side dishes & starters

Bryndzove (or Feta) Cauliflower

Bryndza, a soft sheep cheese, is a traditional food in Slovakia. It tastes something like feta but is soft. Bryndzove halusky is the classic Slovak dish, little potato gnocchi smothered in byndza and bacon. This version simulates the taste for those who don’t have access to bryndza or don’t have the time to make potato gnocchi. 

Bryndzove (or Feta) Cauliflower

Ask any Slovak about traditional Slovak foods, and you’ll most likely hear about bryndzove halusky (halushky).

Halusky is usually translated as potato dumplings, but I’ve seen dumpling cover everything from bread-like blobs to Chinese wontons to Slovak potato drops, all exceedingly different.

Bryndza is a soft sheep cheese, tasting something akin to feta, salty and sharp. It’s used to make spreads for bread, fill perogies, or even make soup. It’s most common application is as a sauce over halusky.

Many brands mix sheep and cow milk to make bryndza, but some brands use only sheep milk, and a few even have raw sheep bryndza. To fit in with my probiotic and fermenting theme, bryndza is full of probiotics. There is a study examining which bacteria bryndza contains and their antimicrobial activity.

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Asian Cucumber and Radish Salad with Wasabi

Asian Cucumber and Radish Salad

As the weather turns to spring and gets warmer, I start making more salads.

One of my favourites is this simple salad with cucumber and radish – it’s light, crispy, and ridiculously easy to put together. After I made this yesterday, my girls were asking me to make it again today. Click to continue reading

Nettle Gomae

Nettle Gomae
My youngest sister and her daughter were visiting from Canada for two weeks. It was so lovely to have someone to chat with while cooking, giggle over family stories, and sing harmony with. She washed many sinkfuls of dishes and watched the kids so my husband and I could have a couple dates. Thank you, Miwa!

Having her here brought to mind something I’ve thought to myself in moments of mom-desperation. “We were meant to live in tribes, to have aunts and cousins and grandmothers help with children, and meals, and life in general.” Living close to family has it’s own perils, but so many of us live in relative isolation. Parents spend more hours at work than with children or spouses, extended family often lives far away. Some communities of friends support each other, others have yet to. Click to continue reading

Surprisingly Delicious 3 Ingredient Egg Salad/Spread

egg carrot salad spread

When my husband came home from a potluck breakfast at work and told me about a delicious dish he had, I admit I was skeptical. “Egg and raw carrots don’t go together,” I thought. But because I know he has discerning taste buds (he was trained as a cook), I gave it a try.

Happily, I was wrong. It really is delicious! Click to continue reading

Potatoes, Bacon, and Sauerkraut – Strapacky

Strapacky

Strapacky (strapachky) is a Slovak dish, traditionally made with halusky (halushky), potato dough gnocchi, baked with bacon and sauerkraut. Making strapacky with plain potatoes, however, is a lot less work, doesn’t require special equipment or tedious cutting, and is grain/gluten free. It’s not low carb or Paleo, but I’m sure it would taste amazing with sweet potatoes or cauliflower instead of white potatoes. Click to continue reading