Sunday September 30, 2018: Dinner No 119: Stir Fry Shrimp and Peas
Oct 13th, 2018 by Katekoster

Tonight we were trying to use up some leftover rice and half a bag of sugar snap peas.  We checked the freezer and saw a box of frozen shrimp (mom says its good to always have frozen shrimp in the freezer but she’s a little kooky).  Anyway, we also had some fresh ginger (and we always have red onions and garlic), so we decided to make a simple shrimp and peas stir fry.  (We are using the word “we” generously: Alex did most of this meal because Max was studying for a big test.)


Here are the ingredients:


The first step was to rinse the shrimp in cool water to thaw them and to remove the tails.  It’s ok to leave on the tails if you are just cooking shrimp to dip in cocktails sayce but when they are part of a dish, we think its best to remove them.  Otherwise some unsuspecting eater might swallow a shrimp tail.  Anyway, next step is to chop the garlic, onion and ginger and prepare the left over takeout rice for reheating.  Then its time to start sauteeing. We do stir fry in layers: first the garlic, ginger and garlic; then the vegetable and then the shrimp (because it cooks the fastest).

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What we liked about this meal was that it was super fast to make, used up left overs and was healthy.  We added a little soy sauce at the end, heated up the rice in a microwave and had a great meal!

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Monday, September 24, 2018: Dinner No. 118: Slow Cooker Brisket, Mashed Potatoes and Salad
Sep 30th, 2018 by Katekoster

We decided to make dinner for Monday night ahead of time (the brisket has to cook for 8 hours in a slow cooker, and then its better if it sits, so we didn’t want to try to start it Monday morning). So we started making the brisket Sunday and then finished it Monday night.  I (Max) did most of the work on the brisket because Alex was sick but then she helped out with potatoes and salad on Monday.

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The ingredients for the brisket are pretty straight forward: beef brisket, barbecue sauce, and the spice rub: cumin, paprikca, onion powder, garlic powder and salt and pepper

You mix the spices together and then you rub it into the brisket.

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Then you add barbecue sauce (you can make your own or use your favorite store bought brand…we used store bought) and let it cook for at least 8 hours on low.

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Once the meat is falling apart, you remove the meat and shred it  with two forks.  Then you drain or skim the extra fat from the liquid and add the shredded meat back to the pot. (At this point we put the brisket in the fridge overnight). Then we reheated it on Monday and served it with soft rolls, and of course the mashed potatoes and salad.


I (Alex) am not sure we need to tell you how to make mashed potatoes but here’s what we do:  we peel Yukon Gold potatoes if available (if not Russet is ok), then we cut them into same size pieces and boil till fork tender.  We remove, add cream, butter and salt and paper and mash…pretty simple.



For the salad I pretty much took everything potentially salad-like in the fridge and put it in a bowl: that included arugula, tomatoes, avocado, goat cheese, and roasted mushrooms.  It was a good combination.


Saturday, August 25, 2018: Dinner No. 117:Hamburgers, Goat Cheese Salad and Fresh Baked Cinnamon Rolls
Sep 16th, 2018 by Katekoster

Tonight for dinner we felt like burgers and corn on the cob, but we forgot to buy corn so we just had a big salad. Plus Alex felt like baking so she made fresh bread, and even better, cinnamon rolls (that were supposed to be for breakfast, but ended up being dessert!).  Max was mainly in charge of dinner since Alex did the bread and cinnamon rolls (sorry for the lack of pictures: we were too busy cooking). However, Alex is always in charge of mushrooms so she sauteed them.


Burgers: First step wash hands, second step: shape in circles and push down a little in the center.  Next up: slice and sautee mushrooms (for topping the burgers). Burgers were served with mozarella cheese, mushrooms and of course, ketchup.

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Now time for the salad: we decided to make one of my favorites: butter lettuce with goat cheese, walnuts and cranberries.  We also roasted some cauliflower (because mom always wants that)

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Bread course

I (Alex) started this in the afternoon because it was a little rainy so felt like a good day to bake.  The recipe I made usually makes 2 loaves of bread but instead of making a second loaf, I decided to make cinnamon rolls.

To do that, after you have left the bread rise twice and split it into two pieces (one of which becomes a loaf of bread), you roll out the other piece and 1) spread with butter; 2) spread with cinnamon sugar; and 3) roll up and slice into rolls. Then you bake those.  Here is the bread rising; the final loaf of bread, rolls rising and the final YUMMY batch of cinnamon rolls.

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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!

MaxLiberty Burgery   Liberty Burger Shake

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:

Momturkeyburger   Alex cheeseburger

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).

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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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