Delicious Breakfast and 9/12ers

While digging out sausage from the fridge I found a wedge of brie that Good Man and I bought about a month ago. Its sell by date was the 11th, so I decided I should figure out how to use it. I was already planning on making pancakes this morning, so I quickly Googled “brie pancakes.” I found several recipes, so I knew my idea was doable. Then I found a recipe for apple brie pancakes. I modified it for what I had on hand and my own level of laziness. We got 14 pancakes out of this recipe.

Pear & Brie pancakes

1 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1 C whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
a pinch of salt

2 cups milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp butter, melted

1 handful brie, rind removed (I ended up using about 3/4 of a wedge, which is a useless measurement, I know)
2 pears, cored and roughly chopped

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix. Add brie and pears and mix. The brie might be a little lumpy. It didn’t seem to matter to us at all.

Heat skillet over medium-high flame. Butter the pan lightly. When the skillet is hot, ladle one spoonful of batter onto skillet. When top starts to bubble and edges are firm, flip and cook through.

Serve with or without syrup.

***
I prepared a 6-qt crock of lasagna for tomorrow. I stuck it in the fridge and then found out (getting more crock pot ideas online) that I’m apparently going to kill us by keeping food in a crock overnight in the fridge. Apparently I’ll be keeping the food in the “danger zone” too long.

I did some research on making kimchi this weekend, and apparently kimchi only lasts up to 15 days in the fridge. (What?) Also, apparently I’m putting us at all kinds of risk for who knows what by not heat canning the kimchi. Of course, heat canning it would destroy all of the good bacteria/microbes in it—the very same microbes that make it so healthy!

I think Americans sometimes worry too much about food safety. I know people used to get sick from food-borne illnesses more often. I get that. But I suspect that had more to do with hand washing.

One of The Annoyances of Living in DC
Yesterday I got to the subway station shortly after 9 am. I noticed the parking lot had more cars than usual but didn’t think anything of it.

Until I got the to the platform.

I was surrounded by birther/tea-bagger/death panelist/9-12ers.

They were carrying signs calling Obama Hitler and the like.

Ugh.

When the train finally came, it was packed with more of their ilk. Every single time we approached a station, one particularly lovely woman would scream “YAY! PAAAAAAAAAAAA-TRIIIIIIIIIIIIIII-OOOOTS” at the top of her lungs.

And although several of them were bitching about “those illegals” and signs in Spanish, they apparently couldn’t understand English because they were sipping their Starbuckses and pops. Put the drinks away, twits.

What I found most fascinating is that they were all white. Every single last one of them. Apparently on 9-12 America was made up entirely of white people.

You know…there’s something wrong with your movement if it is supposed to represent America and is made up of only white people.

This is What… Looks Like

This is What 모모 Looks Like
In the Garden

A Sweet Potato Gone Wild

Sweet Potato in a Pot

Peppermint Flowers

Red Pepper

In the Kitchen

Three Whole Heads of Garlic, Chopped

3 Lbs of Bachelor Radish (총각무) and 6 T of Kosher Salt

6 C Water, 10 Scallions, 3″ of Ginger, 3 t of Sugar, 3/4 C of Korean Red Pepper Powder, 3 t of Kosher Salt, and 3 Heads of Garlic

The Above plus 6 Lbs of Bachelor Radish
(Yes, 6 Lbs; I Processed the 총각무 in Two Batches)

Mixing

A Kitchen Bloodbath

Five 1-Qt Jars 4/5 Full of Bachelor Kimchi (총각김치), Fermenting

Craving Korean Food

I am craving Korean food lately. We’ve only had the bok choy dish and the spicy pork this week so far. But I’ve had rice seven times since Monday and I’m planning on doing kimchi 전 (Korean pancakes, as Master used to call them) tomorrow night.

And then I found Eat Your Bap. This is daily Korean food, not just the fancy stuff found in most Korean cookbooks.

So tonight I made 계란찜 (egg…I don’t know, a yummy egg dish) and ate it with my last portion of the bok choy.

계란찜

Brilliant Food

Fatty White Ribbons of Pork

Crunchy, Slightly Sour Kimchi in Shades of White, Green, and Red

Black Rice Giving Brown Rice a Puple Hue

Dry, Shiny Green Seaweed

A Perfectly Ripe Orange-Pink Peach for Dessert…

I had a long, long day at work. I did not want to go to taekwondo but knew I “should.” We were also set to have spicy pork for dinner. While I adore our table-top grill, it can be a time-consuming process to grill on it.

