September 22

 

Fall Equinox

Fall Equinox

 

Autumnal equinox, two moments in the year when the Sun is exactly above the Equator and day and night are of equal length. In the Northern Hemisphere the autumnal equinox falls around September 22 or 23 According to the astronomical definition of the seasons, the autumnal equinox marks the beginning of autumn, which lasts until the winter solstice December 21 or 22 in the Northern Hemisphere. So, on this day we celebrate the equal darkness of nigh and equal light of day.

 

Prayer

 

Dear Lord of miracles, help with me as I learn to accept the changes of the seasons. I am reminded of the paschal mystery in the beauty of fall. With death brings a rebirth. With change brings a time of rededication. May the change of season remind us that although the change is unavoidable, there is always You. You who guide and strengthen me, because you first loved us and continued to be the one constant in our lives. This I ask in faith, hope, and love. Amen.

 

 

Traditions around the World

 

In China on this day moon cakes are eaten.

 

In Greece Pomegranates are enjoyed: In Ancient Greece, the fall equinox is associated with Persephone, the daughter of Zeus, and her return to the underworld to be with her husband Hades for the darker half of the year. According to legend, pomegranates were known as the fruit that Persephone ate while she was there.

 

In Iran, Mehregan, the ancient Persian autumnal festival of thanksgiving and love is celebrated!

 

In the United Kingdom Michaelmas is celebrated in Christian homes celebrating the end of summer.

 

And in the United States we celebrate by going to the apple farms and pumpkin patches! Pumpkin Spice is in the air and fall is celebrated by connecting with nature, enjoying the colors of the leaves on the trees and sitting outside by the fire enjoying the last few days before winter arrives.

 

Recipe:

Crown Roast of Pork with Apples and Shallots

Ingredients

  • 2 8-bone racks of pork (about 4 pounds each),
    chine bone removed, fat trimmed to ¼-inch thick,
    rib bones frenched

  • cups (packed) light brown sugar

  • 10 ounces kosher salt

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 12 garlic cloves, finely grated

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, plus 8 sprigs

  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds

  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 4 ounces bacon, chopped

  • 12 lady apples, halved circles, showing the star in the middle

  • 1.5 pounds shallots, peeled, halved lengthwise if large

  • 3 cups dry hard cider


Directions

  1. Lay racks of pork flat on work surface, meaty side down (the inside of the ribs should be facing up). Use a knife to make 3 vertical 3"-long slits (about 1" deep) into the loins of each rack, 1 slit between every 2 ribs. Place each rack of pork into a 1-gal. resalable plastic bag and chill.

  2. Heat brown sugar, salt, and 4 cups water in a large saucepan over medium, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add vinegar and 4 cups ice water. Chill brine until cold, about 1 hour.

  3. Divide brine between bags with pork and seal, squeezing out excess air; chill pork 8–24 hours.

  4. Remove pork from bags and pat dry. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet; let sit 2 hours to bring to room temperature.

  5. Preheat oven to 300 ºF. Mix garlic, chopped thyme, mustard seeds, pepper, ¼ cup mustard, and 2 tablespoons oil in a small bowl. Rub all over pork, working into slits; tuck thyme sprigs into slits. Place both racks so they’re parallel to one another with bones facing up and slits facing out. Curve racks toward each other so they meet at both ends to form a crown (call a friend to help with this part). Holding pork in place, encircle racks with string and tie securely in 2 places: around rib bones and around thickest part of loin. If desired, wrap tops of bones individually with foil to keep them from burning.

  6. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook bacon, stirring often, until fat is rendered and edges are crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer bacon to a roasting pan with a slotted spoon.

  7. Working in 2–3 batches, add apples, cut side down, and shallots to same skillet and cook over medium-high heat (undisturbed) until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer apples to roasting pan; turn shallots and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 3 minutes. Transfer to roasting pan.

  8. Remove skillet from heat and carefully add cider, stirring and scraping up any browned bits. Pour liquid into roasting pan and place pork in the center, pushing apples and shallots to the edges; reserve skillet. Roast pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of loin registers 135 ºF, 1¾–2¼ hours.

  9. Remove roast from oven and transfer apples and shallots to a platter; tent with foil. Increase oven temperature to 500 ºF. Transfer pork to a cutting board and pour pan juices into reserved skillet. Return pork to roasting pan; roast until browned and crisp all over, 5–10 minutes, watch carefully. Transfer roast back to cutting board and let rest 30–45 minutes before cutting into chops.

  10. Just before serving, whisk remaining 2 tablespoons mustard into pan juices in skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, whisking often, until sauce is reduced to about 1 cup, 7–10 minutes.

  11. Transfer pork chops to platter with apples and shallots; spoon sauce over.

 

Herbed Rice with Dates and Pomegranate

This side dish is seasoned with ginger, dill, and dates add aroma and texture to simple white rice, while a generous sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and pistachios add colorful flair and a burst of fresh acidity to the finished rice.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup basmati rice

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 1/4-inch-thick slice peeled fresh ginger

  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh dill (or parsley)

  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds (from 1/2 pomegranate)

  • 1/3 cup pistachios, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

  • 6 large soft dates, pitted and coarsely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

 

Directions

1.Bring rice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, ginger, and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until all of water is absorbed, 16 to 17 minutes.

2.Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and remove and discard ginger.

3.Transfer rice to a large bowl; let cool 5 minutes. Stir in dill, pomegranate seeds, pistachios, dates, oil, and lemon juice. Season with salt and serve.
Note: This recipe can easily be doubled. 

 

 

Persian Apples

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds small apples

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon rosewater

  • ¼ cup lemon juice

 

Directions

  1. Peel the apples gently, leaving the stem on. Remove the core as well. As you are peeling the apples, drop the apples in a bowl of water with 1 tablespoon vinegar added. This will prevent the apples from browning.

  2. Once you have peeled all the apples, rinse them under water. Then add them to a stock pot.

  3. Cover the apples with water and bring the pan to a boil (with the lid on).

  4. Once the apples are a bit soft, remove them from the water and set aside.

  5. Add the sugar to the pan, and bring to boil.

  6. Let simmer until all sugar has dissolved.

  7. Add the apples back to the pot and simmer covered, until apples are soft and completely cooked.

  8. Remove the apples from the syrup and set aside again.

  9. Continue simmering the sugar syrup for 45 minutes to an hour, until it has turned golden in color.

  10. Add the apples back to the pot, with the lemon juice and rosewater. Let simmer for a few more minutes (max. 3-5 minutes).

  11. The apples have turned almost translucent by now. If you pour a little of the syrup on back of a spoon, the syrup is ready when it stays on spoon a little and doesn’t drip off immediately.

  12. Take the apples out of the pot and place in a storage dish, then pour the liquid over them. Tip: If you end up with more liquid than you need, store the excess liquid in a separate jar. You can use this as a sweetener.

  13. Drizzle the syrup over the apples when you want to serve them! You can even add a bit of crushed pistachios.