First Quarter Moon and a Star Gazing Night: September 2017

Thank you to Craig Austin for this Star Gazing post. Craig is often present during Moose Hill’s Star Gazing Nights, along with a few members of the Astronomical Society of Southern New England, and other local amateur astronomers. Moose Hill is grateful to everyone who volunteers their time to share their scopes and knowledge with anyone who is interested in learning more and seeing the night sky from our open field.

It was a busy Friday night at the end of September at Moose Hill.  A dozen or so observers were setup and about fifty people came out to the field to see through the telescopes and ask questions on what they were seeing.

As a warm up to the event, those who arrived early enough were able to glimpse Saturn before it went behind the trees. However, the prime feature of the night was the moon, since…well…it was the biggest and brightest object out there!

First Quarter Moon

The moon was a few days past the half-moon phase (also called 1st Quarter Moon).  When the  moon is this bright it’s harder to see faint objects like galaxies and nebula. Some of the observers with larger scopes managed to show double stars like Gamma Cygni (a blue and gold pair) and globular clusters (one is in Hercules).  I briefly had the fuzzy oval of the Andromeda Galaxy before I lost it again.

Andromeda Galaxy, ultraviolet image by NASA

But, I did get to see the Pleiades, a tight group of stars that looks like a really small dipper.

I fielded several questions about the moon.  One that came up several times was about why different regions of the moon were ‘light’ colored and ‘dark’ colored.

Generally, the light colored regions typically have the mountains and craters, and the dark colored regions are plains that are often referred to as ‘mares’ or seas – there is no water on the moon so these aren’t actually seas. So what are these regions made out of?

If you answered:  Cheese/Green Cheese – Sorry – there aren’t enough space cows that could make enough milk to make enough cheese to create the moon.

The better answer is that each region is made of a different kind of rock.

moon map

The light areas are mostly made of a silicon (sand-like) material called regolith. It is a loose material similar to a dry riverbed with different sized bits from particles of dust to small boulders.

The darker regions are made of cooled lava flows called basalt. At one time, the moon was a lot warmer in its interior and was bombarded constantly by meteorites. Some impacts caused the liquid mantle inside to come out, much like when you bleed when you are cut.

Thanks for reading!  Now if you could pass the cheese… please!

The next Star Gazing Night is Saturday, November 18 from 7-9pm. Check before you come – if there are clouds or rain, we will cancel – by calling 781-784-5691, x8103 after 6pm to see if the program is running!

Nature Detective Notes: early Autumn 2017

A much cooler Summer than in year’s past, following a much wetter March-July.  According to meteorologists, we may moderate a bit as we move into October and November, so what is “cool” for one month will be “warm”, or just right, for the  next.  Oh, how the weather WILL dictate our observations!!

Indian Tobacco or Lobelia inflata

Here is a list (and description) of what I have seen, heard, felt, smelt during September at Moose Hill:

Wildflowers – most Goldenrods are in peak flower at this point in the season and we see a great number a variety of them in our fields and open forests (look for the Blue-stemmed Goldenrod). There are also a few different species of Woodland Asters with Small White Aster, White Wood Aster, and Whorled Wood Aster, being the most common. The tall (up  to 10 feet at times) Joe Pye Weeds, with their pink ball of flowers, have begun to go to seed and a few Lobelia’s can be seen in the open, moist forests such as the Cardinal Flower and Indian Tobacco, a small plant with tiny, blue flowers. At the summit of Moose Hill, you might get a chance to see those purple New England Asters and at the bottom of Moose Hill’s main driveway, you might  notice the fragrant, 4-petaled, white flowers of the vine-like, Virgin’s Bower.

Need help identifying wildflowers? here are a number of websites or books that might be useful to you:

Fall Wildflowers of New England – a fun breakdown of flowers based on a few different factors, including by the flower color you see; good pictures.

Welcome to Wildflowers of New England – may not have all the flowers in our area, but nice pictures and descriptions.

Wildflowers of New England  – a relatively good book regarding New England’s wildflowers but I also recommend having a few other books for additional drawings that can be very helpful in identification such as Peterson’s Field Guide and Newcombe’s Field Guide.

