Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kumqwhat?


Kumquat.

Kumquats have the kind of kick I need to wake me up in the morning. Well, that and a cup of coffee so strong it can benchpress 180 (is that a lot? I have no idea.) With that in mind I decided to make kumquat marmalade.

The recipe is sosupersimple. Cut up the kumquats in halves or quarters and coax out all those little seeds. Then it's just a 3-1-1 ratio: for every 3 cups of kumquat add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. No gelatin necessary! I used part raw sugar and part white, because that's what I had, but I'm sure either/or would be fine.

Throw it all on a pot with a splash or two of orange juice and then let it boil away over medium-low heat until it's reduced, stirring during commercial breaks or whenever you think of it. It should be thick enough that it'll sit on a piece of bread without spilling off onto your work clothes.

Other than toast I think you could add it to a vinaigrette for salad or even incorporate it into a sauce for pork and it should last a while too, I've had mine in the fridge for a couple of weeks now with no signs of spoilage.

In other news, I bought like a pound of mussels for $3.50! I don't actually know if it was a pound but it was waaay too much for two of us to eat and then I had the rest for dinner the next night. So many mussel recipes to come...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Crafturbate



I'm not a particularly crafty person but I've been in need of a jewelry storage system for about the last three years. A ziplock freezer baggie does not a jewelry box make. I couldn't find anything I liked so I decided to make the damn thing myself. I only managed to take two pretty terrible photos before my camera battery died, but trust me it looks better in person.

First, find a stick. It should be a good stick, with many small branches to serve as hangers for your jewels. Personally I spent upwards of one minute rummaging through the brush pile outside my house. Side note: pruning the trees makes them look nice, but leaving it all in a slowly decaying pile underneath said tree does not.

Next, locate empty water bottle. Check the recycling bag you forgot to take out. Now cut off the bottom to form the base and poke a small hole in the lid. Insert branch into lid. Pat self on back.

Finally, spray paint. I recommend a well ventilated area, such as a closet with the doors shut. If you find your self getting woozy and giggle, just open that window you've been staring at.



I think after another coat of paint it'll look less like a stick in a bottle and more like..whatever it's supposed to be. Maybe not, but it's still better than a ziplock.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Krazy Korea Komes Early

Yes I know that 'komes' looks like it should be pronounced 'combs' even though it's supposed to sound like 'comes' but I'm on this whole crazy with a k shtick and really you should just be happy for me that Korea hasn't sucked that last bit of creativity out of me, however terrible it is.

And yes, once upon a time I said I'd keep the Krazy Korean things down to a once a week well guess what I lied. Korea is too Krazy to be restrained like that. Plus, I need to vent, a lot, because my shitometer is off the charts and I simply don't have the prescription meds to bring it back down.

So.

My co-teacher announced yesterday that she's getting married...in June. Koreans don't get 'engaged' I'm told, they just decide to get married, which is what she did this past weekend. My other co-teacher told me that she has been dating this lucky fellow for one whole month. Holdthephone, I haven't even finished a menstrual cycle and she's engaged??? Let me squeeze out an egg out first whydontcha. Well actually she met him in December, decided she didn't like him, but he kept hounding her until she gave in and started dating him a month ago. For those keeping track, that's dating one month, 'engaged' the next month and married the month after that - three months, start to finish, bing-o bang-o bong-o (you can't stop Luongo - cbc3anyone?). I've said it before and I'll say it again - if I've had food in my fridge for longer than your relationship you should not get married. I'm not talking the jar of pickles at the back either, if milk hasn't passed it's expiration date you shouldn't set a wedding date. As co-teacher #2 said though, she is 32...

Next.

Every English teacher in Korea has an 'open class' coming up where representatives from the school board (DMOE) and some of our peers will come and watch us teach to make sure we're not incompetent buffoons. Fair enough, how hard can it be? Well actually, the question should be how hard can we make it? Answer: ve-herry. First *we* sat down to make up the lesson plan which consisted of my co-teacher asking for my ideas and then talking over me when I responded, which is actually far more input than I've previously had. I was a little concerned though, because not only was she completely overhauling our regular routine (push play on government appointed cd-rom), but her ideas sounded highly elaborate for kids who've just mastered Don't Pee in Your Pants, so I ask her how *we're* going to manage this. "Oh, don't worry, we'll tell them the instructions before." Of course we will. What I thought would be a fringe festival indie concert has just been upgraded to LIVE AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL!!!

