Things on the farm are ramping up my friends.
We’ve officially transitioned from thinking about things like balance and travel and having a clean home to thinking exclusively about the farm: what we have to do each week, what we need to focus on and what should be prioritized. In case you haven’t been following my Instagram play by play, the greenhouse is up and running: complete with electricity and heat! The first seeds of spring have been planted (onions and shallots!) and there’s loads more on the horizon.
It feels surreal, embarking on our fourth season of farming with a greenhouse of our own. The greenhouse is definitely my new happy place and I’ll try to stop talking about it and snapping photos but don’t hold your breath.
The start of another farming season always means a big transition for our relationship as well. My Carrot and I shift from being a semi-normal couple in the winter with regular dates and lots of time for Netflix to business partners. Finding romance in between all the chaos can be a tricky task. We find it in the strangest places: the quirky breakfast spot down the road while we talk about a SARE grant we’ve been invited to be a part of or squeezed close on the couch surrounded by paperwork as we finalize our application for organic certification.
The chaotic nature of our spring leads to a lot of what I fondly call “garbage” meals. Sounds pretty appealing doesn’t it? A “garbage” meal simply means I dump everything out of the veggie drawer onto the counter and throw it together into a catch all type of dish: pizza, pasta, quiche, these are all great vehicles for a garbage meal.
Right now I’m really loving quiche, and not only because we recently traded homemade pickles for four dozen eggs. I love quiche because it is so versatile. Not only can you throw anything into a quiche, you can also eat it for any meal of the day. Plus it’s just as easy to make two quiches as one and then you have enough for a crowd at a moment’s notice. You can even freeze the second quiche for emergency weeknight dinners.
This particular quiche is filled with all my favorite things. Things I pretty much always have on hand in the winter months: squash, mushrooms, kale (any green would work here), onions, garlic and parmesan. The onions are elevated by being caramelized and the garlic is slowly roasted. Mushrooms and kale are lightly sauteed with butter and a bit of spice. The butternut squash is roasted in the oven with sage and thyme until softened. Throw it in a pie crust, top it all off with a heap of finely shredded parmesan and a mixture of eggs and cream, and you have a hearty winter dish that will remind you eating seasonally in Wisconsin in early March doesn’t have to be so bad.
It also happens to be a perfect lazy Sunday meal.
Enjoy these warm days and the extra hour of evening daylight! Happy almost spring to you all!
All my love,
P.S. Two weekends ago we spent 48 hours learning from, listening to and laughing with 3300 kindred spirits at the MOSES Organic Farming Confeenece. Read my love story to the conference at Edible Madison. It tells all about how this inspiring conference influenced the path we find ourselves on.
Makes 2 9-inch quiches
Serves 8 (hungry farmers)
Takes 1 hour, 20 minutes
2 partially baked pie crusts (see below) or 2 store-bought pie crusts
1/4 cup sunflower oil (or olive oil), divided
4 cups diced butternut squash
1 tablespoon Kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided
1 garlic bulb
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 pound shittake mushrooms, loosely chopped
3 kale leaves, stalks removed and roughly chopped
1 cup finely shredded parmesan
2 cups half & half or whole milk
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss diced butternut squash with 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, sage, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Pour out onto a large baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes. Set aside once finished.
Cut the top off a garlic bulb. Drizzle with one tablespoon oil. Wrap in foil and add to the oven to roast until the squash is finished. Once cooked, remove from foil and squeeze cloves out of the peel. Gently chop and set aside.
Meanwhile, begin caramelizing onions. Combine last tablespoon oil and one tablespoon butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onions, 1 teaspoon salt and remaining pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes until well softened. Add sugar and continue cooking for 10 minutes until lightly browned and just caramelized. Remove from pan and set aside.
Wipe the large skillet out with a paper towel (if necessary) and add remaining tablespoon of butter. Melt over medium low heat. Add mushrooms along with remaining teaspoon Kosher salt. Saute for 5 minutes. Add kale and remaining 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until just wilted.
Reduce oven temperature to 375 and prepare your quiche! Add half of the cooked butternut squash, chopped softened garlic, caramelized onions and sauted mushrooms and greens to each partially cooked pie crust. Sprinkle 1/2 cup parmesan cheese over each quiche.
In a large bowl, combine 6 eggs and cream or milk. Whisk until smooth. Pour mixture over each quiche so that all veggies are covered. Bake quiche for 35 minutes or until center is set. Enjoy warm today, tomorrow or all throughout the week!
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 sticks butter, cut into pieces and very cold
1/2 cup cold water
I love to make pie crust in my food processor. I think it is the simplest thing on Earth. If you don’t have a food processor, follow this recipe; same techniques but no food processor necessary.
Before I even begin making the crust, I cut the butter into pieces and stick it in a bowl in the freezer. Then I fill a one- or two-cup measuring cup with 1/2 cup cold water and stick that in the freezer too. The trick with pie dough is to work quickly so that the butter stays cold and in small uneven pieces. This is what creates a flaky crust. Chilling these ingredients right before you start helps with this.
Combine flour, sugar and salt in the food processor and pulse a few times until well combined. Add all the butter at once and pulse a few times until broken up but not at all incorporated. What you are looking for is pea-sized pieces of butter sprinkled throughout. Uniform size is not important. Add half the cold water to the mixture, turn on the food processor and slowly pour in the rest of the water. Continue running the food processor until the dough comes together into one mass (it will not be a ball, but will be smooth and even).
Remove dough from food processor using a rubber spatula and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
When ready to use, turn half the pie dough out onto a well-floured counter. Dust the top with flour and roll out until about 12 inches in diameter. Press into a 10-inch pie pan, line with foil and add pie weights (or dried beans). Bake at 425 degrees (with the butternut squash works well!) for 10 minutes.