Romanian Style Crepes

I am so excited to share this recipe with you all.

I was visiting my aunt a couple weeks ago and happened to stop by while she was preparing to make Romanian crepes – or as we call them, Clatite. So I asked her to explain her process as to how she makes them, and surprisingly, it’s pretty easy. The thing is, it’s not a set recipe, so I’m going to try to translate it into one as best as I can.

Her style of making crepes is delicious and I personally view it as one of her specialties, so I was geeked to try it out on my own. Below, I have a recipe that should yield roughly 16 crepes. Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 cups flour
2-3 eggs
a good pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar
milk
mineral water
rum extract/essence of rum
a small bowl with oil and a silicon brush
filling of choice (we like prune or rosehip jam)

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine flour, eggs, salt, sugar, rum extract, and milk until blended together well. Add the milk slowly so you can build a batter.
  2. Once you’ve got a mixture that’s a little on the thicker side, slowly add mineral water to the mixture until the consistency becomes almost soupy. You don’t want it too thin, but you don’t want it so thick that you can’t swivel the mixture around in the pan to coat it.
  3. Add rum extract to taste. My aunt dumped like a good 2 or 3 TABLESPOONS in there, but probably a solid 1 to 1.5 teaspoons should be good.
  4. Heat up a large skillet on high heat. Before putting in your batter, brush the skillet using a silicon brush with some oil to ensure your crepe doesn’t stick.
  5. Pour a large ladle-full of batter in the center of your skillet and take the skillet off the stove while you swivel it to ensure the batter coats the whole bottom of the skillet.
  6. Using a long knife, (you can use a spatula, but a knife works better – and if you have a particularly flexible knife, use that) flip your crepe after roughly 30 seconds or  until the batter is no longer wet and cook for another ~30 seconds or so.

Tips:

  • If you’re having trouble swiveling the batter, your batter may be too thick. Add more mineral water or milk.
  • If you’re having trouble with your crepes breaking after the first couple (flipping them with a knife does take some practice) your batter may be too runny and you should add a little more flour to thicken it up.
  • In our family, and even traditionally in Romania, we like to roll up our crepes with prune jam or rosehip jam, but you can eat them however you please.

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Carrot Cake Snowballs

Like just about all of my great recipes, I found this one on Foodgawker and it looked so delicious and so easy, I said LET’S DO IT!

I’m not a huge fan of carrot cake – but to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the vast majority of American desserts. I find that most of them taste like sugar on steroids rather than actual flavor. However, this one has that middle eastern twist and I can deal with that.

They involve pitted dates, but given that I live within 5 minutes of a middle eastern grocery store, I have something better – DATE PASTE. No need to get your blender sticky with dates.

This recipe also contains cashews – my new favorite nut, by the way. I only had salted cashews, so I rinsed them before I pulverized them in my Ninja blender. I also gave the oats a spin in there. If you’re using a package of date paste, I suggest doubling up on the other ingredients.

My altered recipe is below:

Ingredients

  • 4 carrots, grated
  • 13 oz date paste (1 package)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted cashews
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • zest from 1/2 orange and freshly squeeze juice from said orange
  • desiccated coconut for rolling

Directions

  1. Peel and wash your carrots. Grate your carrots.
  2. Rinse your cashews if they’re salted. Pop them in a blender 1/4 cup at a time and burst blend them until they’re between coarse and fine.
  3. Blend your oatmeal as well. You don’t want a fine powder, but you do want everything to be about the same size.
  4. In a large bowl, combine carrots, date paste, oats, spices, salt, zest of an orange, and the juice if your orange together. You can of course opt to do this in a blender, but why clean more than you need to? Use your hands to mix together well.
  5. In a separate bowl, add coconut. Form your snowballs into balls and roll around in coconut.
  6. Pop the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving, to firm up.

#Single4Life

Alright, first thing’s first.