Insect Choristers – Yes, it still seems that I am fanatical about trying  to describe these little creatures and tell you all about them. As a musician of sorts, it all comes naturally to me so here goes, briefly, that is:

1) Daytime choristers (warmer days = singing; cooler/rainy days = quiet, generally speaking)

  • Cicadas – on warmer days (70’s on up) we can still hear the “sawlike” buzzing of those dog days of summer Cicadas, the last species that  seems to emerge from the ground in our area and points northward; a few Lyric Cicadas out there still, with their very noisy rattle heard up in Oaks and other deciduous trees;
  • Ground Crickets – that high-pitched, raspy trill we hear during most mornings, throughout the day, and into the night; very hardy and will sing until the first hard frosts;
  • Sword-tail Crickets, or Trig – the Handsome Trig is the most common species in our area; also produces a raspy, high-pitched trill (almost sounding like a wire “shorting out”), but it is found in our shrub layer, NOT on the ground, like the  previous crickets; a southern species that has made its way northward over the years;
  • Rattler Round Katydids – large, green, and hardly seen, these insects make a lower-pitched rattling and are found in the low vegetation areas of our open forests (think: the “woodlands” along our Vernal Pool Loop;
  • Meadow Katydids – a host of species out there that produce high pitched trills and shuffles, yet the most easily heard is our Lesser Pine Katydid that is found up in….Eastern White/Pitch Pines!;
  • Conehead Katydids – no, not related to Beldar from the old SNL, but a group of katydids that tend to produce “clear, mechanical” songs, most being quite loud; the Sword-bearing Conehead sounds like the “ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ecc…” of a lawn sprinkler (can also be heard during the night time hours); the other one in our area, the Round-tipped Conehead, produces a loud, almost ear-piercing buzz akin to our Cicadas; both species are found in grasses and within fields of goldenrod;
  • Tree Crickets – later in the season, a few species sing into the daytime hours, such as the Narrow-winged Tree Cricket (short, low-pitched trill heard mostly during dawn and dusk), the Two-Spotted Tree Cricket (sounds similar to the  last one, but has raspy breaks in its song), and the Pine Tree Cricket (a lovely, peaceful trill heard high up in  our pine trees). Note that all species produce a “pure tone” liken to an organ versus a “piano keys tinkling” that Ground Crickets seem to make.

2) Night time Choristers (warmer nights = MORE species sing, and at faster rates; cooler nights = less species that sing, and at slower rates)

  • Tree Crickets – the daytime choristers written about above will also sing during the night time hours, along with a few others such as the common, Snowy Tree Cricket, whose song sounds like a more “musical” beeping of a car alarm (“beep, beep, beep, beep,” over and over and over and…, slowing down when the temps get into the 50’s); If you too, are musical, think: 2/4 time during warm nights
  • Field Crickets – that familiar chirping we know well; occasionally, sing during the  daytime hours in low vegetation
  • Jumping Bush Crickets – an odd species that is rarely ever seen, but certainly can be heard with each individual making short trills on a different (yet lower) pitch; sounds like an “orchestra warming up;” found in shrub layer and around housing developments
  • Trigs – often will sing through the night later in the growing season
  • True Katydids – the unmistakable, slow paced and deliberate, “CH-CH, CH-CH-CH” (“ka-ty, ka-ty-did”, ecc) heard high up in deciduous trees and produced by an amazing “file and scraper” located on both their hind wings and dorsal, stridulatory shield; in our area they will sing till early-mid November at times
  • Oblong-winged Katydid – a very similar song to the True Katydid, but weaker sounding, higher-pitched, and given at a faster rate; found in shrub layer along roadsides or within fields of goldenrod
  • Bush Katydids – these guys produce of series of “tsips” and “clicks”, and are sometimes seen more than heard; most live high up in the trees
  • Angle-winged Katydids – the familiar, loud, “tick, tick, tick, tick, ecc.” Heard on the tops of small trees during early Autumn is produced by this species; not commonly seen, it blends in well with the green foliage like its cousins  another species that has migrated northward over the years

Here is a good website regarding our chorusing insects, and is put together by Elliot Lang and Will J Hershberger who wrote the book, Songs of Insects.

