Sunday, March 29, 2020: More COVID Comfort Cooking: French Toast.
Apr 6th, 2020 by Katekoster

Today I decided I needed to make some french toast as part of my COVID-19 comfort cooking campaign. I like to use cinnamon raisin bread (although challah is also very good). Ingredients are simple: bread, milk, eggs, vanilla and cinnamon. Powdered sugar and fresh fruit are nice finishing additions.  Maple syrup is another option. First, I made my batter, which was just the eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon mixed together. I soaked a slice of toast slightly on each side before cooking them with some melted butter on a pan. I cooked about four slices, most of which were stolen by my family members. Still, I enjoyed the simple breakfast and can’t wait to make it again!


First step is to make the batter. Combine eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla.

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Then soak the bread in the batter and sautee in melted butter until browned on both sides.


Top with powdered sugar and strawberries and its a wrap. Simple and delicious (and comforting)!

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Sunday, March 14, 2020: COVID Comfort Cooking
Mar 18th, 2020 by Katekoster

So, I just heard that school is closed and we are moving to online learning for a month.  I’m not sure how I feel about that but decided cooking comfort food would be a good distraction.  Since my mom has probably single-handedly cleaned out Trader Joe’s, I decided to use one of the four boxes of cinnamon crumb cake mix I found in the kitchen.  I love cinnamon crumb cake and while made from scratch is usually better, Trader Joe’s mix is pretty good…and very simple.  Besides the mix, you just need butter, eggs, and milk.


After you preheat the oven and grease the pan, you combine the eggs, milk and cake mix in one bowl and the topping mix (cinnamon sugar, essentially) with butter in the other.


Then you layer: cake mix, topping mix, etc.  (you get it)

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Finally into the oven. Delish!  Prepare for more COVID-19 Comfort Cooking!


Saturday, March 7, 2020: Baked Eggs with Tomato Cheese Grits
Mar 15th, 2020 by Katekoster

Today was a cold March day and I wanted something warm and cozy. Plus I wanted to use my Insta-pot (well actually it’s my mom’s, but I gave it to her) so I found a recipe for Baked Eggs + Tomato Cheese Grits in Melissa Clark’s cookbook, Comfort in an Instant.  She has a bunch of good comfort food recipes and that was just what I needed.  This didn’t exactly take an “instant” but it was very easy.  Ingredients are pretty simple: grits, cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes, butter, olive eggs and milk or cream (or half and a half).


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The first step is to saute the grits in the Insta-pot for about 3 minutes till they are slightly brown.

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Then you add water, tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook on the high pressure for 10 minutes.  I included a photo of the actual pot to show that the controls are pretty complicated and you should definitely read the manual before you cook anything. Then you let the pressure release by itself for 10 minutes, before manually releasing the pressure (stand back because steam comes out when you manually release).


After that you set the function back to sautee and add milk (or cream), butter and the cheddar cheese. You mix that in and while still hot, crack 4 eggs into the cheesy grits (easier if you crack them into a small bowl and slide them in.  You cover the pot and let the eggs cook for 3 to 5 minutes.  (3 minutes is very runny and 5 is very firm, so I recommend 4 minutes).

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Then it’s time to serve and eat. Add a little Tabasco if you want some spice.






March 4, 2020:Blueberry Crisp
Mar 7th, 2020 by Katekoster

Even though it was a cold March day, I was in the mood for one of my favorite summer treats: blueberry crisp, and since I had the day off school, I decided to make it.  Usually, we pick the blueberries at a blueberry farm upstate but this time I picked them up at Trader Joe’s.  Along with blueberries, the ingredients you need are sugar, flour, rolled oats, soft butter and little salt.  The most important (and frustrating) part of cooking is that the butter needs to be soft, which takes at least 45 minutes before you start baking.


