Saturday, April 14, 2012

Big Bang

What have I been obsessed with lately?  Big Bang!  No, not the show on CBS about those nerds (although that show is pretty funny).  I'm talking about the Korean singing group, Big Bang.  For those of you who don't listen to Korean music (which I'm guessing is most of you), it's actually not as weird as you think.  Imagine a Ne-Yo song for the boy groups and an early Britney Spears song for the girl groups sung in Korean and that's pretty much accurate.  There are many (I mean seriously a lot) of Kpop (Korean pop) groups out there in Korea, but my favorite, by far, is Big Bang (2NE1 is a distant second).

I first heard of Big Bang when I spent a summer studying abroad in South Korea.  I had never really listened to Kpop before but everyone else in the program was really into it.  All of the stores in Seoul (capital city of South Korea) blast Kpop like there's no tomorrow, so you can literally hear it 24/7 if you want.  My friends would always let me know who the singers were and pretty soon, I came to be able to identify many Kpop groups.  The first song I heard by Big Bang was Tonight and that song remains one of my favorites to this day.  Then I saw a music video for GD & Top's (I will explain what these are later) Knockout and fell in love.

Big Bang is made up of five members.  They are (from left to right on the picture below): Taeyang, Seungri, G Dragon (GD), Top, and Daesung.

Top and GD are the rappers while Taeyoung, Daesung, Seungri, and sometimes GD again are the singers.  Daesung actually has the most powerful singing voice, but Top is the one I fell in love with.  He has the sexiest, most amazing voice that I have ever heard (this includes JT and Usher!)  Not only does he have an amazingly amazing voice, but he is frocking nice to look at as well.  And he has the cutest personality (not that I've ever met him).  He is supposedly really shy and reserved.  And even though he can't dance that well, it kind of adds to his charm.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I just want everyone to know how amazing Big Bang, and more specifically Top, is.  But just remember people.  Top is mine!

And be sure to check out Big Bang's latest single, Bad Boy.  Seriously, this song and music video are amazing!

Until next time, 안녕 (that means bye)!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Brief Note On Cheesecake

I'm not particularly fond of cheesecake but my boyfriend absolutely loves it.  So, for our 5 month anniversary, I broke down and surprised him with a homemade cheesecake, baked with love.  He loved it and forced me to have some with him.  And you know what?  It was delicious.  I have to say, I'm a pretty good baker.  Or maybe it was just that the recipe was really easy and promised a fluffy, creamy, delicate cheesecake that anyone, even non-cheesecake lovers, could savor.  Unfortunately, my cheesecake was made with four(!) packages of cream cheese and, like many other young women out there, I'm trying to watch my figure.  So, with great regret, I packed up the remainder of the wonderful, glorious cheesecake and sent it off to be devoured by the boyfriend's family.  But the recipe lives on, and I can always recreate the scrumptiousness of that luscious cake.  And, because I'm nice (sort of), I'd like to share the recipe with whoever stumbles across this fledgling blog.

Vanilla Cheesecake (makes 1 9-inch cheesecake)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Wrap the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with aluminum foil.

For the crust:
  • 9-10 graham crackers
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Put the graham crackers into a ziplock bag and crush the crackers using a rolling pin.  Put the crumbs in a bowl and mix the sugar and butter in until fully incorporated.  Place the mixture into the prepared springform pan and press into the bottom, evening out and flattening the crust.

For the cheesecake:
  • 4 8-oz packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • Hot water for the water bath
Put the 4 packages of room temperature cream cheese into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth, scraping down sides if needed.  
Add the sugar and beat to incorporate.  
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well before adding another.  
Add the vanilla extract.  
Slowly add all of the heavy cream in a constant stream and increase the mixer speed to medium high until the entire mixture is smooth.  
Pour the mixture into the prepared crust.
Place the wrapped springform pan into a large square or rectangular pan that is at least 1-1 1/2 inches deep.
Pour hot water into the pan until it is at least 1/3 of the way up the side of the springform pan (this is to prevent the top of the cheesecake from cracking).
Place the pans together into the oven and bake about 55-60 minutes, or until the middle of the cheesecake jiggles slightly but the edges are more firm and the top is a light golden color.
Remove the pans from the oven and take the springform pan out of the water bath.
Remove the foil wrapping and place the cake on a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the cheesecake has cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Run a thin knife along the edges of the cheesecake and remove the outer ring of the pan.
Place the cheesecake on a serving platter and enjoy!!