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Announcement: Saturday, April 21, 2018: Dinner No. 111: Lamb Burgers with Clafouti for dessert
Apr 22nd, 2018 by Katekoster

Today I (Alex) actually made dessert in the afternoon (because I had a soccer game at 5:00) and Max was in charge of making lamb burgers later for when Mom and I got back from the soccer game.  I decided to make a dessert called clafoutis because it looked cool and Mom said it was kind of like the Dutch Apple Pancake we made last week.  She was right–it’s like a sweet pancake batter poured over fruit; usually cherries or plums, and then you bake the whole thing in the oven.  However, we don’t like cherries or plums much, plus when we went to the store there were no cherries or plums so we bought frozen mixed berries to use.

Clafoutis

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The ingredients are simple: milk, 3 eggs, sugar, vanilla, melted butter and flour. You whisk those all together and pour into an oven proof pan.  Then you add your fruit.

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The recipe didn’t say to butter the pan, but I wish we had because our claufouti stuck to the bottom of the pan a bit.  Also, although the berries tasted delicious, I think the fact that they were frozen and then thawed meant they added a little too much liquid to the batter…so it didn’t puff as much as it might have.  Next time we will use drier, fresh berries. With whipped cream though, it didn’t matter!

clafoutiwhipped

Lamb Burgers

I (Max) was in charger of burgers and a salad since Alex and mom were in Brooklyn at Alex’s soccer game.  I shaped the burgers ahead of time, making a little depression in the center so they wouldn’t puff up. And I made simple arugula, goat cheese and tomato salad.  I also measured some quinoa to cook on the side.

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Quinoa is pretty cool.  I love the before and after pictures where it goes from these tiny seeds to puffy circles with a spiral in them.

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When Alex got back from her game, I cooked the burgers on a grill pan on top of the stove (watch out because there is a lot of fat in ground lamb and it sprays off in hot droplets.) And I started the water for the quinoa.  We added goat cheese to a couple of the burgers.  And we always toast the buns on the grill pan at the end.

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Then it was time to eat.  Note: mom and dad were welcome to the quinoa: Alex and I had left over fries from Shake Shack…we were being environmentally thoughtful and using up leftovers (plus we like the fries better:)

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Announcement: Sunday, April 15, 2018: Dutch Apple Pancake
Apr 16th, 2018 by Katekoster

Today we wanted something a little different for breakfast but that was both sweet and sort of healthy.  Mom also had apples that she said we needed to eat or use up so we decided to make a Dutch Apple Pancake. This is a really easy, fun thing to make and it looks super cool when you take it out of the oven (it’s really puffy).  It settles down after about a minute but its still delicious. We first made this when Max was in kindergarten doing an apple study in Eve’s class and it has been one of our favorite morning (or anytime) dishes since then.

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The first thing to do is preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Then assemble the ingredients: apples, butter, cinnamon, eggs, milk, flour and salt. First you peel and slice 3 large or 4 medium apples. Then you toss with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.  (If your apples are really tart, you may want to add some sugar.  We used Gala apples and they didn’t need any sugar). Meanwhile melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a pan.  After its melted, remove 2 tablespoons and set aside and then add the apple-cinnamon mix to the saute pan.  Sautee till softening but not floppy.

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Now its time to make the pancake mix: combine 3 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup flour, the melted butter you set aside and 1/4 teaspoon salt and whisk well.  Helpful hint: try to have the eggs at room temperature. Then pour the batter over the apple mix and pop in the oven for 20 minutes.  Cook until golden brown and puffed up! And if you want sprinkle a little powdered sugar over it before serving, even better.

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Announcement: Saturday, April 7, 2018: Dinner No. 110: Tandoori Chicken with Raita and Spicy Kale
Apr 8th, 2018 by Katekoster

Tonight we wanted to make Indian food for our dad, because it’s one of his favorites and we don’t eat it very often.  We decided to make Tandoori-style chicken served with rice, raita, spicy kale and chickpeas and naan.  We actually started the chicken the day before because it’s best if it marinates overnight.  We based our recipe on one we found in Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbook called Indian Cooking. (See below for our fancy plating…especially the heart shaped rice, with chick pea )

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Tandoori Chicken

The first thing we needed to do was prep the ingredients for the marinade:  We peeled and chopped 1/2 onion into quarters, peeled about an inch of ginger, sliced a clove of garlic and chopped 1/2 a jalapeno pepper.  Then we put all those ingredients in a blender with plain yogurt and a spice called Garam Masala which consits of cardomom seeds, cinnomon, cumin cloves, and nutmeg. This is a very traditional spice that is commonly used in north Indian and Pakistani homes, there are many variations, each tasting wonderful. Anyway, after adding all of the ingredients, we blended them until combined… using the food proseser!

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Meanwhile we put the chicken thighs in a pan and cut 2 slits in each piece (so the marinade could seep in).  Then we salted and peppered them, squeezed a lemon on top and spread the marinade over them.  We added a little tumeric to make the marinade more colorful (because Tandoori Chicken is usually very orange) but then read in Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbook that the deep orange color of Tandoori Chicken comes from food coloring so we added food coloring to the marinade).

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After it marinated overnight, we shook off as much marinade as we could and baked the chicken in a 450 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Note that if you leave a lot of marinade on the chicken, it bakes onto the pan and is hard to clean.  We saved the extra marinade and boiled it (to kill any germs) and added a little chicken broth to make a sauce.

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Raita

Raita is a yogurt based dip that we like because it cools down any spicy food.  Traditionally its just cucumber, cumin, plain yogurt (and salt and pepper), but we like to add chopped tomatoes as well.  It’s best if you make it a couple hours ahead of time so the flavors “blend together.”

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Kale and Chickpeas

Mom really likes an Indian dish that combines spinach and chickpeas, but since we didn’t have spinach (and we had kale), we decided to use kale instead.  First we de-stalked the kale and rough chopped it.  Then we sauteed drained chickpeas in olive oil with a little cumin, garlic powder and curry powder.  Then we removed the chickpeas and sauteed the kale in the same pan.  We combined the kale and the chickpeas right before serving.

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Finally we plated the chicken with rice and sauce, along side the kale chickpea combo.  Naan and raita were on the side.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018: Sumo Orange Challenge
Apr 15th, 2018 by Katekoster

Today we decided to do a taste test between a regular Navel Orange and a Sumo Orange.

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Sumo Oranges are oranges that are a little bigger than regular oranges, have a rougher skin and have a “top-not” (sort of like a Sumo wrestler’s top not).  It’s a pretty new citrus varietal that was developed in Japan but is now grown in California.  It is a hybrid of both the mandarin and orange families. We evaluated the two oranges on 1. appearance; 2. ease of peeling; 3.stickiness of hands after eating; and 4. taste.

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  1. Appearance: Sumo won just because it looks so cool
  2. Ease of peeling: Sumo won again: you can essentially peel it in one peel
  3. Stickiness of hands after eating: tie.  We expected the Sumo to win this one but neither orange was particularly sticky
  4. Taste: Navel Orange won by a long shot.  Maybe its just that we don’t like the taste of mandarins? But the Navel Orange was sweet and refreshing…the Sumo Orange not so much.
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