Then today came the rehearsal with the poor class that's being subjected to this torture and we spent the entire period devising a new seating arrangement that might please DMOE. *We* tried out two desk patterns(while students sat quietly with their eyes closed and their hands on their head) before deciding that yes, 5 groups of 6 students was better than 7 groups of 4 students. Next we have to determine student seat assignments because DMOE prefers the stupid kids to be closer to the front, because everyone knows proximity is half the education battle. First there was talk of a placement test to determine the order but in the end we settled on self evaluation. ATTENTION TEN YEAR OLDS: please take a good hard look at yourselves, accurately gauge your self worth and group yourselves accordingly. Be honest: did you struggle with 'wah do warry warry' last week? Now watch as we single out the dummies and shove them to the front. Don't be embarrassed, it's what DMOE wants. At the end of the ordeal one boy (at the front) said to me, "Teacha, teacha, no study today?" No dear, that's not what DMOE wants. Naturally after creating this desk arrangement we can't use the classroom so I have to go around to homerooms for the other classes...open class isn't until next Friday.

This is already too long but allow me to just describe my shitacular upcoming schedule: off Saturday and Sunday, work Monday except they've cancelled all my classes for no reason so I'll sit around all day with my finger up my butt and then off Tuesday and Wednesday. Congratulations administration, just a stellar job all around.

Friday, April 23, 2010

KK in the Classroom

Koreans love to chant. A chant is halfway between regular speech and a song. A chant is to a song what an acrostic is to a poem. What a greeting card is to prose. What nails on a chalk board is to my ears. These are the lyrics to one such chant:

Wah do warry warry wah wah wah
Wah do warry warry wah wah wah
Where is my bat? It's in the box.
Where is my bat? It's in the box.
Oh thanks Mom.

For the record, 'wah do warry' doesn't mean anything in English or Korean, which is great if the lesson was on gutteral noises but it wasn't. My co-teacher then had the students re-write the lyrics to spice things up a bit. By and large it was pretty standard: where is my pencil? It's on my desk. Where is my desk? It's in the classroom....there is very little by way of creativity here. Then I went up to one group of boys and asked them to read me their lyrics. "Oh no teacher, too dirty!" Okay, now I really want to hear it. This is what they came up with:

"Where is my poo? It's in the father's mouth."

Awesome.

I was also tasked with another film this week. The subject was 'When's Your Birthday?' and the general plot of my script was kid A asks kid B when their birthday is, kid B says it's today, kid A obviously forgot, oopsies, gives a makeshift gift, everyone laughs. Right? Nooooo. The kids are reading it flatter than their pre-puberty chests. So I ask my teacher, "Do they understand that it's a joke, or is it not funny to forget someone's birthday in Korea?" To which she replies, "Oh, a joke. Like, they're only pretending to forget the birthday?" Sigh. After much coaching, this is the result:
video

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bake Bread Break Bread



I love fresh from the oven bread. I love the smell as its baking, I love the steam as you break it open, I love the puddle of melted butter on a freshly cut slice. My lack of oven clearly puts a damper on this little lovefest though. Korea has fine bread, don't get me wrong. It's fine. It's prefunctory, but fine. White, sliced, holds jam when toasted, these are rudimentary qualities of bread. Which is fine, but I want more.

Enter rice cooker. Blessed rice cooker. I can't emphasize enough how happy I was with my rice cooker bread. Hand on heart, I think it's the best bread I've ever made.

I bought a bread-mix from the grocery store (think cake mix but bread) because I couldn't find yeast sold otherwise. I mixed it all up, guessing at the liquid amounts because I couldn't read the directions, and let it rise. Normally I would turn the oven on low for a couple of minutes and then let the dough rise in the warm oven but, alas, not possible. Solution: microwave. I noticed that the microwave was pretty warm after I took something out so I threw the dough in there. Genius.

I punched the dough down once after it doubled in size and let it rise again then transfered carefully to my lightly greased rice cooker. I did about one and a half 'hot' settings, but I wasn't paying really careful attention so I'm not sure how long it sat on 'warm' in between. I also flipped it over becuase the bottom was browning and the top wasn't. In the end this meant two crusts and was kind of an oblong shape which might not look as pretty but it's not a beauty pagent.

