Archive for March, 2012

March 29, 2012

Is this what YOU want to be remembered by?

I read the following quote somewhere on the Internet a couple of weeks ago.

“In 100 years, there will be 500 million profiles on Facebook. Of dead people.”

And then I wrote a really morbid post. In fact, it was so morbid that if I had hit publish, my mom would’ve probably called me within minutes and threatened to disown me if I didn’t delete it. Ya. It was that bad y’all.

So I sat on it. And did what I always do: try to find a positive twist. And find I did.

Instead of thinking of 500 million profiles of dead people, why not use different words.

When you change your language (and therefore the framework with which you approach something), you change everything.

So, yes, it’d still be odd to have “friends” in the other world on Facebook. But wouldn’t it be nice if Facebook, other social networking sites and the Internet as a whole created a memory online. Consolidating all our online selves. Once people pass on in real life. Somehow.

Ok. So let me start from the beginning.

I’ve never met either of my grandfathers. They both passed away long before I was even born.

My mom always tells me that I’m a lot like her father. That he was a bookworm, too. When I visited my uncle’s home in Sri Lanka in 2004, I was so excited to find that he had kept some of my grandfather’s books. (My grandfather had owned literally rooms of books so my uncle couldn’t keep them all and had to donate most of the books to a library.)

I jumped up and down with glee when I first saw the collection. Ya. Books excite me that much. And then I opened the first book to discover there were swordfish bugs.** Or those silver bugs that eat paper and make old books their home. (**Note: I may or may not have just made up swordfish bugs. There is such a thing, right?)

Now I’m all about finding out more about my grandfather through his love of books and the kinds that he read and chose to line his bookcases with, but bugs will stop that quest. In a heart beat.

Now fast forward to today. Imagine he had had a list of fav books on amazon or better yet! Imagine he had written a blog.

I could easily click-clickity away without traveling thousands of miles or back in time to find out everything he believed in. Everything he was, breathed, liked, thought. Everything he wanted to share.

And that’s what is so cool about the future of the Internet, Facebook, Blogging, Vlogging.

Our kids and their kids and every future generation will have not only pictures of their ancestors but videos and words and thoughts and anything else we decide to put out there.

The Internet makes it possible for every kid in the future to have something that was only available for the descendants of:

(a) Einstein, Charles Dickens, any other published author

and

(b) famous actors/actresses, royal families and otherwise wealthy folk

Yup, you’ve guessed it. I’m suggesting that not only is the Internet making it possible for us to break down the barriers of entry with WordPress (the written word) and YouTube (videos) and the like today, but that it will also inevitably allow us to leave behind legacies which was an option only available to the elite few in the past.

Now imagine that.

This puts blogging and vlogging in a whole new light.

And our general online presence.

Everything we put online will live on, long after we’re gone. So every time you hit post, share or publish, ask yourself this: Is this what I want to be remembered by?

And my message to Facebook is this: find a way not to create an online graveyard but a memorial yard. Or something like that. And ensure that all “friends” links of the people who have passed on is disabled along with their walls. Basically find a way to turn a Facebook profile into an online book. One that cannot be changed in any way. But one that can be pulled off the proverbial shelf and read by anyone. Or wait. Maybe not anyone. Shouldn’t Facebook have an option for this somewhere? Kinda like a donor card.

No. Wait.

The remnants of the morbid post I deleted are seeping into this one. Which could only mean one thing: I should stop writing.

If you’ve read this far, thank you for trusting me with your time. If I could, I’d give you some food. (like these beautiful cupcakes)

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But I can’t. So hopefully, I’ve given you some food for thought :)

Have a happy happy day :)

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March 29, 2012

Life is short.

My mom hates it when I say life is short.

She’s super superstitious. I think she thinks that the more I say it, the truer/more applicable I’m making it to my life aka the shorter my life is going to be. Or something ridiculous like that.

Anyway, the reason I say it is because…
1. it is short.
2. to remind myself that it’s short.

For the realists in here that disagree and counter with it’s the longest thing any human will do, dude I’ll say you’re right. It is the longest thing you’ll do… until you realize seconds or days… if you’re lucky, months before it’s your time.. And then you’ll agree with the rest of us and say: ya dude. Life is effin short

And to that I’ll say huzzaaaa. Told you so.

Ok. Not really. But I’ll want to. And my mom will stop me.

