Weekend with the Loom

This weekend I spent my time with the Loom… (not to be mistaken with fruit of the loom…   fruit and a loom is a strange combination if you really think about it).   I still feel very novice and I am going to update you on my weaving…   add some more “ah ha” moments and hopefully … Continue reading Weekend with the Loom

Wine Making (part 3)

Here is part three of my wine making “adventure”… (nothing exciting to announce like exploding bottles).  If you have missed the previous posts I am fermenting (nice word for rotting) grape juice with the hopes of creating wine… (Here is part 1  and part 2…  just in the case you might be interested).       My grapes always make an interesting … Continue reading Wine Making (part 3)

Wine Making (part 2)

I picked the grapes!!!  Now it is time to start making the wine.   If you have not read Post 1 (part one)  I explained that I am a “wine making novice”.  No experience at all… and more than ever I am a becoming nervous.  I am worried that I am doing things wrong and will … Continue reading Wine Making (part 2)

Weekend with Romano

This weekend I will be sharing the recipe and process for making romano cheese.  This is one of my wife’s “non french” favorite cheeses and is based upon an Italian cheese “Pecorino Romano”.   This cheese dates back over 2000 years and was a staple for legionaries of ancient Rome. (I like to think I could be compared to these ancient roman solders…  well kind of… I eat romano cheese)

romano 1
Here is my cheese journal opened to the Romano recipe and the cheese label from my first Romano attempt.  I rated it with 4 stars… which means good… (my star rating system might be a bit arbitrary)

“Pecorino Romano” is made from sheep’s milk but I will be making this with fresh cow’s milk and my recipe and cultures come from cheesemaking.com. (if you want to be like me… and who wouldn’t…  cheesemaking.com would be a great place to get started. )

This is only the second time I share a recipe for cheese, but I make cheese almost two or three times a month.   If you are curious about the first recipe I shared, it can be found here Raclette Cheese .  I am often asked if I really make cheese… then why do I make it… and than finally do I sell it.  I imagine I get asked this because cheese making has become “unusual” and “uncommon” and often people see cheese as something that is manufactured… not made at home.   I find that to be incredibly sad.  We are becoming so disconnected from our food and its preparation.  When I make cheese I know the farmer that owns the cows.  I know the fields that the cows grazed in.   I know exactly what was added into the milk and the conditions (cleanliness and quality) of the process.  I continually marvel at the transformation and find a real joy in reconnecting to ancient recipes, ancient knowledge, as well as the world we live in.   This is the real underlying reason that I make cheese. (plus… my wife loves cheese and tolerates this hobby)

Here is a quick cheese making overview for anyone curious about the general steps for cheese making (this is kind of the cliff notes for those who don’t want to read all of the steps).

  1. Cultivating or Ripening cultures in the milk( introducing and encouraging good bacteria growth… each cheese may require different bacteria.  This process also changes/lowers the PH of the milk)
  2.  Coagulating the milk (enzyme break down of the kappa casein… first of the milk proteins to be broken down… we are “cleaving” its chain of amino acids… cool huh… making it hydrophobic and attracted to itself)
  3.  Consolidation and drying of the curds  (each cheese does this in a unique way… often by cutting, stirring, cooking, washing, draining, stacking, pressing etc….)
  4. Salting or brining
  5. Aging (this is where the “magic” of cheese happens and it is the enzymes left behind from the bacteria or it is the  mold… think camembert… that breaks down the protein in the milk … unique enzymes/molds cleave specific target sites in the amino acid chains and that creates different peptides each with a unique flavor…)

(I am not a microbiologist… and only understand the microbiology of cheese making at a surface level… but it is incredibly fascinating… or maybe it is not… and I am just weird)

If you want the details click “continue reading”

 

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Weekend with Cyanotype

I am so excited to share (and experience this weekend).  I always write my posts in short “in between” moments as I am doing my “weird” things…(would hate to write so many words in a single setting…).  This means as I am writing this I have not fully lived my weekend and have no idea if it will work… and be “awesome”(that is what my 6 year old would say).

cyanotypePartAPartB

At this moment I have mixed the chemicals. (Love the mad chemist vibe… not sure why “mad”… except that I don’t know exactly what I am doing… and one is a something-cyanide… which sounds dangerous) I bought a kit  (here is the link)and this one was excellently priced and much easier than what I had previously imagined.  I have received two bottles with powder in them.  You just add water to both bottles and then let it sit for 24 hours.  (For those who are reading this and happen to be chemists… or just nerdy… voila… the details of the bottle contents … Bottle A contains Potassium Ferricyanide – C6N6FeK4.   Bottle B contains Ammonium Citrate – C6H5+4yFexNyO7.)

Before I go much further… I want to offer some back story.   I do not consider myself a photographer…  in fact when I was little I didn’t consider photography art.. (hope I don’t loose followers with that admission)…  Let me explain better.  My father is an artist (an oil painter).  When I was young I asked him why he didn’t paint more “realistic” paintings…   and he answered with… if you want realism take a picture.  (This made me think that pictures were not done by artists… )   I have since matured (a little) in my understanding of art.. but still have a small bias (don’t we all)…   I made friends with a wonderful artist (photographer) and my eyes were open to some of the more experimental and creative things one can do with photography…(this excited me… and really made me rethink photography…  no longer will it be something I just do to remember my vacations and family events).  I have been experimenting on and off with photography ever since…    My first experiments were with polaroid transfers and lifts.

camera

I bought this camera (my wife is so patient)… and started on the road to some of my first experiments with photography… I will share some of those pictures… below… (boy I am way off topic… I will come back to cyanotypes… but first… if you look closely you will see a set… I now call the dead family… was trying for a “sleeping” family… some how the concept failed)

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SO….   I love playing with and creating “atypical” photography… and I have wanted to try my hand with Cyanotypes for some time now.   I will be finally  doing them… not just myself but my entire family will join this activity (love it when we are all able to do this together)

For those already sick of reading… and who don’t want to learn the process here is a before and after picture that sums up what I did.  (This was an old negative that I found… I knew it was someone on my father’s side but the negative was broken into four pieces… cracked… dirty…and I couldn’t tell who it was… wasn’t sure this would work )

BEFORE:

omabefore

AFTER:oma

Isn’t this incredible… and when I saw this appear…  I recognized my grandmother right away… what a beautiful picture of her… and what a beautiful/magical process..

click… continue reading if you want to discover the process… (really “awesome”… and even my 6 year old could fully participate with this process)

Continue reading “Weekend with Cyanotype”