Thursday, November 24, 2011

THANKSGIVING!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last year we went all out. This year, the only reason any kind of Thanksgiving dinner will take place is because of my roommate's enthusiasm (and fortuitous day off). That said, it's contagious and has gotten me involved in the preparations (also the fact that the boyfriend will be eating it and I don't want my roommate to eff anything up).

On the menu this year will be: turkey (legs), stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, squash, peas, and corn. Simple, but the basics are covered. And I just finished the stuffing and it's GOOOOOD. I hope my roommate doesn't eat it all while I'm working before dinner tonight...

I am thankful for:
  • the awesome friends i've made here, especially polly
  • polly
  • the boyfriend, who i simply adore
  • my parents
  • my health
  • and about a million other big and little things

Monday, November 14, 2011

Foodstuffs

About two weeks ago I found myself with close to 20 eggs in my fridge. I'm not sure how that happened, but I knew there was no way I had the willpower to eat eggs for every meal until they were gone. Thus began the great search for a recipe to use them. I found this, an absolutely divine sounding bread using sweetened condensed milk (my favorite food) and... voila... 5 eggs. Great, I thought, I only need to make this recipe 4 times...
As all my baking is approximate, I'll go ahead and say that is approximately the recipe I used (sans poppy seeds). Since I don't have a ton of free time during the week (when I am home) and I'm away most weekends, I often break recipes into two-day affairs. One night I mix, etc., the next I let rise and bake. This time I was gone for more than a few hours, and came back to my dough having done a little more than doubled:

honestly relieved it didn't take over my kitchen

Next I whipped it into a braided loaf then tossed it in my bread pan, which is definitely my new favorite method for sweet breads. The bread pan gives it enough structure to not spread out willy-nilly while the braid allows you to easily tear of pieces of the bread to shove into your face. Example:

no I am not going to post a picture of me shoving bread into my mouth

In other baking adventures, Polly and I made garlic bagels this weekend in her apartment. It turned out to be a confusingly difficult task. In time-honored Russian tradition, her oven is located in a place that doesn't allow the door to open more than about 50% of the way. The radiator blocks it. As it turns out, it's impossible to bake anything that requires a tray (instead of a small pan), such as cookies, or in this case, bagels. Somehow we managed and the end result was pretty convincing (except for the lack of a substance resembling cream cheese). Her oven also lacks a real temperature setting, just offering a range from low-high (using pictures). There is a thermometer built into the oven, but instead of using some kind of a standard scale to measure the temperature (celcius? fahrenheit? kelvin?), it simply ranges from 1-6. Not helpful. Who designed you, oven?!

While I'm on the topic of Polly's apartment (which is somehow clean yet soviet), I'd like to mention a few other aspects of it which I find amusing. Her washing machine is located in the kitchen (this is normal), in the cabinet under the counter. Being a front-loading machine, it requires the detergent to be added via a little drawer at the top of the machine. Because the machine is under a counter, it turns out that it's nearly inaccessible. Polly discovered this the first time she tried to wash clothes (which came out somehow dirtier, despite being a new machine).

Another time I was there, I couldn't help but notice a lock on the bathroom door. Actually, two locks. One on each side of the door. When I pointed this out to Polly, she exclaimed, "Who is mature enough not to lock people in the bathroom all of the time?!?!" An excellent question. Certainly neither of us.


Another highlight of this weekend was a Mexican food dinner Polly, our new friend Keitlynn, and I prepared (with the BF's help of watching, making fun of us, moving the table into Polly's bedroom, and also thoroughly mixing my butter, egg, and sugar together in the preliminary steps for the dessert). For dinner we had (all made from scratch, mind you):

  • mango salsa
  • guacamole
  • cilantro and lime rice
  • beans and corn
  • fajita-style onion and peppers
  • raw peppers
  • cheese and sour cream (ok, we bought these at the store...)
  • and, of course, homemade tortillas

complete with Juanes playing in the background, who we decided was "Mexican enough"

For dessert I made this raspberry pound cake, which didn't quite turn out due to unclear oven temperatures (we were at Polly's apartment, after all), but was certainly not bad, and I will definitely be making it again. Like, on Thursday.

Also in foodnews: a gift from a student. I made sure to include something that might be of a recognizable size in order to offer some kind of scale. On the left we see marinated cucumbers and tomatoes with garlic. On the right, an even larger jar of some kind of juice, the explanation of which thoroughly confused me (it's apparently cooked). The generosity of Russians never ceases to bring a smile to my face. And I mean that 100% sincerely.

all together: the perfect present


Thursday, November 10, 2011

GOBOLE, part I

Or, Gross Over-generalizations Based On Limited Experience. I might occasionally post observations and conclusions I've drawn after living here for a year. We'll see if it goes anywhere. Today's edition will focus on dietary habits and preferences:

  1. The preferred food of adult Russian men is meat and potatoes
  2. The preferred food of Russian teenagers is pizza
  3. Sushi is available in every single restaurant in Moscow (or the Moscow region)
  4. Pescetarianism is to Russia what raw veganism is to America
  5. All Russians love cabbage and dill


Monday, November 7, 2011

Halloween

It happened. These are pictures.

Sara getting ready...

Polly is almost there...

This can only end well...

And a successful end result :)


p.s. Celeste, I know Polly made off with some of your things. If you'd like, I could steal stuff from her to make it even?