Monday, October 4, 2010

Country III: Slovakia

And now for the third country on my list. Slovakia. Now this country I know a little bit about, having traveled there on a family vacation many moons ago. I don't remember much about the food itself except for one thing. Slovakian ice cream. Oh. My. Gosh. Forget the Italians, if you want the best ice cream in the world, go to Slovakia and buy some from a street vendor. I still get cravings for it every now and again. Deliciously light, not heavy like American ice cream. And cheap, not like Italian ice. I could go on and on about it.
But I didn't make any ice cream today. I'm afraid I don't know the Slovakian's secret to their amazing ice cream. Maybe someday I shall find it out. But for now I made Bryndzove Halusky and Uhorkovy Salat. Or: Potato Dumplings and Cucumber Salad. They were both quite amazing. The salad was the easiest thing in the world to make. The dumplings required a bit more work, but were still on level n00b.
The Dumplings. For starters you'll need just a few ingredients:

Peel and shred the potatoes. Squeeze the shredded potatoes with paper towels to get out the excess moisture. Then mix them with flour and an egg till it is a not too sticky, not too stiff blob of gunky looking stuff. Like this:

While your doing this, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. It is important to keep the water boiling throughout the cooking process. That's so the dumplings don't take too long to cook and fall apart...that would just make a mess, and we don't want that.
After the water has reached a boil, grab a small chunk of the potato mixture and plunk it in the water, cooking about 5-6 at a time. About this big worked well for me:

Remove the dumplings from the water after they come to the surface. This is what you should end up with:

Next, dice up that bacon and fry it. Yum:

Then, mix your goat cheese (gently, mind you) into the still warm dumplings until they are well coated. Scoop some into a bowl and top with the crumbled bacon. And a little bit of the bacon grease, (for good health).

Right ho! Now for that salad I told you was so easy.

Slice the cucumbers about 2 mm thick and mix with the vinegar, salt and sugar. Sprinkle with paprika:

Well, I told you it was easy, didn't I?

Bryndzové Halušky
3 potatoes
5 Tbsp. flour (more as needed)
1 egg
A couple strips of bacon
3.5 oz. goat cheese

Peel potatoes and shred them. Add the egg and flour. Make a dough that is not too watery, but not too tough. Add 1 tsp of salt.
Boil water with 2 Tbsp. of salt (water has to remaining boiling throughout process).
Toss pieces of dough about 1 inch long into boiling water. Cook until they float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon. Dice bacon and fry till brown and crispy. Put cheese on top of the dumplings and mix together. Serve individually and top with diced bacon and a little tiny bit of bacon grease.

Uhorkovy Salat

2 medium cucumbers, peeled and rinsed
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. white vinegar
A sprinkle of paprika

Slice cucumbers thinly, about 1/8 to ¼ inch.
Add vinegar, salt and sugar to slices.
Mix together and adjust seasonings to taste.
Sprinkle with paprika.

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