Office Bliny Brunch!

Office Bliny Brunch!

Russian bliny (crepes) recipe

So I am finally posting some recipes…The occasion? I decided to make a big batch of bliny for my office, inviting them to bring whatever they think might go well in a typical crepe, be it a savory or sweet one. I have attempted this by myself once before in the United States and a few times in Saint Petersburg. Big differences can be made in what pan you use, whether you add oil or butter to the batter or to the pan, how thick or thin you pour the batter, and, of course, converting a recipe from metric to US measurements! Here are both recipes so that you can choose what is best for you. A note, a bliny recipe to Russians is somewhat similar to a pasta sauce or salsa recipe…it seems like everyone has their own take on it and opinions on what makes the best blin (one blin, two or more bliny).

Metric Recipe (original with conversions, compliments of Ilya Varnayev)

  • 560 kg of flour (roughly 2 1/3 cups flour, exact is 2.367 cups)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 L milk (roughly 4 1/4 cups of milk, exact 4.227 cups)
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Add dry ingredients together and mix. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients slowly to wet ingredients. There should be mostly no lumps, but it doesn’t need to be perfectly lump free. Batter should be very liquidy, not thick!

Optional: Add 1/4 stick of butter, melted, to batter. Lightly butter pan.

Heat a medium-sized flat pan (preferably non-stick) to medium heat. Using a medium-sized ladle (for medium-sized pan), pour a ladle-full of batter onto the pan. The easiest way to do this is if you hold the pan at an angle and turn the pan such that the batter forms a thin layer on the bottom of the flat portion of the pan.

When the sides start to dry and turn brown, turn the blin over. It should be done in about 30 seconds. The opposite side will be brown and spotty.

Do not be discouraged if the first blin turns out rather…messed up. The Russian have a saying “perviy blin - komom”, which means the first blin is a blob, essentially.

I assure you the second will turn out much better!

My brother tried bliny for the first time today. He had since made a blin and jelly burrito and an ice cream blin sandwich. I’ve also made blin smore’s for my Russian friends while I was in Russia due to an acute lack of graham crackers.

They can be sweet or savory, depending on your taste. This recipe works fine for both, but I would suggest perhaps decreasing the sugar in the recipe if you want the blin to be less sweet. I have also once completely forgotten to put eggs in batter before, and they came out no less delicious and formed than their egg-y counterparts.

Also, not that I am forgetting…but using a large pan, I have so far made 12 bliny with enough batter for a few more.

Enjoy your bliny! Try it with caviar…if you dare!

My boss recently came back from Russia and gave me this set of Russian nesting dolls (or matryoshka in Russian). They’re so cute! Would you believe that after so many times traveling to Russia, I never got myself any matryoshkas! So I present, my first ever matryoshka! I am so glad my job keeps me connected to Russia :)

My boss recently came back from Russia and gave me this set of Russian nesting dolls (or matryoshka in Russian). They’re so cute! Would you believe that after so many times traveling to Russia, I never got myself any matryoshkas! So I present, my first ever matryoshka! I am so glad my job keeps me connected to Russia :)

Here is a page from the UCLA EURECA website which features a profile of me for the internship I did last year at Saint-Petersburg National Research University for Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics. As you can see on the website, I now work at the UCLA EURECA program. =)

Almost one year ago today, I returned from Moscow and soon after left for St. Petersburg. It was an amazing year of my life, my internship was one of my favorite parts of that year. Now I get to see off the next generation of UCLA-ITMO interns and UCLA Flagship students…getting nostalgic for Petersburg and ITMO! Now I get to live vicariously through them…luckily I still get to work with EURECA and Russia :)

Almost one year ago today, I returned from Moscow and soon after left for St. Petersburg. It was an amazing year of my life, my internship was one of my favorite parts of that year. Now I get to see off the next generation of UCLA-ITMO interns and UCLA Flagship students…getting nostalgic for Petersburg and ITMO! Now I get to live vicariously through them…luckily I still get to work with EURECA and Russia :)

Funding for Russian Students to Study Abroad!

As a part of the Global Education Program (rus. Глобальное образование), as many as 3,000 Russian students over a period of 3 years could receive funding to study in foreign institutions starting in 2013. The institutions must be among the 300 top-rated schools according to international ratings. According to the more recent information I was able to find, students could receive up to $53,000 towards tuition and some other specified expenses in the form of a loan. If the students return to Russia after their study abroad and work for a period of three years, they do not have to pay back the loan. If they do not fulfill this requirement, they will have to pay back the loan including interest (which should be a competitive interest rate). Russian students currently studying abroad are also eligible to apply.

