Monday, March 29, 2010

Commercialized Education (Commercials Day I)

This is a 3-day lesson that fits into my American TV unit. I used it last semester and recycled it (with a few edits) for my new first-years. Videos will be posted soonish!

Day 1:

Lesson of the Day: American TV: Commercials (Day 1)
Idiom of the Day: N/A
Video of the Day: Britney for Pepsi, Budweiser Wussup, Budweiser "how ya doing", Budweiser '08Obama ad
Vocab of the Day: Slogan, spokesperson, product, target audience
Before Class prep: youtube links, print worksheets and assignment slips

Lesson: Define vocabulary of the day on the board. Ask Ss to pay attention to those particular things when watching each commercial. After each commercial, ask students to identify them (ie Product: cola, soda // Spokesperson: Britney // Slogan: "the joy of pepsi" // Target audience: young people, Britney fans, superbowl audience, &c). Play all, Obama ad last (this was their favorite).

Hand out worksheets to each group (4 Ss each). The worksheet asks them to come up with a spokesperson, slogan, overall message (what the audience should learn about the product or company), and a way to get attention.
Hand out assignment to each group (assignments have a company, a product, and a problem.
Examples:
*Jinro, soju, this company wants to expand into America but most Americans don't know about soju
*Angel-in-Us, Coffeshop and coffee, this company wants more young students buy Angel-in-Us products or visit stores
*Taco bell, Mexican fast food, this company wants to open stores in Korea but first Korean people must want to try Mexican food

Students have about 30 minutes to design a 30-60 second commercial spot for their company, specifically solving the problem given to them.


Day 2:
Idiom & music video of the day, then write scripts for their commercials.

Day 3:
Film their commercials, then I/MV ot D if there's time at the end.

American-Style Pizza in South Korea

South Korea has Italian restaurants. South Korea has pizza restaurants. South Korea has Pizza Hut, Papa John's, and even a place called Mr. Pizza (slogan -- "Mr. Pizza: Love for Women")

What South Korea lacks?

Good -- or even decent -- New York-style pizza.

Solution?

Make it myself, obvi.

Wanna get in on the pizza fun? Here's how.

YOU'LL NEED:
* about 2.5 hours before dinnertime
* an oven, preferably one that has a "broil" setting
* a baking sheet, tile, or pizza stone
* this stuff:

1 3/4 c warm (not hot) water
1 envelope instant dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp oil
4 c bread flour or all-purpose flour (plus extra)
1 1/2 tsp salt
Oil for the bowl

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Set oven to lowest setting 10 minutes, then turn oven off.

2. Combine water, yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and stir with wooden spoon/hands until mixture forms cohesive mass. If the dough is super sticky, add a handful more flour. Let rest for 2 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, lay down some plastic wrap on a flat surface, and throw some flour on it (this'll make it a snap to clean up post-kneading). Knead the dough by hand on floured work surface for a couple minutes, until it's smooth and tough. Form a smooth-ish ball of dough (it doesn't have to be perfect).

4. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Put bowl in warm oven. Let rise for 50 minutes (it should ~ double in size).

5. Preheat oven to highest setting, 250C/500 F/ broiler if possible. Take the dough out, punch it down (like, press down on the bloated dough to release excess air). Let it rest for 5-10 minutes under damp dish towel.

6. Take about 1/5 of the dough, and roll or stretch it out to a 10-12"ish round. (Or square. Or whatever. It's pizza, it's gonna be tasty in any shape - just make sure it's super thin.) Flour the pizza stone/baking sheet, and place dough round on top. Top with a ladle full of sauce and an inappropriate amount of cheese, plus whatever other goodies you've got on hand.

7. Proceed to cook topped pizza in preheated superhot oven. If you've got a broiler, you're looking at about 7 minutes until crust is well done and cheese is completely melted. If not, it'll take a little longer - use the oven light, don't open the oven, to check on it.

Pictures here.


TOMATO SAUCE
PS: You can buy tomato sauce, but making it yourself takes about 5 minutes and it's way better.