What to do…?

In the slow cooker I mixed three big spoonfuls of 고추장 (red pepper paste), several cloves of crushed and chopped garlic, a half an onion sitting in the fridge, a few carrots, a spoonful of sugar, soy sauce and water. (No mushrooms on hand.) I then dumped in more than three pounds of pork belly. I used a 4 qt crock and put it on high for about 1 1/2 hrs. Afraid that the pork wouldn’t cook, I then set it to 6 qts (which makes it hotter) for another 1 1/2 hrs.

I threw brown and black rice (현미, 흑미) in my glorious rice cooker at a ratio of 11 parts brown to 1 part black.

After taekwondo, picking up Good Man from the subway station, and a shower… dinner was (basically) ready. All I needed to do was open up the container of kimchi and cut up some 김 (seaweed).

Now, the sauce didn’t thicken up like it normally does. I probably added a smidge too much water because I was afraid of the pork not being covered. Next time I’ll add corn starch, agar agar, or rice powder during the last half hour of cooking.

But damn. That was a good dinner.

Bok Choy and Food for the Week

Good Man was introduced to s’mores and kettle corn this weekend. “What do you think of kettle corn?”

“Well, it’s not rocks. I can eat it.”

***
Last year I did a pretty good job of planning out meals for the week. This saved us money and time. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen out of the habit.

Starting in mid-September I’ll be going to a class every Tuesday night. Good Man also has school on Tuesdays. This leaves Monday and Thursday for taekwondo, which leaves only Wednesday and Friday for actual cooking during the workweek.

Obviously I’m going to have to start planning meals again.

Tonight we had something new to both of us—bok choy.

Bok Choy “Flowers”

We had bok choy with tofu and GABA brown rice on the side. It was delicious. I made a double recipe, so it’s a good thing we liked it!

Boy Choy with Garlic Tofu

Then I made chocolate chocolate chip ice cream for dessert. We’ve been making so much ice cream at home that the super hard, really frozen stuff from the store doesn’t seem like it’s the right texture any longer.

Ice Cream Making

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

***
Tomorrow for lunch we’re having the bok choy and tofu with rice (with a small serving of homemade kettle corn on the side, as well as peaches and kiwis). I’m making spicy pork for dinner (despite having taekwondo tomorrow) and Wednesday or Thursday I’m making curry in the slow cooker. These three main dishes should provide enough leftovers to carry us through the week.

Don’t Throw Away the Green Card

I threw a pile of junk mail in the recycling corner of our kitchen and a plain white envelope slid out from it.

I picked it up and saw that it was addressed to Good Man and from Lee’s Summit, MO. It was stiff. I know that Lee’s Summit location.

“[Good Man]!” I started jumping up and down.

“Why are you doing like that?” he said.

“I almost threw it away with the recycling!”

Good Man opened the envelope and there was his green card. There was also a little Tyvek envelope.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

We recommend you use this envelope to protect your new card.

Nosotros recomendamos que usted use este sobre para protegar a su tarjeta.

Good Man grinned. “This is good.”

The card isn’t green. It’s white with a terrible photo of Good Man, his thumbprint, and a series of numbers and codes across the front. The back is shiny enough to be used as a mirror and has the presidents (through the last Bush) across the top. Across the bottom it’s got the 50 US state flags.

So now we’re clear to travel to Stockholm. No need for an Infopass appointment to get a stamp in his passport.

Two weeks ago we found out that Good Man was denied in-state residency because he didn’t yet have his green card. We did a second level appeal but the Not Idiot Turned Idiot in the international student office wouldn’t accept our letter from USCIS as proof of his residency status. Tuesday when Good Man goes to school, that should change. He should be approved for in-state residency. “Should” being the key word here…

Thursday we received a letter that my bank needs Good Man’s SSN before the 21st or they’d close the account. Now that he’s got his green card, he can apply for an SSN—one time. (He could’ve applied with his EAD, but there would’ve been restrictions that he would’ve needed lifted when the green card arrived. Since the EAD card arrived so close to the interview date, we decided to wait.)

Today is our six-month anniversary (legal wedding). What a nice gift to receive.

For all of the horror stories I’ve read and heard about USCIS, from the date we mailed the application to the date we received the green card it was only 96 days. Nothing like the six to twelve months we were expecting. We got no RFEs (request for evidence). He didn’t get stuck in name check hell. The interviewer didn’t ask any really personal, inappropriate questions. We didn’t use a lawyer (just Fiancé & Marriage Visas: A Couple’s Guide to U.S. Immigration, which I highly recommend). And just like all of our friends and family said it would—it all worked out fine.