I made the bread to go with my mystery squash soup. It looked like a mini-green pumpkin, with orange flesh that was a little dryer than a sweet potatoe but not stringy like pumpkin. It can be roasted in the microwave in not too much time and tasted great as a curried squash soup. Any ideas what it might be?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I don't normally pay attention to the news, largely due to my propensity to become overwhelmed by the incredible amount of shit going on in the world and my inability to see any light at the end of the horrid tunnel that humanity seems to be hurtling down at breakneck speed without their seatbelts on. I'm a sensitive beast, I can't handle it.

On occasion though, something strikes me as so preposterous, so outrageous, that it I just can't help myself. Or I'm bored at work. In any case, allow me to wax incoherent on the Goldman Sachs fraud charges. There are many great analogies for this story, illustrated here by the Daily Show, but allow me to offer one more.

The Producers: a musical by Goldman Sachs

Starring Goldman Sachs as Max Bialistock
Paulson and Co. Inc. Hedge Fund as Leo Bloom
Little Old Ladies as pension funds and German banks. aka...Little Old Ladies


Down and out broadway producer Max Bialistock (Goldman and Sachs) and accountant Leo Bloom (Paulson and Co) realize that they can make money off of a shitty play (mortgages). First, they find the worst play (mortages) ever written and get little old ladies (pension funds and German banks) to invest in the show (mortages), knowing it will flop and when it does they can scamper off into the night with the money (money).

Now in the musical version the unwitting audience mistakes the show for satire and the show is a hit. This is where things differ though; there is very little room for satire in investments and the mortgages really did fail, as planned. However, after a backstage gunshot the police (Securities and Exchange Commission) arrive and haul Max and the accounting books off to jail (charge with fraud).

The finale of the real-life saga has yet to be written but if things stay on course we can expect to see Goldman and Sachs doing upwards of five years in Sing Sing before being pardoned by the Governor and walking off into the sunset, just like Max and Leo.

They say the truth is stranger than fiction. In this case though, the truth is almost exactly as strange as broadway.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Price of Rice



When my father thought I didn't know what I was talking about he used to say 'what do you know about the price of rice in China?' Well in Korea it's cheap, but not crispy. Apart from your regular steamed rice and dishes made with steamed rice like sushi they've also got rice wine, rice dumplings, rice tea, rice vinegar, glutenous rice cakes, and rice liqour. I'm sure I'm missing at least another dozen things. You might think in such a place Rice Krispies (or Korean equivalent) would be a no brainer. You'd be wrong. The closest I found was puffed rice, which more closely resembles puffed wheat, particularly in that I can eat an entire bag for breakfast and still be hungy. I decided to use them instead to make faux rice krispy squares for my teachers. After they tried them I was told that Koreans would like them very much because they contain rice. Yeah, not the caramel or the chocolate but the rice. Always the rice.

Puffed Rice Squares

- puffed rice (or wheat)3 or 4 cups
- butter 1/2 cup
- sugar 1/2 cup
- corn syrup 1 or 2 tbsps
- chocolate

Melt butter, sugar and corn syrup in a pot. Simmer gently for several minutes, remove from heat and let cool for just a second then pour over puffed rice, stirring to combine. Press into a pan lined with parchment without burning your little fingers. Pour melted chocolate over the top and let cool in fridge several hours.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ginger Beef



So I accidentally spent $30 on beef the other day. I thought the butcher and I agreed on three pieces of the meat, but apparently we decided on three times ten thousand won worth of meat. It's okay though, I hear if you buy the cow you get the milk for free, right? Something like that.

My recipe for ginger beef can be found here, but I've made a few modifications. Some are good, some are bad, I'll share them all.

1. Instead of breading the meat I tried to do something more like a tempura batter and it was pretty much a fail. The batter just slid off of the meat and cooked in a partially attached puddle in the pan. I'm assuming there was just something off with the batter, but I think I'll stick with the tried and true method in the future.

2. After sauteing the onions and carrots, push them to the edges of the pan and then pour the sauce ingredients in the middle. This saves the veggies from getting soggy in the sauce while it's simmering (on the sea shore).

3. Some tips on ginger. First, Chef at Home and in my Dreams Michael Smith suggests keeping your ginger in the freezer. It turns into a powder with less stringy bits when you grate it. Second, instead of futzing around with a peeler you can simply scrape the peel off with a spoon. Finally, if texture isn't crucial Nigella Lawson, babe extraordinaire, suggests just leaving the damn peel on; it's just roughage after all. If it keeps Nigella regular then it's good enough for me.