Other late Summer-early Autumn Insects: loads of Bumblebees gathering pollen/nectar, various wasps doing the same (those like Paper Wasp, metallic Halictic Bees, etc. Are especially fond of goldenrod), Hornets hunting for an insect meal and adding both girth, and dimension, to their large, paper hives; Syrphid Flies (a “bee mimic” of sorts) becoming more common on those wildflowers mentioned after the first frost; yellow-brown Ambush Bugs are still active on goldenroads, carefully staking out a meal to pounce on; dragonflies such as Meadow Hawks and Darners searching for an insect meal over meadows before they either take a permanent nap, or migrate south.

Frogs!: Gray-tree Frogs call occasionally and can be heard trilling (short duration and on different pitches, much sweeter sounding than those Jumping Bush Crickets) during daytime hours when the temps rise above 70 degrees and humidity in the air increases;  the “autumn chirps” of our tiny Spring Peepers can also be heard in most forests, especially near wetlands;  while the Gray Tree Frogs, True Frogs, Toads, and our reptilian friends start to hunker down for the cold months ahead (the garter snake is one exception I would make), these little Peepers will keep doing their thing until we get at least a hard frost, OR extended period of cold;  I’ve heard them in January, even up in VT, so a tough species.

Resident Birds and Long-Distance Migrants: Blue Jays and Crows have been very active staking out food sources/defending feeding territories, as have Black-capped Chickadees, Titmice, Nuthatches, Cardinals, and other resident birds; Our woodpeckers have been at work too looking for insect meals, and the Pileated woodpecker individuals at Moose Hill have been seen more frequently this year, as has evidence of their excavation; their cousin, the Yellow-shafted Flicker, will soon fly to more southern climes in North America, along with the Gray Catbird (still “meowwwing” out there), the Eastern Phoebe and Wood Pewee (two Flycatchers still singing throughout), Pine Warblers (great to hear their lovely little song), Song Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds and Grackles, Bluebirds, a few American Robins, a select few Blue Jays, and a few other species; Interestingly, I have seen/heard more Cedar Waxwings over the last few weeks, moving gregariously from one spot to the next in search of fruit to consume; onsite during cloudy days, or even the sunniest of days, you might hear a Barred Owl exercising its voice.

Fall Foliage Preview: starting MUCH sooner than in year’s past, here in southeastern MA and up in VT, where my family lives; our Flowering Dogwoods have been turning that purple-pink-maroon color since mid August, Red Maples are just starting to turn red-orange-yellow, Sugar Maples onsite tend to turn an “orange-brown” and are beginning to turn (and lose leaves), White Ashes are starting to turn their purple-orange-maroon, Black Gum leaves are beginning to turn scarlet red, and both Poison Ivy/Poison Sumac and Virginia Creeper are ablaze with scarlet-fluorescent reds, oranges, yellows……with the decreasing daylight each day, and each week, “it won’t be long (till we see the  hillsides in full color…and till the snow comes, apologies to my wife about that one)!!”

So, until we meet again in a couple of weeks, keep those eyes-ears-noses-tactile senses to the skies and world around you!! Try closing your eyes to enhance the experience!

And…PLEASE let me know what you all have observed as well!!

Michael Scutari Acciavatti

Nature Detective Notes by Michael, Moose Hill’s full-time teacher naturalist who often heads out on the trails to stretch his legs and observe what is happening. His enthusiasm and knowledge make for wonderful updates about the nature of Moose Hill. We hope that you will be inspired to head out on our trails as well and enjoy the changes that each season, or better yet, each month brings to Moose Hill. We look forward to seeing you here!

Farewell!