Happy anniversary to us!

Operation Immigration: Timeline
* To make this easier to read I will use * for new info.

6/1/2009: Mailed AOS/EAD/AP to Chicago Lockbox
6/3/2009: USPS reports rec’d
6/9/2009: Green registered mail with return receipt postcard rec’d
6/10/2009: I-485 check cashed (with no readable receipt number on the back of the check!)
6/11/2009: I-130 check cashed (with no readable receipt number on the back of the check!)
6/12/2009: NOAs rec’d for petition (130), green card (485), employment authorization (765), and advance parole (131); we now have his A-number; rec’d date 6/3, notice date 6/8
6/13/2009: Biometrics appt rec’d for 7/1
7/1/2009: Biometrics appt, in and out in 15 minutes
7/17/2009: USCIS website says that AP/EAD approval notice sent
7/22/2009: USCIS website says EAD card ordered
7/23/2009: USCIS website says EAD sent
7/24/2009: Rec’d notice for interview on 8/27 (Washington, DC location—which is actually in Fairfax)
7/27/09: Rec’d AP
7/29/2009: EAD rec’d
8/27/2009: Interview, approved on the spot
8/31/2009: Rec’d email notice that green card production was ordered on 8/27
9/1/2009: Rec’d email notice that green card production was ordered on 9/1 (again?)
9/3/2009: I-797 NOAs received for I485 and I130
* 9/4/2009: Rec’d email notice that the NOA for the I485 was sent on 9/4 (um, already got it, USCIS)
* 9/5/2009: Rec’d green card

Welcome to America, Good Man

I walked into the living room waving one of two USCIS letters—the one addressed to Good Man. “[Good Man]! You got your Welcome to America letter!”

“What’s that?”

“Open it.”

He felt the envelope. “But it’s not card… ‘WELCOME TO THE UNITED STATE OF AMERICA,'” he read. Good Man looked at me, “Wow! How do you know? You know so much, you are like lawyer.”

“That’s because I pre-worry! I research!”

He continued, “‘This is to notify you that your application for permanent residence has been approved. It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to permanent resident status in the United States.'”

Operation Immigration: Timeline
* To make this easier to read I will use * for new info.

6/1/2009: Mailed AOS/EAD/AP to Chicago Lockbox
6/3/2009: USPS reports rec’d
6/9/2009: Green registered mail with return receipt postcard rec’d
6/10/2009: I-485 check cashed (with no readable receipt number on the back of the check!)
6/11/2009: I-130 check cashed (with no readable receipt number on the back of the check!)
6/12/2009: NOAs rec’d for petition (130), green card (485), employment authorization (765), and advance parole (131); we now have his A-number; rec’d date 6/3, notice date 6/8
6/13/2009: Biometrics appt rec’d for 7/1
7/1/2009: Biometrics appt, in and out in 15 minutes
7/17/2009: USCIS website says that AP/EAD approval notice sent
7/22/2009: USCIS website says EAD card ordered
7/23/2009: USCIS website says EAD sent
7/24/2009: Rec’d notice for interview on 8/27 (Washington, DC location—which is actually in Fairfax)
7/27/09: Rec’d AP
7/29/2009: EAD rec’d
* 8/27/2009: Interview, approved on the spot
* 8/31/2009: Rec’d email notice that green card production was ordered on 8/27
* 9/1/2009: Rec’d email notice that green card production was ordered on 9/1 (again?)
* 9/3/2009: I-797 NOAs received for I485 and I130.

Not Korean

Sometimes I think Good Man is a kyopo born in the wrong country. (A kyopo is an ethnic Korean raised abroad.)

Last night we were reading 이습 이야기 together and we got to the word 샹냥하다. I struggled over this word because never in my life have I seen a ㅅ and a 양 together. It’s pronounced something like shyang-nyang-han and means to be gentle, tender, or soft.

So he said.

I questioned this. It didn’t seem like ㅅ and 양 would go together.

“They do in some French words,” Good Man said.

“That is not a French word.”

Good Man started laughing. “Oh, I think it’s typo. The word is 상냥하다.”

Sang-nyang is a different sound altogether. A pronounceable one!

(According to my electronic dictionary, there are two French-origin Korean words starting with 샹: 샹들리에/chandelier and 샹송/chanson.)