Lublyou: Russian/American Life & Cuisine

life and cuisine

Thu, February 26 2015

Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown // Китайский Новый Год в Нью-Йорке

Watching a New Year parade in Chinatown was always on my “Things to do in NYC” list, and this year I finally found myself right in the middle of the celebration.

NYC Chinatown paradeChinatown parade 2015

In Russia, Chinese New Year is a big deal. There are no official parades, and people celebrate it too early (the celebration is bundled with the calendar New Year on December 31st – January 1st), but everyone takes it very seriously, especially when it comes to Chinese Zodiac signs. Everyone knows what animal is the symbol of the year they were born, and the newspapers always publish both astrological and lunar horoscopes. My mom and I are both dragons, we were born 24 years apart, and I always loved that we shared the same sign.

Chinese New Year ParadeLunar New Year LionChinatown Lunar New Year NYC

People are all about the animal symbols in Russia. Every December TV and the press start talking about the next year’s animal sign, what everyone should wear for the New Year’s dinner to please them and even what to serve on the table.

For example: 2015 is a year of The Green Wooden Ram, so it only makes sense to wear green, blue, purple and turquoise, and to give preference to natural fabrics such as velvet, suede, wool and cashmere. The dinner should be vegetarian — meat dishes might offend the Ram. Make sure to serve lots of fresh fruit, veggies, leafy greens, berries… I’m not making any of this up! I simply googled “How to celebrate the year of the Ram” in Russian and clicked on the first link for these tips.

The Year of the Ram paradeLunar New Year Parade in Chinatown

This year, I caught a glimpse of how people in the U.S. celebrate the Lunar New Year. The day couldn’t have been any better! After all of the gloomy, frosty weeks, the day glowed with sunshine, the birds were signing, everything was melting and it finally felt like spring might actually come. The snow-melting rays were so efficient that my feet were soaking wet by the end of the parade, and I even managed to dip the hem of my dress into a puddle when I sat down to take photos of the running dragons (totally worth it!)

chinatown_parade13Chinese New Year DragonsChinatown Parade

One of the things I discovered was the Chinese lion dance. Many of the giant furry animals dancing at the parade–often mistakenly referred to as dragons–are actually lions! Apparently, a lion is normally operated by two dancers, while a dragon needs many people.

Lunar New Year Parade LionNYC Chinatown paradeLion Dance

After the parade we walked a few blocks down for a lunch at Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles. Their duck soup and dumplings really hit the spot, we couldn’t even finish most of it. Like most of the restaurants in the area, they are cash-only, but I highly recommend this place for big hot meal on a winter day!

Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodleschinatown_parade14

P.S. I love living in New York City because I get to see more of my friends who live far away. Everyone comes to or through the city all the time for business, on their way to or from vacation, or just to visit New York, and luckily I just so happen to be here. Our friends from Washington, Amanda and Brian, were in the city this week, and we spent an amazing day eating, laughing and photographing the celebrations.

Мне всегда очень хотелось попасть на парад в честь Лунного Нового Года в Чайнатауне (Китай-городе) в Нью-Йорке. В прошлое воскресенье мне это наконец удалось! С погодой нам тоже невероятно повезло, после долгих пасмурных и промозглых недель выглянуло солнце, по улицам побежали ручейки, птицы запели на деревьях, и к праздничному настроению добавилась надежда на скорый приход весны.

Главным открытием дня для меня стал китайский танец льва, а именно его отличие от танца дракона. Оказывается, львом всегда управляют два человека, находящихся внутри фигуры. Базовые движения танца могут быть найдены в большинстве китайских боевых искусств.

Для танца дракона же нужна целая команда людей, которая иногда достигает 50 человек. Держа на шестах дракона, они двигаются таким образом, что дракон совершает волнообразные движения.

После парада мы пошли обедать в маленький ресторанчик китайской лапши, где заказали лагман с уткой (суп с тянутой вручную лапшой) и китайские пельмени, которые этой зимой мы едим почти каждую неделю. Как и в большинстве заведений Чайнатауна, порции у Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles очень большие, а расчёт они проводят только наличными.

На этом день не закончился, мы ещё долго гуляли по Манхэттену с друзьями, даже ужинали донатами, но это уже другая история. Китайский Новый Год удался на славу!

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Thu, February 19 2015

Galushki – Lazy cheese dumplings // Галушки творожные // Galushki

This week I’m experimenting with Ukrainian and Polish recipes for galushki/halušky – thick and soft noodles or dumplings cooked in water, broth or milk.

