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Announcement: Saturday, July 14, 2018: Summer Favorite: Blueberry Crisp
Jul 16th, 2018 by Katekoster

Hi! Welcome to kidscookdinner.com.  We’re Max and Alex Koster and this is our blog where we talk about cooking and eating and try to encourage kids to cook.  To learn more about the history of this website, and our cooking adventures, scroll down to the next post.  To read about what we did today…stay right here!

Today I (Max, because Al is still at sleepaway camp) wanted to celebrate summer by making one of my favorite summer desserts: Blueberry Crisp.  Usually we pick the blueberries ourselves at a great berry farm in upstate New York but we were stuck in the city this weekend so we bought them instead…they were still yummy.

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The steps to make blueberry crisp are pretty simple.  First, about an hour before you are going to start, put out a stick of butter to soften.  Then, once its softened you have to 1) prepare the blueberry filling and 2) prepare the topping.  And of course preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

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For the filling you need 6 cups of blueberries, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1/2 cup of sugar.  You mix all these together and the put in a baking pan.

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For the topping you first blend 6 tablespoons of softened butter with 1/3 cup of sugar.  Then you mix 3/4 cup of rolled oats, 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and add that dry mix to the creamed butter/sugar.  You mix that all together with your hands and then you sprinkle on top of the berry mix.  Bake that in the oven for approximately 45 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the blueberries are bubbling. DELICIOUS!

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Announcement: About Kids Cook Dinner and Max and Alex’s Adventures on Chopped Junior
Sep 29th, 2017 by Katekoster

Welcome to kidscookdinner.com: a website/blog dedicated to kids cooking (usually dinner, but not always) and also to draw attention to the fact that a lot of people don’t have enough to eat.   And thanks for all of you who watched us compete on Chopped Junior on Food Network which first aired on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 and then ran again on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.   We were thrilled to compete to raise awareness (and hopefully money) for Action Against Hunger, an international hunger relief charity that we have supported since we first won a prize for our website domain name: kidscookdinner.com.  If you want to find out more about Action Against Hunger, or donate to this charity, please click HERE.  But if you just want to see what we cooked this week or other weeks, just scroll up or  down! 

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As you may know, we (Max and Alex…the kids) started cooking dinner for our family once a week back in 2015.  We realized how fun it was too cook and we wanted to share our experiences (and encourage kids to cook), so we started this website.  We also randomly entered the website in a national domain name contest.  Amazingly enough we won the contest and $35,000!  Click here for more about the story of our domain name.

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But because we have plenty to eat, and millions of people around the world don’t, we donated half of our prize ($17,000) to Action Against Hunger–a charity dedicated to saving the lives of malnourished children and helping vulnerable communities become self sufficient. We were lucky enough to get to visit the Action Against Hunger office in New York and meet some of their amazing staff. (Below we are sitting with Alex Cottin, Director of External Affairs, and Andrea Tamburini, CEO of AAH-USA, in August 2015)

Max and Alex with Alex Cottin, Director of External Affairs and Andrea Tamburini, CEO, of AAH-USA

We hope you enjoyed watching us compete on Chopped Junior and we hope you are inspired to cook more.  Let’s all try to take the time to enjoy what we cook together. And, at least for our family, let’s be thankful for what we have and try to help those in need.

 

Sunday, July 8, 2018: Dinner No. 116: Spatchcocked Chicken, Roasted Veggie Salad and CousCous
Jul 10th, 2018 by Katekoster

Hi! Welcome to kidscookdinner.com.  We’re Max and Alex Koster and this is our blog where we talk about cooking and eating and try to encourage kids to cook.  (Alex is at sleepaway camp till August so I (MAX) am in charge of kids cooking and the blog.) Tonight I wanted to try out making spatchcocked chicken.  I also wanted to roast some vegetables that were in our fridge and needed to be cooked or eaten (or both) so I roasted cauliflower, asparagus and mushrooms and tossed them into a bowl with arugula and avocados.  I also made some couscous to go on the side.

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SpatchCock Chicken

Ok so to spatchcock chicken, you have to cut out its back bone (do this with the chicken breast side down, back bone up). Then you have to put the heel of your hand on the chicken and push down to flatten the chicken.  This allows the chicken to cook faster and more evenly. But you have to be ok handling a whole chicken…and cutting it up.

