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Wednesday, June 14, 2017: Dinner No. 89 Beef Wellington Delight
Jun 16th, 2017 by Katekoster

For this meal, I (Max) wanted to make something big. Something special. Unique. Something that my family would remember for weeks to come. I found the perfect meal – Beef Wellington. I decided to make one, huge Beef Wellington, because it was less complicated than making four individual ones.  Here is the before and after:

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I started off the meal by cutting off the ends of the a large filet  we had and then cutting that in half. Then, I cut of the any fat I saw and took of as much of the thin membrane as I could. I tied up the meat, dividing it into five parts.

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Then I salted and peppered one side of the meat and placed it on medium heat in a pan with olive oil. As it was cooking, I roughly cut up an assortment of mushrooms (cremini, shitake and white button mushrooms), along with a shallot and a clove of garlic. Then we placed them in our cuisinart blender and let the magic work.

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After that, we switched the sides of the meat, and let a saucepan heat up with butter and olive oil. When warm, we put the chopped mushrooms in and cooked them until there was no more moisture. We let the meat cool after giving both sides a good sear.

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Then, we let both the meat and the mushrooms cool off for ten minutes. After that, we spooned the mushrooms on the top, along with the sides of our log-like structure of meat. I almost forgot to cut the strings before I put the mushrooms on top but remembered at the last minute. Then we wrapped it up in clear wrap and put in the fridge to cool. (The wrap and cool off time is so the meat remains in the same shape while it cooks.)  The recipe also calls for wrapping the meat in proscuitto, but we tried that when we made individual wellingtons a while back and did not like it. Weird taste combo (ham/mushroom/fillet).

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We rolled out our puff pastry, removed the clear wrap and gently placed the meat on the pastry and folded up the pastry over it. To keep the pastry around the meat and most of the juices in the pastry, we used eggwash from one egg and sealed it with our pastry brush.

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Coating it with eggwash will also make the pastry appear brown. Then, we made three slits diagonal on top of the meat to allow steam to escape the meat. Then we placed it in the oven. We baked for 45 minutes, until the pastry was golden brown and the heat had an internal temperature of 125 degrees. (The slits make it easy to put a meat thermometer in without breaking the pastry) After taking it out of the oven, we let it rest for 15 minutes.

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For sides I made a fresh green salad with aspargus (slightly steamed), raw (shelled) peas, spinach, argula and avocado.  I also had extra aspargus so I serve that with grated cheese.

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June 13, 2017: Dinner No. 88: Quick Weekday Dinner
Jun 15th, 2017 by Katekoster

I (Alex) was in charge of dinner tonight but I also had soccer practice so I wanted to make something pretty quick.  I decided to make spice-marinated skirt steak, kale salad and corn-on-the-cob.  As soon as I got home from school, I mixed up our favorite Texas spice rub, which includes onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper and a few other secret ingredients, and rubbed it into two pounds of skirt steak.  I covered it with plastic and let it marinate in the fridge.  I also washed and rough chopped the kale and prepped the corn for when I got back.

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When I got back from soccer, I started the water boiling for corn and combined the kale with shredded brussel sprouts (note we bought them already shredded which made things a lot faster), chopped almonds and pecorino cheese.  When the water was boiling, I added the corn and started cooking the steak: searing it at high heat and then finishing in the oven (I had so much steak I had to do it in batches).  Mom helped by making a mustard viniagrette and mixing up the salad.  To serve, you slice the steak against the grain. All in all it was pretty fast, which was good considering I had soccer and homework!

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Sunday, June 18, 2017: Homemade Black & White Cookies for Dad
Jun 15th, 2017 by Katekoster

One of dad’s favorite desserts is black and white cookies so for Father’s Day, we decided to make home made black and white cookies for him.  The batter is a mix between a cookie and a cake batter.  You use cake flour along with regular flour and four eggs so the “cookies” are much lighter than your normal cookie: they even puff up a little.  Frosting is super easy: just powdered sugar and boiling water.  Then for the chocolate half, you melt unsweetened chocolate into half the vanilla mix.  Frosting them is a little messy but the clean up is delicious.

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The batter starts like any other batter: cream butter and sugar but then there are more eggs and cake flour than in regular cookies.

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Frosting is super simple: powdered sugar and boiling water.  If it gets too thick, you add a little more water. If too thin, add some more powdered sugar. And to make the chocolate frosting, split the vanilla frosting in half and put half in a double boiler over hot water. Add unsweetened chocolate and voila: chocolate frosting!