The Strategic Initiatives Agency (rus. Агентство стратегических инициатив) will be working on developing this program. Currently, this initiative is in the project stage, but President Vladimir Putin has showed support.

For more specific information, I have translated the following excerpt from a news article from the Strategic Initiatives Agency website:

In accordance with the project for the decree on the volume of financing of the Program (Global Education Program), at the expense of the federal budget, no less than 5 billion rubles (in 2012- 0.5 billion rubles, in 2013- 1.5 billion rubles, in 2014- 2.0 billion rubles, in 2015- 1.0 billion rubles) will be allocated for the support of education (compensation of education) for no less than 3,000 citizens of the Russian Federation for the period of 2012-2015 (in 2012- 250 students, in 2013- about 900 students, in 2014- 1200 students, in 2015- about 650 students).

[“Согласно проекту Указа объем финансирования Программы за счет средств федерального бюджета составит не менее 5,0 млрд. рублей (в 2012 г. - 0,5 млрд. рублей, в 2013 г. - 1,5 млрд. рублей, в 2014 г. - 2,0 млрд. рублей, в 2015 г. - 1,0 млрд. рублей), с учетом содействия обучению (компенсации обучения) за счет средств Программы не менее 3000 граждан Российской Федерации в период 2012-2015 годов (в 2012 году - около 250 человек, в 2013 году - около 900 человек, в 2014 году - 1200 человек, в 2015 году - около 650 человек).” ]

Current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had also stated during the last month of his term as president that doctors and professors should be sent abroad to study or take retraining.

Note: For reference, for international students seeking to attend UCLA as an undergraduate student, estimated costs for attendance for 2012-2013 are $55,300 (http://www.admissions.ucla.edu/newbruins/Intl_Budget.htm). Graduate and Post-graduate programs range in cost. However, some universities may have agreements for exchange programs with UCLA, which would allow a certain amount of students to study at UCLA but at their home school’s tuition rates, and an equal amount of UCLA students to do the same thing at the foreign institution. I am not sure how many Russian universities have such agreements, but many Chinese universities have such agreements. I do not know how this could apply to the Global Education Program, but it is something to consider.

For more information:

In English:

http://www.nature.com/news/go-west-young-russian-1.10633

http://thepienews.com/news/putin-plans-to-fund-top-students-abroad/

http://www.rt.com/news/prime-time/education-abroad-program-russia-589/

http://www.examiner.com/article/stanford-uc-berkeley-ucla-and-other-top-schools-attract-russian-student

http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/2012/05/russia-mulls-plan-overseas-study-scheme

In Russian:

http://www.rg.ru/2012/05/10/obuchenie.html

http://www.economy.gov.ru/minec/about/structure/depsoc/doc20120426_06?presentationtemplate=docHTMLTemplate2&presentationtemplateid=76b66780446888f597aef7af753c8a7e&WCM_Page.ResetAll=TRUE&CACHE=NONE&CONTENTCACHE=NONE&CONNECTORCACHE=NONE

http://www.economy.gov.ru/minec/about/structure/depsoc/doc20120426_06

http://www.asi.ru/smi/1857/

http://www.asi.ru/smi/1440/

http://asi.ru/news/2544/ (very recent post 6/22/2012)

Went to the Oceanarium in St. Petersburg today! It was very interesting and was much more impressive than what I was imagining, based on my experiences seeing animals in the circus and at the zoo. They had a pretty big selection and the animals seemed very active with very clean tanks. Of course, it was no Sea World, everything was inside, and understandably so! The weather has only recently been warm. With a student ID, the ticket price is pretty reasonable. I would suggest going early to avoid the crowds though!

Ice is still flowing down the Neva, must be Spring :)

Ice is still flowing down the Neva, must be Spring :)

I’m dreaming of a bigger coffee cup…but at least I didn’t have to bring my laptop to work today. I am almost done translating these annotations, too! I’m ready to feel so accomplished…5 more paragraphs, give or take.

I’m dreaming of a bigger coffee cup…but at least I didn’t have to bring my laptop to work today. I am almost done translating these annotations, too! I’m ready to feel so accomplished…5 more paragraphs, give or take.