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Archive for the ‘consumption’ Category

i wrote about having a non-kitchen before. and as much as i complained about it, i kind of quite liked it. it was challenging, and frustrating, and produced laughably small electricity and gas bills.

and then tb did this…

do you see it?!

a ballin’ convection oven.

that’s right.

so in true younger sibling fashion, i promptly started scheming and creating ridiculous bake-offs that would deem one person the coveted label of best-person-to-create-something-out-of-a-23-by-25-heated-appliance.

to set the vivid battle (i mean, baking) scene, it was kind of like north and south korea traded their army gear for oven mitts, set aside their nuclear missiles for spatulas, and created a mass shortage of nutmeg and cinnamon in the baking aisles of their respective foreign food marts.

i’m not too sure who was north or south, but here’s what went down…

appealing to the non-diabetic sufferers of the world, i made a straight-up bowl of sugar.

i called them “chocolate chip cookies.” but really, all sugar.

(one point for ambiguous korea).

and in the other corner (you know, the less aggressive one), tb ventured for the classic oatmeal something cookie packed with nutritional facts and probably some sort of ingredient that lowers your chances of cancer, high cholesterol, death, and sunburn. ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

both batches produced a ton of unflattering “mmmmms,” grunts, and gasps for air because as any cookie-eater can attest, it was just too difficult to breathe AND scarf down delicious goodies simultaneously.

and in the end, we couldn’t decide a winner. wait, yes we did.

combining these two delicious goodies into one hybrid ball of sugar (and cancer-fight agents) was an absolute no-brainer. i’m actually pretty pissed at us for not thinking of it sooner. dear kim jong-il, please take notes.

so if you’re racking your brain as to why i wrote practically nothing in february and still have not really written about the phillipines (injuries aside) or even taiwan (i promise i’ll write soon, taipei!) then now you have your reason….

it’s because i’m currently trying to solve the situation between the two koreas.

and it may or may not include cupcakes.

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with the awful nautical disasters happening in japan, all of my mundane musings seem wildly insignificant (and that much more mundane).

normally a st. patrick’s day would leave me giddingly bouncing around and counting down the hours until consumption starts.

but those words can wait for now.

instead, let’s send a little luck across to japan. i think they could use it.

http://www.shelterbox.org/

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often when people travel, they forget to budget for souvenirs.

and that’s okay. because for most of us, it is increasingly difficult to justify any piece of plastic tangible memory when you equate the purchase into the local currency of, “this could buy me ____ beers tonight.”  

and while we’re at it, we might as well just state the obvious… no one really NEEDS  souvenirs. (please don’t tell me that you HAD to have those massive foam pens with the personalized key chain attached to the beer mug holder lined with the a knock-off pair of ray bans.)

as for me,  i refused to buy any sort of keepsake, souvenir, or memorabilia. well, except for a pair of grizzly bear flip-flops (because really, nothing is screams “third world beachside” more than rocky mountain wildlife),  yes, i even passed on the massive foam pen with the personalized key chain attached to the mug holder lined with the knock-off pair of ray bans. why? because it equated to about 40 bottles of the local brew.

either way, i figured out a much cheaper way to remember my time in boracay, phillipines…. and the best part? i didn’t even have to open my wallet!

it was a simple ‘aha’ moment when i realized that the most budget-friendly forever-lasting keepings, are simply those which you permanently place on your body…in a non ink & needle sort-of-way.

for example, i wanted to remember the remote ariel’s point and my ambitious claims that i could swim out to a smaller beach, a very misleading kilometer away. instead of a picture or two, i opted to gash myself up on rusted rope or sea urchin as i frontcrawled my way to the small sandfront. if the open-wound and salt water wasn’t painful enough, i volunteered to pour vodka all over the wound when i got back to land. you know, just to make those etched memories that much more vivid. yes, my one-of-a-kind two-inch scars could not be purchased for any amount of pesos.

and at the same time, i never wanted to forget the 10 ft. cliff-diving escapades into the sulu sea. to make those memories really permanent, my only option was to hit the water in a seated position. it was like i was hastily diving into a bed of bean bag chairs….instead of a reef of coral.  the massive blood-clot bruises that line my thighs and bum are surely more budget-friendly then the henna tattoos or braided weaves that are offered across the island.

but as time (and an indestructible immune system) fades the bruises and sea urchin battle wounds, i knew that i needed something more. something i could hold onto forever. something that would definitely scar…regardless of the icing time post-injury.

to make my boracay memories last, i simply had to rent a scooter and travel inland to the more rural rocky-road side of boracay. a steep hill here, a scooter tumble there, and the suctioning of my calve on the exhaust pipe, has left me with a burn the size of a nfl regulation-sized football. with my three-times-a-week visits to the emergency room to change the dressings, i am continued to be reminded of the beautiful yet scooter-unfriendly landscape of the phillipines. 

i’ve taken a couple peeks at the scar that is forming… and i can with certainty that i will always remember my time in the phillipines.

and i didn’t even have to barter over a glass bottled filled with white beach sand.

