Monday, May 19, 2014

A Cookie "Show-And-Tell" for my Language Class

Remember back in grade school, when you had to do your first class presentation? Visual aids were always a good idea, in case you became tongue-tied or didn't have much to say.

That's exactly how I felt as I prepared to do a short presentation in my Slovenian language class. It was about losing and finding my heritage. A few short sentences in Slovenian. A powerpoint presentation, with some photos and my family tree.

And one more bit of "show-and-tell": some homemade Slovenian cookies.  After all, food is an important part of the story.  Not to mention the fact that my culinary skills are way ahead of my Slovenian language skills.

I decided to try something old and something new.

The old recipe?  Buckwheat thumbprint cookies, or ajdovčki.  An unusual cookie and not bad the first time around.  I thought they might have been better if I had stuck more closely to the original recipe, from a young woman blogger in Slovenia. Walnuts and rum, instead of almonds and cognac.  And maybe a touch more sugar.

So I made those few tweaks to the original recipe, and it did the trick. (Update: The new improved version is here.)

The new recipe is from my latest vintage Slovenian American cookbook: Kuharice iz Willarda, or Cooking from Willard.  It was compiled in the 1970s by a Slovenian language class in Willard, Wisconsin.  My son found the old cookbook for sale online, assumed it must be written in Slovenian, and ordered it for me as a gift.  The book turns out to be mostly in English, with a judicious smattering of Slovenian sayings and recipe titles. That made me smile.  I would have fit right in to that Slovenian class.

In that 1970s cookbook, I spotted a recipe called American Slovenian nut horns: little cookie/pastries, with a rich dough wrapped around a nut filling.  Very similar to many other Slovenian recipes I had seen before--and also to ruggelach, a Jewish favorite I had made many times.  But there was one interesting (and healthy)  difference: cottage cheese instead of the more usual cream cheese in the dough.  (Update: the nut horn recipe is posted here.)

Recipes will follow soon.

Meanwhile, I have to get back to my Slovenian homework.

Dober tek!

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