Gourmet for Less*

Eating on a budget is something that most of us can

easily accept, especially when we’re in University. We put

up with the weekly grilled cheese binge, and let’s face it

for most of us KD has been a major staple in our

cupboards since we left mommy’s house. However there

are those certain times where we do need to whip out

those cooking skills we learned in grade 11 Home Ec.

class and cook a really impressive gourmet meal.

Gourmet cooking may seem daunting but it can be really

easy to cook and surprisingly affordable. So whether you’re trying to impress the pants off

that special someone or just trying to do it up for a special occasion, I have laid out a fool

proof meal plan that will make a star. And all for 40 dollars, including your wine.



Spicy Corn Bisque with Grilled Shrimp

The original recipe for this came from Martha Stewart. Her recipe calls for a few

ingredients that most people aren’t familiar with and that can be expensive. I’ve altered

the recipe a bit and made it much more affordable. It tastes awesome and looks superb.


2 tbsp butter or margarine

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup finely chopped carrot

3 cups corn kernels

2 tbsp finely chopped shallot

1 tbsp finely chopped garlic

6 cups of Corn Stock

2 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup milk

12 ounces shrimp

Sour cream

Chives finely chopped


1. Heat butter and oil in a medium saucepan and melt butter. Add onion and carrot and cook until they are caramelized and softened, about 5 minutes. Add corn and continue cooking until corn is caramelized, about 7 minutes. Add shallots and garlic and cook for about 1 minute.

2. Add corn stock, salt, and cayenne pepper to mixture. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook soup until corn is very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and then let cool slightly.

3. In a frying pan or on a grill pan you can now cook your shrimp. Add a small amount of oil to your pan and season your shrimp with salt and pepper before grilling. Cook until shrimp is no longer translucent and tails are orange.

4. In batches tranfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain soup through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan. Add cream and grilled shrimp.

5. To garnish add a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with a few chives.

Martha serves this dish cold, which you can do and it is really good, I just personally prefer it warm. If you want to serve it cold then just put it into the fridge until it’s totally chilled. Also I like to serve this soup with a piece of grilled french bread. It gives people something to dunk into the soup, which tastes good and people always love.

Cost of a pot of soup: 7 dollars

Cost of knowing you made a fabulous bisque from scratch: PRICELESS*

So I realize that not everyone will be into the effort of making a soup. For those of you who want another option check out this Radicchio and Endive Salad. It’s incredibly simple and is sure to appeal to the masses.



Main Course:

Roasted Pork Loin with a Dijon and Parsley Crust

Accompanied by a Fricassee of Mushrooms, Shallots and Garlic

This recipe is from Curtis Stone, star of TLC’s Take Home Chef. Once again i’ve

altered the recipe again to make it a little more affordable. He used a more

expensive mushroom then the typical white button mushroom most of us use.

White button mushrooms work fine in this recipe, just please don’t try to use the

ones from a can. Also he put shaved truffles on top of it to garnish. I mean who

doesn’t love a good truffle garnish, but really who can afford them.


One boneless pork loin roast

Salt and fresh ground pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp dijon mustard

3/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup chicken broth

2 shallots, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound of halved mushrooms


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a large sautee pan over high heat. Season the pork loin with salt and pepper. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the pork and rub til the whole pork is coated.

2. Cook the pork the hot pan until it is golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes total. The pork is not going to be cooked at this point so don’t worry. Put the pork in the saute pan in the oven and roast it for about 1 hour or until your meat thermometor reads 140 degrees. (for how to check the temp of your meat check this out.) While the pork is cooking turn it occasionally to ensure even browning.

3. Remove the pork from the oven and brush with dijon mustard over the top and sides of the pork. Sprinkle 2/3 cup of the chopped parsley over a work surface. Roll the mustard coated parts of the pork in the parsley to coat and pat the parsley to insure it’s adhered.

4. Set the pork aside and let it rest for at least 10 minutes so that the juices redisperse into the meat. Add the chicken broth to the pan that had the pork. Stir over medium heat to loosen the drippings and create a sauce for the meat.

5. For the mushrooms: In a separate pan add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Then add the shallots and cook for a minute. Then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the mushrooms and saute for about 8 minutes, until they are tender and juicy. Stir in remaining parsley and stir with salt and pepper.

Serving Tip: When serving the pork it might be a nice touch to plate the food

for your guests and then serve them. Place the mushrooms on the plate first. Then

lay two slices of the pork on top of the mushrooms and drizzle the sauce over top.

Garnish with a little left over parsley.

Cost of meal: 20 dollars


Wine Pairing:

Once again I would definitly recommend Prosecco for this meal. Prosecco works

really well with spicy food so it will pair well with the heat in the corn bisque. Also

the light flavor of it will go well the clean flavors in the main dish. And it’s bubbly so

it’s fun and with keep the mood of your party classy, but not too uptight. And if you really want to look

classy, try serving Paris Hilton’s canned Prosecco.

Cost of wine not served in a can: 13 dollars




Filed under Cooking on a Budget

2 responses to “Gourmet for Less*

  1. Anne

    Another excellent blog, Bailey! I am always amazed at how you refuse to compromise on taste and creativity even while on a budget. You prove that with a little ingenuity and effort, anyone can make a classy dish.
    The humour in your posts is also much appreciated!

  2. Pingback: Got a Hot DATE?* « Digitally Delicious

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