July 27 – July 31, 2020: Week of Homegrown Food
Aug 6th, 2020 by Max Koster

Welcome to  To learn more about the history of this website, scroll down a few posts.  Otherwise, if you want to know what my sister and I have been cooking: stay right here.

This week I (Max) wanted to try to incorporate something from our garden into at least one meal a day.    Our garden is doing pretty well: we had a lot of peas early on (they’re done now), and now zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and potatoes are in season.  None of our sunflowers made it (the birds ate the seeds as soon as we planted them); only a few of our zinnias bloomed, and only one kale plant survived.  (I am saving that for mom.)

Monday, July 27, 2020


Today’s yield from the garden was mainly cucumbers and tomatoes, so I incorporated them into a tomato-cucumber salad to go along with souvlaki style chicken, pita bread, and rice.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020


We picked a full basket (almost everything in the garden made it in the basket), so I used the lettuce and tomato in a salad with goat cheese, the cucumbers in a separate salad and baked the potatoes (and served that all with steak sandwiches.)

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After dinner, I decided to use up some of our zucchini to make zucchini bread: so delicious!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2020


Today’s yield was a lot of tomatoes, basil and (of course, more zucchini and cucumbers) so I decided to make a tomato-mozzarella-basil salad.

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Thursday, July 30, 2020


Today’s yield was a lot of lettuce and a few zinnias.  However, we had zucchini and basil leftover so I decided to make a zucchini-basil frittata.  This is pretty easy.  You just sautee garlic, thinly sliced zucchini, and basil in olive oil till zucchini slightly soft.  Then pour in 8 beaten eggs.  Cook till eggs are set, sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on top and broil until golden brown.  (This is a family favorite.)

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Friday, July 31, 2020

Today’s yield was mainly tomatoes (and very hot peppers) so I decided to make an arugula, tomato, and corn salad.  The peppers are way too hot to put in the salad!

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

Welcome to! 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.


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  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.



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


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


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


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



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.)



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!



Friday, June 27, 2020: Baked Banana Berry Oatmeal
Jul 3rd, 2020 by Max Koster

Welcome to  Today I (Max) wanted to make something healthy for breakfast that I could also snack on for a couple of days, so I decided to make Baked Banana Berry Oatmeal.  It’s easy to make but does have a fair number of ingredients, including butter, milk, eggs, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup, oats, bananas, blueberries and walnuts.

Instead of writing about the process,  however, I made a video: watch it here:

And here’s a still from the video of the final product. Enjoy!


Saturday, June 20, 2020: Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder
Jun 30th, 2020 by Max Koster

Welcome to, a website my sister and I started 5 years ago (read more about that a few posts below) For dinner tonight (Saturday), I wanted to cook a big piece of pork (pork shoulder) but it’s been really hot so I decided to cook it the day before in a slow cooker, let it sit overnight (so all the fat that cooks out hardens so its easier to remove).  Ingredients are simple: pork, of course; bunch of spices for the dry rub; ketchup, and apple cider vinegar.  You can also add your favorite barbecue sauce to the slow cooker, or just add at the end when you serving the pork.


First step is to make the dry rub: I combined: onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano and salt and pepper. If you want it spicier, add cayenne.


Then you rub it over the pork.

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Into the slow cooker the pork goes, then mix the ketchup and apple cider vinegar together (should be about a cup of liquid) and add around the pork.  (I added a little barbecue sauce as well), and let cook on low for 8 hours.


Here’s what it looked like about 4 hours in:


Once it’s cooked for 8 hours, it should be very tender. Let it cool for a bit, then remove the pork from the pot, cut the strings keeping it together (discard strings!) and shred it with a fork. I put the shredded meat in a separate bowl and refrigerate it overnight.  I also refrigerated the slow cooker pot with the liquid in it (which had a lot of fat in it), overnight.


In the morning, there was over 1/4 inch of solidified orange fat on top of the cooking liquid.  It was actually fun to cut it off….but there was a lot of it.

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Here’s the plate of fat I removed.


And here’s what the remaining sauce looked like:


I added back the shredded pork and warmed everything up for an hour or so before serving.


Mom made fresh rolls to go with the meat:

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Delicious! And lots of leftovers.

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

Welcome to  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.


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

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Then combine the yolks with sugar:


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


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


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.


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.)





Monday, June 15, 2020: Strawberry Pie and More
Jun 16th, 2020 by Max Koster

Welcome to  To find out more about this website, and my sister’s and my cooking adventures, scroll down a couple of posts.  To learn about we’re cooking now….just keep reading.

