This is yet another automatic post for the month of February as Jen and I try and achieve a full month without electronics abuse. This weekend’s fun events included a bald eagle watch with the local Audubon group. It’s a 5 hours watch with a number of different stops concluding with a tasty lunch in Essex.
The Connecticut river is known for its bald eagle roosts. I’m eager to check it out. I’ve only seen bald eagles on a few random occasions here in CT. Once flying over the highway, and another time at a great distance from the shores of Madison, CT.
Also scheduled for this week? A Houston business trip. This will be especially challenging to survive without any electronics. Business trips with my company are often huge pendulums swinging between EXTREMELY ACTIVE INSANE and jaw numbingly boring. It’s those boring minutes where I will struggle.
I’ll be bringing some books with me from the library. Hopefully those will keep me occupied when things aren’t crazy at the job-site.
Fontina. Simple straightforward Fontina.
Traditionally Italian, Fontina is an earthy flavored cow’s milk cheese that originates in the alps. Officially, Fontina can only be Fontina if it’s made in the Aosta Valley. The Aosta valley is in the north-westernmost corner of Italy north of Turin and abutted to Switzerland and France. The cheese’s texture is a bit more spongy than some of our more recent trials (my amateur tooth would put it in the same texture universe as an un-aged gouda). The mildly pungent woody taste is enjoyable but for me not overly rewarding.
Note to the pregnant: This cheese is unpasteurized.
Note to Kurt: Don’t overanalyze that last sentence.
A few years back I had a great idea. You know those Escape room games online? Imagine that in real life! It’d be a big hit as a team building exercise. Well son of a gun, somebody did it. And wouldn’t you know there’s one in Connecticut. On the 15th we were scheduled to check out an Adventure room in West Hartford (www.myadventureroom.com).
The premise is simple, you and some friends are locked in a room and you have 60 minutes to figure out how to escape. You’ll have to wait until we return from our February without internet before getting a review, but of the events we planned this might be the one that I’m most excited about for February.
The website says that only about 30% succeed in escaping the room. We’d planned the event with Kelly and Jay, so we’ll see if the four of us have the wits to succeed. I’m very curious to see how the company executes the locked room scenario. Will there be a bathroom? Camera or in-room supervision? Do the puzzles rotate so you can try different rooms?
I’m so intrigued. You’ll have to come back in March for the full review.
GJetost (pronounced: YEH-Toast) is a Norwegian cheese that we purchased from our local favorite cheese show Fromage. It’s a mix of goat’s, cow’s milk, cream, and whey and it looks like a toy.
What a cute package!
Caramel in color and with a firmness close to cheddar, GJetost has been described across the interwebs as fudgey. The packaging recommends serving in wafer thin slices alone, with fruit, bread, or… butter. Yes, butter.
Taking it out, it’s carameliness is even more pronounced. It holds the shape of its package just like a caramel. We cut off a thin slice and gave it a shot.
Describing it as fudge-like is extremely appropriate. It is sweet and dessertesque. We tried it on thin toast: totally amazing! What a fun unique cheese!
Price: $$ (24/lb)
Independence: Extremely high. This one would be good for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert.
Try this one for the unique experience.
In preparation for this month of no data, I did more than just schedule a bunch of MikeDiDonato.com posts. Jen and I scoured through event listings to try and find weekend and evening activities. In this month of excitement, this weekend was mostly tame. Friday we were scheduled to try our Cafe Routier in Westbrook after highly positive reviews from our neighbors. And if all went according to plan, we hosted a game night on Saturday night with Sander and Brian. Missions Risk was on the Menu.
Some basement organizers were also due to arrive this past week. So hopefully our basement is looking pretty orderly. I went with a ULINE shelving bin system.
The other casual goal that I had for this month was to use the weekend time to prep meals for the rest of the week. In January we were deeply successful with advance prep of ravioli, dumplings, and casseroles. I presume with less screen time there will be much more weekend prep.
I’d first learned of Humboldt Fog when researching Cyprus Grove Chevre’s Midnight Moon. So far in my quest through these cheese files I would rate Midnight Moon as my favorite; yet this lunary delicious cheese was not as critically acclaimed as Humboldt Fog according to people who probably know cheese better than me. What is this Humboldt Fog and what makes it so revered?
What is it? Well, it’s a goat cheese and it’s the flagship cheese from Cyprus Grove. The cheese’s most unique visible feature is its coat of vegetable ash. The ash is edible and there’s even a stripe through the center of the cheese. It’s not as weird as it sounds. It’s probably where the fog part of the name comes from, but that is 100% speculation.
The Ash, is it gimmick? Maybe. Our good friend Michelle who knows cheese better than any mortal gets a little Hipster on Humboldt. She describes it as the secret cheese that everyone has heard of.
Does that mean it’s not good?
No. In fact, it is completely delicious. It’s soft and creamy and very pleasant on its own. The cheese-maker’s website suggests honey or pear for pairing. We didn’t have pear to pair, so we paired with honey*. HONEY IS WHERE IT IS AT. With Honey, the cheese went from excellent to divine. A heavenly texture and flavor.
Because it’s as soft as it is, I don’t think Humboldt Fog is quite as awesome as Midnight Moon when consumed alone. But overall the taste was still top notch.
Price: $$ (25/lb)
*heh, this sentence pleases me.
My greatest curiosity surrounding this time experiment of no data for February is to see how much time Jen and I earn by not using our devices. How will our routines change? Every day I start by reading news on my iPhone. Now, my news will come from a newspaper. Will I get up earlier? Will I exercise more? Will we be bored?
Is it going to be the most exciting food month of all time with extra time for chefery?
Or perhaps we will hardly notice. It’s a curious thing to think about.
Also: Happy Birthday Theresa! Woo!
What better way to start our month of no TV and internet than by watching the SuperBowl!! Okay, I admit it. We specifically crafted the rules to make sure we could still watch the SuperBowl. The rule was that our TV would be unplugged.
We watched the SuperBowl at Shaun’s place.
Is that cheating? Eh, maybe. But the goal here isn’t to be stupid, it’s to stop stupidity. The SuperBowl is a gathering, a social event. It’s hardly Jen and me sitting at opposite ends of a couch looking at Facebook or Words with Friends for an hour without talking. Watching the SuperBowl with friends is good in the the same way that going out to a movie would be fine.
It’s a far more social experience than a binge-a-thon of Cupcake Wars.