Oh my gosh, you guys! I am SO excited about Spring springing up all over the place. Sorry (yet again) for a long absence. (I think that’s just the way it’s gonna work with me here…) These past few weeks I’ve been picking up new classes (with little kids! Eek!), working overtime, and spending any free time taking walks or enjoying the weather instead of sitting in front of my computer.
I’ve still had time to eat, thank heavens!
A lonnnng time ago, the fabulous Janetha B.’s momma cooked up some pulled chicken. When I saw it on her blog it looked so good that I decided to make up some of my own. I trimmed a coupla chicken breasts, put them in a pot with just enough water to cover, and added several T BBQ sauce, a T or so of apple cider vinegar, some hot sauce, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (sorry for the lack of precision… I eyeball everything). I mixed it up and boiled it until the chicken was cooked through, removed the chicken from the pot and shredded it with forks while the BBQ mixture boiled down a bit. I added the chicken back to the pot, made sure everything was coated, and voila! Dinner for a few days! Lord knows this girl loves her some BBQ, so I’ve actually made this several times in the past 2-3 weeks and enjoyed it in a few different ways, like in pitas with cukes and cheese, with mashed avocado on toast, straight-up, and my personal fave, on salad! Who misses needs Chipotle, anyways?
Hmmm…. Looking back on it I’ve eaten this a lot… Gettin’ in my greens, I guess.
And I know this is so far in the past, but I also had a lovely Easter Sunday. One of my students brought me a kulych, which is traditional Easter cake. It is dense and has some raisins in it, but is not overly sweet.
I tried it plain, but decided that it would be a delicious addition to oatmeal! So I mixed it in along with a little pot of strawberry yogurt, and it was a fun breakfast treat.
We went for a long walk all around central Moscow, and the weather was perfect!
We stopped for lunch in a little cafe in Okhotny Ryad (an underground mall) that we’ve walked past a bunch of times without going in, but we finally gave it a chance. It was good! And cheap! I don’t think anyone had to pay more than $10, which is great as far as Moscow prices go :) I had a chicken sandwich. If memory serves me right, it came with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and cheese? Whatever, it was tasty.
The following weekend was kind of crazy, because I went to a Russian bachelorette party type thing! One of the gals from my school is getting hitched, so she reserved a room at a local restaurant/club for a night of dining, dancing, and karaoke singing. It was quite the night, let me tell you!
When we arrived, my jaw dropped at the beautifully laid table, covered in cold snacks (zakuski) like salads, fish, olives, fruit, bread, cheese, and more. It was ridiculous how much food there was.
I tried some new things. Like tongue. Yeah. It is a very common food here, but I’ve never mustered the gumption to try it. But Alya (whom I adore, and can do no wrong in my book) promised me that it was very delicious and tender and that it was worth trying. It was a little weird to get my head around, but in the end I remembered that it’s just like any other meat, so I gave it a go. The verdict? Okay. I won’t race out to have it again, but if it is served to me I will happily eat it.
I also ate an unbelievable amount of that cheese because it was sooooo good. Mmmmm. Cheese.
The following day I met Heazy to walk around in a “bubble festival” on Old Arbat. It started as a flash mob a few years ago, and tons of people come to the street to walk around in crazy costumes and wigs, blow bubbles, and share hugs! It was very strange to see, because in my experience Russians are not so open to making themselves look silly. Or hugging strangers. Heazy got hugged, but I dodged out of the way ;)
After that extravaganza, we went across town for another bout of wandering. When we had worked up an appetite, we went to a Ukrainian restaurant, Taras Bulba, to recharge. It was a fun little place, and it had an enormous menu. We both liked our food a lot, thought it was a good portion for the price, appreciated being able to choose the portion size, and agreed that the atmosphere was fun. (So should you visit Moscow, it gets a thumbs up!)
I chose vinagret, which is a beet salad (and one of my favorites!) to start. This one was interesting because it had white beans in it, which I’d never seen before.
I chose the small order of stuffed cabbage (goluptsy) for my main dish. And I washed everything down with some honey-lemon kvass, which is a fermented, non-alcholic drink made from bread and yeast. (I think it is like a cousin of kombucha. According to Wikipedia, they are both Russian in origin!)
With full, happy bellies we walked across the Moscow River to get back on the Metro, and were greeted by one of my favorite sights, Red Square from the back (I think it is the south side?). When I see this, it makes me feel like I live in a fairy tale!
How have you been enjoying Spring?
Do you have a local place or sight that makes you happy? Where and why?