For all you photophiles (what’s the actual word though?) who wanna see more of my photography, you’re in luck! I decided to make an Instagram account for just my photography, @vivianapodinaphotography, after finding out you can now link your accounts and switch between them easily. I’m pretty excited and geeked and thrilled by the small gathering of followers I’ve already accumulated (18 with just my first photo, how cool!) and I’m looking forward to discovering more artists and photographers and being discovered by others as well.

That said, it’s almost Valentine’s Day and that means I’ll be doing absolutely nothing differently from any other day of the year because I’m #single4lyfe. But I thought this would be a great occasion to gift myself something I’ve wanted for a while – new workout shoes! I found this gorgeous orchid purple pair at DSW on clearance and they’re SO COMFORTABLE. I’m in love.

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On my way home I also stopped by Natalie’s Bakery to pick up bread and indulged myself in some V-Day treats. Picked up some cannolis, a little strawberry heart tart, and a slice of honey sea salt pie (not pictured). I haven’t tried the pistachio cannoli or the tart yet, but the orange zest cannoli and honey pie are superb.

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Hope you guys have a good weekend! Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you regardless of relationship status. <3

Lemon Poppyseed Tiramisu

I’m a huge fan of anything lemon flavored, and after making two tiramisus around Christmas/New Years, I had a brilliant idea – how about I alter the recipe and make a lemon tiramisu instead?

I finally did a couple days ago after work.

It’s pretty simple, as you really only need to change a few things:

  • I used lemon liquer instead of brandy/cognac.
  • I dipped the lady fingers in a slightly sweetened lemon juice & water mix instead of coffee.
  • I topped the tiramisu with poppy seeds instead of cocoa powder.
  • I added in fresh grated lemon rind from a whole lemon to the cream.

The result is absolutely delicious. I squeezed fresh lemon juice on top of my individual slice to give it more of a sour kick and it’s seriously so good.

Here’s the original recipe for those of you who are interested.

Ingredients

6 eggs, separated
~6 cups coffee, cooled
16 oz mascarpone cheese
1 cup sugar (I usually use 3/4)
1/4-1/3 cognac or brandy
1 package lady fingers
cocoa powder for dusting

Directions

  1. Combine 6 egg yolks, 2 tbsp coffee, sugar, and cognac into large bowl and beat 3 minutes.
  2. Add Mascarpone cheese and beat 5 minutes until smooth.
  3. In another bowl, combine 6 egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form (and you can turn the bowl upside down and it won’t fall out).
  4. Gently fold into the Mascarpone mixture.
  5. Quickly dip lady fingers into coffee and lay out into a baking dish. Pour half the mixture over, and repeat the steps.
  6. Dust with cocoa powder and refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving.

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Plum Dumplings & Other Kitchen Adventures

First thing’s first: my feet hurt like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve been standing and walking all day long in non-supportive flip flops while cooking. My back’s also killing me a bit – signs of getting old??

Anyway, my parents have been down in Atlanta this weekend at a wedding, and this is the first time ever that my brother and I have been left alone for a prolonged period of time in the house. Since I don’t work Sundays, and I didn’t feel like spending my morning at the gym (though I should have!) AAAAND my creativity is currently shot in the art department, I threw myself into cooking. And drinking Blake’s Hard Cider, YOLO.

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I was not expecting a pleasant pinky-peach color.

It started out with deciding I was going to make Romanian plum dumplings (galueste cu prune). It’s a fairly easy recipe, and I found a recipe I liked. Since it begins by boiling potatoes, I did that – but I didn’t boil them well enough. Ensue frustration and annoyance at my impatience.

I was going to throw them away and feel guilty, but then I made a snap decision to save them and make a casserole/cheese melt thing. SUPER easy: I took the mildly boiled potatoes, chopped up 2 onions and 3 carrots, topped off with seasoned salt, paprika & garlic powder, feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and then laid Muenster and Colby Jack cheese slices on top cause I didn’t have shredded cheddar and couldn’t go grab some (had other stuff cooking!). Baked this at 385 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes. It turned out really good, but I think the potatoes could’ve used more salt.