(sidenote: i wanted to call this post “budgeting for memories” but that title teetered on suggesting to the reader that this would be an informative and well-thought out post. wouldn’t want to mislead the masses here now would i?)

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my apologies

yesterday’s words were a bit too harsh… i think an apology is in order.

now don’t go thinking this apology is directed towards you. no no, i still kind of hate you. (however, if you are willing to send me some sort of baked dish that involves setting the oven to 375 °F, sprinkling said dish with any cheese that is NOT kraft single slices, and letting that shit simmer for a good hour or so, well then i am obviously willing to forgive you).

but instead, i think i owe my “kitchen” an apology. (for the record, i am using quotations because i still don’t feel comfortable with labelling that area of my room as anything other than that-corner-where-dishes-and-other-garbage-pile-up).

i’m apologizing because yesterday, after i gave my “kitchen” shit for being a piss-poor excuse of a room, something pretty magical happened.

to be frank, these lil no bake balls of delectableness pretty much saved my relationship with my “kitchen.”

tb and i have been tinkering and trialing a couple different no-bake/raw/vegan/other flashy search-engine word recipes to try to come up with something that could treat our tastebuds AND didn’t require preheating, oven mitts, or any fahrenheit degree settings.

now this alone can seem like a pretty difficult “kitchen” task. but don’t forget that we’re dealing with extremely limited access to most things necessary when making any sort of bake/no-bake goodie. yes there’s the notorious okpo foreign foods shop which specializes in selling salsa for $11 a jar. but the short supply of “foreign foods” makes me feel obliged to toss quotations onto this store label as well . oh yes, don’t forget to factor in a nut allergy for good measure and you’ve got yourself a recipe for failed recipes.

with odds stacked against us, these no-bake balls came out good. like, really really good.

here’s what went down…

1/2 cup soy milk

1/4 cup margarine (i don’t really think it is margarine but instead, some korean cooking hybrid)

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar

all the cocoa powder in the world (give or take 2 tbsp)

2 cups oats

1/2 semi-ripe banana…you could probably use a whole banana but i dont have the self-control to not eat the fruits of my labour (oh god. i kill myself)

4 rice cake cylinders, mashed to itty bitty pieces (k-town readers: the deliciousness of the lil no bake balls will increase if (AND ONLY IF) you buy a jumbo pack of cylinders out of the back of a pick-up truck. i suppose regular rice krispies will also do just fine…)

i started by boiling up the sugar, soy milk, brown sugar, and margarine hybrid together in a pot. i stirred for what felt like a millisecond before tb raided the spoon and accused me of having a heavy hand when stirring. this back and forth went on for maybe 2 more minutes. then we peered into the pot and agreed that the stirring process was complete. (this part of the recipe is NOT OPTIONAL. do not make substitutions or you will end up with a no-bake ball that felt ignored because the stirring process was not a topic of conversation for an unnecessary and agonizing 20 minutes…) 

dump in yer oats and STIR. (this stir was a mutually agreed upon step)

add in your cocoa powder, half banana, and crushed up bitties of rice cake cylinders/ rice krispies

let it cool down (and obviously lick the spoon)

make some lil balls with the mixture to really hit home the whole lil no bake balls winning title

because i am not a colourist, i melted some white chocolate and then dipped those lil guys in the hopes of merging whites and darks

put in the fridge overnight (or for however long you can exhibit enough self-control for the lil balls to firm up their lil ball shape)

peer into the fridge in the morning, scream with a lil no bake ball delight, and smile to yourself for creating more “blog-worthy” content.

anyways “kitchen,” i’m really sorry. i s’pose you’re not so bad after all…

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anthony bourdain (foodie and verging silver fox) once proclaimed that taiwan has some of the best food he has ever tasted.

now i can’t say for sure, but i am fairly certain that mr. silver fox was referring to the shortlist of stranger-than-strange themed restaurants that occupy the streets, lanes, and alleyways of taiwan.

from airplane take-out meals to hospital diners with wheelchair seating, the novelty of these opportunities are almost as attractive as both the second-largest ferris wheel and free-standing building that landmark the city of taipei.

but let’s be honest, nothing can compete with a toilet-themed restaurant. (i mean come on, no one really has a fair shot when you’re talking about drinks being served out of mini urinals).

and just like that, suddenly “eating off a toilet seat” quickly surpassed “climbing mt. cising” for the top spot on my must-do list while in taiwan.

and naturally as it goes with any must-do list, i would promptly deem this trip an epic fail if i was unable to put all of my potty humour jokes to use while celebrating the year of the rabbit. and perhaps the food delirium had something to do with it, but other facets of taiwan (and more specifically, taipei) were also all kinds of impressive.

they’ve got this ridiculously efficient transportation system that costs pennies (no, really) to take.

