Sunday, May 30, 2010

Recipes upon request: potica

After yesterday's post, I've received requests for the potica recipe. Potica is a Slovenian desert bread which I have taken to eating for breakfast. The recipe below (and photo in the previous post) is quite sweet (too sweet, in fact, for breakfast), but delicious nonetheless. More iterations should be forthcoming.

Ingredients (for the bread):
  • ~ 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 eggs
Ingredients (for the filling):
  • 3 cups ground nuts (walnuts and almonds work well)
  • 1/2 cup ground poppy seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, gently beaten
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • In a pot, heat the milk, butter, sugar and salt until the butter is melted (do not let boil). As it is cooling, combine 1 cup of flour with the yeast in a large bowl.
  • Add milk mixture to flour mixture, and add two eggs. Beat on low for 30 seconds and then on high for three minutes.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead in the remaining flour. About five minutes of kneading should give a smooth, elastic dough. Shape into a ball and let rise in a lightly greased bowl until doubled in size (1-1 1/2 hours).
  • Near the end of the rising time, stir together all the filling ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Punch dough down, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. During this time, prepare two loaf pans (either grease them or cover the bottoms with parchment paper).
  • Roll the dough out as large as you can without ripping it on a well floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Then roll it out again, aiming to make a large rectangle. Cut in half to make two rectangles (each should be approximately 30" x 10").
  • Spread half of the filling over each dough rectangle, and then roll them up as you would a jelly roll. Pinch the seams and ends to seal. Place the loaves (seam side down) in the pans, cover and let rise until doubled in size (45 minutes). Preheat oven to 325.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack. Do not slice until nearly entirely cool.

Elderflower cordial, potica, fish stock, and assorted garden crops

The jarring variety of this post reflects the recent hiatus. We discovered on the weekend that our yard houses (as well as cherry, apricot and pear trees) a large elderflower bush. It is in full bloom, and accordingly we now have 3 L of elderflower cordial in the fridge. I also tried making potica (a Slovenian desert bread filled with walnuts, poppy seeds, and other goodies) on the weekend -- the result is very good but not ideal. The fresh fish we brought back from Ljubljana last week gave us enough bones for stock, and the garden has finally begun supplying us with roses.

Elderflowers in the yard

Potica -- ground walnut, almond, sugar and egg filling

Fish stock simmering on the stove

 Our first crop of roses for the year!

Elderflower cordial:
  • 20-30 elderflowers, gently shaken to remove insects
  • 1 large orange, cut into eighths
  • 3 teaspoons citric acid
  • 800 g sugar
  • 3 L boiling water
  • In a large heatproof bowl, combine sugar and water and stir. When slightly cooled, add the rest of the ingredients. Let sit for 24 hours. Bottle in sterilized containers through a cheesecloth and refrigerate.

Meringue islands

Margaret and I made tiramisu on Friday (no photos or recipe, since I am not entirely happy with either) -- which left us with five egg whites. We turned them into meringues, and today I turned those into meringue island desserts, using fresh strawberries and grated chocolate left over from the same tiramisu.

Meringues stacked in a jar

Meringue islands!

Ingredients (two servings):
  • meringues
  • fresh strawberries (approximately 1.5 cups)
  • freshly grated dark chocolate
  • Slice 4-6 of the strawberries thinly and reserve. Place the rest of the strawberries in a food processor or blender, add a teaspoon of sugar (unless the berries are particularly sweet) and a tablespoon of liquid (elderflower cordial, lemon juice, or other fruit juice). Purée.
  • Place the meringues in individual serving bowls and top with strawberry purée, fresh strawberries and grated chocolate.

Soska pesto with shrimp

Yes, there has been a six-week hiatus. But it has been an enormously busy and fun six weeks here -- we have had visitors for the entire time (parents, parents-in-law, and good friends, not in that order) and the interruption of an Icelandic volcano.

Earlier in the spring, I planted a (very) small garden. This included "soska", which looked like a lettuce-spinach cross from the package. Last night, I bit into a leaf with enthusiasm -- to discover that "soska" is Hungarian for sorrel. Luckily, the "Two Small Farms" blog gives plenty of advice. We made sorrel pesto, and served it with farfalle and butter-broiled shrimp.

Sorrel growing on the balcony

Pesto ingredients in the food processor

The meal completed!

Ingredients (two servings):
  • 1 cup sorrel leafs, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 spring onions, roughly chopped (white part only)
  • 1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 10-12 large shrimp, deveined
  • For the pesto, place the first seven ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until mostly smooth.
  • For the pasta, cook al dente.
  • For the shrimp, heat a low saucepan under the broiler until piping hot. Remove pan from oven, add butter and shrimp, and return to the broiler for two minutes. Then flip the shrimp and broil for two more minutes.
  • Toss pasta with pesto and serve with shrimp.