Here’s a totally-unrelated-to-this-post pic of me holding a puppy in Busan. We were bar hopping and they randomly had puppies you could hold! On the street! I <3 Korea!

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March 21, 2012

How to fry frozen pizza

I told my mom that I’m going to fry my frozen pizza tonight. She was like what!?

And then I figured this warranted a post.

Because, guys, the pizza box is lying to you.

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Yes, you can put it in the oven but microwave? A pizza? You might as well just eat it frozen.

Microwave = soggy food = yuck.

So what do you do when you don’t have an oven? you fry it, of course!

How to fry a frozen pizza

1. Let the pizza defrost thoroughly. This is important.

2. Heat up the frying pan on maximum. How do you know the frying pan is hot? Sprinkle some water on it and if it evaporates quickly, your frying pan is hot.

3. Pour a tablespoon of oil on to the pan. As it starts to crackle and pop, pick up the pan and start swishing around the oil. Place back on stove. Do this until the crackling and popping of the oil starts again.

4. Ensure your oil is heated and coating the entire pan. This is important to ensure the pizza cooks evenly.

5. Place defrosted pizza on pan and turn the heat to lowest possible setting. When all the cheese has melted, your pizza is ready to eat!

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I personally prefer this to baking it in the oven. The pizza is crispier and the crust tastes more fresh because of the oil.

Happy frying!

March 12, 2012

Home. Away from home.

As much as you want to experience everything and absorb every ounce of your new host country, sometimes you just want to be home. Even if it is just for a weekend.

But the flight from Seoul to Toronto is 14 hours. Spending 28 hours in a plane for less than 20 hours at home isn’t feasible nor smart.

Enter the greatest invention on the planet: the American base.

Ok so you might be thinking: really? How can you betray and turn your back on your fellow Canadians. And to that, I have this to say:

As much as we hate to admit it, Canada is like America’s little brother. Sure when we’re home we don’t think much of each other. But on the other side of the planet? We’re from the same family. We connect on a level that only siblings can. We bond.

I may not be American. But Taco bell and Subway and Starbucks and People magazine and ouchless hair ties and menus in English spell home for me. That’s exactly what the American base in Daegu is like. That and more.

After 4 long months, I had taco bell for the first time. My fav order at taco bell –fries supreme, no beef, no beans, extra cheese and green onions with 4 packs of hot sauce and 4 packs of mild sauce- doesn’t exist in the American Taco Bell. Apparently, fries at Taco Bell is strictly a Canadian thing. That blew my mind. And made a pretty strong case for why Canadia may be the cooler brother. Just sayin ;)

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Anyway, I ordered a quesadilla and was just happy to be eating non sweet bread with normal, stringy, yummy cheese.

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And then we went shopping. I got so excited when I saw ENGLISH magazines, ENGLISH books, ENGLISH labels. ENGLISH everywhere. On everything. Ok. So I got a little more than excited.

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And stocked up on toiletries. Things I didn’t think I’d see for a long time.

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Macadamia nut cookies from Subway? And a tall latte sprinkled with a generous layer of cinnamon from Starbucks? Yes, please!

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Ok, so Subways and Starbucks are all over Korea. But sitting in the one on base was different. Here’s why: although you’re drinking and eating the same stuff, the atmosphere in a Korean Starbucks is notably different. You are usually the only non-Korean. And while you might be thinking duh, you’re in Korea Einstein, like I said before, it’s just nice to feel like you’re home. Once in a while.

As I was sitting in my American Starbucks in Korea on an American base, I noticed this:

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Even the sidewalks and pole things on the base is the same as back home! How awesome is that!?

But perhaps the thing that blew my mind/impressed me the most was the power outlets in my friend’s apartment. They were all North American! With two flat prongs instead of the two rounded prongs found in Korea.

She even had a normal North American washroom where the shower area is separate from the rest of the washroom. And therefore the whole washroom doesn’t get wet every time you shower.

Living in a foreign country with a foreign culture and people… where you’re notably foreigner, is fascinating. No two days are the same and you’re always learning, always excited about something new you just discovered.

But between it all, you miss home. You miss the little things. Like being able to understand menus and labels. The familiar taste of fastfood.  Being able to speak English without the oscar worthy acting performance.

And it’s nice to have somewhere you can go where it’s just like home. Away from home.