First step is to preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Then it’s time to make the filling.  Rinse the berries and then combine:

  • 6 cups berries
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon coarse salt

Pour that into an 8 x 8 cooking pan


Next step is to make the topping.  Mix together the following ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup flour
  • 3/4 Cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon coarse salt

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Then cream together the following (either in mixer or by hand)

  • 6 Tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Add the flour and oats mix to the butter and sugar and combine to make lumpy topping (use your hands if necessary)

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Spread over the berry mix, put in the oven and cook for about 45 minutes.   The waiting is hard (Koko loves blueberries so she lay down in the kitchen to wait as well.)

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Berry mix should be bubbling and topping crispy and light brown.  Served warm is great (but cold for breakfast is pretty good too!)


February 8, 2020: Cheese Corn with Eggs
Mar 4th, 2020 by Katekoster

Today I was craving some cheese corn with eggs (I had had it a Korean restaurant with my friends), so I tried out a recipe I found online.  Ingredients are pretty simple: 2 cups corn, 1/4 cup butter, 6 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 cup shredded mozzarella, with salt and pepper to taste.  Plus I topped it with some scrambled eggs.


First step was to thaw the frozen corn.  Then I heated the corn, mayo, butter and sugar together in a saucepan until they were mixed and bubbling.

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Next step, add shredded cheese and let melt. Once it was melted, I put it in the oven to broil for a couple of minutes.

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Meanwhile, I got to work on the scrambled eggs: I melted the butter, mixed eggs and milk and sauteed.

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Finally, time to put it together and enjoy!


January 25, 2020: Paella Dinner
Feb 26th, 2020 by Katekoster

My cousins gave us a paella kit (a pan, spices, olive oil, rice) for Christmas, so I decided to try to make it.  I bought tomatoes, shrimp, garlic, chicken and peas to add.  (I should have bought sausage as well but I forgot).


The first step was to slice tomatoes and garlic, as well as grate some of the tomatoes.  Then I cooked the sliced tomatoes in olive oil and set aside and did the same with the chicken.

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Then I added the rice (and some chicken broth) and let the rice cook till soft.


Once the rice was cooked, I added paprika and fresh peas and separately sauteed the shrimp.

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Finally it was time to add everything else (tomatoes, shrimp): Paella is actually pretty simple to make: it just has a lot of steps…so takes a fair amount of time.

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The plated version was delicious but missing the crusty rice at the bottom (the socarrat).  I will work on that next time.






December 30, 2019: Roast Chicken and Pasta (hard to go wrong)
Jan 5th, 2020 by Katekoster

Welcome to  I just realized that my sister Alex and I have been cooking and posting since 2015!  Scroll down a post or two to see the story of our website and the $17,500 we won and donated to Action Against Hunger (or click here!) or if you just want to read about food…read on.

Tonight I made another pretty easy dinner: roasting a pre-marinated chicken from Trader Joe’s and making some fresh pasta. The hardest part of the dinner was going to Raffetto’s in the West Village to buy the pasta.  But it’s a pretty cool place: you tell them how you want your pasta sliced and they use a machine to cut it for you fresh.  Plus their pesto sauce is literally the best ever.  Anyway, here’s my favorite chicken…it’s a little more expensive than just a whole chicken but it tastes really good and cooks a little faster because it’s “spatch-cocked”…essentially flattened.  It needs to cook for at least 60 minutes…a little more probably better.

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Once that 60 minutes was pretty close to being done, start the water boiling for the pasting (we chose 1/4 inch, which expands to 1/2 inch when cooked).

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The thing with fresh pasta is that it cooks really fast (3 – 5 minutes) so you can’t walk away.  Otherwise it just turns gunky.  Drain it and check on the chicken.


Looks good: time to plate.


For dessert, we did a honey tasting.  Trader Joe’s had a rainbow of honey collection that Mom got for us…it ranged from light to dark (Clover, Sunflower, Macadamia, Orange Blossom, Mimosa and Eucalyptus).  Alex and I took on the difficult test of trying them all and unanimously agreed that Clover (the lightest) was definitely the best!

