Sunday, May 30, 2017: Dinner No. 87: Memorial Day Brisket
May 30th, 2017 by Kate

For Memorial Day, we decided to make barbecue brisket, corn-on-the-cob, kale salad and roasted, honeyed pears.  Russ & Erica came over for dinner and they brought corn bread and cabbage slaw so we had a feast!


For the brisket, we started the day before and let it cook in our secret homemade barbecue sauce all night in the slow cooker.  Another secret is that we rub the brisket with a spicy dry rub before we put it in the barbecue sauce.  Then when it’s really tender, we take it out and pull it apart with 2 forks and put it back in the barbecue sauce to absorb even more of sauce.

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For the kale salad, we just chopped and chopped kale and brussel sprouts, added almonds and grated parmesan cheese and topped it with a mustard dijon dressing.  We made this ahead of time as well.  We just didn’t add the almonds/cheese and dressing till it was time to eat.

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For the roasted pears, we combined pears, honey, cinnamon, butter and a little rum and roasted for about 60 minutes at 350 degrees.  The recipe calls for cutting pears in half and placing them cut size down, which we did for the first 30 minutes, but we flipped them over for the second 30 minutes. Also the recipe called for 30-35 minutes, but that definitely wasn’t enough. Even after 45 minutes the pears were hard so we cooked them another 15 minutes. We are not sure if it was the pears that were too hard to begin with or if the recipe was wrong but ultimately they were still delicious! Especially with fresh whipped cream.

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The corn-on-the-cob was pretty simple: just oil water and add corn.  And Russ and Erica brought a great coleslaw and cornbread–so it made a really pretty (and tasty) plate

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Friday, May 12, 2017: Dinner No. 86: Simple Spring Dinner with Fresh Morels
May 13th, 2017 by Kate

Mom found fresh morels at the farmer’s market and we decided to cook them with some authentic Ticinese polenta that we had gotten back during the summer in Switzerland (in Lugano). The hardest part of the polenta was that the instructions were in German! Google translate was needed. Along with the polenta and morels, we also sauteed some kale.

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Wild morels look pretty weird but mom said they tasted great (she was right).  The hardest part of cooking morels was cleaning them.  We soaked them in water, dried them and then sliced before cooking them olive oil and adding butter.

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Besides that, we had a Roast Chicken from Whole Foods. Along with a fresh loaf of bread, the meal was amazing.

Final Dinner:

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May 2017: Time for Pie!: Lemon Curd, Blueberry Lattice Top & Pumpkin Pies
May 12th, 2017 by Kate

What do you do after you see the musical Waitress? (It’s about an amazing pie-baking waitress…played by Sara Bareilles! so good. Go see it now!!) Anyway what do you do after you see it? You bake pies.  So far we have made three:lemon curd, blueberry and pumpkin.  Trying to think of a new one.

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The first pie we made after seeing Waitress was Lemon Curd Pie with a sweet crust: this was the first time we made a pie crust in the cuisinart…pretty fast and easy. Then we just pushed it down into the baking pan (no rolling out), pre-baked till light brown and filled with delicious lemon curd.  No need for meringue topping for this one.

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And here’s our next pie:  This time I, Alex, made a blueberry pie.  I made a simple pie crust and for the filling combined fresh and frozen (but thawed) blueberries, along with sugar, corn starch and a little lemon juice.  Then I cut pastry into strips and wove a lattice top on the top.

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It was delicious!!! We had a litte extra pie dough so I made cinnamon pastries (also known as cinnamon snails), which are just pie dough rolled up around cinnamon-sugar and butter. They are delicious.


Our latest pie was a traditional pumpkin pie. Even though it’s almost summer (and not Thanksgiving), we were craving pumpkin pie so we made it!


Monday May 8, 2017: Dinner No. 85: Five-Spice Salmon & Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
May 9th, 2017 by Kate

Tonight Max had late soccer practice so I (Alex) was in charge and decided to make Five-Spice Salmon.  (I was inspired by Justice and Blue Apron’s Family Plan Challenge on MasterChef Junior).  On the side I cooked cous-cous, bok choy and roasted cauliflower and broccoli.  And for dessert I made a chocolate chip cookie cake. Yum.  And for those of you who don’t know: Five-Spice seasoning is made up of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise and Szechwan peppercorns.


Here are the ingredients for dinner.  There was a lot of chopping beforehand (mom helped since Max was gone)

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Then I sauteed the bok choy with chopped garlic…boy does bok choy cook down!


Then I sprinkled Chinese Five-Spice powder on the salmon filets and sauteed them skin side down to start. When they were done, I made a simple sauce in the cooking pan: butter and rice vinegar

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Finally, I plated everything, adding chopped scallions for garnish.


For dessert we had a chocolate chip cookie cake I had made earlier.  Basically it’s a chocolate chip cookie recipe with 4 tablespoons extra flour.  Then you bake it in a circular pan, pop out and enjoy. We put a little frosting on ours, just to be decadent.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017: Sous Vide Chicken
May 2nd, 2017 by Kate

Tonight we were trying to be environmentally responsible and use up stuff in our freezer.  We found a vacuum-sealed package of chicken breasts and decided to try to cook them sous vide.  According to the cook books we have, you can cook frozen food directly with sous vide (without thawing) but you just have to add extra time.  So we turned on our sous vide bath machine and put the (frozen) chicken in once the water got up to the right temperature (140 degrees Farenheit).  And yes, you can cook frozen food directly with sous vide!!! The only tricky thing is figuring out how much “extra” time to cook it because usually there is a range of time to cook normal (i.e. non frozen) food.  So for the chicken breasts, the normal time was 1-4 hours at 140 degrees.  The cookbook said to cook it an extra 30 -60 minutes if it was frozen.  But what does that mean? Do you cook it 1 & 1/2 hours? or 4 & 1/2 hours.  We decided to cook it 4 & 1/2 hours (because no one likes raw chicken), but honestly that was a little much.  Probably could have stopped at 2 hours.

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After we cooked the chicken in the sous vide water bath, we grilled it a few minutes each side to give it a little more texture (and to make it look better).  We also roasted cauliflower and sauteed spinach with garlic.  Delicious–but next time we cook frozen chicken, only 2 hours maximum.

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