Monday, December 24, 2012

Priganice or Prikle - Croatian donut holes (Week 52)

As promised, I am blogging the priganice from my sister's house on Thursday......but a bit about the recipe and the dreaded family cookbook (photo below.....but don't run out to Barnes and Noble or research it on is now close to being the holy grail of cookbooks.) My regulars have read about the cookbook and the saga of updates and such. Well .....if you know my family, there are at least 3 to 4 recipes for everything. In a prior post sometime back, I discussed priganice (also known as Prikle or Fritulje, etc.) I typically use the recipe in the book that came from my maternal grandmother (who allowed her non-ethnically infused grandchildren to call them things like "do jiggers" (which they also called the hrustule....that recipe coming later). Oh GASP! My Baka's (Baba's) recipe was perfectly wonderful but Stephanie made my Teta Bunny's (aunt Francis) version. Oh Bože moj......yum yum!

Teta Bunny's Priganice

1 envelope dry yeast
1 cup warm milk (105-115 degrees)
3 cups flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp granulated sugar
3 small apples, peeled and diced small ( if they are the really ripe ones from the box sent from our friend Pierre in Canada!)
1/2 raisins (yeah....Kerman or Madera Thompson seedless, please)
Oil to fry
Granulated sugar

In small bowl dissolve the year in 1/4 cup of milk. In a large bowl, mix the flour and the salt. With a wooden spoon, beat one egg in to the flour mixture, one at a time. Mix in the yeast mixture and the remaining milk. Mix just until smooth. Stir in the sugar, apples and the raisins at the end. Dough will be sticky (check it as you make it and remove excess not let it get stiff). Cover and let rise till bubble and about double in size. Meanwhile prepare the oil in the deep fryer. You need about 4 inches in depth. Heat to 375. Dip teaspoons in to oil then grab a spoonful of dough and make a ball (of sorts). Use the second spoon to remove the ball in to the oil. Fry a few at a time. Turn them so that they are evenly deep golden brown. Remove wi a slotted spoon on to paper towels then roll while hot b granulated sugar. Eat while warm.

Do not let them sit around (like over night). Little buggers will be like a golf ball (or so says my Dad). My Dad is the master consumer of priganice. His Dad, my Deda Grandpa Jack, used to make them.....not Grammy. He supposedly made them in to perfectly round balls (no easy task)! Day's family was from the island of Hvar (see post earlier on the Bakalar Festival). As I sit here writing this I am prompted to wish you all "Na dobro vam došao Banji Dan!" ....happy Yule log day! You know how we Croatians are: we celebrate everything.....even a log.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hobotnice - marinated octopus (Week 52)

Let the festivities begin!! We kicked off our holidays at my sister's house with a big batch of priganica (recipe to follow). Basically they are a Croatian version of a donut hole.

Now, since tomorrow is Christmas Eve, I made my annual trek to Central Fish (downtown Fresno.... And ran in to every Catholic friend and relative of my folks.... It's a fish thing!!). My quest was for their cooked octopus. I tried once (with the help of Barica's recipe) to start soley from a raw octopus but the smell was a bit much and my hubby (who is always a good sport when it comes to food) said NO MORE!

So... This leaves us with an option of the cooked octopus - much less smelly.

Here, for your holiday enjoyment, is my easy recipe for hobotnica (marinated octopus). Delightful all by itself (with French bread) or on top of a crisp green salad.

1/2 lb cooked octopus (two arms)
1 medium red onion chopped
1 medium bunch of parsley chopped (about a cup)
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Garlic powder
Sea salt
Cracked pepper

Chop up the octopus - take each arm, cut it in 2 inch sections and split. Take each split and half this then cut in to tiny bite size pieces. Think "salsa" size!

Toss in the onion and the parsley. Drizzle with olive oil (I make a big slow circle around the bowl), then add vinegar to taste. Sprinkle in liberal amounts of garlic, salt and pepper. Put in a sealed container, shake and marinate overnight (at lest 8 hours). Note, you can add chopped tomatoes, garbanzo beans and other things to the mix....I am a purist. Just the hobotnica please.

Really yummy! Each bite is filled with memories (Ante's in San Pedro.... With Ellie trying to force feed me dinner along with her latest match maker efforts, summers in Cavtat at Taverna Domizana....oh my)


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sretan Božić - Christmas Eve Bakalar Event (MY LAST WEEK 52)

Where else but Hvar would you find a festival devoted to a seafood dish that was outlawed in our house years ago by my Dad ("I don't want that &%$# smell stinking up the new drapes!  Cook that %$# outside for God's sake....why do you think your Deda built a kitchen in the tank house!  Even HE knew it smelled bad.....and he was a fisherman!").

Bakalar Festival

Regardless of my Dad and his "decorating tips", Mom LOVES this stuff.  Maybe its the idea of beating up a fish with a wooden mallet (the thing to do after shopping for several hours then enduring midnight mass with sugar-hazed daughters)?  

