All posts filed under: Slovakia

Monday Meal Review: Slovakia

“Everything bad is good for something.” – Slovak Proverb Have you ever done something, only to find it didn’t work out as you’d planned… but somehow it worked out even better? Last week I casually substituted a video for my written meal review. I thought it’d be a fun change of pace- a more visceral experience for you. Almost immediately, the comments filled with a resounding “no,” – an outcry that was astonishing both in it’s passion as in it’s consistency. Almost every single person felt the same way, which is remarkable in itself. And the fact that every comment was worded thoughtfully, kindly, and compassionately? So awesome. As I read through the comments, I was moved by your devotion to the blog and especially to the written word, referred to as a ‘dying art’ by some. I thought about your responses while I cooked this week’s comforting menu – soup, bacon bread, and blueberry bubbly cake. Maybe it was a subconscious move on my part – after last week, a big bowl of coziness was just the …

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Slovak Sour Bean Soup

When winter raindrops slide down the glass… when the droplets are  so close to ice that they sting on my wind-chapped face… there’s nothing better than a piping hot bowl of soup. Thankfully for me, Slovakia knows what’s what in this department. The fine people of Slovakia could probably make this staple soup with their eyes shut, and – for the first part, at least – that’s exactly what they do. While the house slumbers under the bright moon, a quiet bowl of bean sits in the shadows, soaking overnight. In the morning, after a big stretch, the softened beans are put to a bubble with bits of bacon (or perhaps a ham hock), potato, and – not to be forgotten – a splash of vinegar. The whole thing is thickened with sour cream and flour (or sometimes cream). The result is a bowl of warm, thick goodness – but of course every family has their own version… versions so good, you’ll want to snag a bite (or three) from under each other’s noses.   While traditional …

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Grilled Garlicky Bacon Bread | Hrianka

“Better to eat bread in peace, than cake amidst turmoil.” – Slovak Proverb Oh, Slovakia. My husband has been woo’d, my daughter smitten. As for me, I’m in love. No, it’s not because of Valentine’s Day. It’s because of Bacon. Garlic. Oh, and a nice, thick slice of Sourdough Rye Bread. Yes… Slovakia really did us in when it comes to Hrianka. At her most basic, Hrianka is plain toast rubbed with garlic. At her most beautiful, she’s a collection of hearty slices griddled in hot bacon drippings, then rubbed with cloves of fresh garlic. And so my heart sings on… Serves 2 Ingredients: 5 slices of bacon 2 large slices bread (rye or sourdough a plus) 1 large clove garlic Method: Fry up that bacon. Eat the bacon. Or perhaps use it to garnish some Slovak Sour Bean Soup (recipe coming soon). Now for the fun. Griddle your bread in the drippings. Health Tip: If you have too many drippings, you can just brush both sides of the bread with a little to taste …

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Blueberry Bublanina | Bubbly Cake

From early springtime all the way into the deep heart of fall, Slovakia’s mountains and hills burst with nature’s bounty. For those who search, a perpetual harvest reveals herself. Here, trees swoon with the weight of delightfully sour cherries, juicy, grapes, apricots, and apples. There, bushes bloom with blueberries, woodsy and sweet. This land, surely, is magic. When there is more fruit than can be gathered in an apron, Slovakia makes Bublanina, a.k.a. Bubbly Cake. Just one secret makes this slightly sweet cake light and fluffy: whipped egg whites. Fruit, sliced, chunked, or left whole, is scattered across the foamy surface and, as the cake puffs up in the oven, it bubbles around the fruit. Some fruit sinks down. Some fruit does not. Once out of the oven, the whole thing is covered with a cloud of powdered sugar, until even the air around it tastes sweet. It’s all kinds of whimsical and the perfect way to ring in the hope of spring (I promise it’s coming – I even witnessed a few daffodil leaves …

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Menu: Slovakia

This week is a culinary jackpot: a frugal collection of recipes, good for using up bread, beans, and bacon fat. While I had no idea Slovakia would be this enticing, Keith said “just looking at the ingredients on the counter, I knew I’d be happy.” And speaking of happy, I thought I’d share a great Slovakian quote about happiness… “He’s so pleased, he keeps getting younger.”* I love it.. although I have to admit, I’m not entirely sure what it means… All recipes and posts will be shared throughout the week. Grilled Garlicky Bacon Bread | Hrianka [Recipe] This is quite possibly the most amazing recipe in the course of this blog. Thick slices of bread griddled in bacon drippings, then rubbed with raw garlic. Easy. Smart. Bacony. Hello, friend. Slovak Sour Bean Soup [Recipe] This is stick-to-your-ribs comfort, as good as any creamy potato soup the world around… but with it’s own regional twist: a splash of vinegar and a swirl of sour cream. Inside you’ll also find beans and bacon. Win. Win. Quick Blueberry Bublanina [Recipe] The …

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Vrbové, city center. Photo by Stanislav Doronenko.

About the food of Slovakia

Just when I thought I’d seen the most beautiful castles in the world, Slovakia slides into my vision. Her mighty mountains, sparkling lakes, and deep forests are as lovely as any other in Eastern Europe, but the castles are simply unreal. It is not the architecture that speaks most strongly to me, but the way these stopping posts for the weary hearted reach out of nature with almost alarming boldness. One look can lead a dreamer to distraction. I can’t help but wonder…What lives once stood small and proud amid these mighty walls? A view like this can keep love alive for centuries… just nestle me somewhere in this photo and I’ll live out my days content. Call me an eternal romantic. I don’t mind. I’d rather have a heart that melts like a waterfall than a one of clammy stone. The best part? The castles aren’t Slovakia’s only comforts. Step out of the cool air, into their welcoming homes, and you’ll find kitchens a-bubble with the warmth of hearty stews – beans, pork, or …

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