Two Potato Chili and Cumin Gratin

Did someone say October? Good, because this month is my favorite.

When I think of October I think of fall colours, cute boots, and the first hints of rosy cheeks. I start getting excited for pumpkin sweets, tea, and comfort food. But most importantly a lot of great “life” things happen this month.

October is the month of my boy’s birthday, our dating anniversary, and our soon to be wedding anniversary. It’s the time of year where we get to go hiking amongst the changing leaves and not sweat every ounce of water we drink. Overall, it’s good. It’s the month I look forward to every year, and by far my favorite season to cook in.

Here is a recipe for potato gratin made with sweet potatoes, white potatoes, cheese, and a creamy chili-cumin flavour to kick it up. I highly recommend this dish, and hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Whisk together all of the ingredients except the potato slices. Make a layer of potato and sweet potato slices in a deep 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Pour over some of the cream mixture.

Repeat until all of the ingredients are used up.

I like to add some cheese on top at the end – it’s a good idea. Cover with aluminium foil and bake at 350°C for 35-45 minutes.

Remove the foil and continue to bake until golden brown. Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving….then devour!

Two Potato, Chilli and Cumin Gratin
Recipe taken from K.O Rasoi
(Serves 4-6)

Ingredients
3 medium potatoes (500g), peeled and sliced thinly
3 medium sweet potatoes (500g), peeled and sliced thinly
1 1/4 cups half and half (or heavy cream)
60g cheddar cheese
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp chilli powder
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt or to taste
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp garam masala

Directions:
1. Whisk together all of the ingredients except the potato slices.

2. Make a layer of potato and sweet potato slices in a deep 9 x 13-inch baking dish and pour over some of the cream mixture. Repeat until all of the ingredients are used up.

3. Cover with aluminium foil and bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes.

4. Remove the foil and continue to bake until golden brown. Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

5. Grab a spoon and devour.

Caramelized Apple Grilled Cheese

Two slices of thick cheddar bread sandwiching cheddar cheese and caramelized apples. HELLO!

Unlike a lot of bloggers I follow, I tend to stick to the regular grilled cheese recipe. Bread+butter+cheddar=heaven. It’s a simple recipe. One we all know and love. But then my world changed. I added caramelized apples to the mix. Awesome.

I was recently bombarded with apples. My boyfriends parents invited us to come for the weekend and just as we were getting ready for bed we noticed our bed sheets were lumpy….we opened the covers and there they were!! About 70 apples on top of the sheets. Nice. So, needless to say I had a lot of apples to take home and use up in some way. And this is one of the ways those apples got made!

To begin, shred your cheddar cheese.

I used white and yellow cheddar because I’m a wild woman.

Slice your apple into thin slices.

Melt the butter in a non-stick pan. Add the sugar and cinnamon and cook until bubbly.

Add the apples and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to wait for assembly.

Get out your awesome bread. That bread is looking mighty fine today if I do say so myself.

Assembly line time. Butter one side of each slice of bread.

Add some grated cheese to two slices of bread.

Add 1/2 of your apple mixture on top of that cheese. Add some more cheese on top of those pretty caramelized apples. Put a buttered slice of bread on top to make a sandwich (buttered side out of course).

Grill until golden brown on both sides, about 2-4 minutes per side.

Eat up! I ate this with some awesome potato salad. Mmmmm.

Caramelized Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Recipe slightly adapted from Closet Cooking
Makes 2 sandwiches

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 dash of cinnamon
2 apples (peeled, cored and sliced)
1/2 cup shredded good cheddar cheese
4 slices of good bread (I used cheddar bread)
2 tablespoon butter

Directions:
Get four slices of bread ready by buttering one side of each slice. Shred your cheese.

Peel and core your apples. Slice them into relatively thin slices.

Melt the butter in a non-stick pan. Add the sugar and cinnamon and cook until bubbly. Add the apples and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

Assemble sandwich by adding (to the non-buttered side of two slices of bread) cheese, apples, and a bit more cheese. Put the plain buttered bread on top of each cheese and apple mixture (buttered side out).

Grill until golden brown on both sides, about 2-4 minutes per side.

