August 20, 2018: Best Restaurants in Jackson, Wyoming
Aug 24th, 2018 by Katekoster

We just spent 10 days in Jackson, Wyoming; Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons and wanted to share our favorite restaurants:

Jackson, Wyoming:


Local is a modern, high end steakhouse on Jackson’s town square. Along with steak, the menu also has fresh seafood, shellfish, house-ground burgers, and seasonally-inspired food.

The brisket sandwich was a great dish. It was house-smoked beef brisket, coleslaw, bbq sauce on a brioche bun.  Also, the crab salad was made up of  wild Alaskan king crab, avocado, grilled corn, watercress, blue corn chips and a cilantro-lime pesto. (Mom loved it).  The pork rolls in lettuce were recomended by our waitress as a restaurant favorite, so dad and I ordered them, and they lived up to expectations. It was slow roasted pork shoulder, cabbage slaw, bibb lettuce, cilantro and korean bbq sauce, and make it your own style.

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Liberty Burger 

Liberty Burger was a more low end spot only a block away from the town square. The only downside was that they didn’t take reservations and there was a 40 minute wait for a table.  (Maybe if we hadn’t come at prime time (7:15 on a Saturday night when the 8:00 Jacskon Rodeo was on), it would have been faster.

Anyway, the Nooner Burger was one of the best burgers I have ever eaten.  It had an egg on it,bacon, ham, hashbrowns, and cheese. It combined lunch into dinner for one amazing meal. The chocolate shake was also very good…especially with the whipped cream and chocolate sauce!

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Mom ordered a turkey burger that seemed like it had more vegetables (cucumber, tomato and lettuce) than turkey so she like that. Alex ordered a traditional cheese burger that looked really good too. And of course the fries were great:

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Thai Me Up

Thai Me Up had exeptionally good Thai food.   I (Alex) ordered my personal favorite, sesame chicken with rice and broccoli.  It was a little spicy but the rice and veggies cooled it down. My brother amd mom ordered a noodle dish: Pad See EW with broccoli, green cabbage, egg, oyster soy sauce. They loved it, plus the servings were huge so they brought some home. Meanwhile my dad order the red curry which inclued noodles with a coconut chili-turmeric sauce, broccoli, tomato & red bell pepper. Plus he added shredded pork.  He ate it all!

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Hand Fire Pizza

My (Alex) other favorite was Hand Fire Pizza (also close to the main square).  It had a very wide variety of yummy pizza toppings.  In fact we loved it so much, we went there twice throughout our vacation. They had two massive brick oven stoves that made the pizza amazing (and you can watch them tossing the pizza dough in the air!!) One of our personal favorites was a pizza called Even Mo’ Bettah BBQ pizza which has BBQ sause with mozzarella, slow roasted pork shoulder, pineapples and finally japapenojs (I picked those out). To finish the meal, we had a Cast Iron Brownie with vanilla ice cream and fresh whipped cream, which they cooked in the brick oven stoves. DELICIOUS!  Also, they gave us an extra pizza just because so they definitely get two thumbs up.


Saturday, August 4, 2018: Dinner No. 117: Pork Chops, Cous Cous & Arugula Salad
Aug 12th, 2018 by Katekoster

Tonight for dinner we (finally Alex is back to help cook) made a quick and simple dinner of pork chops, cous cous and an arugula salad. We also roasted cauliflower and broccoli to serve on the side or in your salad (diner’s choice.)


The first thing we did was chop up cauliflower and broccoli florets, drizzle them with olive oil and put them in a 350 degree oven.


Then I (Max) took care of the salad. I combined arugula, tomatoes and goat cheese.

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Meanwhile I (Alex) started the pork chops. I Just salt and  peppered them and sauteed them in a little olive oil for 5 minutes each side…they were pretty thick.

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(I used a splatter mesh to protect from the splattering oil.) Then I let them sit for a bit while we made the cous cous. Finally we plated and ate!


Saturday, July 28, 2018: More Blueberry Adventures
Aug 7th, 2018 by Katekoster

Today we went blueberry picking so of course we had to bake something with them (and when I say “we”, it’s still just me…Max. Alex is still having fun off at camp while I do all the work at home.)  Anyway, mom, dad and I picked A LOT of blueberries so I decided to make a blueberry pie, including the crust, from scratch.