Thank you Shareholders for making this a great season for all of the farm staff here at Moose Hill. Please spread the word about our CSA to friends and family and encourage them to register for a share next season in order to recieve delicious food, and save money by not over-relying on the grocery store. We will also be sending out the season-ending survey soon which will offer you the chance to give your feedback. It was in all honesty a pleasure to get to know many of you more as a second year apprentice. Thank you again:)

From left to right: Myself, Lee the farm hand, Mathew the farm manager, and Ryan

The Great Solar Eclipse and a Star Gazing Night: August 2017

Thank you to Craig Austin for this Star Gazing post. Craig is often present during Moose Hill’s Star Gazing Nights, along with a few members of the Astronomical Society of Southern New England, and other local amateur astronomers. Moose Hill is grateful to everyone who volunteers their time to share their scopes and knowledge with anyone who is interested in learning more and seeing the night sky from our open field.

August was a particularly busy month for astronomy enthusiasts at Moose Hill Sanctuary

Solar Eclipse Day Viewing Event, August 21

Over 200 (!!) people attended the solar eclipse viewing event at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary.  Astronomers from the Astronomical Society of Southern New England and other local astronomers set up in the meadow where the star nights are held, to provide a safe viewing environment to see the solar eclipse. A small number of solar filter glasses were available (participants were fantastic at sharing these with each other), as well as telescopes that projected or filtered the sun-moon image in a way safe for viewing. At the peak, about 66% of the sun was covered by the moon.

Check out some of the local press that Moose Hill saw because of the eclipse event:

Wicked Local Sharon

Wicked Local Walpole

I wasn’t able to attend the event at Moose Hill, because I was near St. Louis, Missouri in the path where the moon completely covered the sun in a total solar eclipse.  Here are a few pictures that I took during totality:

totality, photo by Craig Austin

the “engagement ring” picture, photo by Craig Austin

Words are difficult to describe the event. It was wonderful, yet eerie, as the light changed from a bright sunny day to something that was like twilight, yet wasn’t. It was great to witness such an event even the total eclipse was for just a little over a minute where we were. During the event, the cicadas ramped up the volume all around, and the crowd cheered the eclipse.  And it was great to be among family and friends while witnessing it.

Star Gazing Night, August 26

It was going to be hard for the star gazing night following the eclipse to have as much drama, but the night turned out to be a challenge for astronomers. About a dozen astronomers set up telescopes and binoculars and thirty people arrived to see what the astronomers were finding in their scopes.

The moon was just over the trees in the west as it was getting dark. Saturn was the main feature of the night. The rings were tilted toward us, providing a nice collar to the planet. Other objects, however, were hard to see, even in the larger telescopes. Only the strongest constellations were visible, I guess after the eclipse we can only say better luck next time. That’s the fun of astronomy – while there is always great stuff in the skies, we cannot always see it through the clouds.

We hope you will join us for the next Star Gazing Night on Friday, September 29.

Learn more about Moose Hill and check out the line-up of Fall Programs – register early to be sure these great programs run!

Kung Pao Cauliflower

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 1¾ pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 ounces slab or thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 6 dried japones chiles, chiles de árbol, or other red chiles
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns or ½ teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
  • 3 scallions, dark-green and white parts separated, thinly sliced
  • 1 serrano chile, sliced
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • ¼ cup unsalted, roasted peanuts
  • Kosher salt
  • Steamed white rice (for serving)

Directions

Stir wine, cornstarch, and 1 Tbsp. soy sauce in a medium bowl; set marinade aside.

Stir vinegar, hoisin sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and remaining 2 tsp. soy sauce in a small bowl; set sauce aside.

Remove leaves and cut cauliflower into medium florets. Trim woody end of stalk and discard, then cut stalk into ½”-thick pieces. Heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a wok or large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Cook cauliflower, tossing occasionally, until browned in places and beginning to soften, 7–9 minutes. Give reserved marinade a stir to reincorporate cornstarch and add cauliflower to bowl; toss to coat. Toss occasionally while you cook the bacon.

Reduce heat to medium. Cook bacon and remaining 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in wok, stirring often, until bacon is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Add dried chiles and peppercorns and cook, tossing, just until fragrant (be careful not to burn), about 30 seconds. Transfer bacon, chiles, and peppercorns to a plate, leaving bacon drippings behind.

