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Friday, September 18, 2020: Homemade Bagels
Sep 28th, 2020 by Alex Koster

Welcome to KidsCookDinner.com.  To learn more about our website and how my brother Max and I started cooking, scroll down a few posts.  To find out what I (Alex) am cooking, please stay right here.

Today I felt like New York bagels but we are not in NYC so I decided to make my own.  Ingredients are pretty simple: flour, water, yeast, salt, sugar, and luckily we had some good toppings in the cupboard (sesame seeds and Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel mix).

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The process isn’t difficult but there are quite a few steps.  The first one was to proof the yeast by combining it with warm water and sugar.  This usually takes about 5 minutes, so while that was going on, I combined the flour and salt and made a well for the yeast mixture.

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Once the 5 minutes as up and the yeast was activated, I poured it into the dry mix.

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Then I had to mix everything together and knead the dough for 10 minutes.  It was very stiff: I got a good arm workout!

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After that, I let the dough rise till it doubled (about an hour) and then punched it down.  That was satisfying.

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Then I split the dough into 8 pieces, rolled each one into a ball, and then made a hole in the center of each ball to make the bagel shape.

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The next step was weird but apparently essential: I cooked each bagel in boiling water for 1 minute each side.

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After that, it was time to top them (with sesame or everything bagel mix) and put in the oven to bake.

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20 minutes later, I had fresh NYC bagels!

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August 24, 2020: Tiramisu!
Sep 9th, 2020 by Alex Koster

Today I (Alex) woke up with a yearning for tiramisu.  I convinced Max that we needed to make it and then convinced my mom to drive to the closest grocery store to get the ingredients.   Tiramisu is a coffee-flavored dessert made up of ladyfingers dipped in coffee with layers of a whipped mixture of cream, vanilla, sugar, and mascarpone cheese, with cocoa powder sprinkled on top.  (Ladyfingers and mascarpone cheese are not something we usually have in our pantry, so that’s why I needed mom’s help.)  Here are the ingredients:

TiramisuIngredients

So the first step was to whip the cream, sugar, and mascarpone cheese together.

TiramisuWhipping

The next step was to soak the ladyfingers in coffee (the recipe called for coffee and coffee liqueur, but my mom nixed the liqueur.)

More Dunking  TiramisuDunking

Then it was time to layer: first the soaked ladyfingers, then the whipped mix, then ladyfingers, then whipped mix, and then, finally cocoa powder on top.

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Then we had to let it sit for four hours. (Are you kidding me?) we definitely cut that timeline short to try it.

FINAL FINAL Tiramsu

 

Delicious!

Saturday, July 18, 2020: Sous Vide Steaks with Chimichurri and Chopped Salad
Aug 3rd, 2020 by Alex Koster

Welcome to kidscookdinner.com! Today I (Alex) wanted to experiment with Sous Vide.  I took an online class with the Institute of Culinary Education at noon that demonstrated how to make a variety of dishes using Sous Vide and decided to try their strip steak recipe.

The first step was to cook a head of garlic (to be used in flavoring the steak).  Apparently, if you use raw garlic as a flavor element in Sous Vide, it can taste a little bitter but cooked garlic is fine and pretty easy to do: cut off the tops of the cloves in a head, wrap in foil and cook in 340-degree oven for 30 minutes.  Then you squeeze the soft cloves out of the head.

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Next step was to sear the steaks (after salt and peppering them well). ICE recommends searing both before and after the sous vide cooking process because if you only do it after, by the time you have gotten the steaks appropriately brown, you will have overcooked them.

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Meanwhile, the water is heating up to precisely 57 degrees Celsius.

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Then the steaks go into plastic bags to be vacuumed sealed and placed into the water.  Per the ICE recipe I put one clove of cooked garlic and 1 sprig of thyme in with the steak.  They recommend that the flavor elements not touch the steak because they may get embedded into it.

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Meanwhile, while the steaks cooked, I made a quick chimichurri sauce: chopped garlic, parsley, basil, and olive oil; prepped potatoes for baking; and chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocado for a simple salad.

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After 2 hours, I removed the steaks from the water bath, one by one, patted them dry, and seared them briefly one more time to remove any moisture.

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Then everything went on the table and I plated up dinner. The steaks were perfectly, evenly, cooked inside. Yum.

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Saturday July 4, 2020: Homemade Hostess Cupcakes
Jul 19th, 2020 by Alex Koster

Welcome to kidscookdinner.com.  To learn more about how this website started, scroll down a few posts.  Otherwise, just to read about what my brother and I are cooking, stay right here. To celebrate the 4th of July, I (Alex) decided to make an All-American favorite: Hostess Cupcakes.  The recipe is pretty easy, but there are a lot of steps so it takes some time because you have to: (1) make the cupcakes; (2) make the filling; and (3) finally make the frosting.  The most important ingredient that you might not have on hand is marshmallow fluff and the most important tool is a cake decorating kit.  We didn’t have any of our cake decorating tips (or piping bags) so we had to improvise a bit, as you will see.

