hokkaido squash carrot potato gratin

Things have been quiet around here and I apologize for that. This week was filled with errands and most of my focus was on Peggy (the cat). She’s lost some weight which is never good for an animal and I’ve been working with the vet to figure out what the cause of all of this is. She seems happy, but I am one worried mama bear and if something isn’t right I find it hard to focus on anything else. We have another check up scheduled on Tuesday, so fingers crossed it goes well.

hokkaido squash carrot potato gratin - Mitzy At Home

Back to the kitchen now. I bought the squash over a week ago and kept postponing “gratin day” until Friday. I’m not really proud it took me that long, but making gratin takes more time than making some pasta or a pizza. It was a great way to start the weekend though.  I think I kept postponing it because as much as I love squash and pumpkins they’re hard to cut. Well worth it in the end, but prepping takes some time (and knife skills) . So on some days I just wasn’t feeling it. And I don’t want to discourage anyone from cooking with squash, because that’s one tasty vegetable, I’m just sharing my thoughts here. My love for squash is fairly new though. I didn’t grow up eating it. My mom, although a great cook, was very traditional with what she made so the first time I had squash was in secondary school. And the first thing I made was a roasted butternut squash and sweet potato soup. “Can I make soup with this?” That’s usually my first thought when cooking with veggies. And I think soups are easy. If you can make soup, you can eventually make anything.

CONTINUE TO THE RECIPE…

Slovenian apple pie

October 9, 2014

slovenian austrian apple pie

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Can I cheat and have apple pie instead? I think I will. Though, clearly, these two things aren’t interchangeable, but I’ve wanted apple pie all week and finally managed to make it. The start of the week was rough, I felt sick and even had a fever two days in a row, even though I don’t even have a cold and have no idea why I’ve been feeling the way I have. I blame it on the weather or stress, but I’ll probably go get my blood checked just to be on the safe side. I’m feeling better today and I’d like to think apple pie has something to do with it. It probably doesn’t, but I can pretend. Because I think it’s just the ultimate comfort pie. The kind you can eat on the couch wrapped in a blanket. And I have done that.

slice slovenian apple pie

As far as the name goes, I’m calling it Slovenian apple pie because this is the kind we eat around here. In an old German book I have, a variation of it is called Steyrischer Apfelkuchen, which is a type of apple pie made in Styria, a region both in Slovenia and in Austria, so this is another one of those foods we have in common. The recipes people use might vary slightly, but the look and the taste of this pie is very much the same in the end. The crust is crumbly and soft, the apples are grated, sweetened with sugar and spiced with cinnamon and they make the most delicious moist filling. And thanks to this filling, the pie won’t fall apart. It’ll stick together like cement and wait for you to cut it and serve it with pride. In reality, this is as much a pie as it is an apple cake and it is definitely a favorite in our home.

CONTINUE TO THE RECIPE…

homemade vegetable stock in a jar

I’ve only shared two soup recipes so far, but I plan on posting a lot more. The colder the evenings get, the more I crave anything I can eat with a spoon. Mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, rice pudding and soup. Lots of soup. And what you’ll always find in my soup recipes is vegetable stock, so it’s only fair that I share my own vegetable stock recipe. Though I admit with no shame that I often just use water and a broth (bouillon) cube instead, because that’s just handy, but I don’t think it’s better than homemade vegetable stock. In cooking, homemade is usually better and stock is no exception.

light vegetable stock homemade

Now, you may not think making stock at home is worth it, but it totally is. You can use it as a base for soups, stews, sauces and add flavor to your risotto or couscous with it. And depending on the season, you can experiment with the vegetables used. The one I usually make is more of a winter type, because of all the root vegetables. During the summer, tomatoes make a great addition and mushrooms work all year-round. This recipe today is similar to what my mom always did, I tweaked it just a little bit with the addition of leeks. The great thing about making homemade stock is that it can be made ahead as it freezes beautifully. Although my mom did something different. She used little frozen “stock bags” instead of freezing stock.  They were basically plastic bags filled with a mix of cleaned, chopped veggies, all ready to make nice stock from scratch. I think this is a nice solution for when you want fresh made stock, but don’t have the time to cut all the veggies. I did both this time around, because I had a lot of veggies on hand. And really, once you’re already chopping up a storm, a few extra carrots and other vegetables feel like nothing.

CONTINUE TO THE RECIPE…

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