For the crust, you need 2 cups of flour, a little salt, 1 and 1/3 cup cold butter cut into pieces and 6-8 tablespoons of cold water.

You mix the flour and salt and then “cut in” the pieces of cold butter.  When the butter is in little pea size pieces you add the cold water and form into two balls (I was making a two crust recipe…if just making a bottom crust, use half the ingredients and only form 1 ball.)

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Then you wrap the two balls of pastry in saran wrap and let chill in the fridge. Meanwhile you prepare the blueberry filling. Blueberries are very juicy so you have to add either cornstarch or flour to absorb some of that liquid.  Adding a little sugar also helps.

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Then it’s time to roll out one of the balls of pastry, make the bottom piecrust and add the blueberries.

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Finally, roll out the other ball of dough, cut strips and make a lattice top.  Then into the oven for about 40 minutes (cover the edges with foil if you like to keep them from getting too brown), then serve with whipped cream or ice cream…too bad Alex was at camp. This pie was really good!

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Saturday, July 14, 2018: Summer Favorite: Blueberry Crisp
Jul 16th, 2018 by Katekoster

Hi! Welcome to  We’re Max and Alex Koster and this is our blog where we talk about cooking and eating and try to encourage kids to cook.  To learn more about the history of this website, and our cooking adventures, scroll down to the next post.  To read about what we did today…stay right here!

Today I (Max, because Al is still at sleepaway camp) wanted to celebrate summer by making one of my favorite summer desserts: Blueberry Crisp.  Usually we pick the blueberries ourselves at a great berry farm in upstate New York but we were stuck in the city this weekend so we bought them instead…they were still yummy.


The steps to make blueberry crisp are pretty simple.  First, about an hour before you are going to start, put out a stick of butter to soften.  Then, once its softened you have to 1) prepare the blueberry filling and 2) prepare the topping.  And of course preheat the oven to 375 degrees.


For the filling you need 6 cups of blueberries, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1/2 cup of sugar.  You mix all these together and the put in a baking pan.

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For the topping you first blend 6 tablespoons of softened butter with 1/3 cup of sugar.  Then you mix 3/4 cup of rolled oats, 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and add that dry mix to the creamed butter/sugar.  You mix that all together with your hands and then you sprinkle on top of the berry mix.  Bake that in the oven for approximately 45 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the blueberries are bubbling. DELICIOUS!

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Sunday, July 8, 2018: Dinner No. 116: Spatchcocked Chicken, Roasted Veggie Salad and CousCous
Jul 10th, 2018 by Katekoster

Hi! Welcome to  We’re Max and Alex Koster and this is our blog where we talk about cooking and eating and try to encourage kids to cook.  (Alex is at sleepaway camp till August so I (MAX) am in charge of kids cooking and the blog.) Tonight I wanted to try out making spatchcocked chicken.  I also wanted to roast some vegetables that were in our fridge and needed to be cooked or eaten (or both) so I roasted cauliflower, asparagus and mushrooms and tossed them into a bowl with arugula and avocados.  I also made some couscous to go on the side.


SpatchCock Chicken

Ok so to spatchcock chicken, you have to cut out its back bone (do this with the chicken breast side down, back bone up). Then you have to put the heel of your hand on the chicken and push down to flatten the chicken.  This allows the chicken to cook faster and more evenly. But you have to be ok handling a whole chicken…and cutting it up.

After I did that, I put the chicken in a zip lock bag along with olive oil, lemon, rosemary, garlic and salt and pepper and let it marinade in the fridge for a couple of hours.  Then I preheated the oven to 375 degrees and cooked it for about an hour, flipping once.  (It needs to be golden brown)

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Roasted Veggie Salad

To make this, I chopped up cauliflower, aspargus and mushrooms, tossed them in olive oil and salt and pepper and then put them in the oven on sheet pans with the chicken (but I put them in after the chicken had cooked 30 minutes: the veggies need at most 20-30 minutes).  After 15 minutes, I flipped over the veggies so they would get evenly brown.

