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.


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


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  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.


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  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!


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)


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



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

Welcome to  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.


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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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.


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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!


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:)



Sunday, April 15, 2018: Dutch Apple Pancake
Apr 16th, 2018 by Katekoster

Today we wanted something a little different for breakfast but that was both sweet and sort of healthy.  Mom also had apples that she said we needed to eat or use up so we decided to make a Dutch Apple Pancake. This is a really easy, fun thing to make and it looks super cool when you take it out of the oven (it’s really puffy).  It settles down after about a minute but its still delicious. We first made this when Max was in kindergarten doing an apple study in Eve’s class and it has been one of our favorite morning (or anytime) dishes since then.


The first thing to do is preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Then assemble the ingredients: apples, butter, cinnamon, eggs, milk, flour and salt. First you peel and slice 3 large or 4 medium apples. Then you toss with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.  (If your apples are really tart, you may want to add some sugar.  We used Gala apples and they didn’t need any sugar). Meanwhile melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a pan.  After its melted, remove 2 tablespoons and set aside and then add the apple-cinnamon mix to the saute pan.  Sautee till softening but not floppy.

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Now its time to make the pancake mix: combine 3 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup flour, the melted butter you set aside and 1/4 teaspoon salt and whisk well.  Helpful hint: try to have the eggs at room temperature. Then pour the batter over the apple mix and pop in the oven for 20 minutes.  Cook until golden brown and puffed up! And if you want sprinkle a little powdered sugar over it before serving, even better.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018: Sumo Orange Challenge
Apr 15th, 2018 by Katekoster

Today we decided to do a taste test between a regular Navel Orange and a Sumo Orange.


Sumo Oranges are oranges that are a little bigger than regular oranges, have a rougher skin and have a “top-not” (sort of like a Sumo wrestler’s top not).  It’s a pretty new citrus varietal that was developed in Japan but is now grown in California.  It is a hybrid of both the mandarin and orange families. We evaluated the two oranges on 1. appearance; 2. ease of peeling; 3.stickiness of hands after eating; and 4. taste.

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  1. Appearance: Sumo won just because it looks so cool
  2. Ease of peeling: Sumo won again: you can essentially peel it in one peel
  3. Stickiness of hands after eating: tie.  We expected the Sumo to win this one but neither orange was particularly sticky
  4. Taste: Navel Orange won by a long shot.  Maybe its just that we don’t like the taste of mandarins? But the Navel Orange was sweet and refreshing…the Sumo Orange not so much.
Saturday, April 7, 2018: Dinner No. 110: Tandoori Chicken with Raita and Spicy Kale
Apr 8th, 2018 by Katekoster

Tonight we wanted to make Indian food for our dad, because it’s one of his favorites and we don’t eat it very often.  We decided to make Tandoori-style chicken served with rice, raita, spicy kale and chickpeas and naan.  We actually started the chicken the day before because it’s best if it marinates overnight.  We based our recipe on one we found in Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbook called Indian Cooking. (See below for our fancy plating…especially the heart shaped rice, with chick pea )

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Tandoori Chicken

The first thing we needed to do was prep the ingredients for the marinade:  We peeled and chopped 1/2 onion into quarters, peeled about an inch of ginger, sliced a clove of garlic and chopped 1/2 a jalapeno pepper.  Then we put all those ingredients in a blender with plain yogurt and a spice called Garam Masala which consits of cardomom seeds, cinnomon, cumin cloves, and nutmeg. This is a very traditional spice that is commonly used in north Indian and Pakistani homes, there are many variations, each tasting wonderful. Anyway, after adding all of the ingredients, we blended them until combined… using the food proseser!

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Meanwhile we put the chicken thighs in a pan and cut 2 slits in each piece (so the marinade could seep in).  Then we salted and peppered them, squeezed a lemon on top and spread the marinade over them.  We added a little tumeric to make the marinade more colorful (because Tandoori Chicken is usually very orange) but then read in Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbook that the deep orange color of Tandoori Chicken comes from food coloring so we added food coloring to the marinade).

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After it marinated overnight, we shook off as much marinade as we could and baked the chicken in a 450 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Note that if you leave a lot of marinade on the chicken, it bakes onto the pan and is hard to clean.  We saved the extra marinade and boiled it (to kill any germs) and added a little chicken broth to make a sauce.

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Raita is a yogurt based dip that we like because it cools down any spicy food.  Traditionally its just cucumber, cumin, plain yogurt (and salt and pepper), but we like to add chopped tomatoes as well.  It’s best if you make it a couple hours ahead of time so the flavors “blend together.”

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Kale and Chickpeas

Mom really likes an Indian dish that combines spinach and chickpeas, but since we didn’t have spinach (and we had kale), we decided to use kale instead.  First we de-stalked the kale and rough chopped it.  Then we sauteed drained chickpeas in olive oil with a little cumin, garlic powder and curry powder.  Then we removed the chickpeas and sauteed the kale in the same pan.  We combined the kale and the chickpeas right before serving.

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Finally we plated the chicken with rice and sauce, along side the kale chickpea combo.  Naan and raita were on the side.


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