New Moon

Photo #4

Film (with rating): New Moon (PG-13)

Studio: Summit Entertainment

Summary: In the second chapter of Stephenie Meyer’s
“Twilight” saga, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and her vampire love
Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) fight to keep their relationship growing, all
while battling ancient secrets that threaten to destroy them. Things get even
more confusing when Bella’s friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) uncovers his
own supernatural powers, and his feelings for Bella.

Review: I confess–I read all of the “Twilight”
books, and relatively enjoyed them. But I’m a sucker (no pun intended) for
vampire stories. The writer in me saw the flaws in the books, but I read them
for entertainment, and found myself properly entertained. As for the movies,
well, that’s a different story. “New Moon” is, of course, hated by
some uber-fans of the novels, as well as is adored by aficionados of Edward and
Jacob (Team Edward t-shirts are all over my local Target). I’m neither, so I
approached the film from a middle-of-the-road point of view.

And I found some flaws. Unfortunately, director Chris Weitz could have done so much
more with the material. Bella’s constant obsession with brooding and staring
out the window made for boring cinema, as did Edward’s one expression: staring
out from beneath his eyelashes. Weitz seemed to dwell too much on all of this
moody rumination, which was only broken up with footage of shirtless
werewolves. As much as my vampire-loving self hates to admit it, the werewolves
were the best part of “New Moon.”  It proved hard to care about Edward and Bella when all they
seemed to do was walk through the woods and moan about true love. It got old.
So old. I wanted to scream at them to just knock it off, get over themselves
and stop whimpering about everything. Weitz redeemed himself slightly with the
action-packed werewolf scenes, but not completely.

All that being said, “New Moon” will be a decent
DVD to those who walk the middle ground in this “Twilight”
phenomenon. As long as you’re not distracted by whining, bad makeup or erratic
plot jumps, “New Moon” isn’t so bad. As an added treat, you’ve got
lots of pumped-up werewolves who adore running around half naked for your
viewing pleasure. You may just squeal just like the half-zillion preteen girls
(and their moms) who saw this film a dozen times in theaters.

Extra highlight: The six-part documentary

What to serve for dinner: Hey, it’s Stewart’s birthday
today, so let’s settle in for a night of vampire-themed food: everything red.
Serve up some red lentil soup ( with tomato swirl bread
( End the evening with some red velvet cake or sliced
strawberries and cream.

Red Lentil Soup

2 tablespoons canola oil or peanut oil

1 medium or large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

Salt to taste

2 teaspoons cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground

2 teaspoons coriander seeds, lightly toasted and ground

2 teaspoons hot curry powder

1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes with juice

1 pound red lentils (about 2 1/8 cups), washed and picked

2 quarts water or chicken stock

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (more to taste)

Cayenne to taste (optional)

Juice of 1/2 lime

For garnish:

Chopped fresh cilantro

Thickened yogurt

1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat
and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes, and add the
garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the cumin, coriander, and curry powder. Stir
together for about a minute, until the garlic is fragrant, and stir in the
tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes,
until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly. Add salt to taste.

2. Stir in the lentils and water or chicken stock. Bring to
a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add salt to taste and
continue to simmer for 15 to 30 minutes, until the lentils have fallen apart
and thickened the soup. Using the back of your spoon, mash the lentils against
the side of the pot to thicken the soup further. Add the pepper, taste, and add
cayenne if you want more spice. Taste and adjust salt. Stir in the lime juice.

3. If you wish, puree with an immersion blender or in
batches in a blender, holding a towel over the lid to prevent hot soup from
splashing out, and return to the pot. Heat through and serve, topping each bowl
with a dollop of yogurt and a generous sprinkling of chopped cilantro.

Tomato Swirl Bread

1 tomato

1 cup tomato sauce

2 tbs butter

2 tbs brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cloves

2 tbs ketchup

1 package of dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)

1/4 cup warm water

4 cups or so of whole wheat flour

Soften yeast in water. Heat tomato sauce, butter and ketchup
and let cool to lukewarm. Add sugar, cloves, salt and yeast mixture to tomato
mixture and mix in enough flour to make a soft but kneadable dough (or mix
according to mixer directions). Turn out and knead until smooth and elastic.
Oil and set aside to rise.

Next, take:

1 1/2 c warm water

2 tbs butter

2 tbs brown sugar

1 tsp salt

1 pack dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)

4 cups or so whole wheat flour

Soften yeast in 1/4 c water with sugar. To other 1 1/4 cup water,
add butter until butter melts (you may need to microwave it and let cool to
lukewarm). Add salt and yeast mixture…then add flour until you get a soft,
kneadable dough…proceed as above.

Let balls of dough rise until double, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down and knead lightly. Cut each ball of dough into two equal pieces. Let
rest 10 minutes. Roll each ball out into a rectangle of equal sizes. Place a
tomato dough rectangle on top of a whole wheat rectangle and roll up tightly
pinching dough together at bottom to seal. Repeat with other loaf. Let rise in
greased bread pans for 1 hour or until double.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when
tapped. Let cool.

What to talk about over dinner: How do you think the movie
compared to the book? How could it have been better? Where did it do the book
justice? How did you behave with your first love? Who should Bella be with: the
vampire or the werewolf? Any desire to go to Washington now? Do you think there
are such things as werewolves and vampires? Why is Bella so constantly moody
and brooding? What was your favorite book in the “Twilight” series?
Anyone even remember Pattinson from his “Harry Potter” days? Was it
anything other than supernatural forces that helped turn Lautner from a geeky youngster
in the first film into a chiseled god in this one? What’s the fascination with
vampires anyway? What’s your favorite werewolf film? “I Was a Teenage
Werewolf?” “The Howling?” “An American Werewolf in
London?” “Teen Wolf?”