2018 Cooking Bucket List

Before I look forward to new cooking adventures in 2018, it is nice to look back at some of the new dishes I made in 2017. Even with my small hiatus from cooking over the summer, I almost finished my 2017 Cooking Bucket List. I love to cook, so making this list helps me expand my cooking horizons each year and learn a new cooking method or learn that some things are better eaten in a restaurant.

Some things went well and others not so well. I made gluten-free koeksisters, a South African fried dough, dipped in syrup. They were delicious, although a little dense. I’m going to have to work on the recipe a little more. I adapted the recipe to be gluten-free from Cook and Enjoy It from S.J.A de Villiers, a classic South African cookbook.

The egg yolk ravioli with homemade GF pasta was also yummy, though I only made 2 because the pasta was really challenging to work with. I think this is better eaten in a restaurant!

The gluten-free croissants also were just ok. I’ll have to try again.

The Dragon Ball I recreated from my favorite local sushi restaurant (Takara) was amazing! Hint, mine is on the left 🙂 I will definitely make it again at home. Costs about the same.

The Lamb Mango Korma wasn’t exactly made from scratch, but I used curry powder instead of making my own mixture, but it was definitely one of the kids’ favorites that I will make another time and share the recipe with you.

The gluten-free Yorkshire puddings were also a favorite, thanks to Nicole Hunn’s recipe from Gluten-free on a Shoestring.

I also made some fancier dishes. The Cornish Game Hens were so tasty but not something I would make for a regular meal, but save for a special occasion.  The Baked Alaska was actually easier than I thought, just very time consuming. The last thing I made was Indian Pudding. It is a cornmeal pudding that is in almost every New England cookbook I own. I combined recipes from Massachusetts: Recipes for All Seasons and NewEngland.com’s Plimoth Plantation’s Slow Cooker Indian Pudding.

I missed one item on the 2017 bucket list, homemade ginger beer, so I’ve added it to my 2018 list.

  1. Pavolva
  2. Poutine
  3. GF Ouma biscuit
  4. Mayonnaise
  5. Ginger Beer
  6. Crème Brulee
  7. Biltong
  8. GF Chocolate Lava Cake
  9. Avgolemono – Greek lemon chicken and rice soup
  10. GF Lobster Rolls

This year’s bucket list is a mixture of some more South African favorites from my youth, desserts and things I’ve attempted to make before but didn’t work out so well. This year I will finish them all!

Are you going to challenge yourself to make something new this year?  Any good recipes to share with me for one of my bucket list items? Happy New Year!

Basic Chocolate Bark Recipe

Chocolate Bark is a great recipe to have in your arsenal. It is always a hit, so versatile and incredibly easy to make! You can make it for Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day, 4th of July or on a rainy Saturday. It only takes about 30 minutes (5 to 10 minutes of actual work).

Here is the basic recipe:

Basic Chocolate Bark Recipe

Ingredients

1 – 16 ounce bag of chocolate chips (white, dark or milk chocolate)

Toppings, optional

Directions

Prep a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment or wax paper the same size as the pan. Spray with cooking spray. Prep your ingredients. Pour all the chocolate chips into a glass bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals, mixing the chips each time in between. It should take about 3 rounds, around 90 seconds total.  Pour the melted chocolate onto the prepared sheet and spread out to about 1/8 inch thick.

After pouring then add your favorite toppings and lightly press in. Place in freezer for about 20 minutes. Break into pieces. Keep refrigerated.

Topping ideas:

Baklava Bark – Add 1/3 cup crushed nuts (pistachios, walnuts or almonds), zest of one lemon and honey drizzled on top.

Holiday Bark – Add 2 crushed candy canes.

Cookies and Cream- Add about 4-6 crushed GF oreos (I like GF Trader Joe’s Os or Glutino cookies)

Trail Mix Bark – Add 1/4 cup of partially crushed pretzels (I like synder’s GF or Glutino) and 1/4 cup of craisins

Smores Bark – add about 1/4 cup of crushed graham crackers (I like Schar’s GF graham crackers) and about 1/ 4 cup of mini marshmallows. If you like, use a culinary torch to lightly toast the marshmallows.

The options are limitless. Bark is a great idea to make alongside your holiday dessert or put them in clear gift bags and give as a parting gift.

If you need some more dessert ideas try my Raspberry Lemon Thyme Tiramisu or Boston Cream Pie Cake or GF Crispy Treats or Chocolate Pudding Pie or if you are feeling adventurous try my Baked Alaska.

Baked Alaska

Check one item off my 2017 Cooking Bucket List! For Valentine’s Day I made Baked Alaska for my family. It is definitely old fashioned and definitely delicious! I scoured the internet and my cookbook collection for recipes to learn the process. Allrecipes.com never fails to provide good recipes, so I used this recipe to make sure I got the meringue right.  Some use pound cake and sorbet and bake the meringue while others use sponge cake and ice cream and use a torch on the meringue. The thought of putting ice cream in the oven, made me nervous, so I decided to go the torch route. Plus that is more fun!

Baked Alaska

Ingredients

1 gallon of Hood Patchwork ice cream

1 box of gluten free chocolate cake mix, plus an extra egg (I like Wegmans GF chocolate cake mix)

8 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of sugar

Directions

Take the gallon of ice cream out to soften, about 10 to 15 minutes. Prepare a medium sized bowl by lining with plastic wrap, wax paper or parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. Press the ice cream down into the bowl and cover. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

Make 8 inch round cake according to instructions, adding the extra egg. Cool the cake and cut to size of the ice cream in the bowl if needed. Press cake onto the bottom of the ice cream. Cover and freeze for another 4 hours or overnight. About 10 minutes before you are ready to serve, take the bowl of ice cream and cake out of the freezer and make the meringue. Add the remaining ingredients to a mixing bowl. Whip until stiff peaks form. Turn the bowl with ice cream and cake onto a plate and take the bowl and wrap or paper off.

Frost the ice cream with the meringue. Take a culinary torch and run it over all the meringue until toasted. Serve immediately. Freeze the leftovers.

It was much easier to make than I thought. It does take planning, however. I froze the ice cream in the bowl and made the cake one night. The next morning (day of service) I cut the cake to fit the ice cream and put back in the freezer until after dinner, when I finished it with the meringue.

Working my way through my bucket list. I found cornish game hens on sale this week and put them in the freezer, so a fancy dinner where we will each have our own “little chicken” according to my kids, is coming soon 🙂 What is on your cooking bucket list? What would you love to cook?