Monday, June 27, 2016: Churros!
Jun 30th, 2016 by Kate

(This is Max): in Spanish class, the teacher decided that we should have an end-of-year celebration, where we would eat and get to experience the food of several Hispanic cultures. I decided that I wanted to make something for this celebration, so I decided on the delicious dessert Churros. Churros are present in many different Spanish cultures, and are also very tasty.  They are sort of like deep-fried long donuts dipped in cinnamon sugar (but better).  Since we don’t have a deep fryer we decided to make them a less traditional and more healthy way – we baked them.  I researched recipes and found one that seemed both simple and delicious and voila: we made them.  (This is Alex):  Max let me help me and the most fun part of making them was putting the dough in a pastry bag with a star shaped tip and piping the churros out.  We liked making them (and tasting them) so much that we made two batches: one for Max’s class party and one just for the family. The first time we made them pretty small but the second time (for the family) we made them 8 inch plus (and dipped them in hot chocolate!!!! YUM)

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(second batch…all for us!!!!) PS Dad is so happy that he gets to try them because we wouldn’t let him have any of the ones for Max’s class.

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Fried Egg Salad for Mom
Jun 26th, 2016 by Kate

The other day I wanted to make a salad for mom but a lot of the ingredients I wanted to use weren’t available.  We had spinach so I thought I would make her a traditional spinach salad (with hard boiled egg, tomato, bacon, red onion, maybe a little avocado.) But we didn’t have bacon, onions or avocado and I didn’t have time to boil eggs.  So I came up with a new salad: fried egg spinach salad with cheddar cheese, tomatoes and pumpkin seeds (with a simple sherry viniagrette).  Mom loved it!


Dinner No. 58: Sunday, June 19, 2016: Father’s Day Celebration
Jun 20th, 2016 by Kate

This weekend we celebrated Father’s Day by making one of dad’s favorite meals: STEAK.  Luckily it’s one of ours as well.  We also made corn on the cob, a big salad and home made strawberry ice cream–from strawberries Alex and Mom picked Saturday morning.  They picked 20 pounds! We also experimented with some other things, including making fresh mint tea (from our own mint) and of course we made some strawberry daquiris (no rum) as well. Here are some of the photo highlights:


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We also made dad breakfast on Father’s Day: scrambled eggs with chives from our garden, fresh berry salad and bagels (we didn’t make those)

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And here’s the mint tea: first we steeped fresh mint in boiling water, then strained it and added a little sweetener.  Finally we cooled it and served it over ice! Super refreshing on a hot day.

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Dinner No. 57: Tuesday June 14, 2016: Quick & Easy all’Amatriciana Pasta
Jun 16th, 2016 by Kate

Tonight we were tired–long busy weekend and I (Max) am leaving for a school trip tomorrow so I really wanted to make one of my favorite meals: Pasta all’ Amatriciana (my “signature” dish); we also wanted to use some fresh peas we had bought at the farmer’s market, and Alex had a mystery ingredient that mom gave her (poor Alex…wait till you see what she had to cook).  But it was a fun and quick dinner.

Here’s my final plate:


For the pasta all’Amatriciana, first I chopped one onion; then I sauteed pancette in a little olive oil till it was brown.  (I started water boiling for the pasta at same time).  I removed the pancetta from the pan and added the chopped onion.  You need to cook the onion cook until tender then I added a can of chopped tomatoes.  You can use fresh or grated or chopped tomatoes–but it was a week night and the canned ones are fine. Salt, pepper and let simmer for a while.  When the pasta is al dente, you add it to the tomato sauce.  And then you plate it by adding freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and a large handful of the pancetta.  The pancetta flavors the onions and then you taste the crispy bits in the pasta. (If you mix it into the sauce, you lose the crispiness).

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For the peas, they were so fresh all we did was shell them and eat them raw.  We also made a simple arugula salad — with just tomatoes and shaved parmigiano reggiano.

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I (Alex) also cooked a mystery ingredient that Mom gave me: SQUID. Ewwwwh!  At least it was already cleaned so I didn’t have to clean it but I did have to cut it up.  It was kind of cool that you could easily cut it into rings.  I also chopped some garlic and cooked that in olive oil with paprika and red pepper flakes, then I added the cut up squid.  I wasn’t sure how long to cook it but I sauteed it until it was at least brown.  Then I squeezed a lemon on top of it.  I wanted to add fresh herbs but all we had was basil and oregano but hat didn’t seem quite right flavor-wise.  Mom said it was pretty good.  (I just couldn’t try it, those tentacles looked too weird:).  Max is so lucky he got to cook the pasta!:(

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Dinner No. 56: Saturday, June 4, 2016: Classic Cuisine with a Summer Twist
Jun 6th, 2016 by Kate

Tonight we wanted to make two classic dishes that we had heard of but never made: Beef Wellington and Tiramisu. But we also wanted to add a summer twist–a nice summer salad, so we made a spinach, feta, orzo and pine nut salad.(We made a olive oil -balsamic vinaigrette as well).

Here’s the final products:

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The Salad: after we put all the ingredients together we threw it in the fridge for an hour. According to the recipe, it helps the flavors blend.  The only thing we changed about the recipe was to toast the pine nuts and add them at the very end so they didn’t get soggy.

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Ingredients for the salad                           Chopping onions (with goggles!)               Mixing the salad

The Tiramisu: for the Tiramisu, we actually started in the morning because it has to sit for 4-6 hours in the fridge.  Again it must be for the flavors to blend.  One thing we realized was that you shouldn’t actually “soak” the lady fingers in coffee and coffee liquor.  If you “soak” them, they will fall apart.  So you really just brush the lady fingers with the coffee mix (you can just use coffee if you don’t want any alcohol involved, or decaf coffee I guess if you don’t want to stay up late:)

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The Tiramisu ingredients……                              Six egg yolks!                                                    Egg yolks w/ mascarpone              Coffee-soaked lady fingers             Final product

The Beef Wellingtons: for the individual beef wellingtons, the actual recipe is pretty easy. But there are a lot of steps.  First you have to make the mushroom sauce (or “mushroom duxelles as Emeril Lagasse calls it).  Then you have to sear the beef filet mignons.  Then you have to let them cool completely.  Then you have to roll out your puff pastry and make your egg wash glue. Then you have to put it all together.  (Puff pastry, then filet mignon, then mushrooms then proscuitto then puff pastry wrapped up like a package and sealed with the egg wash (the “glue”).  Then you brush them with more egg wash and put in the oven until the pastry is golden brown and you HOPE that the meat is medium rare. :).  One filet was cut too thin by the butcher so Max had the brilliant idea of making a double decker beef wellington.  He cut it in half and put a layer of mushrooms between the two halves. Delicious!

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Egg-washed Wellingtons                                    Golden-brown Wellingtons                               Double-decker Beef Wellingtons                     Note layer of mushrooms between filets





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