Lublyou: Russian/American Life & Cuisine

life and cuisine

Sun, April 26 2015

Lublyou this week

Recently I started making weekly lists, featuring some of the things and moments I loved the most over the past seven days. I’m calling it “Lublyou this week”, because “lublyou” is Russian for “I love”.

This week I loved:

1. Cookbook shoot at V.K.Rees

vkrees shootvkrees

I worked at V.K.Rees studio this whole past week, helping with the shoot for Chef Malika Ameen’s upcoming cookbook. It was so great to be back there, see Vanessa and Lauren again, meet the new interns, and hang out with the cats. The last day was my favorite because my friends Emma and Melanie, who are also former interns, joined us, and we had so much fun!

2. Sushi

Jado sushi

I had sushi five times this week. It must be a record! I had sushi for lunch almost every day on set, because there is the best ever Kosher Sushi K Bar on Bedford right next to the studio. Their sushi is fresh, inexpensive, and the owner is the nicest older man, who always tries to convince me to get coke instead of seltzer.

Friday night Benjamin and I met for a dinner date at Jado sushi in Harlem. Only to follow it up the next day with a sushi feast at Tenzan on E 52nd street with Emma! We decided there can never be too much sushi.

3. Carnegie Hall

ICC eduCarnegie Hall balconyCarnegie Hall ICC

We were invited to the International Culinary Center Commencement Ceremony at Carnegie Hall! It was grand, and we got to see many famous and legendary people from the culinary world, and listen to their speeches and advice to the grads. It felt like I was a part of a large, warm, family gathering!

A few other things I loved this week:

  • Mother’s Day gifts at Terrain. I really want these floral Hunter boots, but I’m too far away from my Idaho garden now, I really miss it.
  • Magnolias in Central Park.
  • New coffee shops! I discovered Myrtle&Marcy near Vanessa’s studio. I have no idea how I’ve missed it before. I wish I had known about it last fall, it’d have made my internship mornings so much tastier! It’s charming and serves delicious spicy chai latte. This weekend, we also found a Birch location on the Upper East Side. As I’ve mentioned before, Birch is one of my favorite coffee/chai latte shops in the city, and finding this new one on E 62nd street made me so happy!

Fri, April 24 2015

When in Brooklyn // Williamsburg BridgeKatie

Diner at 85 Broadway, Brooklyn is one of our favorite brunch places in the city. My friend Emma’s roommate works as a chef there, and he’s very creative when it comes to the brunch menu – it changes every week! If we lived closer I’d just go there every weekend to make sure I didn’t miss anything delicious.

Over the past few months I’ve tried various egg dishes, toasts, sweet treats and savory specials. My favorites have been the mini cream-filled doughnuts (of course!) and all of the sandwiches, which is so uncharacteristic — I’m usually not a fan of breads stuffed with meats. // Diner // Diner Brooklyn // Diner Brooklyn floor

Since the food options change daily, there are no printed menus. As coffee is being poured, all of the daily specials are written on the table liner. It’s a bit confusing the first time around, because you have to remember the details of each dish right away as the waiter scribbles down brief notes. When in doubt, get a sandwich! And doughnuts. // Diner Brooklyn // // Diner NYC // Diner NYC // Williamsburg

After brunch, we usually stroll through Williamsburg, stopping for coffee at a cafe or bringing the drinks to one of the parks with panoramic views of Manhattan. There are endless coffee shop options in this neighborhood, but I especially like Sweatshop and Bakeri. // Manhattan view

Look how perfectly we accidentally lined up. If I had only known to bend my arm, we’d have made a train: // Manhattan // Manhattanville // NYC panoramic view

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Sun, April 19 2015

Lublyou this week

I take a lot of photos and always try to find something new to do, read, visit or eat. But most of the time I end up carrying these miscellaneous little moments and snaps in my phone, because there is no long story to go with each one, and there are always too many things that happen that make the previous ones dissolve into the past.

I thought I’d try making sort of a list at the end of every week, featuring some of the things and moments I loved the most. I’m calling it “Lublyou this week”, because “lublyou” is Russian for “I love”. There probably will be too much food, but I’ll try to control myself.

Recently, I loved:

1. My Birthday Cake

For my birthday, I made a three-layered chocolate cake with dulce de leche cream and decorated it with Russian candy “Petushok” (“little rooster”). Mama brought me the candy last summer. I ate one and saved the rest because they are so pretty and I’m very nostalgic.

