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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.

RostiEating

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

RostiIngredients

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 kidscookdinner.com.  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.

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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 kidscookdinner.com.  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.

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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)

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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

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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).

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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.

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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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Tuesday May 29, 2018: Aquafaba Meringues (also known as Chickpea Water Meringues)
May 31st, 2018 by Katekoster

Hi! Welcome to kidscookdinner.com.  We’re Max and Alex Koster and this is our blog where we talk about cooking and eating and try new weird things….like tonight when we tried to make meringues out of chickpea water.  We had tried a while ago and last time it was pretty much an epic fail.  (At first they looked amazing, then they ultimately collapsed into nothingness as we baked them. ) This time, however, it worked!  And it’s incredible simple.

First preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Then drain (and keep) the liquid from a 15 ounce can of chick peas (save the chickpeas too…we like them sauteed in salads, but not part of the meringues).

Next, beat the chickpea liquid (AKA aquafaba) in mixer with the whisk attachment till stiff peaks form (10-15 minutes or so).

Then you add one heaping cup of sugar and beat in, and then, finally, add 1 teaspoon of vanilla (and whip in).  NOTE: it is important to add a HEAPING cup of sugar.  Last time not only did we not add a heaping cup, we only added 1/2 a cup instead of a full one. Don’t make that mistake.  You need the sugar in this for structure!

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After that you scoop the aquafaba meringue mix onto lined baking sheets and cook for 90 minutes.  Let sit for 10 minutes and serve, or store in an air tight container.

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We prefer ours with whipped cream and strawberries.  And they really do taste like real meringues! Yummy

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Sunday May 20, 2018: Dinner No. 113: Deconstructed Beef Wellington for Mom’s Birthday!
May 22nd, 2018 by Katekoster

Hi! Welcome to kidscookdinner.com.  Here’s what we cooked for a special celebration:

This Sunday we were celebrating Mom’s birthday AND the fact that a Trader Joe’s opened just a few blocks away.  To celebrate we decided to make Deconstructed Beef Wellington, a kumato-feta salad and orso on the side.   We decided that we actually prefer traditional Beef Wellington (where the filet mignon and mushroom filling are completely enclosed in puff pastry) but mom specifically requested the deconstructed version because she thinks it’s a little lighter (and definitely faster to make.) Anyway, Happy Birthday Mom, we love you.

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The first step in making Beef Wellington is either making puff pastry or  buying and then thawing pre-made frozen puff pastry.  We chose the latter (we did have soccer games this weekend!) and set it out to thaw.  Then we cleaned and chopped two pounds of mushrooms.   Then we cooked the mushrooms with  butter and our secret ingredient — truffle salt.  Alex was in charge of the mushrooms while Max was in charge of the beef and salad.

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Meanwhile, we tied our filet mignons together with string (filet mignon courtesy of Trader Joe’s) and salt and peppered both sides.  We also cut the puff pastry into rounds and popped them in the oven to bake, and finished sauteeing the mushrooms.

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The final step was to cook the filet.  We seared them 4 minutes on each side but they were so thick that we had to finish them in the oven (luckily still warm from the puff pastry).  Then we removed the string from the filets and assembled the masterpieces:  first a half a round of puff pastry, then the cooked mushrooms, then a filet, then more mushrooms, then the top.  For mom’s plate we added even more mushrooms on the side because she loves them.  We also put together a simple salad of feta cheese, kumato tomatoes and arugula and made orso.  (We know the Beef Wellington sort of looks like a burger but it definitely didn’t taste like one.  It was delicious–the filet just melted in your mouth like butter.

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Sunday May 12, 2018: Dinner No. 112: Lamb Chops, Sweet Pea Soup and Green Salad
May 16th, 2018 by Katekoster

Hi! Welcome to kidscookdinner.com.  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 we wanted to make mom a special dinner (since it’s Mother’s Day), so we cooked some of her favorites: grilled lamb chops, sweet pea soup and a fresh green salad with goat cheese and walnuts.  Max made the soup early in the afternoon to let the flavors meld and Alex made the marinade for the lamb and grilled the chops.  We both cooperated on the couscous and green salad.  Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

Mother'sDayMeal

Sweet Pea Soup

The recipe for pea soup is really simple.  First you chop an onion and sautee it in butter. Then you add 7 cups of frozen peas and 3 cups chicken broth.  You let that simmer for a while then blend together.  We tried using a hand held immersion blender but it was taking too long so we switched over to the trusty blender.  You can serve it cold, room temperature or warm.  We made it ahead of time and served it at room temperature.