After I did that, I put the chicken in a zip lock bag along with olive oil, lemon, rosemary, garlic and salt and pepper and let it marinade in the fridge for a couple of hours.  Then I preheated the oven to 375 degrees and cooked it for about an hour, flipping once.  (It needs to be golden brown)

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Roasted Veggie Salad

To make this, I chopped up cauliflower, aspargus and mushrooms, tossed them in olive oil and salt and pepper and then put them in the oven on sheet pans with the chicken (but I put them in after the chicken had cooked 30 minutes: the veggies need at most 20-30 minutes).  After 15 minutes, I flipped over the veggies so they would get evenly brown.

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CousCous

OK this is pretty easy: just remember with cous cous, the ratio of liquid to cous cous is 1:1 so if you want a cup of cous cous, boil a cup of water, remove from heat, stir in the dry couscous and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.  (It’s ok if you put a little more than 1 cup of water in because some usually evaporates).  Anyway, after 5 minutes, fluff the cous cous with a fork. Don’t forget, otherwise the cous cous can get sort of caked together.  I like to add a little butter as well.

And so here is the final meal:

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018: Rosti for Switzerland
Jul 3rd, 2018 by Katekoster

(This is Max: Alex is away at sleepaway camp till August…so I’m in charge)

Today in honor of Switzerland’s World Cup soccer game against Sweden, and because I am Swiss-American. I decided to make Rosti: essentially a Swiss potato pancake.  To make mine really Swiss, I added gruyere cheese.  But since I’m also American, I added chopped bacon.  Alas, Switzerland lost to Sweden…but the Rosti were still good.

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The ingredients for Rosti are pretty simple: potatoes, butter and salt.  In my version I added chopped bacon (already cooked) and grated gruyere cheese.

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The first step is to peel the potatoes.  Then you grate the peeled potatoes with a box grater and then squeeze as much water out of the grated potatoes as you can (a lot comes out).  Don’t worry if the potatoes start to turn brown: you are going to cook them anyway!  After you have squeezed as much water out as possible, mix the cheese and bacon in–by hand is best.

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Finally it’s time to cook them.  Heat a couple of tablespoons of butter in a nonstick pan (medium heat) and then put a mound of the potato mix in.  Flatten it to about 1/2 inch and let cook 7-10 minutes till golden brown and then flip and let the other side cook to golden brown.  Start out with a pancake size rosti…the traditional rosti is the size of a plate but those are really hard to flip so its better to start a little smaller.  Remove from heat and sprinkle more gruyere cheese on top, and then enjoy (preferably while watching Switzerland WIN a soccer game).

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Sunday, June 24, 2018: Cookies for Alex
Jun 25th, 2018 by Katekoster

Hi! Welcome to kidscookdinner.com.  We’re Max and Alex Koster and this is our blog where we talk about cooking and eating and try to encourage kids to cook.

Today I (Max) wanted to do something special for Alex because she left for sleepaway camp yesterday (Saturday) but has to come back to New York tonight (Sunday) because we still have school this Monday and Tuesday…isn’t that crazy? It’s almost July 4th and we are still in school (plus we had all these days off in June…why not just put those days off at the end of the year so we can end at a reasonable time.)  Anyway, I knew she would be tired when she got home tonight so I decided to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for her, and frankly for me.  I made a lot so she can even take some back with her when she goes BACK to camp on Tuesday afternoon.

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The ingredients for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are pretty straight forward: butter, white and brown sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, oats and of course chocolate chips.  The first and most essential step is letting the butter come to room temperature (so it’s soft).  Second step is preheating the oven to 360 degrees. After that you cream the soft butter with the sugar and then gradually add the other ingredients.  We have a stand mixer so this takes no time at all. The only ingredient we don’t use the mixer to mix in is the chocolate chips…a spoon works better.

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Once the batter is mixed, you drop bigspoonfuls of the batter onto a greased pan (or use a silpat like I did).  Be sure to taste the cookie dough but try not to eat too much of the raw dough.   Bake for 10 minutes, let cool and remove from pan.  Then pour yourself a glass of milk and enjoy.  (You can see that even our dog wants to try them but she doesn’t get any because of the chocolate in them.