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Sunday, May 30, 2017: Dinner No. 87: Memorial Day Brisket
May 30th, 2017 by Katekoster

For Memorial Day, we decided to make barbecue brisket, corn-on-the-cob, kale salad and roasted, honeyed pears.  Russ & Erica came over for dinner and they brought corn bread and cabbage slaw so we had a feast!

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For the brisket, we started the day before and let it cook in our secret homemade barbecue sauce all night in the slow cooker.  Another secret is that we rub the brisket with a spicy dry rub before we put it in the barbecue sauce.  Then when it’s really tender, we take it out and pull it apart with 2 forks and put it back in the barbecue sauce to absorb even more of sauce.

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For the kale salad, we just chopped and chopped kale and brussel sprouts, added almonds and grated parmesan cheese and topped it with a mustard dijon dressing.  We made this ahead of time as well.  We just didn’t add the almonds/cheese and dressing till it was time to eat.

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For the roasted pears, we combined pears, honey, cinnamon, butter and a little rum and roasted for about 60 minutes at 350 degrees.  The recipe calls for cutting pears in half and placing them cut size down, which we did for the first 30 minutes, but we flipped them over for the second 30 minutes. Also the recipe called for 30-35 minutes, but that definitely wasn’t enough. Even after 45 minutes the pears were hard so we cooked them another 15 minutes. We are not sure if it was the pears that were too hard to begin with or if the recipe was wrong but ultimately they were still delicious! Especially with fresh whipped cream.

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The corn-on-the-cob was pretty simple: just oil water and add corn.  And Russ and Erica brought a great coleslaw and cornbread–so it made a really pretty (and tasty) plate

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Friday, May 12, 2017: Dinner No. 86: Simple Spring Dinner with Fresh Morels
May 13th, 2017 by Katekoster

Mom found fresh morels at the farmer’s market and we decided to cook them with some authentic Ticinese polenta that we had gotten back during the summer in Switzerland (in Lugano). The hardest part of the polenta was that the instructions were in German! Google translate was needed. Along with the polenta and morels, we also sauteed some kale.

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Wild morels look pretty weird but mom said they tasted great (she was right).  The hardest part of cooking morels was cleaning them.  We soaked them in water, dried them and then sliced before cooking them olive oil and adding butter.

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Besides that, we had a Roast Chicken from Whole Foods. Along with a fresh loaf of bread, the meal was amazing.

Final Dinner:

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May 2017: Time for Pie!: Lemon Curd, Blueberry Lattice Top & Pumpkin Pies
May 12th, 2017 by Katekoster

What do you do after you see the musical Waitress? (It’s about an amazing pie-baking waitress…played by Sara Bareilles! so good. Go see it now!!) Anyway what do you do after you see it? You bake pies.  So far we have made three:lemon curd, blueberry and pumpkin.  Trying to think of a new one.

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The first pie we made after seeing Waitress was Lemon Curd Pie with a sweet crust: this was the first time we made a pie crust in the cuisinart…pretty fast and easy. Then we just pushed it down into the baking pan (no rolling out), pre-baked till light brown and filled with delicious lemon curd.  No need for meringue topping for this one.

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And here’s our next pie:  This time I, Alex, made a blueberry pie.  I made a simple pie crust and for the filling combined fresh and frozen (but thawed) blueberries, along with sugar, corn starch and a little lemon juice.  Then I cut pastry into strips and wove a lattice top on the top.

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It was delicious!!! We had a litte extra pie dough so I made cinnamon pastries (also known as cinnamon snails), which are just pie dough rolled up around cinnamon-sugar and butter. They are delicious.

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Our latest pie was a traditional pumpkin pie. Even though it’s almost summer (and not Thanksgiving), we were craving pumpkin pie so we made it!

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Monday May 8, 2017: Dinner No. 85: Five-Spice Salmon & Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
May 9th, 2017 by Katekoster

Tonight Max had late soccer practice so I (Alex) was in charge and decided to make Five-Spice Salmon.  (I was inspired by Justice and Blue Apron’s Family Plan Challenge on MasterChef Junior).  On the side I cooked cous-cous, bok choy and roasted cauliflower and broccoli.  And for dessert I made a chocolate chip cookie cake. Yum.  And for those of you who don’t know: Five-Spice seasoning is made up of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise and Szechwan peppercorns.

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Here are the ingredients for dinner.  There was a lot of chopping beforehand (mom helped since Max was gone)

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Then I sauteed the bok choy with chopped garlic…boy does bok choy cook down!

