Two Gourmet Three-Course Dinners for Two for Under 15$

Recently I decided to participate in a very interesting contest hosted by my favourite cooking forum. The goal was to cook a Gourmet 3-course dinner for two and spend no more than 15 euros which is approximately 20 canadian dollars. The idea seemed fun, intriguing and challenging, so I decided to try it out, although I was quite skeptical. When I hear the word "gourmet" I start thinking about exotic dishes and products like seafood, truffles, caviar. Is this even possible to cook a meal for two, make it a little bit above ordinary and spend under 20 bucks? It turned out that not only it's possible, but quite easy. The most difficult part was to do the calculations. Do you know how much two table spoons of white sugar cost? I do now. And what about quarter cup of orange juice or one table spoon of butter. It was fun, exciting and... tasty :) So much so that I decided to do it twice, because as someone said "if one is nice then two is twice as nice".

It took me some time to come up with the first menu. My original idea included Banana Almond Pudding with Banana Ice Cream, Chicken in Cream-Kumquat Sauce with Rice and Mini-Quiche with Blue Cheese and Pears. Then I realized that it'll take me a long long time to cook all this with making of pastry, letting it rest, blind-baking it and then making quiches; marinating chicken and making the sauce separately first; baking puddings just before serving - too much work for a simple dinner that wasn't even a celebratory occasion. So, the menu changed and the only item left from the original idea was the ice cream.

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Menu #1

Arugula Salad with Kumquats and Orange-Glazed Scallops - 4.53

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Spice-Rubbed Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Orange-Garlic Sauce, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, and Roasted Asparagus - 7.84

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Roasted Banana Ice Cream - 1.37

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Total: 13.74$

Menu #2:

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Smoked Salmon and Dill Aebleskivers - 2.54

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Red Snapper with Orange-Dill Sauce and Roasted Asparagus - 7.49

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Orange Cake with Orange Syrup - 1.67

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Total: 11.70$

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Posted on May 1, 2010 .