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Saturday, June 16, 2018: Chicken, Cupcakes and Free-form Cake Pops
Jun 17th, 2018 by Katekoster

Hi! Welcome to kidscookdinner.com.  We’re Max and Alex Koster and this is our blog where we talk about cooking and eating and try to encourage kids to cook.  So on Friday, June 15 , I (Alex) didn’t have school so I spent the afternoon with my friend Sylvie making breaded chicken and cupcakes.

Chicken and Cupcakes

For the chicken, we bought chicken cutlets and cut them into smaller pieces. Then we made an egg/milk wash and mixed panko and fresh breadcrumbs. Finally we preparedthe  chicken in an assembly  line of chicken, egg wash and breadcrumbs and baked it in the oven.

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For the cupcakes we just followed the instructions on the box. (Making cake from scratch is more fun but I had soccer practice at 4:00 so we didn’t have enough time.)

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Cake Pops

Unfortunately in my hurry to get home and to soccer practice, my confetti cupcakes got terribly smashed. I decided the only solution was to make cake pops! To make the cake pops I formed small balls out of the smashed cake and frosting. Then I let them sit in the fridge over night to firm up. I also tried putting popsicle sticks in them but that didn’t really work. (They just fell out)

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On Saturday (the next day), I melted dark chocolate in a double boiler till it was very liquid and then rolled the cake balls in it. With the left over melted chocolate I made decorative chocolate swishs on waxed paper. Then both the cake pops and the swishes went into the fridge.

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Once the chocolate had hardened in the fridge, it was time to plate. First a chocolate swish went on the plate, then the chocolate covered cake pop, and finally a squirt of whipped cream. Delicious!!!

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Monday, June 11, 2018: Dinner No. 115 : Healthy-ish Taco Monday
Jun 14th, 2018 by Katekoster

Tonight I (Alex) wanted to make something quick and tasty and we had ground beef, a lot of cheese, tortillas and avocados so I decided to make soft tacos, however, instead of rice I made quinoa (just to be healthy).  We also had aspargus and red onions so I made a salad with them (first roasting them) then tossing them with arugula. And, since I saw we had tomatoes and cilantro, I had to make fresh salsa

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Here are the ingredients we used:

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So my first step was to get the aspargus and the onions in the oven to roast a bit.  Then I sauteed the ground beef till there was no pink, and then added 1/4 cup water and whatever spices we had in the cupboard (chili powder, etc.)

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Meanwhile, while the ground beef cooked, I chopped tomatoes and onions (for the salsa) as well as avocado (for the taco or salad…whatever people wanted.) I mixed the tomatoes with the onion, along with lime juice, cilantro and a little olive oil. And then I put the aspargus-arugula-onion salad together.

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Once everything was cooked, I laid all the dishes out in a line and told people to help themselves.

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Here’s what MY taco looked like (before I rolled it up).

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Friday June 1, 2018: Dinner No. 114: Lamb Chops, Kale x2 salad, and Raita-ish salad
Jun 6th, 2018 by Katekoster

Tonight we wanted to make a big meal that would give us leftovers for the weekend (because we have a lot of soccer, homework and other stuff planned (yeah…like Fortnite).  So we made a double rack of lamb. Everyone thinks rack of lamb is fancy and hard, but it’s actually easy and simple.  We just marinade it for a couple of hours in a garlic herb rub and then cook it.  We also made kale salad with kale prepared two ways (that’s why it’s called Kale X2 salad), cous cous and a salad based on raita.  (Basically it’s raita, but we add more cucumbers and tomatoes than usual).  Anyway since Alex had soccer practice, she did the marinade beforehand and I (Max) worked on the rest.

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Lamb Marinade

For the marinade, you ust combine chopped garlic, rosemary and thymb with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Then you rub it all over the lamb chops and let sit in a plastic bag. You can let is sit overnight in the fridge or for an hour before cooking at room temperature.

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Then before cooking you score the fat side of the lamb (that means cut across diagonally) and you wrap the bones in foil so they don’t burn in the oven.  The best way to cook it is to start a high heat for 10 minutes to brown it and then lower the heat for 20 or so minutes to finish it.

