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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Corupția Ucide

For today’s Blogvember post, I thought I’d share an important topic with you all. For anyone who hasn’t watched the news lately or heard anything about it, there is currently (what I’ll call) the beginnings of a revolution occurring in my home country of Romania.

It all started with a fire at the nightclub Colectiv, in the nation’s capitol city of Bucharest, on the night of October 30th. 32 people died and 179 were injured in the incident. It sparked outrage with the nation, which has taken to protesting in pretty much all of the major cities, and the protests, which are still ongoing, have resulted in the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta and his government. (Click for more info.)

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Personally, I find this to be incredibly impressive and inspirational. It’s amazing what people can do when they finally wake up and smell the roses and let that straw finally break the camel’s back. I am heartbroken, proud, amazed, and so much more, at the unity of the Romanian people in dethroning a corrupt government that has gotten by since the Communist revolution on the piggybacks of nepotism and systematic corruption.

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I found this comment on Reddit the other night that made me decide to do today’s photoshoot in solidarity with my people back home:

Although this has been repeated several times in the comments, its worth mentioning again for people just reading the story. This was never about the PM of Romania resigning because of a nightclub fire. It could have been any other event, a flood caused by a shoddy dam that was authorized through bribery, an earthquake brining the entire medical system of a country to its knees, or any other disaster that finally brings the message home. This was about a political system built on lies, bribery, influence trading and nepotism. A form of “democracy” where the will of the people is the least important factor in government.

The protests in Bucharest are against the entire system, the entire political class. Romanians, contrary to the unfortunate image projected abroad by some of our “less desirable” citizens, are actually a politically tolerant, law abiding and down to earth people. Most of us just want to get on with our lives, easy or hard as they may be, work for our dreams, follow our passion, and all the other things one would expect of a citizen of a, so called, democratic state. But we can’t. We can’t because the system was set up from the start to favour only those few who had the luck and connections to be in power after the revolution. And now, we are seeing the “trainees” of those people rising to power and doing the same things all over again.

This protest was not about a fire. It was about doctors who have to live with their families in a one bedroom apartment because they can barely afford food, let alone rent. It was about schools and universities where the amount of money you put into someone’s pocket is directly related to what’s printed on your diploma. It was about a crisis response system that was completely overwhelmed by 200 victims in a city of 2 million (having a heart attack on the night of the fire in Bucharest would have been a death sentence). It was about people dying in the streets because of lack of elementary services, while the Orthodox church is awarded 25 million euros to build a new cathedral (in a country that already has over 16000 churches). It was also about corruption leading directly to the nightclub incident, wherein the only way to do something in Romania is to either pay someone, or know someone who can waive the “fee”. But mainly, it was about the utter contempt and lack of respect that our “leaders” have shown us for the past 26 years since the anti-communist revolution.

Again and again, people have died (some examples can be read in the comments below), families have been left on the streets, young women have been raped with no one being held responsible, young people have left the country in droves, finding a place where they can pursue their dreams without fearing for their children’s’ safety. And through all this, the Romanian people have, for the most part, endured and went on with their lives, hoping that things would change. But each new election brought on the same political class, with the same contempt, with the same self-serving interest. Since the beginning of democracy in Romania, our ruling class, no matter their political colour, have gotten rich, while the rest of us have had to pay the price, for some unfortunate few, with their own lives.

The nightclub fire finally brought the message home. Because people have finally realised that it could have been them, or their friends, or their children in that fire. It could have been their elder parents dying in a hospital because there are no doctors and people have to, literally, beg for basic things such as Paracetamol.

No, the story was never “PM resigns because of fire”. Several other people responsible for that are currently in custody or about to loose their jobs. This was about a corrupt system and a failed democracy, and a population which has had about enough. The nightclub incident is not the reason this is happening, the gunpowder barrels have been stacking along quietly since the early 90s. But the fire in Bucharest was the one that finally lit the fuse.

This comment rang true with me in a few different instances, but probably most notably the part about how young people are leaving the country in droves in hopes of a better future. My parents uprooted our family 18 years ago for this exact reason. They decided that they wanted a better future for themselves and their children than our home country could offer, so they made the gut-wrenching and thrilling decision to move to America. I don’t know what would have happened if they hadn’t, but I like to think of myself as a revolutionary person who would be out on those streets with my people.

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While I cannot be back home in the streets protesting, I stand with my people. I support your cause and I raise my flag high for all of you who are fighting the fight for a fair and just government that cares for its people and their well-being. In a world full of unfair politics where the poor get poorer while the rich get richer, I am thrilled to see a nation coming together to take down a system that has been cheating them for over 2 decades.  Corupția ucide!

Mărțișor: Part I

I started this blog 2 years ago today! To celebrate, I thought I’d honor it by posting a new mărțișor picture for today’s post.

Two years ago, my mom fashioned me a handmade, homemade mărțișor. This year she ordered them online from a Romanian specialty store and specifically got me a Marie from Aristocats mărțișor – reason being because my dad used to call me his little Marie (from Aristocats) when I was a kid.