4. Blanche - not just a Golden Girl. Blanching is great if your burners are full becuase you can do it without a stove. Just boil some water in the kettle and pour over a colainder of veggies, in this case I used baby bok choy. I put a second bowl under the colainder so they could have a set in the water for a couple minutes. When they soften up a bit just pull them out and shake them off.

I also tried my hand at green onion cakes. I am without a doubt certain that the best green onion cakes can be found in Edmonton, Alberta. I'm going to sound older than I'd like, but I have such fond memories of eating green onion cakes on the street at the fringe festival, trying to balance the puddles of soy sauce and hot sauce, running from show to show, buying strange jewlery from the vendors. Sigh...okay, trip down memory lane is over. These cakes were pretty darn close to the ones back home. Here's how you can have a taste of Edmonton:

- mix 1 1/2 cups flour with 3/4 cups hot water. Work into a dough, adding flour until it's not too sticky.

- divide into four pieces, roll each out and spread a little oil over the surface. Sprinkly with salt and green onions and roll it up like a log then roll it up like a snail. Log then snail, great analogies Brittney.



- Roll it out again into a circle(ish) and the onions should be distributed evenly throughout. Fry on each side in a little oil, dunk it in some soy sauce and go take a dip in the fountain at Churchill square.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

KK is bad for my self esteem

I tried to go shopping the other day. I managed to get into the shop without knocking anything over or crushing anyone under my canoe sized feet and started looking for clothes that might be flattering on someone who is part gorilla and part whale. As I pulled a dress off the rack I felt something warm on my neck. I spun around and came face to face with a saleswoman trying to perch herself on my shoulder. Fortunately she couldn't reach that high and I shook her off before she could get a ladder. Instead she followed me around the store like white on rice as I picked up the delicate dolls clothes and tried not to snag them on my large, rough hands.

Eventually I found a dress made with elasticized fabric that might accomodate the berth of my wide, western hips and asked my conjoined twin if I could try it on. I gestured both to the changing room at the back of the store and mimed putting clothes on; charades team, London 2012. She countered, making an X with her arms. I grunted, scratched my armpits and pointed again at the changing room. She shook her head vigorously, and emphasized the shape of her arms, X, X, X. I wiped the drool from my chin and lumbered out of the store.

Bruised, but not broken I went to the next store. After finding a style that might flatter a post-pubescent body I asked the saleswoman/my newest apendage what size it was.

"Free size, free size!" she explained.

"Ahhh," I said, "I didn't realize the sizes were being kept in a tiny fishtank. Give my regards to Willy."

"No, no! Same size for everyone!"

Right.

"It fit you!"

Sure, if 'it' is minigloves from the dollar store. But okay fine, I'll give it a shot and commence 'try it on' charades.

"No try!"

I pointed at the door to the fitting room, to the sign that says FITTING ROOM in English and say "fitting room" in what I think might be an assertive voice.

X, X, X.

What is this, Pretty Woman? Look, I got money to spend in here. Millions and millions of your won's lady. I begin to act out 'not a hooker' but give up and stumble out of the store, tripping slightly on my dignity as I get to the door. Keep your clothes Korea, I don't want 'em anyway.

(post script: my co-teachers explained to me that in Korea no one is allowed to try on dresses or shirts, only pants and skirts. She couldn't say why. I suggested that a dress is really only a skirt with a shirt attached. She nodded, and said "only pants and skirts.")

She would go on to ask me what kind of food I eat at home.

"Oh, mostly Western. I don't know how to cook Korean food yet. And if I see one more grain of rice I will personally see to it that it's shoved up the nose of the person nearest me. I don't think Kyle would like this very much. So yeah, mostly Western."

"Korean food is very healthy. I think Korean food will help you with your weight losing."

"Fuck you."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

We're Going to Cannes!

After much anticipation (on my part) I have made my film debut! I present to you my short film entitled In, On, Under. It has been my baby for the past three days after getting the go-ahead from my reluctant producers (co-teacha thinkee it's too difficult). I wrote, directed and edited this masterpiece. I was also costume and set designer (brought my cape and got the key for the broadcast room), camera-man (held digital camera relatively steady) and creative director (drew the opening credits). But I don't want all the credit; two grade five kids whose names I don't remember also showed up.

