Saturday, March 17, 2018: Dinner No. 109: Shepherd’s Pie and Spinach Salad
Mar 19th, 2018 by Katekoster

Tonight we decided to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by making Shepherd’s Pie (which seems Irish) and spinach salad (which is green).


The first step in making shepherd’s pie is to start the mashed potatoes for the topping.  So that means peeling 6 potatoes (about 1-1/2 pounds), cutting them into hunks and putting them in water to cook.  Once that’s done, it’s time to chop 1 onion, 2 carrots,  2 gloves of garlic and 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme. Once everything is chopped, sautee the onions and carrots for 5 minutes (or until soft), and then add the garlic.

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Then it’s time to add 2 pounds of ground lamb and cook until no pink shows.  At this point, I recommend spooning out some of the extra fat (see photo of how much there is); otherwise your lamb filling may taste sort of greasy.  We scooped out almost 1/2 cup of extra oil/fat.  Then you can add tomato paste, red wine (or chicken broth) and the thyme.  Let the lamb mix simmer on low while you drain and mash the potatoes (mash them with butter, salt and pepper just like you would if you were going to eat them right then

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Now it’s time to put it all together.  First you put the lamb mix into a baking pan, then its time to put the mashed potatos on top.  You can just scoop them on and spread them but we decided to be “fancy”.  We decided to put them in a pastry bag and pipe them on top of the lamb mix. Then into the oven to brown.

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While the potatoes were browning, we made a spinach salad (with tomatoes, avocado and bacon).  All delicious.

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March 14, 2018: Happy Pi Day
Mar 14th, 2018 by Katekoster

To celebrate Pi Day we made apple pies for Alex’s math class, decorated with the Pi symbol.  Because it was a school night we used store bought pie crust (it was a lot of work just cutting up the apples and making the decorations so we didn’t think we had time to make the pie dough from scratch). And while homemade pie dough is definitely better, the Pillsbury pie dough we used was pretty good.  Here are the two finished pi pies.

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To make the pie filling, we peeled and sliced 10 gala apples.  We squeezed a lemon over the slices so they wouldn’t turn brown and we used gala apples because they are pretty sweet so we didn’t have to add sugar (we wanted them to be tasty but healthy).  Then we tossed the apple slices with 2 tablespoons of flour and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.


For the pie crust, we rolled out 4 rounds of dough.  We pressed two of the rounds into pie pans and let them chill in the fridge.  Then we trimmed the edges of the dough around the edge of the pan and filled with apples.

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Meanwhile we started working on the top of the pies.  Before we put the top on we cut out one bit pi symbol from each topping.  Then for Pie #1, we cut out little pi symbols out of extra dough to decorate the pie.  For Pie #2, we used the big pi pastry cut-outs to decorate.  (We used egg wash to make sure the decortions stuck and then egg washed the whole pie top.)  Hope Alex’s math class likes them!

Pie #1

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Pie #2

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Saturday, March 3, 2018: Dinner No. 108: Honey-Hoisin Ribs with Broccoli Stir Fry (and Crepes for dessert)
Mar 9th, 2018 by Katekoster

Tonight I (Max) was in charge of dinner and I wanted to make Asian-inspired ribs.  These ribs marinade in a hoisin-ginger marinade for several hours, then roast in the oven and finally get brushed with honey at the very end. We added more honey than suggested because who doesn’t love honey.  On the side I made stir fry broccoli and jasmine rice.  And Alex made delicious and decadent nutella-banana crepes for dessert.

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The hardest part of this recipe was cutting the ribs up (we bought a big slab of them); we had to use a Chef’s knife and meat scissors to cut them into ribs.

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Then we let them sit in a marinade made of chopped ginger, chopped garlic, hoisin sauce and soy sauce.  They need a minimum of two hours in the marinade.  Mom wanted salmon tonight so I experimented by using some of the marinade for a piece of salmon and roasting it too.

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For the ribs, I roasted them in a pan on a rack over a cup of water for about an hour, turning once mid way through.  I also roasted the salmon but only for about 15 minutes.  The final touch was brushing them with honey and letting them cook for 10 more minutes.  Meanwhile I chopped broccoli, blanched it (cooked in boiling hot water briefly) and stir fried it.  We served everything with rice.  Mom liked the ribs but she loved the salmon.  Next time she told me to make more salmon.

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Hi, this is Alex! For the crepes, I made a simple crepe mixture of eggs, milk, flour and salt.  The key is to gradually whisk the wet ingredients into the dry and then strain the whole mix to get out lumps.  It’s also easier to make if you have an electric crepe maker…we got one after we spent a week in Paris and fell in love with the crepe stands on the sidewalks (that had these cool crepe makers: sort of like a smooth grill pan).  If you don’t have an electric crepe maker,  use a crepe pan or shallow nonstick pan.

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After I made the batter, I heated the crepe maker, got all the ingredients ready, and poured a 1/2 cup of batter onto the heated, buttered crepe maker. When the first side was done, I flipped it over.

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Then came the fun part: spreading the nutella and bananas, folding and serving. I like it with whipped cream and strawberries!

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