March 10, 2012

Housewife-in-training: Fitted sheet

Today, I folded a fitted sheet.

Before:

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After:

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TA DA:

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March 9, 2012

Fried Banana Crumble with Peanut Butter Sauce

You’ll need:

-Bananas
-Milk
-Flour
-Butter
-Animal crackers
-Peanut butter

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1. Cut bananas into slices or longer pieces. Slices end up softer and more gooey vs longer pieces when fried.

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2. Dunk banana in milk and then in flour.

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3. Heat up pan. Mix 2 parts butter to 1 part oil. Fry until golden brown.

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4. Set aside to cool.

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5. Put animal crackers in a ziploc bag.

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6. Squish together until you’re satisfied with the size of the crumbs.

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7. Heat up peanut butter in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, make your own. Like this:

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TA DA

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March 7, 2012

4 o’clock

For most of my life 4 o clock meant… Oprah show time!

Obviously there were detours here and there.

In elementary school, it meant end of track and field practice.
In high school, it meant end of detention.
In university, it meant nap time.
In my first job, it meant testing time.
In my second job, it meant half of my day was over.
In my third job, it meant meeting time.

And now. Now, it means this.

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March 6, 2012

How to make Caramel Apple Fritters

You’ll need:

-an apple
-flour
-milk
-sugar
-butter

1. Core, peel and slice the apple.

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2. Dunk each apple slice in milk and then flour.

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3. Fry on medium heat until golden brown.

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4. To make the caramel, heat sugar on high heat until brown and then add butter.

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5. Drizzle the caramel over the fried apple slices.

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March 5, 2012

I fried my laptop.

I read somewhere that it takes 30 days to develop a habit. So for the month of march, I made a few resolutions. March has 31 days, I thought I’d throw in that extra day for good measure. You know, be extra ambitious.

What are those resolutions you ask? Mostly an extension of my new year’s resolutions. (that have been an epic fail)
Floss. Yoga daily.
And some new ones:
Have a routine, wake up/go to bed at godly hours. Cook.

None of those have stuck.Except cooking.

And I really took that one far. Not only have I been frying pancakes and rice…

I even fried my laptop.

Ok so not the hot stove + fry-pan kinda frying.

Although, that would’ve been a cooler way to fry my laptop. I spilled grape juice on it (no, mom, that’s not code for wine. obviously.)

I googled remedies and placing the laptop in an air tight container with uncooked rice seemed to have the highest success rate. So that’s what my laptop is doing as I type this on my iPhone. Chilling in a dark room with rice.

And me? Well. I’m feeling what I think parents feel when their adult kids leave home. Empty nest syndrome.

1. I don’t know what to do with my new found free time.
2. My apartment feels empty. And quiet.
3. I feel useless. Like I have no purpose.

Ok so that last one may have been an exaggeration.

Anyway, I googled remedies for empty next syndrome and it gave me useless advice like plan ahead and get to know your spouse. Those don’t really apply in my case. How do you plan ahead for a grape juice spill or get to know your spouse in the case of a MacBook baby. Is your spouse apple in that case? If yes, did y’all know my hypothetical spouse became the 20th largest economy a couple days ago? Talk about a good catch.

I think I’m losing it. Crossing over to the weird side of blogging. I blame it on the Empty MacBook syndrome.

I’m going to go meditate. And find other (edible) things to fry.

……………………………………………………….

In the meantime, here are some cool pics I took over the last month.

A cute little Italian restaurant in Daegu. The food sucked.

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I found this mannequin/wood structure/art in a mall in Seoul. It looked so Oscar-ish. And beautiful. So I had to take a pic.

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March is definitely my fav month for teaching material. Let me explain: so each month I work through a book with each of my classes. Some of them are on subjects I don’t find that interesting. But this month, four of my classes are on four of my fav cities: London, Paris, Montreal & New York. In that order. Most of you know my love affair with London. And this is the quote on the cover of the London book.

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I couldn’t agree more.

March 4, 2012

A made up gourmet sounding dish

They say that art imitates life and life imitates art. In this case, the art being cooking and life being a conversation on iMessage. Ok, so that made a lot more sense in my head… moving right along.

The inspiration for this dish came from a conversation about my previous dish- kimchi pancake. Namely, this conversation:

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I’m all about turning my short comings into new ventures.

Shortcoming = no flipping skills.
New venture = scrambled kimchi pancake fried rice.

I have no pictures to show you that… kimchi pancake is not the same as egg. See, egg… it separates and joins. With no problems. Kimchi pancakes. Do not.

But I wasn’t about to give up. So I tried raw kimchi instead. REDO.

Fry onions + garlic.

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Add sliced mushrooms + chopped kimchi.

Add cooked rice.

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Aside: I cooked rice for the first time… in the cutest pot! It came in a box that said “passionate about food” I may not be a lot of things but I most certainly am passionate about food!

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Mix rice with kimchi/mushrooms/onions/garlic and set aside.

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Make pancake in small pink frying pan.

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Small kimchi pancake.

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My dad asked me if I named the dish and then made it or if I made the dish and then named it.

He knows me all too well.

So what was supposed to be scrambled-kimchi-pancake-fried-rice… turned out to be this:

Spicy kimchi-mushroom fried rice in a crispy kimchi pancake crust with green salad and strawberry sauce.

Sounds fancy shmancy, no?

TA DA

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Presentation: I totally made this dish up because I like kimchi. And because fried rice and kimchi pancakes are really the only things I know how to make right now. So this dish can be served the way it’s pictured above- rice dome lined with kimchi pancake crusts. Or separately. Or with a whole pancake on top of the dome. Or a whole pancake underneath the dome. Or the pancake cut up into long strips so it looks like fries… you get the idea. Let your imagination run wild!

Side story: if y’all were wondering why I stayed away from cooking all these years, here’s why: one day 12 years ago, my bro and I were hungry. Neither of us were old enough to drive (well, that never stopped me but my bro usually did)

Anyway, moms and pops were both out and there was nothing in the fridge so I decided to make roti. I called up one of my aunts for the recipe. Made a few rotis and satisfied our hunger.

When my dad came home, there was one roti left. Naturally, my dad got all excited (it was the first time I’d made anything) so he sat down to eat his daughter’s very first attempt at roti.

I left the kitchen and came back a couple minutes later to finish cleaning up. Not only had he finished eating, the plate was in the sink and he was reading a newspaper.

“Father, you finished it that quickly!?”

“Oh yes, it was delicious! Thank you.”

I washed up the dishes and reached for a paper towel to dry my hands. And then. I lifted the garbage lid to throw in the paper towel.

I don’t have to tell you what I found in there.

Friends & family of young amateur cooks: if you’re going to throw something out, at least do a proper job concealing it! Don’t shatter young dreams.

March 2, 2012

Housewife-in-training: Kimchi Pancake

Of all the Korean dishes I’ve tried, kimchijeon (kimchi pancake) has definitely been one of my favs. So I was craving some the other day and asked one of my co-teachers if she knew of a place nearby where I could get some. And she was all “it’s SO easy to make- make it at home!” (I don’t think she realized that I owned no pots/pans/cooking utensils OR that I’d never turned on my stove at that point)

From the day I moved to Korea until today, I’ve eaten out every day, all day.

I’d like to think there are a few things I’m good at. Cooking… isn’t one of them.

Fast forward to today. I went shopping… Pink stuff motivates me. How cute are those measuring cups!

 

 

This is me being all “LOOK AT ME. I could do the food network thing if I wanted to!”

 

 

And this is what the batter looks like.

 

 

Take 1. So today I learned that I cannot do the flip thing. And I probably shouldn’t try. Because this is what happened when I tried. I ate bits of the edges and threw the rest in the garbage because it wasn’t thoroughly cooked. (Aside: the edges tasted amazing… it’s what had me going.)

 

 

Take 2. I decided to be less ambitious and make smaller pancakes but had poured too much oil in the pan. To get rid of the excess oil, I decided to drain it in the sink. Only problem being the pancake… ended up in the sink too.

 

 

Take 3. They say 3’s a charm. Nailed it.

 

 

TA DA:

 

 

It was sooooooo good. I didn’t know I was capable of making something this delicious. Granted, kimchi pancakes are pretty hard to screw up.

P.S. All you need is kimchi, flour and water. I used grapeseed oil so it’d make the pancake crispier. And green onion for garnishing- optional. For the first batch, I tried equal parts everything which made a pretty thick batter. The second time I kinda just threw stuff in and it came out a thinner consistency. I liked the second batch better because it was crispier but I think it’s all up to personal preference.

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