Teta Bunny (aka my Aunt Francis)  gave Mom a recipe for Mock Bakalar.  It's actually pretty good (but, then again, it has potatoes and we all know how I LOVE my potatoes)

  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (Croatian, where else)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (6-ounce) can oil-packed tuna, drained and flaked (I prefer home packed Tuna from Alex and Nellie!!)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup cream (optional)
  • 3/4 cup Bari extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Additional Bari extra-virgin olive oil for garnish (optional)
  • 2 tbsp chopped KMK Farms parsley
Cover the potatoes with water and cook in a small saucepan until tender. Drain and place in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the salt, pepper, flaked tuna, garlic, cream and 1/4 cup of the olive oil.
Using a hand-held mixer, beat the tuna/potato/oil combination briefly - until the tuna and potato are mixed together and they are just beginning to break up. The combination should be soft and moist. If it appears to be too dry, add more cream in small increments. With the beaters running, add the remaining olive oil in a steady, slow stream. Continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Taste and adjust the seasonings. If desired, drizzle with additional olive oil, sprinkle with parsley and serve warm or at room temperature.

Cheesy Pierogi Casserole (Week 51)

With all the effort last night on the sauerkraut and mushroom pierogi (and little attention/views), I went ahead and made a casserole out of my favorite (actually anything with cheese and potatoes would be my favorite - duh).  This is not 100% my inspiration since my Mom said she saw something similar on The Chew.

Cheesy Pierogi Casserole
10 potatoes, peeled and boiled.
2 large onions diced
1/2 lb bacon cooked to semi crispy and chopped
2 tbsp Bari EVO (olive oil)
4 tbsp butter
1 cup ricotta cheese
8 oz brick of cream cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 tbsp powdered garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk
package of no bake lasagna noodles
(optional - 1 cup bigos - the sauerkraut mixture)

Mash the potatoes with the ricotta and cream cheese.   Add butter and stir in mozzarella cheese. Set a side.  Saute onions EVO, toss in the bacon and stir until the onions are golden brown.  Make bechamel sauce with the flour and the milk.  Coat the baking dish with Pam.  Place a splash of sauce on the bottom and cover with noodles.  Spoon potato mixture on top.  Sprinkle onion mixture then top with a splash of sauce. Place another layer of noodles and repeat.  In the middle, I added a layer of sauerkraut....just because.

Finish with a final layer of onion mixture   Pour on remaining sauce and top with a sprinkle of cheese.  Bake covered at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes or until pipping hot all the way through.

PS:  Slowing down on my posts as I am not walking towards week 52.  Yes FIFTY TWO weeks of food, fabulous food.  This has been fun and quite an adventure.  I "may" continue this blog in 2013 so help me spread the word, ask friends to follow the blog so I can get some interaction.  This will keep it lively while I am trying to think of something OTHER than doctoral studies!!

Week 52 will be the "sites and sounds" of our holiday (Christmas - Bozic) cooking.  Warm blessings to all of you out there in cyber land for a happy and healthy 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pierogi stuffed with sauerkraut and mushrooms (Week 51)

I feel inspired....ll actually, I'm not really inspired just have my very first Tuesday in months where I am not sitting upstairs in a mountain of books. Tonight it's pierogi dough.

Last week was bigos, a hunter's stew from Poland with sauerkraut and mushrooms, that happens to be my husbands favorite filing for pierogi. It is also his Mom's speciality.

Go back to last week and make bigos. Then pour yourself a bit of vodka and get started.


1 1/4 lb all porpoise flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs beaten
3 tbsp oil
1 cup of water

Four flour in bowl. Make a mound and pour the eggs, water and oil in the center. Add salt and mix to a pasty dough. Turn dough on to floured board and need. Should be a tender dough.

Roll out to about the thickness of a lasagna noodle and cut in to round circles. Place 2 tbsp of bigos mixture in the center of the circle, fold in half and pinch shut. Repeat until dough and bigos are gone. You can also use won ton wrappers, brush with egg mixture and seal.....but this is cheating (but its MUCH quicker).

I place the pierogi on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and freeze till I am ready. Cook in boiling salted water.

