Dinner No. 64: Saturday, July 30, 2016: Dad’s Birthday Barbecue
Jul 31st, 2016 by Kate

For Dad’s birthday, it wasn’t enough to just spend one day on the meal. So we cooked Friday and Saturday to truly make his birthday special. We started out the weekend with the baking of Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, and then moved on to the spice rub of our Brisket, which we cooked in a slow-cooker. On Saturday, we started out the day by placing the brisket in the slow-cooker after letting it sit in its rub for the night. We then made our favorite summer salad – Spinach Orzo . We also made corn-on-the cob.

Day 1:

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


First I mixed the butter in with the sugar,

using the back of my spoon


Then I added in the flour mixture into the

bowl and…


…Stirred it into the mixture along with

oats and…




Then I molded the dough into small balls

ready for the oven


Then I baked the cookies


The final result!

Brisket Rub

These were all the ingredients of the Brisket.


The Spices/Rubs we used included Onion Powder,

Garlic powder, Salt & Pepper, cumin, paprika, and

red pepper flakes.


After mixing the spices together, I rubbed

them all over the brisket. I let it sit for the night

for the brisket to be more flavorful.


The brisket in the slow-cooker with our home-made,

secret BBQ sauce. Hint: there’s molasses in it.


The delicious end result.

Day 2: Orzo Salad


The Ingredients


The Ingredients right before being put in the

salad – the onion and the spinach finely

chopped and the Orzo cooked.


After making the balsamic vinaigrette with

pepper and basil and adding it to the the salad,

I tossed it, then refrigerated the salad until use.

Note: We did not initially add the pine nuts to the salad, but when we were preparing to serve, we roasted them and then tossed them in. (This is because the pine nuts will get too soggy.)

Corn on the Cob


We just boiled 12 ears of corn in salted water

and served with my homemade butter (Vlog to come)

And here’s a photo of part of the barbecue (friends brought some stuff too):


Dinner No. 63: Friday, July 22, 2016: Too Hot to Cook–Grilling is the Answer
Jul 24th, 2016 by Kate

Tonight in Upstate New York it was just too hot to cook, with temperatures reaching the 90s+! How to make dinner without cooking, you say? Just Grill It! The two main dishes were steak and veggies (including green zuccini, yellow squash, red onion and kale) so I decided to grill everything (originally I was going to stir fry it because I have never heard of grilled kale). I also made a goat cheese, walnut and cranberry salad and mom allowed me to turn on the oven to boil water for sweet corn (it was so fresh it only took a couple of minutes to cook, so didn’t make the kitchen too hot).


(Before…all the raw ingredients)            (After…everything ready to eat!)

The steak was easy to prepare, just salt and pepper on each side.  For the veggies, I mixed olive oil, minced garlic and soy sauce and let them marinate in that for 20 minutes or so.  And the salad was one of my favorites: butter lettuce, goat cheese, cranberries and walnuts (with a sherry viniagrette).  Super easy and super delicious.

The Steak:

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The Veggies:

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Note: the kale cooked faster than the other veggies so I took it out earlier.  Sorry we don’t have too many photos of the grilling process…it started raining so we were trying to keep everything dry. Also, mom said her favorite part of the meal was the grilled kale, but she is a little weird.

Final Grilled Veggie plate

Final Grilled Veggie plate

The Corn and the Salad were very straightforward (and yet delish):

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And one more time, here is the final meal. So happy to be home!



Friday, July 15, 2016: How To Make Rosti Alex’s Way
Jul 18th, 2016 by Kate

Since I am leaving for camp tomorrow, I wanted to make one of my favorite dishes: rosti (since I know I won’t be able to eat it for a while).  Rosti is a traditional Swiss food and is essentially a potato pancake.  However you can add lots of different things: cheese, chopped sausage, chopped chicken.  My favorite is to add lots of raclette cheese. I’m half Swiss so I LOVE cheese.

I’ve also experimented with the ingredients and come up with a great secret substitution.  Hint: watch the video to find out what gives my rosti a little more crunch and a little more taste.  I’ve also got a great suggestion on how to flip rosti easier.

Watch the video and learn my secrets 🙂



Dinner No. 62: Wednesday, July 13, 2016: Pearl CousCous with Chicken
Jul 14th, 2016 by Kate

This is the last dinner I will make for a while because I leave for camp on Saturday (I will be away at camp for 5 weeks and then away for another 2 weeks travelling with my family in Switzerland…but I will try to at least review some Swiss restaurants for the website.)

Anyway because Max is still away at camp, I made a dish that I love but he dislikes: Pearl Couscous with Chicken and Peas. It reminds me of making paella because even though there are a lot of steps, it’s pretty simple.  Because there are so many steps, its important to get all the ingredients chopped and ready to go before you start cooking.  This is called mise en place (that means “putting everything in its place”).  The ingredients are chopped garlic, chopped onions, quartered plum tomatoes, saffron, chicken, peas, chicken broth, white wine (optional), couscous and lemon zest.  So I chopped everything that needed to be chopped and measured everything out.