Enjoy.
video

Behind the scenes gossip:

This film, which was a much welcomed creative thought by my co-teacher, was almost canned becuase my producers thought the magic trick required "too much skill". I explained that monkey's perform tricks like this all the time, no problem! Then they wanted me to take the boy's role because, as you can see, "he is not bery good." Yeahhhhh, I'm afraid I can't fire a ten year old boy and assume his role simply because his acting skills aren't up to par.

Plus, I'm no one's understudy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Penny for your socks.

There are many difficult things about living in Korea but for me the worst thing is socks. At home from the months of April to October I refuse to wear socks at all. Snow in June? Don't care, not wearing them. They make me feel stifled, like someone is strangling my ankles and my toes can't express themselves (I have very expressive toes). For the rest of the year when socks are a climatic 'must' my collection consists of a half dozen mistmatched oddities, each with one or several holes. Coming to Korea meant I had to get my sock act together. Everyone here will notice, and judge harshly, if I rock the bi-polar foot coverings so I've taken a newfound interest in just where my missing socks wind up. I don't have any conclusive evidence yet but I think they might be hiding in the spot in my head where my brain should be. I'm going to test this hypothesis just as soon as I find pink stripey's brother.

Mental incompetancies aside though, there are practical matters at hand. Recently the weather has taken an extreme upwards swing, sitting at about 30 degrees outside and roughly a million degrees in my fifth floor hell hole hot box of a classroom. Unlike my Korean friends I have these peculiar things called sweat glands that cause my feet to randomly produce liquid. Oh wait, not randomly, it's because I'm wearing socks.

The solution, though I hesitate to use that word becuase I fear it's worse than the current state of affairs, is the pantyhose-socklet. This item is such an abomination that google won't even find me a picture of it even though I asked very nicely. Essentially it's like a sock that only covers your toes, the sides of your feet and part of your heel. Here's the thing though, it's made of pantyhose material so you can still see your feet! It's the illusion of modesty with complete disregard for reality. It's like if I wore a saran-wrap t-shirt; sure, technically I'm covered up, but we both know you can see my nips and maybe that mole I should get checked out. Pointless! Well, unless it cools off in which case yeah, definitly pointy.

Anyway I'm going to have to suck it up and get some because right now I look so butch in my socks/sandals/skirt outfit that the kids are going to start calling me handsome.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gnocchi? Yescchi Pleasecchi!

I fear my groanworthy titles may condem me to the Dad Joke's Club.

I recently figured out which bag of white powder was flour so I decided to try my hand at gnocchi. I've never made gnocchi before, and while it wasn't perfect I think I know where I went wrong for next time.



You need:
- 3 medium sized cooked potatoes(or 2 large or 4 small or 1 big and 3 small...)
- 1 egg
- 1 - 1/2 cups flour
- salt and pecker

When the potatoes have cooled down enough to work with, run them through a fine cheese grater. Throw the flour down on your work surface, with a well in the middle for the flour and egg.


My well floweth over.

Mix the egg and potatoe together, gradually incorporating the flour. Don't try to get too much flour in and don't overwork the dough, I think this is where I went wrong and my gnocchi was a little tough instead of pillowy balls of heaven. The dough shouldn't be too dry, I think...

Roll the dough out into long strands and cut into about 1" dumplings. Roll each little guy along the edge of a fork to get the ridged sides. Boil in salted water until they float and then a few more seconds.


Put it in your mouth. Chew. Swallow. Repeat.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spatch-what?!?

Spatchcock. Spatchcoooooock. Spatchcock, spatchcock, spatchcock. Okay, got that out of my system. It's such a funny word.

A spatchcock is a chicken with the backbone removed so it can't stand up to you in a fight. Plus it lies flat in a pan so it cooks quicker and you can have 'roast' chicken without an oven!

My 'butcher' (old Korean lady) cut out the backbone herself on the tree stump/cutting board in the market but you can easily do it yourself with a pair of sturdy scissors and some gumption. Just cut along either side of the backbone and then squish clucky out flat. Spatchcocked!


Not much about meat grosses me out, but leaving the neck gives me the heebily jeebilys. I hacked it off right away.