Return cauliflower to wok with a slotted spoon; discard excess marinade. Cook cauliflower, tossing occasionally, until charred in spots and crisp-tender (short of scorching it, don’t worry about letting it go pretty dark), 8–10 minutes. Add scallion whites, serrano chile, ginger, garlic, and peanuts and cook, tossing often, until sauce is fragrant and cauliflower is tender, about 2 minutes. Add bacon mixture and cook, tossing, just until sauce coats cauliflower, about 1 minute; season with salt.

Transfer to a serving dish and top with scallion greens. Serve with rice alongside.

Source 

Bon Appetit 

CSA Pickup: Week 18

Here are the harvest possibilities for this week…

  • Pop Corn
    • Popping Directions
    • Storage Techniques

      1. Hang Ears to Dry: Pull the husks back from the ears, to expose the popcorn kernels. Hang ears in a cool, dry place for at least 3-4 weeks. Before putting them away, remove a few kernels, and see if they pop properly. If not, they are not yet dry.

      2. Slow dry in the oven: Heat oven to 200 degrees. Pull back and remove the husks. Place ears in a single layer on a baking sheet. Put them in the oven overnight, leaving the door ajar. Leaving the door ajar is important, to allow moisture to escape, and so it doesn’t get too hot. Remove from the oven, and hang ears in a cool, dry place for 1-2 weeks. Try popping a few kernels before storing them, to assure they are dry.

  • Peppers (Hot, Bell, and Sweet Lunchbox)
  • Eggplant
  • Cut Greens ( Kale, Mizuna, Collards, and Arugula)
  • Winter Squash (Limited)
  • Broccoli (Limited)
  • Cauliflower (Limited)
  • Potatoes (Limited)
  • Leeks
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • PYO Flowers (Anything in Bloom: Snapdragons, Sunflowers, and Zinnias)

Things to remember…

  • Monday is fish pickup.
  • Extras are Monday and Wednesday evenings after 7 pm.

Items on sale at distribution include…

  • Honey from the Moose Hill Community Farm Hives
  • Pasture raised beef from the Trustees of the Reservation ( Ribeye, Sirloin, Ground Beef, and Short Rib)
  • Spices from Organic Green Kitchen
  • Moose Hill Community Farm Cookbooks

For those of you who enjoy potlucks, we will be having the end of the season potluck on Sunday October 1st from Noon to 2pm. Bring your favorite dish, preferably one that incorporates some of our vegetables. Interested parties should RSVP by Friday September 29th. Send RSVP to moosehillcsa@massaudubon.org.

Some Tasty Treats And Jams

Here are five very intriguing recipes provided by shareholder Amy Larson. I just recently tried the Zucchini Bread, Zucchini Bread Jam, and the Raspberry Jalepeno Jam that she made; all were absolutely delicious. In parantheses are the sources from which the recipes were taken.

Zucchini Bread (Cooks Illustrated) Yield 1 loaf

1 ½ pounds zucchini, shredded zucchini

1 1.4 cups packed (8 3/4 ounces) brown sugar

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour

½ cup (2 3/4 ounces) whole-wheat flour

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

1 ½ tsps salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp ground nutmeg

¾ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

Directions:

Use the large holes of a box grater to shred the zucchini. The test kitchen’s preferred loaf pan measures 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches; if you use a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan, start checking for doneness 5 minutes early.

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.
  2. Place zucchini in center of dish towel. Gather ends together and twist tightly to drain as much liquid as possible, discarding liquid (you should have 1/2 to 2/3 cup liquid). Whisk brown sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla together in medium bowl. Fold in zucchini.
  3. Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg together in large bowl. Fold in zucchini mixture until just incorporated. Fold in walnuts, if using. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  4. Bake until top bounces back when gently pressed and toothpick inserted in center comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 65 to 75 minutes. Let bread cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove bread from pan and let cool completely on wire rack. Serve.

