All posts filed under: Slovenia

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Monday Meal Review: Slovenia

“What you build easily will fall quickly” – Slovenian Proverb I rarely take the time to bake any more. Life keeps getting in the way. Meetings, obligations – the stuff of adulthood. This week, thanks to Slovenia, I had the opportunity to use my hands to shape, braid, and decorate an ornate loaf of Slovenian Heart Bread. As I worked, I was surprised to find myself overcome with relief. Working flour, water, egg, sugar, and butter together into a smooth ball felt like an old friend, come home again. When I try to pinpoint this comfort, I come to the conclusion that baking feels exactly like a vacation. But from what?  What could baking do to “take me away” … and, perhaps more importantly, what was it pushing me towards? For starters, baking takes me away from the perpetual click-click-click of the keyboard and mouse. So often I find myself lost on Facebook and Pinterest happenings, or who is doing what in some other life that seems oh so much more interesting than my own. But …

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Bean n’ Barley Soup | Ričet

Slovenia is known for her soups – each bite captures the taste of the earth and sky, rolling hills and grand mountains. They are the answer to frosted windows, the worst sort of bone-chill, and that scratchy feeling in the back of the throat. Slovenian soup is the sunshine to your snowy day. Today, in particular, we explore Ričet, one of the more beloved soups found throughout Slovenia. She’s made with barley, a soft, earthy grain that reminds me faintly of pasta, but chewier and more wholesome. When paired with beans, carrots, potatoes, onion, and garlic, an entire meal is made. A slice of rye bread on the side would be grand. While Ričet could certainly be made vegan, traditional Slovenian soups would include sausage or, as I have done, bacon. This adds another layer of complexity, making it all the more likely that I’ll be reaching for a bowl of Ričet when the winter snows float down. Makes 3+ quarts Ingredients: 1 1/4 cup barley 1 1/4 cup dried pinto beans water 4 large carrots, chopped 2 …

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Braided Heart Bread | Pleteno Srce

We are closing in on spring …  that special time of year, when weddings and baby showers sprinkle our calendars, and everything is awash in the promise of new love. In Slovenia, such times are marked with Pleteno Scre – an ornamental, braided, tender loaf of bread, shaped into a heart. Pleteno Scre is an honored gift. The slightly sweet loaves are painstakingly decorated with edible tokens, like wedding rings and flowers (as I have done), or even astonishingly detailed birds, or paper thin leaves that seem to crackle under the slightest breeze. This art form takes time to master, so I stuck with simple flowers, a wreath, and rings. The best part is that this is something you can do as a family. Little ones love to have a piece of dough to play with. Mashing and rolling, twisting and turning – it’s what they do best. Ava didn’t even want to make any shapes for the heart – she just wanted to play next to me, while I worked. It was sweet. And …

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Menu: Slovenia

“Pray for a good harvest, but keep on hoeing.” – Slovenian Proverb This old Slovenian proverb teaches a clear lesson: it is the work we put into life that ultimately leads to the “good harvest.” We must roll up our sleeves and put in the hard hours and back breaking labor. There’s simply no escaping it. Case in point: Slovenia is known for her comforting food, seemingly plucked straight from the countryside, but much goes into the effort, whether it be the extra fancy, ornate Pleteno Srce bread, or the slowly simmered soup. There’s love, finesse, and more than a bit of decor in each. Even with spring right on the edge of the horizon, we can’t be sure when the warm times will come. So… let’s stay cozy with Slovenia until winter finally breaks for the year. And let’s keep on hoeing. *All recipes and meal review will be available throughout the week. Bean n’ Barley Soup | Ričet [Recipe] If you’re wondering how Slovenians spend a cold winter’s afternoon, Ričet is the answer. Imagine a …

Ptuj, Slovenia. Photo by Marcin Gierszner.

About the food of Slovenia

This week we explore a land of sharp mountains and sunlit grasses, where sheep meander and grapevines hang heavy with fruit. This is Slovenia, a natural wonderland, a place where the simple way of life is preferred. Nowhere is this clearer, than in the food. There are salads of bitter dandelion greens (harvested from right outside the back door) tossed with potato and hard-boiled egg, and bowls of sliced cucumbers in sour cream.  There are turnip strudels (!) and cranberry stuffed omelets (!!). The ingredients are common, but the combination is anything but… Like most of the region, potato dumplings are considered a mighty good thing. It’s that age old search for comfort… an itch that can also be scratched with homemade rye bread accompanied by barley bean soup  [Recipe], carrot turnip soup, buckwheat balls, or plated sausages. Speaking of bread, Slovenia also has an incredible assortment of baked goods, from the glorious rye breads (which we tried with Belarus)  to intricately braided wedding breads [Recipe], Easter rolls, fig or olive bread, nut or fig potica (or even …