Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Making Cheese

Jody and I were at the Cheese Importers in Longmont and ran across a kit to make your own mozzarella. So we said to ourselves, "We've seen them make it on TV, how hard can it be". So we decided to get the kit and then off to the store to get the ingredients. Luckily it really doesn't take much: a gallon of whole milk, some rennet, salt, and citric acid.
Gather all the ingredients and instructions

Start heating the whole milk

Once the proper temp is reached and the citric acid has been added, give it a few minutes to start working

Starting to see some curds now, so we start removing them from the whey. Kinda looks like cottage cheese in this form.

Once we have removed the curds from the whey, heat up the curds some more so that it is the proper temperature to stretch the cheese

Drain some more whey out, amazing how much was in there

Make sure it is hot enough to manipulate, it is not hot enough here, so we have to nuke it some more. 
Start forming it into balls. Still not sure it is hot enough here so the texture is not quite right

Some of the finished product
So it was quite fun to make our own cheese, it tasted pretty good especially for the first time trying it. It seemed like we didn't get a ton of cheese out of the gallon of milk we put in, but I guess that is how it works. Anyway, we have at least three more batches to do, because the kit came with enough stuff to do four. So maybe on our next try we will do better.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Cumbres Toltec train

For our anniversary, we decided to take a short road trip to southern Colorado to ride the Cumbres and Toltec Train

We actually decided to ride from New Mexico, so we took a bus down to Chama NM and then road the train back to Antonito CO. 

 Here we are on the bus....we are ready to go....

Our train car had nice tables that we could sit at and look out and the decor was fun too.   

 We saw great scenery. 
 Went over a couple of bridges

 This little car followed behind the train to put out any fires that were started along the track.  Kevin called it our "stalker"

 Some great canyons to see
We went through a couple of tunnels

 And we even saw a group of cowboys

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Jekyll Island

Once again I was accepted to present at the Distance Learning Administration conference, held at Jekyll Island.  Since it was close to our anniversary and we didn't go last year, we decided to take a couple of extra days and spend the weekend before the conference and enjoy ourselves.  That we did. 

Jekyll Island has an interesting history, as a retreat for the very wealthy, from 1888 to 1942.  We did get to stay at the club house and it was so much fun.   

The beach was clean, clear and soft

Entering the island....

Cool bridges

We visited Horton House as well on the island

 This Cemetery was haunted...I am sure...we were here, and I heard a dog howl from far off, and it got cloudy and I said to Kevin "this place is haunted" and as I said that, the thunder came and it started pouring rain, so we ran back to the car. 

One evening we even took a boat ride and went to find some dolphins

 First we found other wildlife
 Then we saw the dolphins, tons of one point we could see about 20 around the boat. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

J.D. Gross Mousse au Chocolat

I am working my way thru the mammoth box of chocolate from Germany, and one of the items in there was the J.D. Gross Mousse au Chocolat "bar". I use the word bar loosely as the package includes several individually wrapped mini bars a little larger than a Kit Kat stick. What these bars are is a rich chocolate mousse (38% cacao) enrobed in a layer of dark chocolate (53% cacao).

One of the bars in the package
The outer coating is a slightly hard chocolate that has a strong (slightly bitter) chocolate favor. Think of it as a way of containing the soft mousse inside. The mousse inside is very soft, similar to what you may find in many truffles. Without the outer chocolate container the mousse would not hold any shape. The favor of the mousse is good, and has a slight grit, but the favor of the outer chocolate hides some of the flavor of the mousse. Overall I am glad I got this bar, and I am having a hard time rationing out the servings. The package recommends 1 or 2 bars per serving and I have to agree that it is plenty as the bars are quite rich.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sweet Sweet Wine.....thanks Kari

This past weekend, my friend Kari came to visit.  We had a really great time and had a chance to catch up.  We hadn't seen each other for what seems like a very long time (a few months).  Anyway, Kari brought me my birthday present, that she made herself: 

And inside?.....yep a nice bottle of wine....

And when I open it, the cork will go in this nice large jar I have on display.