1. Mince a couple cloves of garlic (or just buy minced garlic in the fridge section of Emart/Home Plus). Put a tablespoon in a pan with like 1/4 cup olive oil on medium-low heat for about 3 minutes.
2. Add 2 cans of tomatoes (I used 1 can crushed + 1 can diced, but use whatever)
3. Add salt, pepper, and whatever Italian spices you've got on hand (I had oregano, basil, parsley and thyme)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Food for Friends

I'm back up to my old tricks, but this time, it's for my friends. I swear.

My friend C was feeling less than stellar recently, for a variety of reasons. When it rains, it pours, y'know? She lives outside of KTX bullet train range, though, so it's not so easy to go visit for a weekend on short notice. So I did the only thing I could think of to cheer her up a little -- priority mailed her a loaf of homemade banana bread.

Now, I don't have an electric mixer/eggbeaters/anything but a whisk, so anything that requires lots of mixing, especially creaming together butter and sugar, is a bit of a hassle. Enter JJ, the other baker of the ETA gang and my frequent partner in culinary crime, who was in Daejeon for the day. Not only did he turbo through the mixing, he cleaned up afterward. Whatta mensch.

Banana bread, before being tekbay-ed:


We also met the lovely Sarah for coffee at Angel-in-Us, where she introduced me to the wondrous Korean pastry that is the coffee bun. They look anemic in the case, but are actually yummy - a little tease of buttery sugary goodness inside, sweet light cakeyness, then a sweet, almost eggy crust. Tip of the hat to you, my good woman!

Also, yesterday was Melissa's birthday, so since I had today off, I bused over to Jeonju to go to her birthday dinner. Never one to miss a culinary opportunity, I took the time on Tuesday after school to take advantage of the recipe in last week's NY Times for super simple fudge.

And okay, here's something weird about me. I'm always attracted to the recipes that sound super basic, easy, and simple (I know those sound like synonyms, but they can be totally different things, baking-wise), but then I always end up messing with them until they've got more stuff going on than the originally complicated recipes probably did in the first place.

But no matter. In this case, this is really the only way I can make fudge, since my kitchen has no candy thermometer (full disclosure - I don't have one at home in CT, either, since I so rarely make candy. it's a self-preservation thing, since I'd probably just drown in a sea of terrible jokes about the soft ball vs. firm ball stages...) Still, I doubled the recipe (or nearly doubled, since condensed milk is sold in 375g, rather than 14oz, cans around here), and added a few of my favorite things. I had lots of fun. I mean, how could I not? Here's what I was workin' with:


Stuff That Goes Into Fudge:

- 2 cans of condensed milk
- 2 lb chocolate (yep)
- 3/4 stick butter
- 4 Snickers bars
- 1/2 bag marshmallows
- 4oz almonds

+ a whole 'nother mini-batch of peanut butter fudge, which I quickly whipped up and poured as a layer on top of the chocolate fudge before it set. Superduper.

Fudge-Makin':

Step 1: Assemble a double boiler and put in most of this stuff. Stare gluttonously.*




I mean, I KNOW, right?

*(NB: see the Times article or this website for non-glib details on how to make it)

Step 2: eh, screw it. no one cares. Here's some food porn instead!
Huge frackin' pan of fudge:


Aaaaand here's where it's at:



Bonus coverage over on JJ's food blog here


Delicious. This is the most diet-friendly cooking/baking I've done in ages. I've discovered the secret -- bake, but gift it away!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ickle Firsties

Today was the third lesson with my new first graders, and so far, they seem pretty cool. I definitely have a few boys who are going to try my patience, but a couple of supercute ones, too. The first one to stand out is Chris, who has come up to me after every class to discuss subjects ranging from idiomatic expressions to the merits of Tintin to whether NCIS is representative of American crime dramas.

I'm at my desk correcting their work from yesterday, when I asked them to plan out long-term, semester, and daily goals for English learning. Here are my favorites so far:

Long Term: I want to be a space scientist for development of Korean space science
Semester: I want to be a God of math in this school
Daily: I will study mathmatics (sic) for more than 5 hour everyday

Long Term: Get along with English like Ms. Kaye, and think about in English
Semester: Follow Ms. Kaye. Eat Snack with her
Daily: Buy the snack.


Daily: I want to learn vocabulary
Semester: I want to be able to get points 650 in TEPS
Long-Term: I want to be a captain of ["space" is crossed out] universe.



Superduper.

