Christmas Eve Dessert: 4 Ingredient Chocolate Mousse Cake
Dec 27th, 2016 by Katekoster

This cake is so chocolatey and so simple.  We spent Christmas Eve with our good friends Patrick, Virginia and Wyeth.  After a traditional Swiss raclette meal, with a light green salad, we feasted on chocolate mousse cake, topped with raspberries, that we made:


This cake is really easy to make: just four ingredients: eggs, chocolate, butter and vanilla.  And if you want to put it over the top: raspberries.  Note it’s gluten free if that’s important to you.

First you melt chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate together.  Then you whip 4 extra large eggs together until they triple in volume.  You fold in the eggs to the chocolate mix, add vanilla and bake.  Let cool and top with berries if you like. Also good with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  Merry Christmas Eve!!

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Saturday, December 17, 2016: Dinner No. 75: Quick Beef Stew and Sugar Cookies
Dec 23rd, 2016 by Katekoster

Today was a cold, snowy day and we spent most of the day inside baking cookies. We decided late in the day that we wanted to make beef stew. However since it was already 5:00 PM we knew  we could not make a traditional stew that cooked for hours.  We researched “quick beef stew” on the internet and found a recipe that called for sirloin tips — because they are more tender than the usual meat used for stew, they cook much faster.  The other ingredients were carrots, potatoes, onions and beef broth.  We also cooked kale as our side dish and of course cookies for dessert.

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The other ingredients besides sirloin tips were carrots, potatoes, onions and beef broth. First we cut the meat up into chunks and coated it with flour.  Then we chopped the onions, carrots and potatoes.  We sauteed the meat first, then added the vegetables.  Finally we added beef broth.  We liked the taste but next time we are going to use less flour.

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Tuesday, Dec. 13: LAB 320
Dec 16th, 2016 by Katekoster

This is Max: Today after school my friends and I visited a cool ice cream place: Lab 320.  Definitely worth stopping by, but maybe when it’s a little warmer out!


They spread out liquid ice cream on sort of a reverse crepe machine (it’s super cold instead of hot).  Then they scoop up strips of the ice cream and roll it up.  I ordered the banana rolled ice cream, which was really good, especially with fresh banans on top.  The other thing is cereal balls dipped in nitrogen. The nitrogen almost stings your tongue, but it’s very cool. It produces a vapor when you eat it.  (They call it Dragon’s Breath)That being said, you must eat it within four minutes of getting it, or its just overpriced cereal.

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Another thing my friend got was Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream. While it was churning they added nitrogen to it.

Saturday, December 10, 2016: Dinner No. 74: Deconstructed Beef Wellington & Lots of Sides
Dec 15th, 2016 by Katekoster

This meal we decided we wanted to make a simplified beef wellington (without proscuitto, and with the puff pastry cooked seperately.)  So instead of wrapping the filet mignon in puff pastry, we cooked all the ingredients: the filets, the puff pastry rounds and the mushroom topping, separately.  Then we put them all together.  For sides, we made a healthy version of creamed spinach, baked potatoes and a Boston lettuce salad.

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For  the Beef Wellington, we used three different types of mushrooms- shiitake, cremini and oysters to make the mushroom topping We diced them and sauteed them in butter and truffle salt.

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We seasoned the filet mignons with a crust of salt and pepper, and seared them for about two minutes a side. Then we placed them in the oven to finish.  Even though the filets looked pretty amazing, Alex had the ingenius idea to inject butter into the steaks using a syringe (an unused one that Dad brought home from work!).  It worked pretty well except a couple times the butter exploded out of the filet.

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For the puff pastry we used store made puff pastry and rolled it out, then we cut out ovals the approximate size of each filet (we cut a piece of parchment paper the size of a filet and use that as our guide).  Then we baked the pastry in the oven (while the filets were finishing up).  The pastry puffed up so much that we ultimately cut it in half to use around our filets.


For the sides, we made made creamed spinach.  First we steamed about 10 oz. of spinach with a sliced small onion and a clove of garlic.  Then we pressed all the liquid out of it and put it in the processor with salt, pepper and cottage cheese. Voila, beautiful healthy creamed spinach.  For the Boston Lettuce salad, the hardest part was cleaning the lettuce.  Then we just added goat cheese, cranberries and walnuts. And then we made baked potatoes (i.e. we baked them!)

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To plate it all, we put a smear of the creamed spinach on the plate and then we made a Beef Wellington sandwich, if you will, with the puff pastry as the “bread”,  the steaks as the main ingredient, and the mushrooms as the topping.  It was DELICIOUS!!!