2. A Weekday Central Park Walk
Central park in spring

On Thursday Benjamin and I met after work and walked home through Central Park. It was still a bit windy, but we could definitely smell spring in the air!

3. Rediscovering Instax Photos from the Past
Mini Instax

As part of the spring cleaning, I’ve been arranging my collection of instax photos in the ridiculously cute mini instax albums I recently got. I also bought more film, it’s very addictive!

4. Easter Candy

We still have Easter candy all over the house, because Benjamin got all the nicest and prettiest candy he could find, and I don’t want to destroy it. We also still have some Christmas candy left for the same reason. And the “Petushok” earlier in this post. It’s a real problem!

5. Our Anniversary Brunch
Laduree Soho

We celebrated our 3rd anniversary this week, and Benjamin took me out for brunch at Ladurée Soho! Before it got too cold last year, we used to go on weekly Ladurée dates in Central Park. We should restart the tradition because those pastries are unbelievable!

6. Flowering Trees
Harlem in spring

Today we went to get coffee and found ourselves on one of the prettiest streets in the city. It had white flowering pears on both sides. Their tops almost touched, creating a cloud-like ceiling!

A few other things I loved this week:

  • Cereal milk soft serve from Momofuku Milk Bar. I imagined it being sweet, because whenever I have cereal I get the sweet kind. So in my mind, cereal milk is always sweet, but Christina Tosi’s version is salty like corn flakes, and I can’t stop thinking about it.
  • A new spring bag! It’s brown, my camera fits perfectly, and there are little pockets for my phone and metrocard.
  • Sheep and goat milk chocolates by Mast Brothers that Benjamin gave me for the anniversary. Very smooth and rich!
  • My favorite Instagram of the week which I took while walking around Central Park with Benjamin. I also love this one Emma took in Brooklyn, and this magnolia Anna found in Central Park.

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Wed, April 15 2015

Golubtsy – Russian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls // Голубцы

Le Creuset

I love golubtsy! Whenever my mama makes these stuffed cabbage rolls she fills a huge cast iron pot with them, and we eat from it for a few days in a row. Golubtsy say “family”, “comfort food” and “home” to me.

I used to make them in Idaho for Russian dinners with Ben’s parents. I’ve cooked many golubtsy throughout this cold New York winter, I even order them in restaurants if they’re on the menu. The last never beats the taste and flavor of the real homemade cabbage rolls, but even knowing that, I can’t resist the temptation. // Golubtsy recipe

Traditionally, cabbage leaves are carefully separated and then boiled in salted water for a few minutes until soft. I rarely do this, which results in the rolls being harder to fold, but I manage. If you’re making golubtsy for the first time ever, I’d recommend boiling the leaves before rolling, you’ll find it easier. // Golubtsy Russian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

After the leaves are stuffed, dust the golubtsy with flour and fry each on both sides in a hot pan with butter or fat before placing them into the pot for boiling or baking. I like this step because it leaves grilled marks on the rolls, but I also skip it whenever I don’t feel like waiting too long for dinner. // Russian Golubtsy Recipe
Pot // Le Creuset via Sur La Table • Wooden spoon // Sur La Table • Linen napkins // Williams-Sonoma

"Golubtsy" Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

  • 1 large cabbage
  • 1 cup medium grain white rice
  • 1.5 lb ground meat (I use half pork, half beef, or 1/3 each beef, pork and veal)
  • 1 egg
  • a small bunch of parsley, nicely chopped
  • 8oz can of tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream, plus more for serving
  • Salt, pepper

1. Rinse rice and cook in 2 cups of water for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
2. (Optional) Fill half of a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Use a knife to pull off leaves from the cabbage and dip them into boiling water to soften. The leaves are done when they are soft and yellowish or dull green. Cool down and carve off thick stem at the base of each leaf.
3. In a large bowl, mix together ground meat, egg, 2/3 chopped parsley and 1/2 Tbsp. salt, pepper to taste.
4. Place about 2 Tbsp. stuffing on each cabbage leaf. Roll into an envelope, covering the filling with the leaf and tucking the right and left sides of the roll tightly inside.
5. Preheat oven to 350F.
6. In a large bowl mix together 2 cups of water, 1/2 Tbsp. salt, 2 Tbsp. of sour cream and an 8oz can of tomato sauce.
7. Place the rolls side by side into a dutch oven, pour the sour cream-tomato sauce on top, and add more water if necessary to cover golubtsy.
8. Cover and bake in the oven for 1 1/2h. Alternatively, they can be cooked on the stove: first bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
9. Serve hot with sour cream and parsley.

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