Potato and Cheese Pierogies

Potato meets cheese meets butter meets gooey dough. Pierogies. Be still, my beating heart.

I officially drove home my very own car today! My boyfriend P- and I are in the process of buying it from his parents. As much as I like to take, and will continue to take, public transport, it will be nice to have a car to pick up groceries or get somewhere in the winter when it’s -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees F).

I live in Ottawa and although it’s beautiful, it can be really cold in the winter. Waiting for my connecting bus can be a big pain, and I’m glad that I now have the option to choose whether or not I will always drive in winter wait in the freezing cold.

The cool thing about living in Ottawa is that there is a lot of culture. Downtown the streets are full of different cuisine’s and I always have difficulty deciding first what kind of food I feel like, and then have to decide which restaurant to go to! One place near my apartment is particularly special. It’s Polish and the only foods on the menu are homemade pierogies and sausages. Since I was in Switzerland this summer and couldn’t just have pierogies whenever I wanted, I made them! I found a good recipe on allrecipes, adapted it, and made it! Trust me, this recipe is well worth the work.

To make the dough: Combine flour and salt. Add beaten eggs and water. Mix the dough until it becomes elastic and can be shaped into a ball. Add more flour if it is too sticky. Wrap ball of dough in plastic and set in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

To make the filling: Cut potatoes into cubes.

Boil until soft. Mash with grated cheese, chives. Salt and pepper to taste. Let cool to room temperature.

To fill pierogies: Generously flour a cutting board and form the dough into a long roll. Add flour to the board and your hands as needed.

Form 24 balls of dough from roll.

Flatten a dough ball with your hand and make it large enough to place a heaping teaspoon (or more) or potato filling in center.

Fold dumpling in half, and seal edges by crimping the sides together with a fork.

Set on a floured surface and repeat until finished.

To cook pierogies: Melt 1 Tbsp. of butter on a large skillet. Sauté onions until browned, set aside. Boil a large pot of salted water. On another burner, add 1 tsp. of butter on a skillet and heat on medium high heat. Add pierogies to the boiled water, 4-5 at a time but don’t overcrowd the pot. Boil for a few minutes until they float up, use a slotted spoon to lift them out onto a plate. Place drained pierogies onto the skillet and cook both sides until golden. Set on a plate and repeat process until finished. Top pierogies with sautéed onions and serve with sour cream.

For those meat eaters out there, you can add some ham or bacon to the frying action too. Whatever suits your fancy.

Cheese and Potato Pierogies
makes 24
Adapted from allrecipes

Ingredients:
Dough Ingredients
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup water

Potato and Cheese Filling
1 lb. russet potatoes
3 oz. grated cheddar cheese
salt/pepper
1 Tbsp. dried chives

Other Ingredients:
1 onion, sliced thinly
butter (for sautéing)
flour (kneading and rolling dough)
bacon or ham (optional)

Directions:
1) To make the dough: Combine flour and salt. Add beaten eggs and water. Mix the dough until it becomes elastic and can be molded into a ball. Add more flour if it is too sticky. Wrap ball of dough in plastic and set in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

2) To make the filling: Cut potatoes into cubes. Boil until soft. Mash with grated cheese, chives. Salt and pepper to taste. Let cool to room temperature.

3) To fill pierogies: Generously flour a cutting board and form the dough into a long roll. Add flour to the board and your hands as needed. Form 24 balls of dough from roll. Flatten a dough ball with your hand and make it large enough to place a heaping teaspoon (or more) or potato filling in center. Fold dumpling in half, and seal edges by crimping the sides together with a fork. Set on a floured surface and repeat until finished.

4) Melt 1 Tbsp. of butter on a large skillet. Sauté onions until browned, set aside.

5) To cook pierogies: Boil a large pot of salted water. On another burner, add 1 tsp. of butter on a skillet and heat on medium high heat. Add pierogies to the boiled water, 4-5 at a time but don’t overcrowd the pot. Boil for a few minutes until they float up, use a slotted spoon to lift them out onto a plate. Place drained pierogies onto the skillet and cook both sides until golden. Set on a plate and repeat process until finished. Top pierogies with sautéed onions and serve with sour cream.