I marinated my birdie in some lemon juice and garlic. To really get the flavour packed in I like to slide some butter and crushed garlic under the skin of the chicken. Just peel it up away from the meat to make a pocket of sorts and shove in some pads of butter and garlic. Salt and pepper all over and then just let it set and absorb all the goodness.

I used the 'brick chicken' method for this chicken which involves putting pressure onto the meat so it cooks quickly and crisps the skin. It's called 'brick chicken' becuase you're supposed to get some bricks and put them in a second pan on top of the chicken. Now I don't know about you, but I don't do a lot of bricklaying in my tiny urban apartment. What I did have was a case of canned tomatoes from a recent trip to Costco. Done and done!


I threw a can of baked beans in too, just for good measure.

Throw it in skin side down for about 10 minutes and then flip it over for another 20 or so until the juices run clear or you're nosy and cut a piece to check. I also cooked some carrotts in the pan juices which was delicious.


When you're done just throw those old bones in a pot of water, add a couple bay leaves and some veggies and you've got chicken stock for the next day. Now if only I could get it into those little cubes...

Krazy Korean Urban Legends

Every culture has urban legends. They're usually funny or even a little bit sexy as late 90's Joshua Jackson taught us. Krazy Korea has a lot of urban legends and they tend to describe them without a hint of irony. Part of me wants to ask if they know it's not true, but the other part of me doesn't want to ruin Christmas.

The most prominent belief that kimchi is a miracle cure-all disease fighter extraordinaire. Got a cold? Kimchi. Don't want to get swine flu? Kimchi. Got a nasty case of the aids? Kiiimchiii. Some people are even hesitant to go abroad because they are concerned about what might happen if they don't have enough kimchi.

Another food related legend has to do with seaweed soup we were eating for lunch this week. My teacher told me that you can't eat it before exam or you might fail. Why? Because it's slippery. Right, right, slippery. Like your knowledge will slip out of your head? Or like the seaweed might slip out of you in the exam and you'll have to run to the bathroom? I think this is a case for Mythbusters. Those guys seem pretty desperate for work.

Next up: Fan Death. No, not fans dieing from the excitement of seeing their favorite K-pop celebrities but, in fact, death by fan while you're sleeping (also a Canadian indie band, check it). Being the inquisitive sort I probed deeper: what exactly is the cause of death? Answer: the fan. Ahhh, so clear now. For more information I turned to the only news source I trust, wikipedia. My friends at wiki tell me that possibly explanations are that the fan sucks the air away from your face causing you to suffocate or possibly that it chops up all the oxygen molecules in the air, rendering it useless for respiration. I prefer the more colourful idea that the blades escape the metal enclosure and physically chop you up to bits.

Now urban legends are fine but fan death goes too far. The Korea Herald newspaper reported at least 10 deaths in one week from fan death and the Korean Consumer Protection Board issued an official warning about the dangers of fans. Gord Giesbrecht from the University of Manitoba suggests otherwise: "It's hard to imagine death by fan, because to die of hypothermia, one's body temperature would have to get down to 28 [°C], drop by 10 degrees [Celsius] overnight. We've got people lying in snowbanks overnight here in Winnipeg and they survive."

You tell 'em Gord.

Finally, it's not really an urban legend but supposedly Koreans don't have sex before marriage. Sure, sure, just like Palin's daughter. This week my 30-something co-teacher came to work with hickeys on her neck. Okay, memory lane time, when was the last time you had a hickey? Junior high? High school? You probably figured it out pretty quickly and shut down the vacuum cleaner asap. You might not have known it then, but the benefit of your youthful exploits was that you figured it out and didn't have to put a bandaid on your neck at lunchtime after your scarf kept falling down at work. Coincidentally prostitution statistics report that 1 in 5 korean men pay for sex more than 4 times a month. Shiiiiit son. To put that in perspective I take out the garbage about once a week, if I remember. 1 out of every 5 men goes to hookers more often than I take out the garbage. I hope those guys grab the recycling on their way out.

Okay, enough ragging on Korea, I've got some pop rocks and pepsi to drink.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter of Sorts

Easter came and went this year in the back seat of tiny Asian car belonging to a tiny Asian woman. Her kindness is nearly overwhelming and her English is nearly non-existent. We were bound for the east coast and after seeing a Buddhist temple that looks remarkably like all the others we headed to Yeongdeok, a town on the East Sea known in South Korea for having the 'best' crab in the country. They also have the 'best' statues of crabs, an unrelated coincidence I'm sure.



