will need extra attention and washing this week.  This phenomena goes hand-in-hand with eating locally.  Lettuce grown in the desert in California is never exposed to rain!  Right now, we’d be glad to farm in a desert.  We are impatient for the end of this rainy spell.

Asparagus, 0.85 lb
Button mushrooms, 12 oz
Spinach, 1 bunch, 1 lb or more
Romaine lettuce
White salad turnips, 1 bunch
Radishes, 1 bunch
Arugula, 1 bunch
Green garlic, 1 bunch
Rhubarb, 1.75 lb 

Next week’s box will probably contain asparagus, spinach, lettuce, escarole, scallions and more.

Asparagus, lettuce, spinach, green garlic, rhubarb –  Check last week’s newsletter for prep and storage information.  I provide a crop overview the first time we deliver each season.  After that, I’ll provide weekly updates when needed.

Button mushrooms – These organic mushrooms are from Hidden Valley Mushrooms from Wisconsin Dells.  We buy mushrooms from Mary every year; they are a great addition to spring salads and quiches.  Here are Mary’s suggestions for storing the mushrooms.  Store separate from leafy greens, which hasten mushroom aging.  If storing for more than a few days, remove from the box and store in a paper bag with holes punched in the side.  Keep dry.  Don’t wash to clean, just wipe with a damp cloth.

Romaine lettuce (tall head of lettuce with crisp leaves) – More sturdy and less fragile than our other spring lettuces.  Great for salads.  To wash, slice crosswise into ribbons.  Submerge in a pan or sink of water.  Drain.  Repeat.  Expect to wash this Romaine several times.  Dry it in a salad spinner and store in a dry container.

Arugula – (small bunch of green leaves with pungent scent) – Arugula is good mixed with lettuce or spinach in salads, or added to cooked dishes such as lasagne or quiche.  I love it on sandwiches.  This arugula is thin-leaved and tender and will not store for long.  Eat soon.  Cover and refrigerate.

White salad turnips (bunched white roots with green tops) – I know that returning members look forward to these sweet and delicious turnips, which taste nothing like the turnips that are harvested in fall.
– Storage: Cover and refrigerate.
– Uses: Both the turnip roots and tops are edible.  Slice the sweet roots and add to salads.  They can be cooked and are especially good when lightly sauteed in butter.  Stir as little as possible so they brown on at least one side.  The turnips greens are excellent cooked.  Treat them like mustard greens.
– Our favorite use:  Slice the roots very thinly and combine with a mixture of rice vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil.  Eat immediately or marinate.

Rhubarb – Rhubarb is easy to freeze because it does not need blanching.  Slice, put in a container and freeze – that’s it.


Comforting Classics

Rhubarb Pudding Cake
Spinach and Mushroom Salad
Romaine Arugula Salad with Walnuts, Parmesan and Creamy Lemon Dressing
Chicken A la Maria (vegetarian option in recipe)

Outside the Box Recipes

Rhubarb-B-Q Sauce
Arugula Pesto-packed Lentil and Mushroom Balls
Ground Turkey, Mushroom and Radish “Macos”
Pappardelle Florentine

Quick and Easy Meal

Spicy Asian Noodles with Asparagus and Mushrooms


Inspired by Smitten Kitchen
Because this is a sheet pan quiche, it’s a little trickier to use store bought pie crust. I promise you that following the techniques below, you can make pie crust from scratch, but if you really don’t want to or don’t have the time, you could do this quiche in two store-bought frozen 9″ pie crusts. Trader Joe’s has really stellar frozen pie crust! You can also go crustless entirely and just make a delicious egg bake in a well-greased pan.

Takes 1 hour, 45 minutes†if making the crust from scratch (much of it inactive) or 45 minutes with store-bought (or no) crust
Serves 12-16

Pie Crust:
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup water
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter
1 green garlic, white and pale green parts only, minced
12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
3 cups arugula, roughly chopped
3 cups spinach, roughly chopped
Turnip greens, roughly chopped
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cups whole milk
6 large eggs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan

  1. Begin preparing your crust (if you plan to make it; if you don’t skip to step #8). Cut the butter into small cubes and place in the freezer until ready to use. Fill measuring cup with 1 cup cold water and place in the freezer.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and use your fingers to incorporate the butter into the flour. You will pinch the butter cubes into smaller pieces until they are about the size of peas and uniformly incorporated. Some pieces of butter will be small and some will be larger; that’s absolutely fine!
  3. Remove†the water from the freezer and pour in half. Use a rubber spatula to press the dough together. If it’s still dry (it likely will be) continue to add water until the dough comes together. You may need to knead with your hands a little bit.
  4. Wrap pie dough in plastic wrap and place in freezer for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove dough from the freezer and roll out to an approximately 12×16-inch rectangle. Carefully, fold it in half and then in half again. Move the dough to a 10×14-inch baking sheet and unfold. Press gently into pan. Remove any excess dough from the edges. Prick the crust with a fork and place pan in the freezer.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and while you wait for it to preheat, begin slicing your mushrooms and chopping your greens!
  7. Once the oven is preheated, line your pie crust with foil and fill with pie weights (or dried beans or rice you don’t plan to cook). Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake 5 minutes longer. If using store-bought crust, follow package directions for pre-baking.
  8. While the crust bakes, melt the butter for the filling in a large, deep saute pan (the larger the better, you’re going to be throwing a lot of greens in here– if you don’t have a large saute pan use a soup kettle) over medium low heat. Add the green garlic and cook for a couple minutes until fragrant. Add mushrooms and saute until soft, about 10 minutes more. Add all the greens, water, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to your pan. Saute until the greens are well wilted.
  9. In a large bowl, beat softened cream cheese with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Add the eggs, two at a time, again whisking until smooth after each addition. Stir in sauteed mushrooms and greens along with the cheeses.
  10. Pour filling into the prepared, prebaked crust until filling is set, about 30 minutes.

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
This recipe calls for two ingredients you may not have in your pantry, but they are very simple to find and great to have on hand.
Coconut milk is one of my favorite ingredients. It can transform a pile of sauteed vegetables into a curry. It can replace dairy in a soup (as it does here). It can thicken mashed potatoes. I even put it in my coffee and oatmeal. There is both a full and reduced fat version of coconut milk available. I always get the full fat because it’s lower in sugar and adds a more robust flavor.
Green curry paste is another product I love for the bright, herbal flavor it adds to simple dishes. You don’t need much of it so it comes in a pretty small glass jar. You can find both of these items in the “ethnic or global” aisle of any grocery store in the Asian foods section. Thai Kitchen is a great brand for both products.

Takes 20 minutes
Serves 4

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 green garlic, white and light green parts only, minced
1 bunch turnips, greens removed and diced
1 tablespoon green curry paste
1 pound asparagus, tough ends removed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1-1/2 cups water
1 lemon or lime

  1. In a large stock pot, melt butter or heat olive oil over medium heat and add green garlic. Cook until fragrant, a couple minutes. Add turnips and cook until completely tender, about 10 minutes. You can add a splash of water if the pan gets too dry.
  2. Stir in the curry paste and stir so it evenly coats the turnips. Allow it to cook for 2 minutes before adding asparagus, coconut milk, salt and water. Simmer gently for 5-10 minutes then puree with an immersion blender until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, pour into a blender or a food processor.
  3. Squeeze in half of the lemon or lime into the soup, taste and adjust flavors as needed. If it’s too thick, add some water. If it’s too thin, simmer it gently for a few more minutes.
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