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.
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.
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