It’s one of the simplest recipes in the world! In my home country we often call them “lazy dumplings” (ленивые вареники). Basically, instead of making the dough separately and then wrapping it around the filling, for galushki you just mix flour and the filling ingredients all at once. See the recipe for farmer’s cheese galushki below, they’re very easy to make. // Farmer cheese galusky

In the other news, my second article for TasteBook is live! If you’re curious what Russians celebrate this week by eating pancakes and burning a giant hay doll, check out this post! Even if you don’t feel like making pancakes, I recommend you try the melted cheese + kimchi combo anyways – make a grilled cheese sandwich with kimchi! Trust me, “kimcheese” is amazing. Here’s the full recipe just in case. // Tvorog galushky

Farmer's cheese galushki (sweet lazy dumplings)

  • Sour cream, jam/sweetened condensed milk for serving
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1.5 Tbsp. sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1.3 lb or 600 g farmer's cheese -- "tvorog" (or Ricotta cheese, or farmer's cheese, or small curd cottage cheese)

1. Mix your chosen soft cheese with butter, sugar and flour.
2. Beat egg whites into a thick foam.
3. Add egg whites to dough, mix until blended.
4. On a lightly floured surface, form into a 1-inch-thick rope.
5. Cut rope of dough diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces, leave them to "wilt" for 20-40 minutes.
6. Bring 4 qts. of water to a boil, then add galushki and cook for 15 min.
7. Remove galushki from the pot with a slotted spoon, serve hot with sour cream and jam/sweet condensed milk. // Halusky

Привет! Во-первых, желаю всем сытной и солнечной Масленицы! Я как раз опубликовала новую статью на TasteBook про праздник и придумала по этому поводу рецепт блинов с сыром и кимчи. Естественно, я больше всего довольна фотографиями, надеюсь, они получились аппетитными.

Моя следующая статья должна быть про галушки, поэтому на этой неделе мы с Беном ими каждый день ужинаем. Сегодня ели картофельные со шкварками, а вчера – вот такие творожные.

Рецепт В.Похлебкина:

1/2 ст. муки
600 г творога
4 яичных белка
30г сливочного масла
1,5 ст.л. сахара

Творог растереть, прибавить масло, сахар, соль, муку и последними – взбитые белки, всё хорошенько растереть, полученное тесто раскатать в жгут толщиной 1,5 см и нарезать галушки шириной 1-1,5 см. Дать галушкам полежать 20-40 минут, чтобы они “завяли”. Варить в подсоленном кипятке 15 минут.

Подавать со сметаной и (я лично рекомендую!) со сгущёным молоком.

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Mon, February 16 2015

love advice to younger self
Floral Bunny by Ben
City Flowers drawing by Ben

5 years ago, I was lonely, heartbroken and depressed.

I never talk about it anymore — I mostly just blank it out in my head. I was ashamed of being naive, of thinking that a summer crush would be the person I’d spend the rest of my life with. I imagined that a failed relationship was a comment on my somehow being a loser, and my feeling like the breakup was the end of the world made me seem like an idiot in everyone’s eyes.

I thought I had found the right person, but as soon as I left town to go back to school, he suddenly became too busy to skype or call me, and started going out with another girl without even bothering to tell me. I had to find out later, on Facebook, through their mutual photos and posts.

That winter was very hard for me. The day after Valentine’s, I decided to escape from everything and go visit my friend in South Korea. The trip was wonderful and fun, but it was also the beginning of something absolutely amazing that would change my whole life. My new happy self has mostly had no time to remember the tears of the past. But if I do think back now, there are a few things I wish I could have told myself when I was still upset:

Fall in love with yourself.

Looking back 5 years, I wish I could reassure my younger self that it was not the end of the good times and there was so much more wonderful life ahead. I would tell myself to just go and enjoy whatever I was doing. Love myself, eat my breakfast, have fresh flowers at home, take a bubble bath, bake a honey cake, buy the softest bath robe and take a film camera on my weekly walks.

You will be happy again.

I totally fell into the trap of proclaiming that “I will never fall in love again!” Realistically thinking, that was unlikely to be true on a planet with 7 billion people. But at the time I was angry, felt like I couldn’t trust anyone and scared of being hurt again.

Later, poor Benjamin had to wade through so much mess, convincing, talking, listening to my grudges and fears. I’m really glad he was so insistent and patient. In the end, he did win me over and I fell in love again, this time with somebody who loved me just as much. I’m so happy!

Now I know I could have said: Love again. It’s all going to be better than you can even imagine.

P.S. Benjamin wrote down our love story 3 years ago in this post.

P.P.S. The two drawings above are done for me by Benjamin, the top one of Sonya bunny is this year’s Valentine’s present.

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Fri, February 13 2015

Happy Valentine’s Day!


I like that there is a day in February that I can reasonably use as an excuse to post film photos from last summer and say once again:
“Benjamin, you’re the best thing that ever happened to me. I love you!”

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