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July 23, 2010


The first 24 hours in Paris have been a dream. This city is magical and too beautiful for words. I've wanted to come here for so long, I still can't believe I'm actually here. We live in the St. John's Paris Campus on rue de Sèvres in the 6e arrondissement, surrounded by patisseries and brasseries.

Our first dinner out was in a brasserie called L'Horizon. We ordered two onion soups, a steak in a pepper sauce and a bottle of Rose. Everything was fantastic and relatively inexpensive.

For today's lunch we decided to buy some groceries and eat at home.

Charcuterie, tomatoes and cheese are from the Carrefour market (unfortunately La Maison du Fromage was closed for lunch). The bread and macarons are courtesy of the Malo boulangerie, two blocks down from our dorm.

So far Malo is my favorite place. Their bread and croissants are the best. And, the salesladies are very nice and patiently put up with my bad French...

Tonight, we're going to see the Tower!

July 21, 2010

Bon Voyage!

The day is finally here. A day I've been waiting for for years - at midnight tonight, God willing, I will be taking off in a plane to Paris, France. To say I'm excited would be an understatement.
I will be away for one month and will also visit Dublin for a weekend. I will try to blog from there as much as possible and keep you guys updated on all the croissants, baguettes, vins et fromage I will be consuming.

Au revoir, mes amis!

July 20, 2010

Picket Fence: Not just for suburbs anymore

Picket Fence is a restaurant on Cortelyou Road in Brooklyn that serves classic American favorites in an upscale way. I’ve been there once before and when my girlfriends suggested a sort of ‘going away’ dinner for Sofya and I, the Fence’s friendly atmosphere came to mind. Their interior is cozy; the design reminds me of a summer home in Connecticut. They also have ample seating in the back garden area.

We were seated in the back. The waitress was friendly and we didn’t have to wait long for our food, which always enhance a dining experience.

I ordered the Skillet Roasted Chicken ($15). It was served in a tomato shallot sauce with a polenta cake and steamed broccoli.

This entrée was just amazing. The chicken was so tender that it fell off the bone without the assistance of a knife. The polenta cake was the texture of a creamy cloud. The broccoli was perfectly cooked and well complimented by the savory sauce – it was the perfect crunchy element of the meal. Needless to say, I practically licked my plate clean…my mama woulda been proud.
(That's a happy Sasha)

Picket Fence

1310 Cortelyou Road

Brooklyn, NY 11226

July 16, 2010

Apple, Carrot and Raisin Blinis

I’m not fully sure if these are blinis, by American standards, or fritters, but either way they’re perfect for breakfast or brunch.

(Yield: about 10)


1 large carrot, shredded

1 apple (any kind but not tart), shredded

2 tbsp white raisins

1 egg, beaten

¼ c buttermilk

2 tbsp sour cream

1 tbsp melted butter

½ tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1/3 tsp baking soda

3 heaping tbsp all-purpose flour

3 tbsp frying oil

Shred the carrot and apple and squeeze out all juice (drink it if you want). Place the carrot and apple into a bowl and combine with raisins, egg, buttermilk, sour cream and butter. Then add the dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix. The mixture should not be too sticky to the touch but not pasty either. Heat the oil on medium heat on a griddle. Working with one tbsp of dough at a time, form it into a round patty and place in oil. Fry 4-5 min on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot or at room temperature with lots of sour cream on top.

July 15, 2010

16 Handles of Love!

Forgive me for the lack of posts lately. I have 6 days left to prepare for my voyage to Paris and I've been running around like a madwoman putting final touches on everything. Needless to say, my bloggy-blog has dropped a few numbers of my priority list : /

Yesterday afternoon, Irina took me and Sofya to try out a frozen yogurt place in the East Village. It's called 16 Handles, and what differentiates it from other frozen yogurt chains it that it's self-serve and the price is determined by weight. Also, they have 16 different flavors! The flavors range from vanilla to peanut butter to red velvet cake. They also offer 30 different toppings.

Usually I'm not too crazy about frozen yogurt but upon seeing 16 taps of different flavors and a rainbow of toppings, my mind blanked and the only thought left was "More!"

(The picture sucks. I took it with my Blackberry.)
I chose the chocolate, NY cheesecake and red velvet flavors and topped them with brownie pieces, cookie dough, kiwi, strawberries, bananas, Butter Finger pieces, caramel and whatever else my hand reached out to. The final product was delicious and very fresh.

Definitely go to 16 Handles if you have the chance!
153 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10003

July 8, 2010

Chicken Marinade

Nothing grinds my gears more than the use of something like bottled Italian dressing as a marinade...well a lot of things grind my gears, but this is definitely up there! Those things have so many chemicals and preservatives, they should be illegal.

I make grilled chicken at least once a week and always use different things to flavor it. This is a marinade recipe I came up with recently. It's an interesting combination of ingredients and the result is juicy, tangy, spicy chicken.
This recipe can be used for thinly sliced chicken breasts or for chicken kebabs.

2 lbs chicken
1 medium white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 c white vinegar
1/4 c water
1 tsp red curry paste
1 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
1 tbsp chopped dill
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

Combine all the ingredients and marinade the chicken in the fridge for at least one hour. Grill on high heat.

July 6, 2010

Carrot that you?!

Since I didn’t have work today, I thought it’d be the perfect time to bake something sweet and intricate; well intricate for me – we all know my fear of frosted cakes. I decided on a carrot cake recipe I’ve had marked for a while in my Abel and Cole cookbook.

I followed the cake recipe exactly but slightly modified the icing. This cake is moist, soft and dense in the middle, and the icing is the perfect compliment. I always thought carrot cake was supposed to be a boring dessert but this is anything but.

(Adapted from the Abel and Cole Cookbook, 2006)

The cake:

6.5 oz sugar

6 oz vegetable oil

2 eggs

5 oz self-raising flour

4.5 oz grated carrots (appx. 1 large carrot)

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground cinnamon

Butter and extra flour for greasing

The icing:

4 oz cream cheese at room temp

3 oz butter at room temp

5 oz confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1 tsp lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Start by beating the sugar, oil and eggs together. Once the mix is even, add the flour while continually beating. Then add the remainder of the cake ingredients. Grease an 8” loaf pan with butter and dust with flour. Pour in the batter and bake for 35 min, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake for ten minutes and then turn out onto cooling rack. Cool completely.
To make the icing, beat all the ingredients together and smooth over the top of cake. When finished, refrigerate for at least 30 min, to let the cake and icing get to know each other a bit.