Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Movie Time! With the house silent once again, it was time for a movie. This one had arrived earlier but we didn't get around to watching it because of the holiday. As it turned out, we didn't miss much by waiting.

Sahara (2005) Rated PG-13

Here's what Netflix has to say..."Based on Clive Cussler's best-selling novels starring action hero Dirk Pitt, Sahara sets the daring adventurer on a mission to save the world from destruction. While investigating a deadly water-borne epidemic along the Nile, Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) uncovers a secret dating back to Lincoln's assassination and battles an evil industrialist bent on killing every living thing in the world's oceans. Also stars Steve Zahn and Penelope Cruz"

Let me say this about that...I think we both fell asleep within the first 10 minutes. But, we resumed watching again after about 30 minutes had passed. And missed nothing. After all was said and done, the movie was light and predictable. A completely implausible story, but what else do you expect from Mr. Cussler? I would give it 2.5 stars.
Sorry about the absence...There was a holiday and I was soon swamped by other demands.

And one of those demands was to find a cranberry jelly recipe for Jill. She had left her copy at home and so I went searching for the Fannie Farmer cranberry jelly recipe and soon found it. It's quite simple:

Pick over and wash four cups cranberries. (1-1/2 pkgs)Put in a stewpan with two cups boiling water, and boil twenty minutes (keep stirring!). Rub through a sieve, add two cups sugar, and cook five minutes. Turn into a mould or glasses.

She cooked it up and we poured it into a small mold and then let it set overnight in the refrigerator. It has to be the best cranberry jelly in the world!

I'm going to try a variation on that recipe by adding orange to it. Maybe 1/2 cup of concentrated orange juice and only 1-1/2 cups of water?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Movie Time

It’s time for another movie review. An American Rhapsody (2001) PG-13
NetFlix says…“Amidst the shadows and secrets of Communist Hungary, one family's desperate escape plan goes terribly wrong. By dark of night, the family attempts a daring getaway, sneaking over the heavily armed border, but at an unthinkable price - their infant daughter is mistakenly left behind.”

Scarlett Johansson, (“Girl With a Pearl Earring”) really stars in this movie. Although the movie “feels” as if there were some important scenes left on the cutting room floor…(what happened to about 10 years of her life?) the movie was quite good. I really enjoyed the depiction of Southern California life in the 1950’s. That part provided a little comic relief from the heavy drama that comes from a family torn apart by the early loss of their daughter and her rejoining them. The father’s part is shallow and could have been improved upon. The same could be said of the sister’s role. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars. I was entertained and that’s what I paid for.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

It's kind of quiet right now. The twins, Jill, and Laurae have gone to town for some shopping and I have been left alone to deal with the pomegranates. I have plenty! I want to make pomegranate jelly once again and to do that I need lots of the little bright red and juicy seeds. I use a labor intensive method of extracting the seeds, though it is a little less messy than most methods. First, you fill the sink with cool water. Make a few cuts in the skin of the pomegranate and then split it apart while holding it under the water. Now you begin to tear the sections apart while carefully pushing the seeds off of their attachments. All of this is done under the water. The white pith and outer skin will float on the surface while the seeds sink to the bottom. Soon the bottom of the sink will be covered in seeds. After processing 4 or 5 of the fruit, skim off the floating debris and then remove the seeds from the sink. All of this work makes for a sweeter jelly with a real pomegranate taste. In other methods of extraction, the pith is included in the process and that imparts a slightly bitter taste.

OK, 10 pomegranates done...40 more to go!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Girl With a Pearl Earring

Girl With a Pearl Earring.  2003 PG-13

Here is Netflix’ description of the movie. “Sometimes, inspiration is found in the most surprising places ... or people. In this cinematic adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name, Scarlett Johansson stars as Griet, the young housemaid with a hidden appreciation for art who becomes the muse of Dutch master painter Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth), famous for capturing the luminosity and grace of women in their domestic setting.”

A great movie. The acting was superb and the photography was even better. Every scene could have been framed and hung in a museum; they were that beautiful. Although the plot has the characters confined to a very small portion of the 17th century town of Delft, Holland, the photography is innovative and you are never bored. Scarlett Johansson does a great job, easily gaining the full attention of this audience. Colin Firth, as Vermeer, did a good job but I felt less than sympathetic for his character. This is a 5 star movie…