Quick history lesson:

Ziua Mărțișorului (Day of the Mărțișor) is every day on the first of March, and it’s an old Romanian tradition where people give each other mărțișori, which are little charms with twisted red and white thread, in celebration of the coming of spring. The red and white thread is believed to give the wearer strength and good health in the year to come.

Today’s post is my mărțișor for this year (and appropriately, a shirt I got at Lucky that is Romanian inspired). Tomorrow I’ll be showcasing a few others my mom got this year, and on Monday, my little collection of vintage mărțișori that I brought to America with me as a kid.

Cheers and felicitari!

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Old World Traditions & New Discoveries

On the one year anniversary of this blog being up and running, I give you: DETROIT!

Yes, more Detroit. Here are some landscape/architecture shots from the PeaceLoveSpandex shoot from last month. Also, Canada.

P.S. Michigan is the only place in the continental United States that you have to drive south to get to Canada. The more you know.

P.P.S. To all you Romanians out there, Happy Ziua Martisorului! (Check out last year’s first post for the deets on what that is, in case you’re wondering. Click me, I’ll take you there.)

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Snowballs, Facebook, and Spandex

Two weeks of the new year have officially flown by and it’s about that time that I update again.

First off, I have three exciting new announcements!
1. You can now LIKE! and follow Vivography on Facebook by clicking here, searching “Vivography” on Facebook, or clicking the nifty Like box to the right of this post in the sidebar. Phew! I know, a lot of options.
2. If you’ve been to the blog before, you might notice some changes. That’s right folks, I’ve updated the color scheme/header/background. It now reflects my business cards! *fistpump* CONTINUITY!
3. This is somewhat related to this blog, buuuuut I am officially the new intern at PeaceLoveSpandex! Aaaand it’s pretty much awesome and I have been convinced (though convincing wasn’t really needed) that everyone should wear spandex. Because reasons. I’m gonna start wearing bodysuits, pretty much.

Anywayyy, it’s time for some long awaited foodography. At my house, for the “big” holidays (aka Christmas & Easter) we’re pretty traditional when it comes to la comida. Every year, I help my mom cook traditional Romanian food (stuffed cabbage rolls, Romanian veggie salad, various desserts, etc) and every year since I’ve had my camera, I’d taken pictures of the goodies. This year I managed to snap pictures of the desserts before they were all eaten up, as well as my classy glass of wine and this gorgeous little mouthblown glass teacup that I picked up at Anthropologie. BONUS: It’s made in Romania!

Greta Garbo tort.

Greta Garbo tort.

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Snowballs!

Snowballs!

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Happy Easter from Vivography!

This year’s Easter preparations were kind of hectic at my house. Everyone’s been working  too much so we didn’t have time to go “all out” like we usually do, which really means that we only made 1 dessert this year instead of the usual 3 or more. Nevertheless, we’re pretty set food-wise. There’s stuffed cabbage rolls, salata de beouf (chicken and vegetable salad…Romanian style), oven-baked chicken, Saratele (pictures below!), Banatean Coconut Tort, and of course, EGGS! For the past 3 years, I’ve been decorating our eggs in the traditional Eastern European manner – with elaborate designs using a pysanky, wax, and a candle. The result is pretty awesome if  I do say so myself. Traditionally, eggs like this are decorated in multiple colors, but I don’t have the patience or time to multi-dye one egg, so I just do ours white and then dye them in one color. Here are this year’s results, as well as the Coconut Tort and Saratele!

The most elaborate of the eggs this year.

The modern design set.

This is my absolute favorite egg this year. It was totally worth the 20 or 30 minutes I spent on it.

My second favorite egg! I did one like this last year too. They always turn out beautiful.

I'm only adding this one in because the stupid thing sweated while I was melting the wax off and it created a galaxy-esque thing with the dye.

The Banat Coconut Tort! So delicious.

Saratele!

By the way, that little “red carpet” underneath everything in these pictures is an original woven piece my mom made in Romania when she was a kid. It’s one of my prized possessions from the “old country”.

Also, if you’re wondering what Saratele are, they’re really simple and delicious salty snacks that involve a lot of feta cheese and get cut into strips and devoured pretty quickly. Yup. Happy Easter everyone!

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Fruits & Gourds

I consider myself to be a very privileged college student for many reasons. One of them is that I live at home and because of that, I get to enjoy homemade food that I don’t personally make, every day. My mom is a phenomenal lady, but her cooking ability and talent is one of the best things about her. Yesterday she slaved over a Romanian recipe for pumpkin pastry. She worked on that thing for about 5 hours until it was finally done and out of the oven. It turned out really good and according to Weight Watchers, one serving is just 5 points which I was quite happy about. Anyway, I was even more happy to find there was still some left this morning, so I snapped a few pictures. Here’s two:

Normally, I would accompany foodography pictures with the recipe, but this one was in Romanian, and I am far too lazy to translate it. So just sit there and salivate a little.

And for tonight, I’ll also include some fruit pictures from the same album, but from a few weeks ago. A ruby red grapefruit that looks more like an orange, and some pineapple.

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