December 30, 2020: Lamb Riblets
Dec 31st, 2020 by Max Koster

Welcome to, a website that I (Max) started with my sister (Alex) in 2015 to talk about our cooking experiments and encourage kids to cook more.  We are fortunate enough to have plenty to eat in our family, so we also founded it to draw attention to the issue of hunger.  Especially as this challenging year draws to an end, if you are able, consider donating to a hunger or poverty relief charity.  Two of our favorites are Action Against Hunger and City Harvest.  To learn more about, scroll down a few posts.  To see what we’re cooking today…stay right here.

Tonight I decided to try to cook Lamb Riblets.  I had never heard of them, but my family bought a whole lamb from Herondale Farm (an organic farm in the Hudson Valley).   We love lamb but it’s not always available in the grocery store, and when it is, it’s often very expensive, so we thought it made sense to buy one.  We also wanted to support small farmers like Herondale’s.  However, when you buy a whole lamb, you get everything, including heart, liver, and riblets.  Fortunately, it comes butchered, frozen, and in vacuum packs.

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Riblets look sort of like beef short ribs and when I looked up recipes, I found a simple recipe for garlic roasted ribs. It looked delicious and the ingredients were straight forward:

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Here’s the recipe:

  • 1-1/2 pounds lamb riblets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon  paprika

After preheating the oven to 375 degrees, the next step was to chop the 4 cloves of garlic.


Then I combined the paprika, onion powder, olive oil, salt, and garlic and rubbed the mix all over the lamb.  I added a bit more olive oil because there wasn’t quite enough of the mix.

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This is what they looked like before I put them in the oven:


After 45 minutes, I took the riblets out:


Dad had bought Indian food from Ozone Park in Queens, where his office is, and we combined that with the riblets. The nan, rice, and chicken masala were a good complement.


To be honest, the riblets were good but the Indian food was better.  The lamb meat was delicious but there was a lot of fat and sinew around it. Next time I cook them, I think I will braise them–cooking them for a long time in a slow cooker– to dissolve all that, and then remove the fat.  Live and learn (and happy new year!)


December 25, 2020: Merry Christmas! Yuletide Log
Dec 26th, 2020 by Alex Koster

Merry Christmas and welcome to, a website my brother Max and I (Alex) started in 2015 to share our love of cooking and encourage more kids to cook.   To learn more about the website, scroll down a few posts.

To see what we cooked today, stay right here.

Today, I (Alex) am doing the cooking or at least the baking.  Max is busy finishing his college applications and mom is cooking most of the other parts of Christmas dinner, so I took on the fun job of making dessert.  Yuletide Log, or Buche Noel, is our traditional Christmas dessert, and Max’s favorite, so I decided to make it.  The batter is a traditional light sponge cake but the frosting is unusual and delicious (we use a raw egg yolk!).  The first step is to make a sponge cake.

Here are the ingredients for the cake:


After you butter and flour a 15 inch shallow pan, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees, you need to separate the eggs and mix 1/2 cup flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder.


Next step is  beat the 4 egg yolks with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a mixer on high speed for 5 minutes until they are a thick, lemon-colored consistency. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and beat till dissolved.


After thoroughly cleaning the beaters, you then beat the 4 egg whites till soft peaks form.  Then add 1/3 cup sugar and beat till stiff peaks form.


Gently fold the egg yolk mix into the egg white mix (I first mixed 1/2 cup of the beaten egg whites into the egg yolks to lighten them, and then folded the yolk mix into the whites mix). Once that’s combined, sprinkle the flour mix on top of the batter and again, gently fold in until just combined.


Spread the batter over your buttered pan and bake for 15 minutes until just light brown and the cake springs back when you touch it.


Loosen from tray immediately and place on a clean dishtowel sprinkled with powdered sugar.

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Gently roll up in the towel, and let cool in that position.


When the cake is cooled unroll from the towel, and prepare to frost!


I think the frosting is the most unique thing about this cake: it’s certainly the tastiest.  Ingredients are:

  • 12 oz of semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons of cognac or rum (optional)
  • 1 egg yolk.

Melt the chocolate and once cooled, cream in the softened butter. Then add the vanilla and, if you choose (and the frosting is not too liquid), add the cognac or rum.  Finally, mix in the raw egg yolk.  I didn’t add the cognac because the frosting seemed liquid enough and I didn’t want to thin it out too much. If you are worried about the raw egg yolk, you can leave it out; the frosting just won’t be as rich or glossy, but it will still taste good.

Then you spread 1/3 of the frosting on the cake and roll it up.


Then you frost the outside (and the ends).