 

their temples are all kinds of colourful and have these well-hidden designs that once discovered, make you feel like you have just found the ‘x’ on a pirate treasure hunt.

 

 

they’ve also got this extremely urbanized cityscape that couples with this slighty seedy (in a good way) miami-like landscape that almost seems passable as a backdrop from a scene in dexter.

where was i?

oh right. they also have a restaurant all about poop.

and i as whined my way through my last night in taipei, i spotted the iconic blue pants man and pink dress girl. those recognizable symbols you would hope to see on a stretch of highway after a big gallon of gatorade, much less an underpass in downtown taipei.

 

it didn’t take much convincing before i was enjoying a cereal-decorated sundae, served in the culturally relevant squatter toilet. maybe the ice cream wasn’t that noteworthy. but in modern toilet’s defense, when you’re seating customers at sink basins and using toilet paper for napkins, the actual meal may have the tendency to take a back (toilet) seat.

 

the fact that my visit to the loo was a taiwanese highlight, perhaps reveals something more about one’s maturity level. but for me, the consolation is knowing that mr. silver fox himself was probably making the same shitty puns (ha!) in the exact same (toilet) seat. all the while grinning to his foodie buddies after making some half-assed (double ha!) joke about taiwan being the shit.

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read any expat blog about being away during christmas and they will all suggest the same thing:

“just get drunk and forget that it ever happened.”

now i’m not one to heed the advice of others (especially those dangerous self-labelled “backpackers”) but this suggestion seemed as good excuse as any to deck the halls of okpo. and unbeknownst to me, it’s practically a ritual in korea to get downright belligerent the day before the most family-driven heavy hitters of all holidays. (not to mention the race to the nearest love motel for those coupled-up koreans. but tis neither here nor there).

now i can’t speak for everyone (especially those solo korean males, left with only a room key and a half-empty pint of cass), but i was filled with all kinds of gin-inspired christmas cheer. the kind of cheer that really only meant me stationing myself next to the pretty christmas lights at any of the better bars and spending the rest of my drink snapping shots of the twinkles while requesting mariah carey christmas classics for the umpteenth time.  i left my surliness and aggressive headlocks at home. and i probably only lied, like, once….my very own christmas miracle! 

now that’s not to say i took all of this advice to heart. yes, we upped the ante a bit and even finally closed the case on what’s hiding behind those black-tinted windows of foreigner clubs that contribute a lil’ something special to okpo’s “charm.” but it’s not like i could just do as these righteous backpackers do, and forget that christmas day even exists.

instead of blatantly ignoring the day, i celebrated december two-five with a handful of pals and solid intervals of delicious meals followed by pirated christmas-centric movies . i think i passed out sometime around the time when ralphie parker started to narrate his cleveland christmas of 1940.

even though i didn’t get an official red rider carbine-action two-hundred shot range bb gun or the asian easy bake oven that i blatantly requested, i still think that this christmas was pretty much fantastic.

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gimme some mo

remember that scene in the sandlot when scotty smalls first learned how to make s’mores?

that mean redheaded (aptly named ‘ham’) gave him some lame (and vague) step-by-step instructions about a graham cracker, chocolate, lighting a marshmallow on fire, and then just sticking on the other graham cracker. no wonder smalls was all like “if i haven’t had anything yet,how could i have ‘some mo’ of nothing?” 

there was really no need for ham to go all ballistic on him (insert “you’re killing me smalls” tagline). poor kid.

i’ll stop the critique there but seriously ham, lighten up a bit on the newbie scotty, ya hear? so what if the guy doesn’t know the how-to’s when making a s’more. you’re the brilliant hotshot with an open flame in a full-on wooden treehouse. you lack any real concept of danger. and you’re a pretty shitty catcher. (i’ll forgive you though, only because you drop bombs like calling kids a “pee-drinking crap-face.” class-ic. )

maybe ham tossed out some general guidelines when making s’mores but he forgot some crucial details.

like if you don’t have white marshmallows, you can use mango swirls of soft delight (the package’s words, not mine).

and if you don’t have graham crackers, you can use coconut sesame seed wafer crisps (that’s a rough korean-to-english translation).

and who really needs an old twig to hold the marshmallow when you can use chopsticks?

and while we’re at it, the whole fire thing is really subjective. you can really just use old candles from leftover science projects found around the school.

however, ham and i do share ideals on the final step in s’more making…… “and then smalls, you scarf.”

(self-confession: for an eight year old, i had a wildly mature crush on benny rodriguez.)

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