Caponata (Cooks Illustrated) Yield 3 cups

Ingredients

1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 7 cups)

¾ tsp kosher salt

¾ cup vegetable juice, preferably V8 (see note)

¼ cup red wine vinegar, plus extra for seasoning (see note)

2 Tbsps light brown sugar

¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves

1 ½  tsps minced anchovy fillets (2 to 3 fillets)

8 ounces ripe tomatoes (2 medium), cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 cup)

¼ cup raisins

2 Tbsps minced black olives

2 Tbsps extra-virgin olive oil

1 celery rib, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1/2 cup)

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1/2 cup)

1 small onion, diced fine (about 1/2 cup)

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

Instructions:

  1. Toss eggplant and salt together in medium bowl. Line entire surface of large microwave-safe plate with double layer of coffee filters and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spread eggplant in even layer over coffee filters. Microwave on high power until eggplant is dry and shriveled to one-third of its size, 8 to 15 minutes (eggplant should not brown). (If microwave has no turntable, rotate plate after 5 minutes.) Remove eggplant from microwave and immediately transfer to paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk vegetable juice, vinegar, brown sugar, parsley, and anchovies together in medium bowl. Stir in tomatoes, raisins, and olives.
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until edges are browned, 4 to 8 minutes, adding 1 tsp oil if pan appears dry. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
  4. Add remaining 2 tsps oil to now-empty skillet and heat until shimmering. Add celery and red pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and edges are spotty brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Add onion and continue to cook until vegetables are browned, about 4 minutes longer.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low; stir in eggplant and vegetable juice mixture. Bring to simmer and cook until vegetable juice is thickened and coats vegetables, 4 to 7 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl and cool to room temperature. Taste and season with up to 1 tsp additional vinegar. Sprinkle with pine nuts before serving.

Zucchini Bread Jam (The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving) Yield four half-pint jars

Ingredients

4 cups shredded zucchini or yellow summer squash

1 cups apple juice or apple cider

6 Tbsp Ball Classic Pectin (powder, should be available in grocery stores and Walmart)

¼ c golden raisins

1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

3 cups sugar – you cannot substitute a sugar-free product because the pectin won’t activate

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except sugar in a six-qt stainless steel or enameled Dutch oven. Over high heat and stirring constantly, bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.
  2. Add sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.
  3. Ladle hot jam into hot ½ pint jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band, and adjust to fingertip-tight. Place jar in boiling-water canner. Repeat with all jars.
  4. Process jars 15 minutes. Turn off heat. Remove lid and let jars stand five minutes before removing them to cool.

You can skip the canning process, but you will have to keep the jam refrigerated.

Raspberry Jalepeno Jam Yield about 8 half-pint jars

Ingredients

2 red peppers, diced

14 – 20 jalepenos diced. If you like it hot, keep some ribs and seeds.

1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar

2 cups frozen raspberries

2 six-ounce liquid pectin envelopes (I use Sure Jell over Ball. One box has two packets)

Instructions:

  1. Combine peppers, raspberries, sugar and vinegar in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 10 minutes. Bring to a full rollig boil, and boil exactly one minute, stirring constantly.
  2. Add pectin quickly, return to a full rolling boil and boil exactly one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Ladle hot jam into hot ½ pint jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band, and adjust to fingertip-tight. Place jar in boiling-water canner. Repeat with all jars.
  4. Process jars 15 minutes. Turn off heat. Remove lid and let jars stand five minutes before removing them to cool.

Pickled Egg and Beet Salad (Emeril Lagasse) Yield 1 quart

Ingredients

1 pound red beets, stems and leaves removed

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns

1/8 tsp pickling spice

6 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled

1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

Fresh dill sprigs, garnish

Sliced French bread, as an accompaniment

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Wrap the beets tightly in aluminum foil and roast until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven, uncover, and let sit until cool enough to handle. When cool, slip the skins from the beets and cut into eighths.
  3. In a non-reactive saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, peppercorns, and pickling spice. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let sit for 2 hours for the flavors to develop. Add the eggs, onions, garlic, and beets and turn to coat evenly. Cover tightly and refrigerate, turning occasionally, until the eggs are a deep pink color, at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.
  4. To serve, remove the eggs, beets, and onions from the marinade and arrange on a platter. Garnish with sprigs of dill and serve with sliced French bread.

 

 

A Few Important Announcements

The season is winding down folks! This upcoming week will be the final week of distribution, with Monday October 2nd being the very last pickup day. Yes it is very sad to see this come to an end. Please expect there to be a less than ideal quantity of produce for this last week, seeing that many crops such as winter squash, potatoes, and broccoli are all but finished.