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The final step is to take the back of a fork and run lines down the frosting (to make it look like bark).  Then into the fridge the roll goes so the frosting can harden.


Just before serving, I like to decorate it with holiday figures.  Although the plastic deer on top is out of proportion, it’s an important holiday feature (we have so many deer around our house that we like to include them (symbolically) in our Christmas celebration.)

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(Here’s our friendly fawn, about 4 feet away from our house this morning, considering whether or not to eat our holly bush…seriously, that can’t taste good!)


Finally, in case you’re wondering, here’s the rest of the holiday feast prepared by mom: roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, roasted Brussel sprouts and English peas. Merry, Merry Christmas!

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Saturday, December 19, 2020: Snow Ball Cookies
Dec 25th, 2020 by Alex Koster

Hi, welcome to KidsCookDinner.  To read what we’re cooking today, stay right here.  Or, to learn more about this site and how it started, scroll down.  And happy holidays!

This is Alex.  Today, in honor of the official start of winter coming up (December 21) and the huge snowstorm NYC received on Thursday, I decided to make Snow Ball cookies (also known as Russian Teacakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes or Pecan Balls.) Ingredients are straightforward: butter, powdered sugar, pecans, flour, salt, vanilla, and the recipe is surprisingly simple….just several steps.


After you preheat the oven to 350 degrees, you need to chop the pecans: I decided to chop them finely because I don’t like big chunks of pecans. But that’s a personal choice.  You can also use walnuts if you prefer.


You need 1 cup of chopped pecans.


Next step is to cream 1 cup butter with 1/2 cup powdered sugar; once creamed, add the vanilla.


The next step is to mix the flour and salt and add, along with the chopped pecans, to the butter/sugar mix.  The dough is very stiff and dry.  I used a spoon to do the final mixing.

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Then you shape them into small balls and cook for 15 minutes, or until light gold.  You don’t want to over cook as they are pretty fragile.


As soon as you remove them from the oven you roll them gently in powdered sugar and let cool.  Do be careful rolling, I pressed a little hard and the cookie exploded.  Once they are cool,  you roll them again in powdered sugar.  The recipe said this would take 1/3 cup powdered sugar but I probably used a cup (I do like sugar).  In any event, the end result was delicious.

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December 5, 2020: Pecan Pie (FINALLY!)
Dec 13th, 2020 by Max Koster

Hey, welcome to  My sister and I started this website in 2015.  We post about dinners we’ve cooked (or eaten) and also try to encourage kids to cook and be aware of the extent of hunger worldwide and how we can help.  We support an international charity called Action Against Hunger (to learn more about that organization and what we’ve donated to them, scroll down a few posts).  To learn about what we’re cooking now… stay right here.


So at the last minute, I (Max) told mom I’d like a pecan pie (in addition to pumpkin pie) for Thanksgiving, unfortunately, that meant I told her at noon on Thanksgiving Day that I would like a pecan pie.  She was fine with the idea, but we didn’t have all the ingredients, mainly Karo corn syrup.  Dad and I drove around to see if we could find the Karo corn syrup but none was to be found.  Accordingly, the following weekend, my mom and I dedicated ourselves to baking the perfect pecan pie.

Ingredients are straightforward: Pie crust, pecans, brown sugar, eggs, Karo syrup, vanilla, and salt.

Mom volunteered to make the pie crust (you can definitely buy a premade pie crust, but if your mom volunteers to make you one, that’s definitely better, plus if there’s extra pastry you can make other stuff with it.)


Ideally, the pie crust should be cooked for about 10 minutes at high heat, but if you are in a hurry you probably don’t need to bake it. If you do bake it, make sure you let it cool before you add the filling.


For the filling, I combined 1 cup of Karo Corn Syrup, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of butter (melted), 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 and 1/2 cups pecans.

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(I included the shot where I added the syrup because of the interesting separation of syrup vs. eggs.) The next step was to combine the brown sugar and the pecans.

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Then, we had to add the pecan mix to the par-baked pie crust. (Thanks Mom)

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Final step was to cook the pie (and eat, of course).

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Really, really delicious. Next Thanksgiving, I will be sure to request Pecan Pie a bit earlier (also, to be honest, better to chop up the pecans a bit). Whole pecans look pretty but are hard to cut with a fork.  Also, since mom made the pie pastry and a bit extra pastry,  I was able to make cinnamon pastries ( where you roll out extra pie dough, sprinkle it with butter and cinnamon sugar and bake…mini cinnamon rolls but even more delicious.  Especially with a bit of milk and a quick check of my phone.