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The finished project.

Meanwhile, I had to boil another batch of potatoes. This time it went great. I was able ice bath the skins off and then mash them with a handheld mixer (+ 1 egg, + 50g butter) and then add in the flour (375g) and kneed the dough along. Afterwards, I cut up 5 plums into 12 pieces each, which ended up being excessive and made my third dish of the night, spiced plums. plums

I rolled out the dough and cup it up into palm sized sections, stuffed a piece of plum in along with 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar + cinnamon + cloves + cardamom, and pinched each shut and rolled them around until they were circular. Then came the boiling bath – I had to do it in two batches cause they were so big and so many.

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While they were boiling, I fried some plain breadcrumbs and EVOO in a pan and moved it to a big bowl. After the dumplings were done boiling, I strained them and then stuck them in the breadcrumbs and rolled them around. VOILA!

I ate 5. #noregrets

I ate 5. #noregrets

Oh, and the spiced plums? Super easy. Spray oiled a small baking dish, dumped the rest of the plums in there and topped them off with the remaining sugar + spice (and everything nice) mixture, sprayed with oil, and then baked for about 25-30 minutes at 350 F. The sugar mixture became kind of like a spiced glaze. So good.

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Oh, and all of these pictures were taken with my Samsung Galaxy Note 5. I was too lazy to mess with my Nikon today – partly because my fingers were sticky with dough and other ingredients for 6 hours straight. But I will say that I’m REALLY enjoying this phone’s camera and I’m so glad I decided to go with it rather than my initial intention of the Galaxy s6. The camera really sold me in store, and it excels IRL too.

Don’t forget to check out my Instagram @lovelikeangels, Society6 @lovelikeangels and Etsy @lovelikeangels

Apricot & Cherry Clafoutis

Last month I was obsessed with making Clafoutis. So obsessed I made two versions within one week.

As Wikipedia describes it, Clafoutis is “a baked French dessert of fruit, traditionally black cherries, arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick flan-like batter.”

The first one I made was with apricots, and it was deliciously tart, but much soggier than the cherry version. I attribute this to the fact that apricots hold more water than cherries.

It’s a super easy recipe and you can follow along with this video.

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No-Bake Spiced Date Balls

Listen guys, I made date balls. And they’re delicious. And OF COURSE I want to share the recipe.

As expected, I found this fabulous recipe on Foodgawker a while ago (click here for original recipe) and it’s been sitting in my favorites for a while. I’ve been thinking about making it for a couple weeks now, and I finally got around to grabbing the ingredients late this morning.

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I often think about how genuinely blessed I am to live in the Metro Detroit area – we have literally ALL KINDS of ethnic food stores in the area thanks to the vast diversity of people from all over the world that live here. Therefore, finding things like date paste is a breeze. I’m not sure how it is in other parts of the country, but drop me a comment and let me know what your area is like in terms of cultural diversity, I’m interested!

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Now, as I’m sure you all have realized by now, I almost never follow recipes exact. I like to alter them to mine and my family’s tastes and dietary needs. So for this one, I eliminated the coconut sugar coating, cashews, and the ginger powder, and added cardamom, allspice, almonds, and two kinds of coconut flakes.

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No-Bake Spiced Date Balls

Ingredients:
– 2 handfuls of almonds, medium-fine chopped
– 2.5 lbs date paste (yes, pounds)
– 7 oz sweetened coconut flakes (big, flat)
– 1 tbsp cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp nutmeg
– 1/2 tsp ground cloves
– 1/8 tsp cardamom
– 1/8 tsp allspice
– 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
– 2 tbsp water
– 1 bag finely chopped dry coconut flakes for coating (tiny, short)

Directions:
1. Combine almonds, sweetened coconut flakes, date paste, spices, and water in a big bowl.
2. Knead until well combined.
3. Roll into 1 inch balls and dip into finely chopped dry coconut flakes.
4. Refrigerate and enjoy.