In other news, our season ending potluck will be held on Sunday October 1st from noon until 2:00 pm at the Moose Hill Nature Center picnic area; 293 Moose Hill parkway. All shareholders are welcome to bring family and friends, and a dish of their choice. Please RSVP to moosehillcsa@massaudubon.org, or by replying to the weekly emails.

Lastly I wanted to say how great of a year this has been, and that we all appreciate the compliments and feedback many of you have been giving. We will be sending out the end of the year survey after next week, which will give you the chance to communicate all of your suggestions and feedback regarding this past season, as well as next season. We certainly take these surveys into consideration when planning what crops to grow next season, so make sure  your voice gets heard!

Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes), peeled and chopped into a 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup full- or lowfat buttermilk (or, you can make your own)
  • All-Butter, Really Flaky Pie Crust (a half recipe will yield a single crust), prebaked (instructions below)
  • Whipped cream, for serving

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Pour 1 1/2 inches of water into a 3-quart stock part with a strainer basket suspended over it and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potatoes, cover and steam until fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Place the steamed sweet potatoes in a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Mash them into a smooth puree with a fork or potato masher (though I suspect that a potato ricer would also do a great job). You should have 1 1/4 cups puree; discard any excess (by topping with a pat of butter, sprinkling with salt and making yourself a most-excellent snack). Add the butter, lemon juice if using, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula after each addition.

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a whisk, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat until they’re a creamy lemon-yellow color, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the egg mixture to the sweet potato mixture and stir until the eggs are thoroughly incorporated and the filling is a consistent bright orange color. Add the flour a little at a time, stirring after each addition until thoroughly incorporated. Add the buttermilk and again stir until smooth and even.

With a cleaned whisk (or electric hand mixer), whisk the egg whites to soft peaks in a clean, dry bowl. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the sweet potato-buttermilk mixture until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into the prebaked crust and bake on the middle rack of the oven until the center is firm and set, 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove the pie from the oven and cool completely on a rack. Serve at room temperature (or cold from the fridge; you can cover it with plastic wrap before chilling) with a dollop of whipped cream.

To pre-bake your pie crust, choose a method: “Proper” method — Lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the dough and carefully scatter pie weights, dried beans or pennies over it. Bake on the middle rick of your oven at 325°F for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and the foil, prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, and bake for 10 minutes more.

Deb’s “Cheater” method — Freeze your rolled-out pie shell for 20 to 30 minutes until solid. Press a piece of buttered foil, buttered side down, very frozen shell and blind bake it at 325°F for 20 minutes, then carefully pull back the foil, press any part of the crust that has bubbled up gently back with the back of a spoon, prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, and bake for 10 minutes more.

Source

Smitten Kitchen

CSA Pickup: Week 17

Here are the harvest possibilities for this week…

  • Melons (Limited)
  • Tomatoes (Limited)
  • Peppers (Hot, Bell, and Sweet Lunchbox)
  • Eggplant
  • Cut Greens ( Kale, Mizuna, Collards, and Arugula)
  • Squash (Limited Summer and Winter)
  • Cucumbers (Limited)
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower (Limited)
  • Potatoes
  • Leeks
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • PYO Flowers (Anything in Bloom: Snapdragons, Sunflowers, and Zinnias)

Things to remember…

  • Monday is fish pickup.
  • Extras are Monday and Wednesday evenings after 7 pm.

Items on sale at distribution include…

  • Honey from the Moose Hill Community Farm Hives
  • Pasture raised beef from the Trustees of the Reservation ( Ribeye, Sirloin, Ground Beef, and Short Rib)
  • Spices from Organic Green Kitchen
  • Moose Hill Community Farm Cookbooks

For those of you who enjoy potlucks, we will be having the end of the season potluck on Sunday October 1st from Noon to 2pm. Bring your favorite dish, preferably one that incorporates some of our vegetables. Interested parties should RSVP by Friday September 29th. Send RSVP to moosehillcsa@massaudubon.org.