Alum publishes CSA farm cookbook featuring 350 recipes, 92 crops
Mi Ae Lipe’s first book was inspired by a bountiful harvest of vegetables — that she didn’t know how to cook.
Lipe got her first Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) box as part of a barter deal about 15 years ago. A farmer was impressed with her artwork on display at a Winona, Minnesota, exhibition and needed a logo for his business, Featherstone Farm. He asked Lipe if she would do the design work partially for food instead of money. They made the deal and she received a box full of fresh produce from carrots to kale each week of the growing season.
“I love vegetables and I’ve always loved food, but I’m not as comfortable as a cook or being inspired in the kitchen,” she admits.
But for Lipe, ’95, a trained writer, editor and graphic designer, creating books was second nature. So she decided to turn her CSA box struggle into a book project. She reached out to others for recipe ideas, and what started on a whim became a seven-year book-writing venture.
She self-published her first CSA cookbook, “Tastes from Valley to Bluff: The Featherstone Farm Cookbook,” in 2007.
Lipe recently self-published an expanded version that includes 40 more crops and many new recipes. Arranged by season, “Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook,” is a guide to preparing 92 fruits, vegetables and herbs commonly grown by community-supported agriculture (CSA) farms across North America. Each crop entry also features practical information on its history, nutrition, selection, storage, cleaning, cooking techniques and serving suggestions.
The crops are featured in over 350 ethnic and traditional recipes from professional chefs, highly regarded food bloggers, CSA farmers and others.
Many recipes are simple to prepare, but they are not typical combinations people put together, such as strawberry nachos or watermelon with hot sauce and lime juice.
“I try to suggest different taste sensations,” she says. “They are surprisingly unexpected, delightful combinations.”
Lipe also dedicates 20 percent of her book to raising awareness about what CSA farmers do in the field and for their communities all over America. Dozens of essays — many written by farmers themselves — explore topics ranging from farming and food politics to cooking and nutrition.
Her two cookbooks, created under her publishing business, Twisted Carrot Publishing LLC, are an attempt to improve a dysfunctional food system in America and help local, sustainable CSA farmers, she says.
Her other two businesses are also about making improvements to society. Later this year, Lipe is launching a new business in traffic safety advocacy where she will offer driving tips, education curricula and consulting services.
Since 2005, she has also worked as a freelance book editor and designer, helping people self-publish books through her business, What Now Design.
Lipe says her diverse business interests stem from being “incessantly curious about everything.”
“I never would have thought I would have my own business,” she says. “I thought that would be too much work. Somehow I’ve ended up with three, and it is a lot of work, but I’ve had terrific success.”
Getting a taste for her future at UWL
Lipe is thankful UWL taught her early on about what she liked and what she didn’t. While she was attending UWL, a successful academic record as an English major helped her land a technical editing internship at a nearby government office. That’s what got her started on the editing path — a career she still enjoys today.
However, she also learned an important lesson in college about what she didn’t want to do. She originally wanted to go into advertising because of its creative energy. Advertising classes with former UWL Mass Communications faculty member John Kristoff exposed her to abstract ideas in topics from literature to psychology as they related to advertising.
Kristoff also helped her land a product design internship and encouraged her to attend graphic design and professional conferences — all experiences that gave her a more realistic taste of what the advertising industry was actually like. It ultimately made her realize that advertising probably wasn’t the best career fit, but this intense exploration helped her see many other potential possibilities for her future.
“He forever changed my outlook. He was too abstract for many people, but he gave me a taste for what is possible,” she says. “He pushed me to embrace the realities within myself and the outer world, and then go out and find the things I loved to do.”
Lipe plans to travel the country with her book. She’ll be in the Midwest in August and early September. Visit her website at www.BountyfromtheBox.com for more details on her tour schedule.
A recipe from ‘Bounty from the Box’
3 cups sliced strawberries
1/3 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for the cream
1/4 cup amaretto (almond-flavored liqueur)
1/2 cup nonfat sour cream
1/2 cup frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 (7-inch) flour tortillas, cut into 8 wedges
Butter-flavored vegetable cooking spray
2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
2 teaspoons shaved semisweet chocolate
- Combine the strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar, and amaretto in a bowl; stir well. Cover and chill for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the juice for another use.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Combine the sour cream, whipped topping, the 2 tablespoons of sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl; stir well. Cover and chill.
- Arrange the tortilla wedges on two baking sheets; lightly coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon sugar. Bake for 7 minutes or until crisp. Cool on a wire rack.
- To serve, arrange the 8 tortilla wedges on a serving plate; top each with about 1/3 cup of the strawberry mixture and 2½ tablespoons of the sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with the almonds and chocolate.
— Roz Kelmig, California Strawberry Commission, as appears in “Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook,” by Mi Ae Lipe.
About the book: “Bounty From the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook” is available for $35. Order online at https://secure.mybookorders.com/Orderpage/1699
Learn more about the book, other cookbooks, food politics, farming and more at www.BountyfromtheBox.com