After boiling, drain them and then warm up in bacon grease with little frees bacon bits and onion. Delicious!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bigos (Week 50 to 51)

I write this as "week 50 to 51" because I have to make bigos BEFORE I make pirogi (that is coming).  In the Zupanovich-Lucka households, we have a tradition....on your birthday, you get to request what ever the heck you want to eat (so long as it is home made).  For me, I typically want my Dad's BBQ chicken (over vineyard wood), my Mom's pilaf and one of her cakes or pies.  I tried for years to get Mom's lasagna but this is reserved for Gary (darn you!!  hahaha).  My Dad wants his leg of lamb with mostacholli, Dominik wants Stephanie's tri-tip and my husband (the last of the December birthday dudes  wants pirogi stuffed with cabbage, wild mushroom and sausage.  YIKES!! start with bigos since this is what the stuffing is made from
  • 1/2 ounce dried Polish or porcini mushrooms
  • 2 cups of fresh crimini, chopped
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon bacon drippings or olive oil (bacon drippings is MUCH better)
  • 2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 big jars of sauerkraut, rinsed well and drained
  • 1/2 pound smoked Polish sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound cooked fresh Polish sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound leftover boneless meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large can of stewed tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup dry red wine, preferably Madeira
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
Hydrate the mushroom and chop   Place bacon drippings in the pan and heat.  Saute the onions and the mushrooms   Put onion mixture in a large Dutch oven or crock pot and add all of the remaining items.  Cook over medium heat for at least an hour.  I personally like to leave it in the crock pot on medium or high for about 6 hours.  I like it well done!!  Serve with hearty bread, a shot of ice cold's a little slice of Poland.


** reserve 2 cups for your pirogi!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fig and Olive Tapenade (Week 50)

Tick-Tock....two more weeks to go.  Here is a tasty and quick appetizer for your holiday parties that gives you a little "valley flavor".
Fig and Olive Tapenade
1 c. chopped figs
3/4 c. chopped pitted Kalamata olives
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. (each) rosemary and thyme
1/2 c. chopped pecans
4  oz log of goat cheese

1/2 c. pitted green olives
1/4 c. pecans whole
1 baguette sliced and toasted

Mix all but the last two together and chill for about an hour.  Place bowl of tapenade in the center of a large plate. Place log of goat cheese near the bowl and slice, pushing the slices slightly apart.  Spoon a little of the tapenade on top.  Surround with toasts and sprinkle olives and pecans over the top to decorate.

I made this Sunday and used two logs.....there was MORE than enough of the tapenade so be generous!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Winding Down......Easy Split Pea Soup (Week 49)

It is nearing the end of my first semester in the doctoral program and I truly appreciate all of my followers (Gawd....that has a bad ring to it....sort of Jim Jones-ish) hanging in while I struggle through the last of my posts for the calendar year.  I feel like the guy in Chariots of Fire.....running in slow motion.

So, dear friends, let me tell you about my Tuesday night dinner......

Monday is my class day.  Thank you Pha (I think) for bringing in the Mexican munchies and Nancy for the really delicious chocolate cake.  Eating in class makes things SO much better.  Even better was the massive appetizer plate of Mexican goodies (lots of fried goodies and cheese!)'s sort of "guilt free" at this point.  I was feeling like I was run over by a freight train that night.....struggling to fight off a head cold.  Amanda (sitting next to me was also sick and shared her zinc drops - thanks - I owe you).  My thought Tuesday morning was to SLEEP and try to get better (rather than to slide down in to the abyss of illness right before a massive paper was due).

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.......

I slept till 8:15 am when the phone started ringing (questions from the dean's office):  I gave up and got coffee and thought I'd work a bit on my big team project (affectionately known as the "Stinking Elementary Case Study").  Text messages started to appear.....a deaf faculty member with a ton of questions about an event on Friday followed by the dean's assistant needing a (don't laugh.....this shows the importance of my job and my role here at Fresno State) Jib-Jab birthday greeting for the Associate Dean!  I am SOOOOOOO needed!

It was now Noon and I still wasn't sleeping nor was I working on my paper.  The a donor called......refusing to do something she had agreed to do (long story) which required me to "negotiate" with a stuffy nose (very effective).

Somewhere about 10ish, I went downstairs and through together Split Pea Soup.....I was in need of COMFORT FOOD in the worst way.  If this didn't work.....I was going to call my Mommy!

Here ya go:

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped peeled carrots
  • 1 1/2 pounds left over ham from Thanksgiving (still whole with the bone and the fat - I was lazy)
  • 2 teaspoons dried leaf marjoram
  • 1 1/2 cups green split peas
  • 1 packet of vegetable "flavor booster" (Swanson's I think)
  • lots of sea salt, cracked pepper and a few dashes of hot sauce
  • 8 cups water

  • I literally threw it all in to the crock pot, switched it on high and walked away.....with a heavy sigh!

    I then spent the next 6 hours fighting with this program called EndNote (it does citations) which decided that it wanted to "do its own thing" -- I went through 5 different versions, 7 "shut downs" through the task manager until I heard "Honey...I'm home!"

    I plodded down stairs, shoulders slumped, heaving ragged breathes and flopped on to the bed "It's been one of THOSE days.....I think I need to throw my shoes. (The shoe throwing thing, in our house, is associated with loosing it over academic research and writing). I think dinner is ready."

    It was......WONDERFUL!  Steaming hot, served with warm crusty La Brea sourdough bread.  Everything was now right with the world.