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December 1, 2019: Beef Stew with Mushrooms and Egg Noodles
Dec 29th, 2019 by Katekoster

December came in with a cold blast and I (Max) decided to counter it with a hearty beef stew with mushrooms, served over egg noodles.  I used the crock pot so I didn’t have to worry about a pot on a stove all day.  Ingredients were pretty simple: beef, carrots, onions, garlic, mushrooms, beef broth and noodles (if you aren’t serving this over noodles then you can put potatoes in the stew.)


First step was to chop up the beef (because some of the pieces were really big).


Next was the onions, carrots, and garlic and yes, I needed goggles to chop the onions.

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Then I sauteed the beef, removed it from the pan and sauteed the onions and carrots.  (Sauteeing stuff gives it a bit more flavor before you add to the crock pot)

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Then I added all this stuff to the crock pot with beef stock (I didn’t add the mushrooms yet because the beef and veggies need to cook a while before the mushrooms…otherwise the mushrooms turn to mush)

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After 4 hours (on high), I sauteed the mushrooms and added them in for half an hour.  Once the mushrooms were in the crockpot,  I started cooking the egg noodles.

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Once the noodles were done, I plated the dish…

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Sunday, November 24, 2019: Back to the Basics: Healthy Chicken Parm
Dec 1st, 2019 by Katekoster

So I (Max) will be the first to admit I have not been cooking as much as I would like to.  However, I am re-dedicating myself to perfecting my favorite meals (and trying a few new ones) so I can survive on my own in college. I know there will probably be a college cafeteria, but who knows how good the food will be? And I really like good food. So first up: healthy chicken parm.  What’s nice about this is that it really doesn’t take many ingredients (and only 3 fresh ingredients: chicken, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese).


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First step, prep the tomatoes: this is super easy, just wash the tomatoes, toss them in olive oil, put on a sheet pan with salt and pepper and they are ready to go in the oven at 375 degrees.  They will cook down (some will explode) and will make a super simple tomato sauce.


Seond step, make the chicken.  To do this, I set up a simple assembly line of chicken, bowl of olive oil, plate of panko bread crumbs and baking pan.  Then I dip the chicken in olive oil, bread it with the panko bread crumbs, and into the pan.  Then both the chicken and tomatoes go into the oven and cook for 15 minutes.  (Note you could cook the tomatoes and chicken on the same pan, if you needed to)

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After 15 minutes, I flip the chicken for over and then cook for another 5-10 minutes (checking one by cutting it in half to make sure not too pink).  Cooking time depends on how thick the chicken cutlets are.  Then I layered on slice of mozarella to just melt a bit.

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Meanwhile, I started water boiling and started cooking pasta, and also took out the tomatoes.  (I used dried papparedelle but you can use any type of pasta you want)

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Once the mozzarella has melted, it’s time to plate (and eat!)


October 20, 2019: Comfort Food Weekend
Nov 26th, 2019 by Katekoster

This weekend was cold and rainy so my family and I indulged in warm, comforting food…starting off with the classic egg-in-a-hole for breakfast on Saturday am.


For those of you not familiar with this classic breakfast: all it requires is a slice of bread, butter, an egg and a circular glass to cut out a whole in the bread.  After cutting out the hole in the bread, you melt butter in an pan, place the bread in the pan and then crack an egg in the center hole.  After the egg has solidified, you gently flip it over (sometimes 2 spatulas necessary). (And flip over the circular piece so it gets browned as well.)  Voila: you have an egg-in-the-hole!

Next stop on the comfort food train was Progresso Chicken Noodle soup for lunch on Saturday.  Now I know that homemade chicken noodle soup is pretty good, but honestly, Progresso’s canned version is pretty amazing.


Next up (Sunday dinner), cabernet-marinated pot roast, courtesy of Trader Joes.  This was pretty easy:  buy pot roast, cook in oven, boil potatoes on the side.  To add a little bit more comfort, we melted raclette and served on the side (with the potatoes of course!)

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Finally for dessert, Alex made the most amazing (and simple) puff pasty apple tarts: buy frozen puff pastry; defrost one sheet, cut into sixths, slather with butter and cinnamon and arrange sliced apples on top, bake.  Simple and delish. (Thanks Alex!)


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