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November 26, 2020: Thanksgiving Dinner (and leftovers the next day)
Dec 7th, 2020 by Max Koster

This year, Thanksgiving was an intimate affair: just the five of us: Mom, Dad, Alex, Koko (dog), and me, Max.  With COVID levels increasing, we decided to stick with the basics (nothing fancy this year) and each of us took responsibility for part of the meal.

I was in charge of the stuffing; Alex was in charge of the pumpkin pie; Mom was in charge of the turkey and vegetables (supposedly Brussel sprouts); Dad was in charge of mashing the potatoes; and Koko was in charge of cleaning up the floor.  Midway through the preparations, Mom realized she had forgotten to buy Brussel sprouts so she made a kale salad instead from the last of the kale in our garden.  Additionally, around noon Dad and I decided we wanted pecan pie as well as pumpkin pie and drove around trying to find the ingredients, but everything was closed.  At least I got to practice driving — but I really wanted pecan pie!

Although I didn’t want to change tradition too much, I decided to make “Stuffin’ Muffins” instead of regular stuffing.   The main difference is how you cook the stuffing (in individual muffin tins, versus one big pot). Because there is more surface area of the stuffing exposed to heat, there is more delicious crispiness.

Stuffin’ Muffins


Ingredients for stuffin’ muffins are pretty straightforward: Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix (the best); butter, onion, and chicken broth.  I used the whole bag of stuffing.  There was some discussion about adding sausage to the mix, but that was deemed too much of a break from tradition (maybe next Thanksgiving).  Also if you have celery you can chop and add that.  (Mom forgot to buy celery as well as the Brussel sprouts)

The first step is to preheat the oven to 325 degrees and butter the muffin tin.  The next step is to chop the onions.

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Then it was time to melt the butter in a saucepan and sautee the onions. (Note that Koko is diligently doing her job in the background, checking for scraps on the floor.)


Then you add the broth and the stuffing mix to the onions and stir till well combined.

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Fill the muffin tins with the stuffing mix and bake for 35-40 minutes or until brown and crispy on top.  Let cool for 10 minutes before you remove.

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Here is the final version: they tasted great but did fall apart a bit. Next time I will add a bit more chicken broth (AND SAUSAGE!).

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Pumpkin Pie:

(This is Alex):  My job was pumpkin pie.  We always make pumpkin pie using Libby’s Pumpkin Pie mix and follow Libby’s recipe (so long as we have the ingredients). It’s pretty simple.  You need one 15 ounce can of Libby’s pure pumpkin, one 12 ounce can of Evaporated Milk, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.   (Of course, we didn’t have cloves, and the ground ginger was about 10 years old, so we didn’t use those; I added an extra 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon instead.)

The first step is to combine the sugar, spices, and salt in a small bowl.  Then in a larger bowl, you add the two eggs and beat them.


Next step is to stir in the pumpkin mix and gradually add the evaporated milk


When everything is combined, you pour into a pie shell.  I prefer the graham crust kind.  Also, it’s easier to handle if you place the pie shell on a larger tray before you put it in the oven (because the filling is liquid, it’s easy to spill without that tray)

Piepouring    prepiebake

You cook at 450 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees until a knife inserted toward the center of the pie comes out clean. It has to set for at least 2 hours, and since we like it cold, I made it Thanksgiving morning so we could refrigerate before dinner.  We served it with freshly whipped cream.



Here’s the before and after turkey shots (the green stuff is thyme from our garden):

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And here’s the dinner plate.  We didn’t make the cranberry sauce.  It’s weird but we really love the pre-made, canned cranberry sauce; that’s just one of our traditions.



Everyone loves Thanksgiving leftovers, and everyone raves about turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey chili…etc. But really one of the best use of leftovers is our family’s invention: Turkey Mash! I (Max) personally love making a meat hash out of leftovers. Say for example you cook steak and baked potatoes for dinner.  The next day, steak hash with onions and chopped baked potatoes is awesome, especially if you have some good left over veggies to throw in. So for the day after Thanksgiving, we made Turkey Hash, or more accurately Turkey Mash. The first step was to chop an onion and sautee it in olive oil.  We had a couple of pieces of bacon so we chopped those up and threw them in.  Then we added some frozen corn that needed to be cooked and a bunch of chopped up turkey.  Finally, we added left over mashed potatoes.  Because they are so soft, it didn’t look or have the texture of normal meat hash, but it was still delicious.

turkey mash



Tuesday, December 1, 2020: GIVING DAY
Dec 1st, 2020 by Alex Koster

Today is Giving Day! Don’t forget to give to a worthy charity today, if you can. We are giving to Action Against Hunger.

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Even loose change helps!

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