Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter! Vesele velikonočne praznike!



Easter greetings to everyone who observed the holiday today.

Our celebration included homemade potica, of course. But this year I also discovered a new tradition: Slovenian Easter eggs, or pirhi.

Last week, my Slovenian teacher gave each of us one of the beautiful, intricately decorated black-and-red eggs ("pisanice") that you can see at the top of the photo. This is a traditional folk art that is unique to Bela Krajina, a region in southeast Slovenia.

That first egg inspired me to try my hand at a much simpler style of decoration, using homemade dyes from natural ingredients. This is an Easter tradition in Slovenia and many other Slavic cultures--and also a Jewish tradition at Passover. I decided to start with one of the most common sources of natural dye: boiled red onion skins.

The result was the deep russet color eggs you can see in the photo. The decorative white markings are created by binding small leaves or herbs to the eggs before dyeing.

I will be posting details about this method of egg-coloring in a future post. But I wanted to extend Easter greetings before the day is done.

Vesele velikonočne praznike! 

 



Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Pictorial Guide to Potica Dough for Today's Workshop at the Slovenian Hall in San Francisco




Antique Grinder
Mom's Handwritten Recipe






Mixing the eggs, sugar, sour cream, and melted butter



Yes, the yeast is alive!





Dough Hook? Not my style!




Kneading, the old-fashioned way. Without rings!



Dough, divided in quarters, ready to refrigerate
Finished dough.
Grinding nuts, for tomorrow's baking
Today will be a first. Although I have been baking potica for more than forty years, I have never done it in front of an audience. In a few hours, I will be heading into San Francisco to join the other guest bakers at a a day-long potica workshop at The Slovenian Hall, sponsored by the Educational and Dramatic Club Slovenia. I will also be sharing my collection of vintage cookbooks.

I am excited--and a little nervous!

I'll be using my family recipe, which begins with a rich sour cream yeast dough that is refrigerated overnight. So I spent my Friday night preparing the dough. I also pulled out my antique grinder to get a head start on the walnut filling.

Since I won't be demonstrating the actual dough-making today, I decided to post some photos from last night's preparation. I do it the old-fashioned way: proofing the yeast, kneading by hand. For the recipe, go to Potica, A Step-by-Step Guide to Slovenian Nut Roll.

Wish me luck!

UPDATE: Here is Part Two, the follow-up report.