November 2009


Learned a trick of the trade from our cleaning lady ~ glove within glove. Putting on cotton gloves before putting on rubber gloves means no struggling to get wet rubber gloves on and off.

Skeptical at first, it took me a while to become converted. The glove trick makes it more likely that I might actually wash the dishes or scrub the floors on days without hired help.

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On my way to Korean language class I saw kimjang/김장 or winter kimchi being made on the sidewalk.

Quite a sight at the community center.

This week has been very cold in Korea. Weather forecasts snow today. It’s hard for me to leave the warmth of ondol/온돌 floors to step outside into the freezing air. Managed to make one trip out to pick up things to beat the cold ~ or catching one that is.

Gyool/귤 have lots of vitamin C, are tasty and practically free this season. I got a 4kg box for 5,000W ~ that’s less than $1 per pound.

Also required this winter is a face mask to guard against the H1N1 flu. Just about every other person on the street is wearing one. Not quite sure if a mask is effective since I keep having to remove mine to keep my glasses from fogging up.

Feeling guilty about all the packaging on the tiny packets of laver/김 with only seven slivers of seaweed, I finally learned how to cut the big sheets neatly from my aunt. Here’s the lesson in three photos:

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Snip the bag open at the seams to catch the crumbs. Cut the sheets in half lengthwise, then into thirds (or fourths).  Voila, just the right size laver and they can be kept in an airtight container for a few days. Saves money and the environment.

Tree leaves are turning beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red nowadays.

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And they are donning their winter wardrobe as well ~ tree cozies/sweaters are popping up all over Seoul.

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Persimmons are in season now. There are three kinds at the market right now. The soft, mushy ones are called yun-shi/연시. The crunchy, squat ones are called dahn-gahm/단감. And the conical ones that need to ripen like an avocado are called hong-shi/홍시.

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Tip: Persimmons could cause constipation if you eat the lighter colored flesh right beneath the leaf topper. Take a pair of ever-present kitchen shears and snip it away while you’re at the sink or use a knife to remove that part.

Baby enjoys eating yun-shi but certainly can’t eat too many. I used the excess (10 are 3,000W at the neighborhood market) in a banana bread recipe and the result was a scrumptious molten lava persimmon cake.

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Molten Lava Persimmon Cake

2 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. vegetable oil or butter

1/2 c. brown sugar (no need to halve since I already reduced the amount)

2 eggs

2 1/3 c. overripe persimmons (approximately 5-6 yun-shi, remove skin)

Add wet ingredients to dry, mix well. Bake in individual ramekins for best presentation at 175*C for 30-60 minutes depending on the size of container…It will smell so good you have to take it out and eat it when it is ready to be removed from the oven. They keep well in the fridge and are still yummy warmed up in the microwave.

Baby outgrew his crib fast. He prefers to sleep between us. His mobility was a problem and the solution was to turn our bed into a big crib. The headboard became a foot board and the whole bed got shoved into a corner. The crib is now a play zone to practice standing. There is only one point of access which is blocked by a big pillow.

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After a fall, our bed turned into a big crib.