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OK this is pretty easy: just remember with cous cous, the ratio of liquid to cous cous is 1:1 so if you want a cup of cous cous, boil a cup of water, remove from heat, stir in the dry couscous and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.  (It’s ok if you put a little more than 1 cup of water in because some usually evaporates).  Anyway, after 5 minutes, fluff the cous cous with a fork. Don’t forget, otherwise the cous cous can get sort of caked together.  I like to add a little butter as well.

And so here is the final meal:



Tuesday, July 3, 2018: Rosti for Switzerland
Jul 3rd, 2018 by Katekoster

(This is Max: Alex is away at sleepaway camp till August…so I’m in charge)

Today in honor of Switzerland’s World Cup soccer game against Sweden, and because I am Swiss-American. I decided to make Rosti: essentially a Swiss potato pancake.  To make mine really Swiss, I added gruyere cheese.  But since I’m also American, I added chopped bacon.  Alas, Switzerland lost to Sweden…but the Rosti were still good.


The ingredients for Rosti are pretty simple: potatoes, butter and salt.  In my version I added chopped bacon (already cooked) and grated gruyere cheese.


The first step is to peel the potatoes.  Then you grate the peeled potatoes with a box grater and then squeeze as much water out of the grated potatoes as you can (a lot comes out).  Don’t worry if the potatoes start to turn brown: you are going to cook them anyway!  After you have squeezed as much water out as possible, mix the cheese and bacon in–by hand is best.

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Finally it’s time to cook them.  Heat a couple of tablespoons of butter in a nonstick pan (medium heat) and then put a mound of the potato mix in.  Flatten it to about 1/2 inch and let cook 7-10 minutes till golden brown and then flip and let the other side cook to golden brown.  Start out with a pancake size rosti…the traditional rosti is the size of a plate but those are really hard to flip so its better to start a little smaller.  Remove from heat and sprinkle more gruyere cheese on top, and then enjoy (preferably while watching Switzerland WIN a soccer game).

RostiCooking  RostiEating

Sunday, June 24, 2018: Cookies for Alex
Jun 25th, 2018 by Katekoster

Hi! Welcome to  We’re Max and Alex Koster and this is our blog where we talk about cooking and eating and try to encourage kids to cook.

Today I (Max) wanted to do something special for Alex because she left for sleepaway camp yesterday (Saturday) but has to come back to New York tonight (Sunday) because we still have school this Monday and Tuesday…isn’t that crazy? It’s almost July 4th and we are still in school (plus we had all these days off in June…why not just put those days off at the end of the year so we can end at a reasonable time.)  Anyway, I knew she would be tired when she got home tonight so I decided to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for her, and frankly for me.  I made a lot so she can even take some back with her when she goes BACK to camp on Tuesday afternoon.


The ingredients for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are pretty straight forward: butter, white and brown sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, oats and of course chocolate chips.  The first and most essential step is letting the butter come to room temperature (so it’s soft).  Second step is preheating the oven to 360 degrees. After that you cream the soft butter with the sugar and then gradually add the other ingredients.  We have a stand mixer so this takes no time at all. The only ingredient we don’t use the mixer to mix in is the chocolate chips…a spoon works better.

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Once the batter is mixed, you drop bigspoonfuls of the batter onto a greased pan (or use a silpat like I did).  Be sure to taste the cookie dough but try not to eat too much of the raw dough.   Bake for 10 minutes, let cool and remove from pan.  Then pour yourself a glass of milk and enjoy.  (You can see that even our dog wants to try them but she doesn’t get any because of the chocolate in them.

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Saturday, June 16, 2018: Chicken, Cupcakes and Free-form Cake Pops
Jun 17th, 2018 by Katekoster

Hi! Welcome to  We’re Max and Alex Koster and this is our blog where we talk about cooking and eating and try to encourage kids to cook.  So on Friday, June 15 , I (Alex) didn’t have school so I spent the afternoon with my friend Sylvie making breaded chicken and cupcakes.

Chicken and Cupcakes

For the chicken, we bought chicken cutlets and cut them into smaller pieces. Then we made an egg/milk wash and mixed panko and fresh breadcrumbs. Finally we preparedthe  chicken in an assembly  line of chicken, egg wash and breadcrumbs and baked it in the oven.