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Job is Awesomer Than Your Job

So this semester, my brand spankin' new coteacher Roy upped CSHS's game by advocating to consolidate my teaching schedule. At the end of last semester, I asked if it would possible to concentrate my schedule rather than keep it super spread out. Last semester, I taught 3 hours of student classes each M-W & F, and teacher classes M, Th, F. Since my commute is 30 minutes to school by car in the morning and just over 1 hour by bus and subway to get back home in the afternoon, I hoped to be able to teach more hours per day and fewer days, so as to be able to cut down on transit time, and possibly travel on the weekends.

Roy really pulled through for me. I don't know what he did, but he made it happen, and I now teach M-Th. Even better, I teach each first grade class for 1 hour on Mondays and Tuesdays, and then I teach each of 3 second-grade classes in 2-hour blocks on Wednesdays. I didn't even ask him to do that, but that is going to be super. I definitely ran out of time before everyone could practice through my interview preparation lessons last year, so I'm looking forward to the longer class time with my 2nd graders -- whom I totally love (remember how much I gushed about the 1st graders last semester? Because of the Korean system, they're in 2nd grade now).

In summary, Roy. Is. The. Man.

This week, my job gets even cooler - thanks to the sadistic pressure foisted on these kids over their giant standardized university admission exams, Korean students all have a practice test on Wednesday. Which means that my schedule this week looks like this:

Monday: 3 hours students, 1 hour teachers
Tuesday: 3 hours students, 1 hour teachers
Wednesday: No school
Thursday: 2 hours teachers
Friday: No school

Sometimes, my life in Korea is really, really difficult.
Sometimes, I get a month where I work an average of 4 hours/day, 3 days/week, for $1500 + free Korean food + free housing in the heart of Daejeon.

Really, my only worry is that I will never have another job that's as cool as this one is. Because when it is good, it is very, very good....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Best Beer Bread Ever

Those of you familiar with my Korean baking exploits have probably noticed that while I try new things every once in a while, I tend to bake the same things fairly often. Beer bread is a standard, since it's the only bread that I can make in an hour.

Its genius lies in its simplicity.

Beer Bread Original Recipe:
3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp sugar
1 (12 oz) Beer

Bake @ 375 for 1 hour.


I know, right?

But here's the thing. As gorgeous and memorize-able as that recipe is, standard beer bread comes out kind of soda bread-y, but super dense, and unappealingly dry the next morning. After a series of culinary experiments, however, I am pleased to announce that I have discovered how to make the Best Beer Bread Ever. You read it here first, folks. This stuff has texture suggesting it's the secret love child of sourdough and banana bread, but it's beer-y and savory and fabulous. And did I mention the part about how it tastes like BEER? Here's how to do it -

To the Original Recipe, swap the sugar for 3 tbsp of honey, and add:

1 tsp herbes de provence
~1/2 tsp thyme
~1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp parmesan
2oz smoked mozzarella
2 oz cheddar
1 egg

Mix all the dry ingredients and the cheese together (reserving about 1 oz of cheese), then the egg and honey, and the beer last. It'll be the consistency of cake batter. Then lay last ounce of cheese on top, and what the hell, throw some extra parmesan on there.
Then, after the dough is in the bread pan but before you put it in the oven, toss about 2-3 tbsp of butter on top. That'll keep the crust from drying out.

Results-
Just out of the oven:

Those striations you see? Smoked mozzarella and cheddar baked into the crust. Yesssss.

Lovingly sliced to reveal the cheesy, savory goodness within:



Served to (somewhat bewildered) host dad while hot and melty, with jam, for a savory-sweet mouthful of yum:


While he was teasing me for my prolific baking over the last few days (hamantaschen for 2 days followed by this beer bread), and he was aghast at what I was putting into the batter -- well, for the record, there was not a crumb left on his plate.




PS:
If you, like me, are the sort of person who likes to bake by partly following a recipe and partly messing about, here's what to take away from this:

3 c bread flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp honey
~10 oz Beer
1 egg

4 ounces shredded cheese(s) (some for inside, some for the top)
1 tablespoon herbs/spices of choice

Okay, one last thing - did I already mention about how this is BREAD that tastes like BEER? (sorry, dr. atkins, but this shit is delicious).