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Raita Salad

For the raita, we chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions and scallions and then mixed it in with plain yogurt.  We just eyeballed how much cucumber and tomatoes we chopped, knowing we wanted a lot. Add salt and pepper and let sit at least an hour if possible (in the fridge) so the flavors mingle together.

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Kale x2 Salad

For the Kale x2 Salad we started with, of course, kale! We cleaned a whole bunch and put half in a bowl.  Then we sauteed the other half in a little olive oil and salt and pepper and removed from the heat and set aside.  Then we sauteed chickpeas in the same pan and set aside (on paper towels to catch extra oil).  Right before serving we combined the 2 kales, chick peas, fresh tomatoes and goat cheese.  Delicious!

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For the meal, after we let the lamb rest, we cut off the lamb chops and served them with couscous, raita and Kale x2 Salad.

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Tuesday May 29, 2018: Aquafaba Meringues (also known as Chickpea Water Meringues)
May 31st, 2018 by Katekoster

Hi! Welcome to kidscookdinner.com.  We’re Max and Alex Koster and this is our blog where we talk about cooking and eating and try new weird things….like tonight when we tried to make meringues out of chickpea water.  We had tried a while ago and last time it was pretty much an epic fail.  (At first they looked amazing, then they ultimately collapsed into nothingness as we baked them. ) This time, however, it worked!  And it’s incredible simple.

First preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Then drain (and keep) the liquid from a 15 ounce can of chick peas (save the chickpeas too…we like them sauteed in salads, but not part of the meringues).

Next, beat the chickpea liquid (AKA aquafaba) in mixer with the whisk attachment till stiff peaks form (10-15 minutes or so).

Then you add one heaping cup of sugar and beat in, and then, finally, add 1 teaspoon of vanilla (and whip in).  NOTE: it is important to add a HEAPING cup of sugar.  Last time not only did we not add a heaping cup, we only added 1/2 a cup instead of a full one. Don’t make that mistake.  You need the sugar in this for structure!

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After that you scoop the aquafaba meringue mix onto lined baking sheets and cook for 90 minutes.  Let sit for 10 minutes and serve, or store in an air tight container.

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We prefer ours with whipped cream and strawberries.  And they really do taste like real meringues! Yummy

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Sunday May 20, 2018: Dinner No. 113: Deconstructed Beef Wellington for Mom’s Birthday!
May 22nd, 2018 by Katekoster

Hi! Welcome to kidscookdinner.com.  Here’s what we cooked for a special celebration:

This Sunday we were celebrating Mom’s birthday AND the fact that a Trader Joe’s opened just a few blocks away.  To celebrate we decided to make Deconstructed Beef Wellington, a kumato-feta salad and orso on the side.   We decided that we actually prefer traditional Beef Wellington (where the filet mignon and mushroom filling are completely enclosed in puff pastry) but mom specifically requested the deconstructed version because she thinks it’s a little lighter (and definitely faster to make.) Anyway, Happy Birthday Mom, we love you.

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The first step in making Beef Wellington is either making puff pastry or  buying and then thawing pre-made frozen puff pastry.  We chose the latter (we did have soccer games this weekend!) and set it out to thaw.  Then we cleaned and chopped two pounds of mushrooms.   Then we cooked the mushrooms with  butter and our secret ingredient — truffle salt.  Alex was in charge of the mushrooms while Max was in charge of the beef and salad.

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Meanwhile, we tied our filet mignons together with string (filet mignon courtesy of Trader Joe’s) and salt and peppered both sides.  We also cut the puff pastry into rounds and popped them in the oven to bake, and finished sauteeing the mushrooms.

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The final step was to cook the filet.  We seared them 4 minutes on each side but they were so thick that we had to finish them in the oven (luckily still warm from the puff pastry).  Then we removed the string from the filets and assembled the masterpieces:  first a half a round of puff pastry, then the cooked mushrooms, then a filet, then more mushrooms, then the top.  For mom’s plate we added even more mushrooms on the side because she loves them.  We also put together a simple salad of feta cheese, kumato tomatoes and arugula and made orso.  (We know the Beef Wellington sort of looks like a burger but it definitely didn’t taste like one.  It was delicious–the filet just melted in your mouth like butter.

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