Sunday, May 27

luncheon

The guys (Jake, Brian, my dad and Brian's dad) all went to Gettysburg yesterday to check out a Civil War gun display at one of the museums. Since the guys shouldn't be the only ones to have fun, I had the moms over for lunch. It was a pretty warm afternoon, but not too bad if you were just sitting. I did up some food on the grill and we had a nice lunch on the patio.

hall pass

This movie was way funnier than I had anticipated. Definitely one of the better comedies that I have seen in recent days. Don't get me wrong, the comedy was completely crass and who's going to give their husband a "hall pass" anyway? But if you can get past the plot and you're into juvenile humor, you will probably like this film.

Tuesday, May 22

birthday dinner

My Mom had the annual birthday dinner for my brother and me on Sunday. This dinner historically occurs on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, but had to be moved up a week this year for whatever reason. We had a delicious Thanksgiving-themed dinner (thanks to my brother's love of turkey and my love of stuffing). I had to bring my dessert home, though, because I was too stuffed--probably from all of the stuffing! Plus, there were presents! It was a nice afternoon.

Sunday, May 20

harry potter and the goblet of fire

Another Harry Potter movie. What can I say? It was just as good as the others, though I have a feeling I'm going to be Harry Pottered out by the time we're done with this series of movies. Four to go.

Saturday, May 19

it's garden time!

It's only mid-May and my garden looks awesome already. Thanks to the warm weather, everything but the peppers are planted. And, I'm sure they will be in within the next week. We've happily been eating lettuce, radishes and green onions so far. Every year I think it's going to be the best year ever, but this might just be the year!

Wednesday, May 16

take shelter

This movie was interesting at the beginning. It was about this guy who was having nightmares about protecting his family. Storms were involved in the dreams. Eventually, this started spilling over into his waking hours. But this movie, like so many others, had an ending that could be interpreted in a number of ways. I'm really getting sick of watching movies like this. How about if someone out there makes a movie that actually has an ending? Is that too much to ask for?

Monday, May 14

the hunger games (movie)

I took Jake and his friend to see The Hunger Games on Saturday night. It was great. Of course, some things were missing from the movie, but movies are rarely as good as the book. And, Jennifer Lawrence was great--she is one excellent actress. I'm looking forward to seeing more from her in the future. We've been wanting to see the movie ever since we read the books, but were waiting for it to come to the Westwood Plaza because that's the only place (other than my living room) that I will watch a movie.

This coincided nicely with Jake's birthday weekend. Friday night, we did a Family Movie Night and Sunday, we had a Mother's Day/Jake's birthday party.

Saturday, May 12

the wind through the keyhole

Another Dark Tower book from Stephen King--I didn't think that was ever going to happen. This story actually falls between books 4 and 5 of the series. The book didn't really shed much light on the overall story, but it was still an enjoyable read--quite an interesting little tale. While you wouldn't necessarily have to have read the Dark Tower series to enjoy this story, it is recommended (if only because it's awesome).

city slickers

Surprisingly, this movie held up better than most. It was actually funny and enjoyable to watch. I was not expecting that.

Wednesday, May 9

hesher

This movie starred an almost unrecognizable Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors) as a heavy metal dude, who is not invited, but moves in with a family who is grieving over the loss of the wife/mother. There is some speculation that this movie had a Fight Club-esque thing going on in it, but there's no real indication of that in the movie. Though, I have to admit, that would definitely make it more interesting.

Saturday, May 5

harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban

Jake and I watched this last night. We both liked it. I particularly liked how they did the dementors--they were different than I pictured when I read the book, but very effective and creepier in the movie.

Friday, May 4

the vendetta defense

This book was ok, but the plot was a bit of a stretch. I have a stack of this author's books to read, so I hope the next one is better. This was from the series that I usually enjoy, but one of the side characters was the main character in this one. That wasn't so much the problem as the plot. Nevertheless I had to wrap it up because the new Stephen King book was waiting in the wings.

Wednesday, May 2

i made cheese!

In my never-ending quest to learn how to do everything, I made hard cheese last weekend (previously, I have made mozzarella and ricotta). Brian helped, too. It was pretty fun, but it was a very long process (partly because this was our first attempt, but mostly because cheese takes a long time to make). We made a farmhouse cheddar, which is the recommended first hard cheese due its shorter aging process and ease of process.

The first step was to heat the milk. This could not be done on the stove, so we put the cheese pot in a larger pot filled with hot water.
Once it got up to temperature, we added a cheese starter culture and ripened the milk for 45 minutes. Next we added rennet (which is an enzyme that causes milk to separate into curds and whey). Again, the milk had to sit 45 minutes. Once the curds set, I cut them into 1/2 inch cubes.
Next, the curds had to be cooked--they were heated slowly until the temperature reached 100 degrees. This process pulls the excess whey from the curds.
After resting for 5 minutes, the whey was drained from the curds and the curds were tied up in a piece of cheesecloth and left to drain for one hour.
After this the curds were broken up into pieces and salted.
Then they were put into the cheese mold and pressed with increasing amounts of weight. The first two pressings were at lower weights for shorter periods of time. The third pressing was at a high weight (50 pounds) for 12 hours. Also, check out the nifty cheese press Brian was kind enough to build for me.
After the pressing, you end up with something that sort of looks like cheese.
At this point, the cheese was air-dried at room temperature for a few days. Once the drying was completed, the cheese was waxed and put into aging.
As I do not have a cheese cave, I am aging my cheese in the fridge. This is not the recommended method, but I have no other way to do it. Since this cheese only has to age a month, this probably won't have too negative an effect on it. But, once I start making other kinds of cheese, I'm going to have to figure something out.

Stay tuned for next month, when I cut the cheese. Literally, not figuratively.

All supplies (and my cheese making recipe book) were purchased from New England Cheesemaking Supply Company.