This past Saturday we went strawberry picking at a nearby organic berry farm called Thompson Finch.  We wore masks and practiced social distancing and picked 15 pounds of amazing berries. As soon as we got home we made Joe’s shortcakes to go with the strawberries, but we can’t share that recipe because it’s, well, Joe’s recipe.  But they are sweet, moist biscuits (and really good with strawberries and whipped cream.)  (Sometimes they are for sale at Thompson Finch Farm).

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Today, however, I wanted to make a family favorite: strawberry pie.  My mom usually makes it this time of year but I wanted to try myself.  It’s actually really easy.  You need 5 to 6 cups of strawberries, water, corn starch, pre-made graham cracker crust, and sugar.  (You can make the graham cracker crust from scratch but we had one in the cupboard and I still have school, so I chose to use the pre-made one).


First step is to wash and hull the strawberries.  (Hull means to chop off the green leaves and stem).  About 1 cup needs to be set aside to make the strawberry sauce; the rest will go in the pie crust.

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Before I took out the plastic liner from the pie crust, I checked to make sure I had enough berries to fill the pan.  Then I mashed up the other cup to make the sauce.

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Next step was to combine the mashed up strawberries with sugar and bring to a light boil.


Then, mix cornstarch and water, add to the strawberry mix, and drizzle over the berries in the pie pan.

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Finally, you put all the berries and all the sauce in the pie pan and refrigerate for a couple hours.


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

Welcome to   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):


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.


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!


Saturday May 2, 2020: More COVID Comfort Food: Thanksgiving in May!
May 10th, 2020 by Katekoster

Welcome to  To learn more about our website, and we why started doing it five years ago, scroll down a couple of posts. To read what we cooked today: read on right here!

Even though it was May, we decided we really needed some traditional comfort food so we decided to make Thanksgiving Dinner: turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. The only thing missing was the pumpkin pie.

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First step was to make sure there was nothing inside the turkey (mom said sometimes the neck or liver is inside…unfortunately she was right).  Good thing we had extra gloves.


Next step was to tuck the wings into the skin and then rub the bird with butter and salt and pepper.

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Then into the oven at 325 degrees for 3 and 1/2 hours.  (Time to cook depends on the size of turkey: this was one 13 pounds).  We covered it with a tent of foil for the first two hours of cook time so it wouldn’t get too brown. We checked it every hour. The second photo is about halfway through the cooking.

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About an hour before the turkey was supposed to be done, we started peeling potatoes.  Then we chopped them into quarters and put them in water to boil.


Max was in charge of mashing once the potatoes were fork tender

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For the stuffing, we chopped an onion, sauteed it and added chicken broth.  Once that was combined, we added the stuffing mix.  Right before serving we toasted it in the oven.

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Cranberry sauce was easy: from a can (that’s our favorite; homemade has too many whole berries!) We pulled out the turkey and let it sit for 20 minutes while we finished up the stuffing, added butter to the potatoes and set the table.  Mom sauteed kale since we “forgot” to include a green vegetable.

Then it was time to plate and eat. Each individual part of the dinner was pretty easy. Hardest thing was making sure each part was done at the same time). Happy Thanksgiving in May!

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Sunday, April 26, 2020: More COVID Comfort Food: Barbecued Brisket
May 3rd, 2020 by Katekoster

Hi, welcome to  To learn more about this blog, scroll down a few posts.  To find out what I cooked for COVID comfort food this week, keep reading here.  This week’s comfort food was barbecued brisket, made in a slow cooker.  I started it on Saturday morning, let it cook all day, refrigerated overnight and then reheated it for Sunday dinner.  Ingredients are simple: spices for a dry rub, beef brisket and barbecue sauce.


The first step is to remove some of the extra fat on the brisket.


Next, put together the dry rub for the brisket and rub it in.  The dry rub has onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and salt and pepper. It needs to rubbed into the meat.

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Then into the slow cooker with barbecue sauce and let it cook.

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Here’s what it looks like after eight hours in the slow cooker. Yummy!


After it cooked for 8 hours, I let it cool down and put it in the refrigerator overnight.  This makes it super easy to remove excess fat because it solidifies.  (Orange stuff around the edges is solid fat).


The bowl has all the fat we removed!!


Then I reheated it.

I like to break up the brisket with a fork so the sauce penetrates deeper into the meat.


Then it was time to eat.  I served the brisket with a hamburger bun and arugula salad.

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