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016: Another Blue Apron Dinner
Dec 9th, 2016 by Katekoster

This week we tried out another Blue Apron dinner: General Tso’s Chicken: We were really happy with this meal. It was outside of our comfort zone and we would not normally cook it, and it tasted better then we expected. We expected it to be unhealthy, like the normal Chinese take-out version of this, but because our chicken wasn’t fried, it was tastier and healthier. The dish also allowed you to determine how spicy you wanted the chicken to be, which is very helpful when you’re in a family with very differing tastes. The only thing that we thought could of been improved on was that there wasn’t enough bok choy. In fact, we needed to add our own spinach to barely gather enough greens.

The main ingredients were: chicken breast, scallions, daikon radish, baby bok choy and corn starch. For the sauce, Blue Apron gave us Sambal Oelek (no idea what this is but its spicy), garlic, sesame oil and soy glaze.


First we had to prepare all the ingredients: mince the garlic, chop the scallions, chop ends of bok choy, slice radishes and chop the chicken into bite-sized bits.  This took a REALLY long time: partly because the chicken was almost frozen (note to self: make sure you let Blue Apron ingredients thaw before you start prep).  The we cooked the rice. Then we made the sauce for the chicken in a pan.  What was cook is that the sambal oelek is spicy/sweet and you add however much you want in (depending on how spicy you want it).  We chose a medium amount.  Then we had to cook the chicken (after coating the chicken in corn starch).  Blue Apron says to use the same pan as the sauce–but this was taking a long time (and there were 2 of us) so Max handled the sauce and Alex started the chicken in a separate pan.  Once the chicken was cooked through we combined it with the sauce.  Then we used the “chicken” pan and cooked the bok choy in it.  As noted above, there wasn’t nearly enough bok choy!!! We added some extra spinach and a splash of soy sauce (Blue Apron just said to cook it in olive oil).


This was a super fun meal to make, the kind of meal you would expect from Blue Apron. It wasn’t something you make eveyday but was still delicious! (Just make sure you have A LOT of time to do this…or use lots of pans.)

Monday, November 28 and Tuesday November 29, 2016: Blue Apron Dinners
Dec 1st, 2016 by Katekoster

Good friends of ours (thanks J&C) gave us a voucher for two meals from Blue Apron, a company that delivers you the makings of a full meal, along with detailed directions.  So we decided to try making them.  Here is our review. The first two meals we received were: 1) Bucatini Bolognese with Brussel Sprouts and Pecorino Cheese and 2)Pan-Seared Cod with Meyer Lemon Sauce & Fall Vegetables.

First of all the packaging was very good: everything was cold and all of the packaging is recycleable.  It’s also cool that they give you exactly the amount of ingredients you need.

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The first dinner we made was the Bucatini Bolognese.  The recipe looked good: but super straight forward: carrots, onions, garlic, ground beef and tomato sauce (we often use different ground meat in our bolognese: a combo of veal and pork, or lamb, so it was a little surprising this was just beef.).  The directions are easy to follow and with good photos, but you definitely have to do the work (lots of chopping).  Basically you chop up all the vegetables, sautee them, add the meat, add the tomato sauce and let simmer: serve with pasta, pecorino cheese and garnish of basil  The twist Blue Apron wanted us to do was to pick off the Brussels sprouts leaves and add them to the bolognese sauce at the end.  But we prefer Brussels sprouts roasted so we roasted ours in the oven with a little olive oil and salt and pepper…that way they turn really crispy.  Then you can sprinkle on top of the plated dish or just eat on the side.  Also from some kids’ perspective they would NOT want Brussels sprouts in their bolognese sauce at all so if you cook them separately, people can add them or not. Also, the amount of brussels sprouts was very close to a garnish, and we do NOT recomend using Brussels Sprouts a garnish–we wanted more of them so we could eat as a side.

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The second dinner we made was Pan-Seared Cod with Meyer Lemon Sauce & Fall Vegetables.  This recipe was definitely more adventurous (and we liked that it was something very new to us).  Again the directions were great….but there is a lot of chopping…don’t think that this or the Bolognese dinner are QUICK dinners. First you slice 2 baking potatoes very thin (and roast in oven with olive oil and salt & pepper), then you have to chop up broccoli, carrots and garlic.  You saute those in olive oil till soft and set aside.  Then you lightly flour the cod fillets with rice flour (we’ve never used rice flour so that was interesting) and sautee them in the same pan.  When the fillets are done, you set them aside and make a sauce with butter, meyer lemon, and chopped almonds.  That was really fun.  We don’t make sauces very much so this was a good introduction.  OK so then you are supposed to plate the dish by combining the roasted potatoes with the cooked vegetables with creme fraiche (like sour cream), and then put the fish on top of that and lemon sauce on top.  The problem is that you have these amazing crispy potato slices that you are supposed to combine with soft (damp) vegetables.  We thought that was a crime…it would ruin the potatoes so we didn’t do that step–we plated them separately.  Again maybe its a kids’ thing, but cooked broccoli should never be combined with crispy potatoes.  But the whole dish tasted amazing.  Thanks Blue Apron (and J&C).

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