For the cupcakes we just followed the instructions on the box. (Making cake from scratch is more fun but I had soccer practice at 4:00 so we didn’t have enough time.)

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Cake Pops

Unfortunately in my hurry to get home and to soccer practice, my confetti cupcakes got terribly smashed. I decided the only solution was to make cake pops! To make the cake pops I formed small balls out of the smashed cake and frosting. Then I let them sit in the fridge over night to firm up. I also tried putting popsicle sticks in them but that didn’t really work. (They just fell out)


On Saturday (the next day), I melted dark chocolate in a double boiler till it was very liquid and then rolled the cake balls in it. With the left over melted chocolate I made decorative chocolate swishs on waxed paper. Then both the cake pops and the swishes went into the fridge.

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Once the chocolate had hardened in the fridge, it was time to plate. First a chocolate swish went on the plate, then the chocolate covered cake pop, and finally a squirt of whipped cream. Delicious!!!

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Monday, June 11, 2018: Dinner No. 115 : Healthy-ish Taco Monday
Jun 14th, 2018 by Katekoster

Tonight I (Alex) wanted to make something quick and tasty and we had ground beef, a lot of cheese, tortillas and avocados so I decided to make soft tacos, however, instead of rice I made quinoa (just to be healthy).  We also had aspargus and red onions so I made a salad with them (first roasting them) then tossing them with arugula. And, since I saw we had tomatoes and cilantro, I had to make fresh salsa


Here are the ingredients we used:

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So my first step was to get the aspargus and the onions in the oven to roast a bit.  Then I sauteed the ground beef till there was no pink, and then added 1/4 cup water and whatever spices we had in the cupboard (chili powder, etc.)

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Meanwhile, while the ground beef cooked, I chopped tomatoes and onions (for the salsa) as well as avocado (for the taco or salad…whatever people wanted.) I mixed the tomatoes with the onion, along with lime juice, cilantro and a little olive oil. And then I put the aspargus-arugula-onion salad together.

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Once everything was cooked, I laid all the dishes out in a line and told people to help themselves.

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Here’s what MY taco looked like (before I rolled it up).








Friday June 1, 2018: Dinner No. 114: Lamb Chops, Kale x2 salad, and Raita-ish salad
Jun 6th, 2018 by Katekoster

Tonight we wanted to make a big meal that would give us leftovers for the weekend (because we have a lot of soccer, homework and other stuff planned (yeah…like Fortnite).  So we made a double rack of lamb. Everyone thinks rack of lamb is fancy and hard, but it’s actually easy and simple.  We just marinade it for a couple of hours in a garlic herb rub and then cook it.  We also made kale salad with kale prepared two ways (that’s why it’s called Kale X2 salad), cous cous and a salad based on raita.  (Basically it’s raita, but we add more cucumbers and tomatoes than usual).  Anyway since Alex had soccer practice, she did the marinade beforehand and I (Max) worked on the rest.


Lamb Marinade

For the marinade, you ust combine chopped garlic, rosemary and thymb with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Then you rub it all over the lamb chops and let sit in a plastic bag. You can let is sit overnight in the fridge or for an hour before cooking at room temperature.

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Then before cooking you score the fat side of the lamb (that means cut across diagonally) and you wrap the bones in foil so they don’t burn in the oven.  The best way to cook it is to start a high heat for 10 minutes to brown it and then lower the heat for 20 or so minutes to finish it.

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Raita Salad

For the raita, we chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions and scallions and then mixed it in with plain yogurt.  We just eyeballed how much cucumber and tomatoes we chopped, knowing we wanted a lot. Add salt and pepper and let sit at least an hour if possible (in the fridge) so the flavors mingle together.

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Kale x2 Salad

For the Kale x2 Salad we started with, of course, kale! We cleaned a whole bunch and put half in a bowl.  Then we sauteed the other half in a little olive oil and salt and pepper and removed from the heat and set aside.  Then we sauteed chickpeas in the same pan and set aside (on paper towels to catch extra oil).  Right before serving we combined the 2 kales, chick peas, fresh tomatoes and goat cheese.  Delicious!

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For the meal, after we let the lamb rest, we cut off the lamb chops and served them with couscous, raita and Kale x2 Salad.


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