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Marinade for Lamb

I (Alex) wanted to make a simple marinade for the lamb chops to give them a little more flavor so I combined lemon juice, olive oil, chopped garlic and a little rosemary.  I whisked those ingredients all together and then I let the lamb sit in the marinade for about an hour, flipping them over half way through.  Then it was time to grill them.

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Green Salad

While the lamb chops grilled, we both made a simple green salad of butter letuce, walnuts, goat cheese and cranberries and made couscous.  The lamb chops were so thick that we had to finish them in the oven!

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Final Plates

Here’s what the soup looked like when we served it (we had sour cream on the side in case people wanted that)

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And here’s the whole family, including Koko, about to dig in.

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Saturday, May 5, 2018: Yogurt and Herbs
May 9th, 2018 by Katekoster

Welcome to kidscookdinner.com.  We hope you’ve enjoyed what you read so far…

Today we decided to try out mom’s new multicooker (Max got it for mom for Christmas, but really he got it so we could try it).  One of the uses is to make yogurt so we decided to do that. Also, since it’s finally warm outside we bought our favorite herbs and replanted them on our balcony. We love fresh herbs and if they are on our balcony, we can use them whenever we want.

Yogurt

The first step is to heat 5 cups of milk to approximately 180 degrees farenheit.  This is to kill any bad bacteria and make the yogurt taste richer. (We measured it with a meat thermometer, so hopefully that was accurate).  Then we let the milk cool slightly and whisked in 1/2 cup plain yogurt (this is the “starter” yogurt.)  Finally,  you lock the milk-yogurt mixture into your multicooker, hit the yogurt button and let cook for 8 hours.  When we opened the top, we had yogurt.  It was a little liquidy but definitely tasted like yogurt.  To celebrate we made our favorite yogurt-marinated tandoori chicken!

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Herbs

We bought thyme, rosemary and two basil plants (because basil is our favorite herb) and transplanted them into bigger pots. Now we just have to remember to water them!

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Saturday, April 21, 2018: Dinner No. 111: Lamb Burgers with Clafouti for dessert
Apr 22nd, 2018 by Katekoster

Today I (Alex) actually made dessert in the afternoon (because I had a soccer game at 5:00) and Max was in charge of making lamb burgers later for when Mom and I got back from the soccer game.  I decided to make a dessert called clafoutis because it looked cool and Mom said it was kind of like the Dutch Apple Pancake we made last week.  She was right–it’s like a sweet pancake batter poured over fruit; usually cherries or plums, and then you bake the whole thing in the oven.  However, we don’t like cherries or plums much, plus when we went to the store there were no cherries or plums so we bought frozen mixed berries to use.

Clafoutis

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The ingredients are simple: milk, 3 eggs, sugar, vanilla, melted butter and flour. You whisk those all together and pour into an oven proof pan.  Then you add your fruit.

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The recipe didn’t say to butter the pan, but I wish we had because our claufouti stuck to the bottom of the pan a bit.  Also, although the berries tasted delicious, I think the fact that they were frozen and then thawed meant they added a little too much liquid to the batter…so it didn’t puff as much as it might have.  Next time we will use drier, fresh berries. With whipped cream though, it didn’t matter!

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Lamb Burgers

I (Max) was in charger of burgers and a salad since Alex and mom were in Brooklyn at Alex’s soccer game.  I shaped the burgers ahead of time, making a little depression in the center so they wouldn’t puff up. And I made simple arugula, goat cheese and tomato salad.  I also measured some quinoa to cook on the side.

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Quinoa is pretty cool.  I love the before and after pictures where it goes from these tiny seeds to puffy circles with a spiral in them.

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When Alex got back from her game, I cooked the burgers on a grill pan on top of the stove (watch out because there is a lot of fat in ground lamb and it sprays off in hot droplets.) And I started the water for the quinoa.  We added goat cheese to a couple of the burgers.  And we always toast the buns on the grill pan at the end.

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Then it was time to eat.  Note: mom and dad were welcome to the quinoa: Alex and I had left over fries from Shake Shack…we were being environmentally thoughtful and using up leftovers (plus we like the fries better:)

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