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Then I sauteeed the pearl couscous in a pan with olive oil until it was light brown. (The olive oil I used is really good: its home made from Greece! A patient of my dad gave it to him and I love cooking with it.) So after I removed the couscous, I browned the chicken.  Then I had to take the chicken out and add onions, garlic, tomatoes and saffron.   That all had to cook until the tomatoes were soft — I added a little white wine so the onions wouldn’t burn.  Then the chicken, chicken broth and couscous went back in and simmered on low till the couscous had soaked up all the chicken broth.  At the very end I stirred in frozen peas.  Delish!


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For dessert we just had chocolate chip cookies.  I had made them the day before but saved some cookie dough so we could have warm ones today.  There is nothing better than a warm chocolate chip cookie!

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Dinner No. 61: Sunday, July 10, 2016: Lobster Salad and Peach Crisp
Jul 11th, 2016 by Kate


Today I decided to think outside of the box in terms of cooking and cook something I had never cooked before.  So my mom and I went to Best Market to buy lobsters that were alive. They looked like huge bugs!!!  Koko (our dog) was really scared of them.  Since it was hot we decided to make lobster salad.  First we put them in salted water and boiled them for 15 minutes. Mom said to keep the rubber bands on the big claws while I was putting them in the water.  Once they were cool, my mom and I dissected them to get the meat out.  EWWWWW!!!! There was a lot green guts that mom cleaned for me (and threw out).  Whew.  She said it was “edible” but I don’t believe her.  Then we cut the lobster into bite-size pieces and let cool some more. We also boiled some new potatoes (separately from the lobster).

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For the salad, we combined boiled new potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, papitas and of course…the lobster. I made a lemon – olive oil dressing for it and served the salad with some extra cooked potatoes.

For the peach crisp, I sauteed several sliced peaches with butter and brown sugar and then made a simple stove-top granola topping (just oats, butter, honey and brown sugar browned together.)  I put the peach mix in the bottom of a ramekin and then put the oat mix on top.  I saved a few cooked peaches to put on top as a garnish.


Dinner No. 60: Sunday, July 3, 2016: Spaghetti & Meatballs
Jul 5th, 2016 by Kate

Since Max is at camp at Mexico, I’M IN CHARGE of the website and I GET TO CHOOSE WHATEVER I WANT TO MAKE…and I love meatballs.  So I decided to make spaghetti and meatballs, along with a green salad.  For dessert, I made traditional cream scones earlier in the day… YUM!  So I whipped cream, sugared some strawberries, and served the scones along side the berries & cream. (with a sprig of mint from our herb garden).

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For the meatballs I loosely followed a recipe in DiPalo’s cookbook (DiPalo’s is a great Italian specialty food shop in Little Italy that has the best fresh mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, prosciutto and meatballs!).  There recipe calls for ground beef, 1 egg, minced garlic, bread crumbs, grated pecorino romano cheese, grated aged provolone, parsley and ricotta cheese.  We were upstate and didn’t have all those ingredients, plus I like pork meatballs better so I used ground pork, 1 egg, minced garlic bread crumbs, grated pecorino romano cheese, grated Parmesan and basil instead of parsley.  Since we didn’t have ricotta cheese, and the meatball mix seemed  a little dry, I added a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream (that we had for the scones).  It worked so well!!! The meatballs were light and fluffy inside but firm enough to saute.  (I sauteed them in olive oil till brown and then added to a simple tomato sauce I had made)

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For the scones, I used the heavy cream both in the mix (along with butter) and then whipped it to serve with the scones.  Note: don’t roll out scone dough too thin.  It’s better if the dough is at least 3/4 inch thick.  If its’ thinner, the scones can be a little dry.

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Dinner No. 59: Saturday, July 2, 2016: Kale Three Ways
Jul 3rd, 2016 by Kate

Mom loves kale so when Max bought a huge bunch from the Farmer’s Market (and then left for camp in Mexico!), it was up to me to come up with ways to cook all that kale.  I came up with three different recipes: kale chips; kale stir fry and fried egg kale salad.  Mom says they were all delicious — I tried the kale chips, and even though I am not a huge kale fan, they were pretty good.  Also the kale chips are super easy and fun to make.

Kale Chips

First you wash and dry the kale. Then you cut out the wood central stems, chop roughly and toss with olive oil and a little sea salt (not too much…you can always add more later).  Then you spread the kale in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan and put in a 350 degree oven until crispy. It’s important that the kale be dry when you put in the oven, otherwise you may have steamed, soggy chips.

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Kale Stir Fry

This kale stir fry also contained bok choy and spring onions that Max bought at the Farmer’s Market and then didn’t have time too cook.  I chopped up the spring onions, including their tender stems, and sauteed them in olive oil and soy sauce.  (I would have added chopped ginger but we didn’t have any).  I then added roughly chopped bok choy and kale.  Like with the kale chip recipe, I took out the tough stems from the kale first.  Finally I added papitas to give a little crunch to the stir fry.


Fried egg kale salad

Last week I made mom a fried egg spinach salad, so this week I wanted to try it with kale.  I also added some chopped up spring onions and bacon….yum!! (The other ingredients were left over spinach, tomatoes, red onions and cheddar cheese). The key thing to this salad is to make the salad first and then cook the egg and slide it on top.  You want to serve it with a warm runny egg.


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