This week, I spent an afternoon cooking with Heather Crawford from First Coast News.
She asked if I would be able to cook a gourmet meal with food purchased from a dollar store, and spend less than $10. Although I had my own doubts about what I could possibly buy at the dollar store to cook a decent meal, I was ready for the challenge.
As we walked around the store, I didn’t want to select anything that wasn’t wholesome, because that is just not how we cook with at Blue Bamboo. That meant all prepared foods, mixes, and canned foods were out. As tempting as it was to pick up a bag of seasoned rice or pasta to cook, I passed on all of that stuff too. Anyone can open a package and make those things. There were canned veggies and fruit. Some were packed in juices or water, and not heavy syrups, so I could have cooked with them, but I decided to pass on them too. I couldn’t imagine that starting with those ingredients would have given us a meal that we would be proud of.
I struck gold when I came across their freezer and refrigerated sections. I found frozen peas, frozen berries, milk, eggs, and sausage. I found some flour, and some cocoa powder caught my eye.
All of those groceries ended up costing $9.07. Under our budgeted $10.00, and now I had a bout an hour to prepare our gourmet meal.
Here’s the final menu:
Pork and English Pea “Love Letters” with Green Pea Sauce
and Cool-Hot Cocoa Creme Brulee with Berries.
The ingredients actually could have fed 6 people, but we had to save a little for us to taste.
See the video clip of our shopping and preparing this meal at firstcoastnews.com.
We’ll celebrate with our WAG salad, created especially for our 8th Anniversary tasting menu. This salad has all the goodness of watermelon, asparagus, and grapes, dressed in our house-made soy-balsamic vinaigrette. Stop by today and celebrate national watermelon day
A few weeks ago, we were asked to participate in a martini contest. The Junior League of Jacksonville sponspred this competition betweeen 6 local top restaurants and nightclubs.
In preparation for this competition, we tested many flavors and combinations to get what we thought might be the winning recipe.
In the end, we made a “Blood Orange Crush,” made with blood orange juice, tequila, blood orange liqueur, and topped with salt air.
The competition was stiff. But when the votes were counted up, we won! Look in next month’s Jacksonville Magazine to see pictures and a story about our cocktail.
Today, August 8th, is National Zucchini Day! As you know, we use this green squash to make our signature appetizer, Dragon Whiskers! Abundant in late spring and summer, zucchini is both versatile and delicious. Since our favorite flavor is “fried,” that’s the way we like to serve it.
We named this appetizer to honor our restaurant ancestors, which occupied the space where Blue Bamboo is currently.
Today, we got a batch that were just HUGE! Each squash was even bigger than our knives.
July 6 is National Fried Chicken Day.
For us at Blue Bamboo, there is nothing more comforting than a piece of juicy and crispy fried chicken. This Southern specialty is found on the plates of both humble food trucks, shacks, and fine dining places alike, all over Jacksonville. The oldest fried chicken place around here is Beach Road Chicken Dinners, which opened right here in our neighborhood in 1939. Here’s their website:http://beachroadchickendinners.com
The trick to our crispy fried chicken at Blue Bamboo is our Japanese panko breading. We dip our chicken (breasts only) in Buttermilk before coating to keep the meat moist. An alternating dip between wet and dry ingredients ensures that the breading doesn’t separate from the meat, and seasoning each step in the process keeps it flavorful. When frying, we won’t ever overcrowd the fryer, and we make sure that the oil is at just the right temperature.
We serve our fried chicken many ways. Currently on our menu, we are offering general’s style fried chicken, sweet and sour fried chicken, fried chicken pot pie, and best of all, we make a peachy southern fried chicken and waffles.
So, happy Fried Chicken Day! Come on by if you are in the neighborhood. We’ll be happy to whip up some of our fried chicken specialties for you.
This is the second year that we participated in the Great Chefs of Jacksonville event. I, along with Mathew Medure, Tom Gray, and Scott Ostrander made up the City team. We went up against a team of chefs from the beaches to create 4 courses, matched up against one other.
Here’s the link to the event information about the annual event:
There were 200 guests, so we had to perform as efficiently as possible.
About the Blog
Chef Dennis Chan is the creator of Blue Bamboo, a great restaurant. He writes this blog as an outlet for his food ideas and to keep fans of Blue Bamboo, Hip Asian Comfort Food and his cooking classes up-to-date.
Recent Blog Posts
- Who would takeover our blog???
- Follow us on Social Media!
- TV Dinner event with the Specktator!
- Chinese New Year 2014!
- A meal for 4 for only $9.07 in food!
- Cooking Classes
- Local Happenings
- Must Reads
- National Holidays
- Top Chef
- Wine dinners