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Then I sprinkled Chinese Five-Spice powder on the salmon filets and sauteed them skin side down to start. When they were done, I made a simple sauce in the cooking pan: butter and rice vinegar

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Finally, I plated everything, adding chopped scallions for garnish.

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For dessert we had a chocolate chip cookie cake I had made earlier.  Basically it’s a chocolate chip cookie recipe with 4 tablespoons extra flour.  Then you bake it in a circular pan, pop out and enjoy. We put a little frosting on ours, just to be decadent.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017: Sous Vide Chicken
May 2nd, 2017 by Katekoster

Tonight we were trying to be environmentally responsible and use up stuff in our freezer.  We found a vacuum-sealed package of chicken breasts and decided to try to cook them sous vide.  According to the cook books we have, you can cook frozen food directly with sous vide (without thawing) but you just have to add extra time.  So we turned on our sous vide bath machine and put the (frozen) chicken in once the water got up to the right temperature (140 degrees Farenheit).  And yes, you can cook frozen food directly with sous vide!!! The only tricky thing is figuring out how much “extra” time to cook it because usually there is a range of time to cook normal (i.e. non frozen) food.  So for the chicken breasts, the normal time was 1-4 hours at 140 degrees.  The cookbook said to cook it an extra 30 -60 minutes if it was frozen.  But what does that mean? Do you cook it 1 & 1/2 hours? or 4 & 1/2 hours.  We decided to cook it 4 & 1/2 hours (because no one likes raw chicken), but honestly that was a little much.  Probably could have stopped at 2 hours.

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After we cooked the chicken in the sous vide water bath, we grilled it a few minutes each side to give it a little more texture (and to make it look better).  We also roasted cauliflower and sauteed spinach with garlic.  Delicious–but next time we cook frozen chicken, only 2 hours maximum.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017: Tie-Dye Cake!
Apr 24th, 2017 by Katekoster

Welcome to our site which is  all about kids cooking (sometimes dinner and sometimes just dessert, like today when we decided to make a tie-dye cake: both inside and out).  To learn more about how to make this cake, read on.  To learn more about how our site got started, read the next post.

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For the tie-dye cake, we made a simple white cake and split the batter into 4 bowls.  We used food coloring to dye the batter red, yellow, blue and green (20 drops each).  Then we poured each color of batter into a 13 x 9 pan, one cup at a time, and baked it (we made a few swirls on top for fun and even had enough batter for a few cupcakes).

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After the cake was done, we decided to cut it in half to make a two layer cake.  We frosted the first layer with just white frosting but for the top, we made two colors of frosting: yellow and purple.  We spread yellow frosting all over the top and then put dabs of purple frosting on top of that. Then we used a chopstick to make cool swirls.  The interesting thing that from the top of the cake the blue and the green looked really similar in color.  However when we cut into the cake we could clearly see blue and green.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017: Dinner No. 84: Easter Dinner: LAMB (not ham)
Apr 18th, 2017 by Katekoster

Welcome back. Easter is a big deal for us so we made a feast, including leg of lamb, roasted brussels sprouts, hasselback baked potatoes, aspargus and our homemade butterhorn rolls.  We started marinating the lamb yesterday and also started the butterhorn rolls.

Here’s what the before and after photos, including the final spread and Dad’s plate:

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The Lamb:

Cooking the lamb was pretty simple because we had done the marinade before: we just kept checking it to make sure it was cooked to 145 degrees (medium rare) but not over done:

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Hasselback potatoes:

 

First, we stirrred together melted butter, olive oil, chives and some salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Then we placed each potato between the handles of 2 and sliced the potato into thin slices, leaving a little unsliced so they stay together. (The spoon handles will prevent you from slicing the potato all the way through). After that, we put the potatoes on a baking sheet and brush on the butter mixture, making sure to get in between all the slices.

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Then we baked it until tender and crisp for 75 minutes.  (The recipe calls for less time, but last time we made these, and followed the recipe, they weren’t completely cooked through at the bottom.  This time they were perfect

Brussels Sprouts and Asparagus:

For the brussel sprouts, we quartered them and tossed them with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Then we roasted them for about 15 minutes, removed them from the oven (turned) and adding chopped, delicous bacon. For the asparugus, it was so fresh all we had to do was steam it  and top it with grated parmesean.

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Butterhorn Rolls:

All we had to do for these was heat them up (see earlier entry for the step by step process) and thanks again to Grandma Jean for the recipe. (here’s the prebake and postbake photos)

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