Dinner is served!


Struggle...


Success!


Carnage...


I wouldn't eat you if you weren't so tasty.


The crab was delicious but I was less stoked on eating the guts that look like runny poop. Just mix with rice! All in all a nice way to spend Easter, although much quieter than last year. There is an overbearing, possibly Jewish, grandmother somewhere inside me that wants to feed people. My tiny shoebox apartment does not accommodate such wishes.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fashion Bug Spring 2010

I'm a little bit of a whore in Korea. My co-teachers wear scarves to cover that risque bit of skin from the top of your shirt to your chin. Me? I let my collerbone show. Hell I even wear v-neck shirts! With another, higher, shirt underneath of course, but I do it! I don't, however, wear earrings anymore after a passive message from my coteachers that "the principal doesn't like us to wear big earrings, but it's okay for you because you are beautiful." Okay, let me just translate that from Korean-English to regular-English..."Don't wear earrings."

This was sad at first becuase a) I love earrings and b) I have lots of them now collecting dust. However, where God or your Korean princpal closes a window, he or she might leave the sliding door open so I got these supacute necklaces for about $4 each.








My other must-have for Korean spring fashion? Slippers. After (I thought) I was given slippers by the school the principal told me I had to get my own. She is a battleaxe with strong opinions about jewlery and footwear. Then there was much confusion about what exactly constitutes a slipper: open toe or closed? Can it have a heel? Does it matter what it's made of? Does anything here have arch support? Where can you find ladies size 10 slippers? No where? Fabulous. Luckily I found these bad boys at Footlocker, finally completing my hippie-lesbian-librarian look.



Chunky men's birkenstocks? Check.
Sock and sandals? Check.
Hairy legs? Cheeeeck.

Combined with the fact that I now rock the pants-under-skirt look becuase some of my skirts are too short (read: showing kneecap) I'm about two steps away from playing bass in a 90's all girl rock band that tours exclusively with Lilith Fair. All I need is a shirt that says "Eve Was Framed" and the ability to take things seriously.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Krazy Korea gives me a tv show.

I don't have video footage for you yet, but here's a behind the scenes look at the making of Teacher Time at _________ Elementary School. I would be the tall, awkward white woman in these photos.

These are two of my co-stars.


Here they are again during rehersal in the hallway/greenroom.


She's being humble, but she totally knows how to push those buttons.


On set.


Try to look like a bird, ready....action!

Nailed it!

Here are my tiny cameramen. The one on the right is responsible for the still-cam, while the other boy goes hand held for those hard to reach shots.


Cast and crew wrap party in the stairwell! Until next week, stay classy Beomil!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fun With Fusion



After a much needed trip to Costco for some western essentials I'm ready to start blending some old favorites (cheese, spices) with some new ingredients (Asian sweet potatoes) and mix in some things that are the same in both places (Eggs. Can't really change eggs, can you?) The result? A quiche of course.

I actually bought the sweet potatoes expecting the regular sweet, yellowy-orange insides but peeling away their rough skin exposed bright white insides. Quelle surprise! Asian sweet potatoes are actually pretty similar to potatoes, but with a dryer, more creamy texture and just a hint of sweetness. Not a bad surprise at all.





The prescious feta that I found at Costco was actually a lot more mild than I expected, resulting in a fairly bland quiche so if you attempt this either make sure you've got a cheese that can stand up for itself in a fight or add some other flavours. I'd also be lieing if I said I didn't dream of a rich, buttery, flaky crust but such is life.

Zucchini Asian Sweet Potatoe Quiche with Rice Crust
(Inspired by this little number)

Crust:
1 cup cooked rice
1 egg
2 tbsp melted butter

Quiche:
4 eggs
1 zucchini sliced thinly
1 asian sweet potatoe, cubed (you could use regular potatoes)
Cheese. As much as your budget or current location permit.
Salt and pepper.

Combine rice, egg and butter. Press into the bottom of your pan. I cooked it for three minutes in the microwave but please use your lovely ovens if you have them. The microwave just doesn't crisp things up.

Steam sweet potato and zucchini and allow to cool slightly. Lightly beat eggs, add cheese, cooled veggies, salt and pepper and pour overtop of the rice crust. I cooked this for about 7 minutes in the microwave until the centre was firm. Again, oven, oven, oven.

Then eat it, dummy.