22 September 2010

"I want to eat this dish is a hard grunge"

Happy 추석, everybody!

추석 (the romanization is "Chuseok") is like Korean Thanksgiving, celebrated on August 15 of the lunar calendar. It's the second most important holiday in Korea, after the lunar New Year, and the whole extended family gathers to pay respects to the ancestors and eat great food and generally enjoy each other's company.

Well, I'm here in DC and my brother is in Massachusetts, not in Korea, tragically enough. So we spent about an hour conference-calling relatives in Korea last night.

It was really good to hear everyone's voices, especially when one of our baby cousins insisted on talking on the phone, too, and then couldn't think of anything to say. So cute! It was good fun, but it also made miss Korea a lot, not to mention Korean food. I especially miss 송편 ("songpyeon"), which is a special rice cake often eaten on 추석.

Mmmmmm. I looooove me some Korean rice cakes. The reminder prompted me to set my Facebook status this morning to: 추석이라 그런지 송편 먹고싶다~~ ^^

Now, before y'all go reaching for your Korean-English dictionaries, it means: Maybe it's because it's Thanksgiving, but I'm craving 송편.

When my former math prof copy-pasted it into Google translator, however, he got: I want to eat this dish is a hard grunge.

I... what?

Anyone ever play the Babelfish game, from back when Google didn't have a translator yet? You take a well-known quote (or song lyrics, or an idiom, etc.), translate it into another language with Babelfish. Translate the translation into another language, and so on, and eventually back to English, and then see if anyone can figure out what the original quote was. There are, of course, many variations on this.

ANYWAY, since I couldn't have 송편 but still wanted something a little out of the ordinary, I made a zebra cake. That's what I logged on to say in the first place, I just got a little distracted.

Zebra Cake
Adapted from the AZ Cookbook.

I was really stressed from the exam that kicked my butt on Monday, so I ate some cake today while learning about the dietary management of diabetes (for the next exam, coming up in less than two weeks).

And laughed at the irony.

4 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 c. fat-free plain yogurt
1 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. dark cocoa powder*

* Bitter cocoa, such as Hershey's natural unsweetened cocoa, will take away from the sweetness of the cake.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until creamy and light in color. Beat in vanilla, yogurt, and oil until well blended.

In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat just until the batter is smooth and the dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Do not overbeat.

Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions. Keep one portion plain, and mix cocoa powder into the other.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a 9" pan with oil.

To assemble the cake: Scoop 3 heaping spoonfuls of plain batter into the middle of the baking pan. Then scoop 3 heaping spoonfuls of cocoa batter into the center on top of the plain batter. Continue alternating the batters until you use them up.

Note: The batter will spread and gradually fill the pan throughout the process, so do not stop and wait between batters.

Bake until done, 35-40 min.

Immediately run a small thin knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake, then invert onto a cooking rack. Turn the cake back over and let cool.

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