The Cupcakes: the first step is to make the chocolate cupcakes.  You combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and then separate two eggs and then whip them.

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Then it’s time to combine the egg yolks and the dry ingredients.

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Meanwhile, you beat the egg whites and gently fold them into the chocolate batter.

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Then it’s time to divide into 12 cupcakes.  Max gave me an assist on this.

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Then into a preheated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

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The Filling: while the cupcakes are cooling (they need to cool completely), you make the filling: this is easy: just combine marshmallow fluff, powdered sugar, butter and a little cream.  Then you are supposed to use a cake decorating tip and piping bag to in pipe the filling directly into the cupcakes.  We didn’t have a good cake decorating tip (just a very small one) and no piping bags, so this was kind of a disaster.  We couldn’t get the filling to go into the cupcakes (and the plastic bags we tried to use kept bursting).  Ultimate we sliced the cupcakes horizontally and filled them that way. (It was so messy, we couldn’t take photos)

The Frosting: for the frosting you combine heavy cream, chopped bitter sweet chocolate and butter to make a ganache.  (Frankly, I think it was a little to bitter so next time I am going to do 1/2 bitter sweet and 1/2 semi-sweet.)

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Then you are supposed to dip the cupcakes in the bowl of frosting, but we really couldn’t do that because we had split them in half so we just frosted them normally.

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The final touch is the fine, squiggly line across the top.  That was impossible without cake decorating tools so we improvised again by putting a circle of white frosting (the filling) on top.  Slightly unorthodox, but still delicious!

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Monday, June 15, 2020: Sweet Cream Ice Cream (to go with Strawberry Pie)
Jun 21st, 2020 by Alex Koster

Welcome to kidscookdinner.com.  Scroll down a few posts to learn more about the website my brother and I started in 2015, or, to see what we’re cooking right now, just keep reading Today Max was focusing on making fresh strawberry pie so I decided to make Sweet Cream Ice Cream to go along with it.  Sweet Cream Ice Cream is vanilla ice cream without vanilla….tastes like frozen whipped cream, but with a better consistency.  Ingredients are very simple: egg yolks, sugar, cream and milk.

SweetCreamIngredients

First step is to separate the yolks from the whites and whisk them.

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Then combine the yolks with sugar:

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Meanwhile heat whole milk and cream until almost boiling (little bubbles should be forming around the edges):

SweetCreamCream

Then you have to combine the yolk/sugar mix with the hot cream/milk mix.

SweetCreamTempering

You do this by adding about a cup of the hot cream to the yolk mix while whisking.  This brings the temperature of the egg yolks up without scrambling them.  Then you add the yolk mix to the hot cream, again whisking all the time.  After that you let it cool for a couple of hours.

SweetCreambatter

Fast forward several hours, and we’re ready to make the ice cream.  Pour it in the mixer, put the lid on and wait about 25 minutes.

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When it starts to firm, test it, and if a good consistency…ENJOY.  I think it’s better eaten with something (like strawberry pie, oreos….to add more flavor.)

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Friday May 13, 2020: More COVID Comfort Food: French Bread (& Fondue)
May 22nd, 2020 by Alex Koster

Welcome to kidscookdinner.com.   Today, after school finished (early since it’s remote), I decided to make French Bread.  We aren’t shopping much thanks to COVID and we often run short of bread.  Since we were planning on having fondue for dinner, it was essential we have bread.  (Max couldn’t help because he is studying for four AP tests). Ingredients for French Bread are pretty simple: flour, water, yeast, a little salt, and egg white (for an egg wash):

DSC_5876ingredients

First step is to mix the yeast, water, salt and flour using an electric mixer.  Then you slowly add the flour (you start with 2 cups and try to work in almost 6 cups).  You have to use a spoon and your hands as the dough gets stiffer.

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Then you knead it until it’s a smooth ball (6 -8 minutes

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You place the ball of dough in a greased bowl, turn once, and let rise for an hour.

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After you punch down the dough (the most fun part of making bread), then you shape it into two long loaves by rolling out the dough in a rectangle and then rolling each up.  You let the loaves rise for 45 minutes; and then brush with egg wash (water + egg white).

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Then you make 3 diagonal slices in each loaf, about 1/4 inch deep, and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

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After 20 minutes, you remove from the oven and brush them one more time with egg wash so they get really crusty and brown.  They need about 15-20 minutes more of cooking time.

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Best way to eat them? With fondue, of course!

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