Thursday, July 15, 2010

Baking King

Okay, so that may be a little much. I'm not that great at baking, but I like to think that I know my way around the kitchen, or at least the oven. I try anyway.
I have recently been a bit under the weather so Hee Jeong, my own personal nurse, has been taking really good care of me. In addition to the tea that she gave me to quiet the cough that I have had, she has been very supportive accommodating of my condition.

So, to try and make it up to her (which I really don't think is possible, she's that great) I went into the kitchen and decided to make her a set of blueberry muffins. We've been making these for a few weeks now since blueberries are relatively cheap at the Korean markets and they taste really great. As such, we have made everything from muffins to blueberry cobbler. Anyway, I wanted to surprise her with a little something, and I had some blueberries to use up, so I figured "why not?"

It all began with what you see on the right, a whole bunch of basic ingredients. I was lucky because we only had one egg left, which was just what I needed for the recipe, otherwise I would have had to cut it in half, which would have meant few muffins (and that I wouldn't get to sample any!). I had originally planned to make two batches, one for my class and one for Hee Jeong, but that was not to be. Maybe another time.

Despite how much I love baking, and how much I prepared, it still took me a long time (30+ minutes) to get everything mixed together and put in the oven. Part of that is because I was working alone, part of that is because is because I don't know how to prioritize very well. Most of it went off without a hitch, but I did have a little bit of difficulty trying to fold in the blueberries this time around. Usually I can do it without breaking any, but this time several of them broke. It could have been because the berries were a little old, or because I wasn't paying the attention to them that I should have been. Anyway, I ate the bad ones (the three that are on the left).

Thankfully, my gift went over pretty well. Usually I don't like to give food as a gift, but I did like the idea of making something from scratch that she could enjoy. From what I heard, since she took some to work, her coworkers also enjoyed my work, and that makes me extra happy. From what I have gathered from her and a few others, Korean men aren't big on cooking, so I guess I am something that she can brag about. Well, my cooking anyway. I don't know about the rest of it. Ha ha.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Flowerbed Project Part 2

It's been a little over a week, and I haven't killed the flowers yet. I've included another picture so that you can see how some of the flowers are beginning to spread out rather than growing straight up as they were in their cramped little containers.

Some of them look a little better than the others, owing to the fact that the sun hits some of them harder than others. Still, I think that this can be more or less remedied by the correct application of water.

Further, the seeds that we planted in a large pot have begun to germinate! Right now they are pretty small, most only a centimeter or two high. All of them have a couple of leaves on the ends of their stems, but we're hoping that soon they will sprout into wonderful flowers. The sunlight doesn't hit the pot so hard as the flower bed itself, so the soil stays moister, which I think is good for the seeds at this stage. The directions said that we're supposed to thin the sprouts out after they reach about 4 inches, but I doubt that we will end up doing that.
There are a lot of things that we are meaning to add to this blog, so hopefully we will have some new pictures up entries up before the end of next weekend.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Flowerbed Project

This weekend (7/4/10 to be specific) Hee Jeong and I decided to do some renovation of my parent’s flowerbed. We ended up going to the local nursery, wandering around for a while, and ultimately choosing 5 packs of flowers (4 sets of 6 impatiens, and 1 set of lobelias). We started by tearing out a couple of acanthus plants, which is harder than it sounds because of the rather extensive root systems. We went after them with a pickaxe and a shovel. We traded off several times. After finally finishing them off, we began to soak the soil, and turned it several times, trying to get everything wet to a depth of about 8 inches. After that, we added a whole bunch of compost, and turned that in as well.

It was finally time to start planting. Hee Jeong is exceedingly good at planting, and taught me more than a few things. In the end, we had extra space left over, since we had to plant everything several inches apart to allow for growth. We dropped the extras into some extra pots that were sitting around collecting dust.

The final pot, significantly larger than the others, became a receptacle for a pack of seeds that a shipping company refused to send to Hee Jeong’s parents in Korea. We’re hoping that we’ll soon have some Johnny Jump Ups growing in this pot.

Needless to say, we were terribly sore on Monday. Neither one of us is used to such a degree of physical activity. And while we have begun to think about fixing up the rest of the front yard, neither one of us is looking forward to the labor involved. However, we are wonderfully proud of the work that we accomplished this weekend, and I think it was a wonderful couple’s activity as well. Creating something through our own hard work is quite rewarding.

I just hope that the flowers survive under my not-so-green thumb.