Friday, July 14, 2017: Rainy Day Baking
Jul 21st, 2017 by Katekoster

Today was the last day both of us were in New York before we leave for sleepaway camp AND it was raining so we decided that we were going to bake a lot of stuff.  On the baking menu: Lemon Bars, Short Cakes, and Blueberry Crisp.  I (Max) decided to make the lemon bars because I love lemon curd pie but I wanted something a little easier to eat.  I (Alex) decided to make short cakes because we love Joe’s Short Cakes (available at Thompson Finch Farm) with strawberries and I wanted to try to replicate them.  We both decided to make blueberry crisp because blueberries were on sale for $1 a pint and mom bought 5 pints…so we had to do something with them. Plus we love it!

Lemon Bars


For the lemon bars, first you make a sweet crust base, which includes sugar, butter, flour and baking powder.  You press that into a pan and bake until golden brown.

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Meanwhile you make the lemon filling: shredded lemon peel, lemon juice, eggs and a little bit of flour and baking powder.  Once the crust is baked, you pour the lemon mix directly on top and cook for about 15 minutes more. Delicious: both sweet and tart.

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We can’t tell you the recipe (THANKS JOE) but we can tell you that there is flour, butter, sugar, eggs and some other ingredients in it.  And while these shortcakes are great just by themselves, they are even better with fresh strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream.

Blueberry Crisp


Sorry we didn’t take photos of the process, but we were getting tired by the time we got to this.  The key to a good crisp (besides great fruit, of course), is a good crisp and we love this one.  First you combine butter and sugar (cream it together like you are making cookies), then you add baking powder, rolled oats and flour and squeeze it all together till it forms clumps.  If you want to be gluten free, use finely chopped walnuts instead.

For the fruit: you need 6 cups of blueberries, sugar, a little lemon juice and a tablespoon of either flour or cornstarch.  We also added some chopped apples.  So then you put the berry mix in a 8 inch square baking dish, cover with the crisp topping and cook till crisp is grown and berries are bubbling.  You can use the same crisp topping for peach crisp or apple crisp, you may just want to adjust how much sugar you use depending on the sweetness of the peaches or apples.



Monday, July 10, 2017: Dinner No. 90: Lamb Chops & Chocolate Mousse Cake. Yum!
Jul 13th, 2017 by Katekoster

For this meal I (Alex) wanted to cook something I knew the whole family would love so I grilled lamb chops, made a big kale salad and for dessert made a chocolate mousse cake.

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These lamb chops are one of our favorite meals and takes us back to the late night walks along the beach in Greece two summers ago. With just a little bit of effort (and some salt & pepper) slabs of meat can become a wonderful meal. The kale salad was kale and every vegetable in the fridge (and leftover vegetableI could find–like corn-on-the cob) with a little grated mozarella.  Last but definitely not least, the chocolate mousse cake is anther big favorite in the Koster family. It’s simple, but delicious and it only  contains FOUR basic ingredents that you can find at any food store: eggs, butter, semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla. Raspberries and powdered sugar are optional.


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The few steps to make this spendid cake are:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • butter an 8 inch cake pan and cut out a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan
  • gently melt 12 oz of semi-sweet chocolate with 8 oz butter (1 stick), let cool slightly
  • beat 4 extra large eggs together for 5-7 minutes till rich & foamy
  • combine eggs and chocolate mixture (which should be cool enough so it doesn’t scramble the eggs)
  • bake for 18-20 minutes (top should be soft but just set); let cool
  • flip cake over using a plate, peel off parchment paper, and garnish with raspberries and powdered sugar if you want.

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Sunday, July 1, 2017: Dinner No. 89: Kuka Paka (Chicken with Coconut)
Jul 3rd, 2017 by Katekoster

Today we wanted to make something we had never made before and we were inspired by an article we saw in The New York Times on June 21, 2017 about a Kenya dish called Kuku Paka (Chicken with Coconut).   It’s a traditional Kenyan dish that apparently “invites tinkering” according to the NYT so it sounded perfect for us. Here is the before and after:

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First we trimmed the fat of chicken thighs, wings and legs. Then we cut scores into the chicken pieces so the marinade we were about to make could sink in better.


Then we made a marinade.  We chopped up onions, ginger, tomatoes, garlic and added cumin, salt and coriander.  The recipe called for serrano chiles but we forgot to buy those so we added some chili powder.  Then we blended it in a blender and spread 1 cup of it over the chicken. We let that marinade for about 5 hours and saved the rest of the marinade.

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After about 5 hours, we started making the sauce.  We combined the rest of the marinade with coconut oil and coconut milk and let simmer for about 20 minutes.  It turned a really cool orange.

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Meanwhile we grilled the chicken.  When the chicken was cooked through, we added it to the sauce and let simmer some more.

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It smelled so good! Finally we served it over couscous along with an arugula/tomato/burrata salad.  Some of the “tinkering” we did included garnishing the dish with basil instead of parsley (which was what the recipe called for.) We also added corn to the dish.  It was delicious–creamy and very sweet. The coconut added sweetness to the sauce and kept me constantly returning to the kitchen for more.

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