Thursday, February 27, 2014


Earlier this week, I got an email at work informing us that the dining hall at the college dorms was going to feature the culinary stylings of a visiting chef and an authentic Slovenian menu. Yeah, my first thought was, "WTH is Slovenian food and is that different from Slovakian?" But I'm always game to try a new cuisine, especially in this little white bread, Applebee's-lovin' town. So I let my Plattsburgh class out a little early tonight and hustled over to the dorms to check it out. And I'm SO GLAD I did! It was delicious (that's "okusne" to you Slovenians)!

Risotto with pumpkin seed oil and Parmesan cheese.

Sautéed vegetables: Zucchini, yellow squash, onions, mushrooms, and colorful sweet peppers.

Two Slovenian soups: Chicken stew with chicken, vegetables, wine and spices (front), and one with pasta, cranberry beans, tomato paste and spices (back).

Primorska salad: Buckwheat, radicchio, asparagus spears, shrimp, and vinaigrette. (This salad was beautiful, unusual, and DELICIOUS! I am going to recreate it at home.)
Pork tenderloin with shiitake mushrooms, squash, bacon, and breadcrumbs served with a rich mushroom sauce. (Everything was delicious, but this took the grand prize, IMHO!)
Crispy haddock fillets with bread crumbs and pumpkin seeds.

Bled grmada: A light sponge cake layered with walnuts, vanilla custard, chocolate sauce, and raisins.

I thought the food was very interesting, and seemed to draw from many ethnicities; the risotto seemed Italian, the pork tenderloin with mushroom sauce felt Germanic, and the dessert definitely had a Slavic/Eastern European vibe. When I got home, I Googled up a map of Slovenia, and I saw that it is, in fact, due east of Italy, south of Austria and Hungary, and west of Croatia. Also, it has a tiny bit of coastline, so that explains the seafood elements. Fascinating!

The other thing I did when I got home--albeit a couple of days later--was to attempt to replicate the Primorska Salad. I didn't have time to stop at the co-op for buckwheat, so I swapped out some red quinoa that I steamed, crisped up in the oven, and then cooled. I blanched some cut-up asparagus spears then tossed them in an ice bath, thawed some cocktail shrimp, sliced a shallot into thin slivers, shredded some Parmesan, sliced up a few pieces of shaved prosciutto, and put all of this on top of a big pile of greens and radicchio, and drizzled everything with a Balsamic vinaigrette. Laborious, yes, but well worth the effort to put something elegant and unusual on the dinner table.

No comments: