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!

Cornish Game Hens

Check another meal off my bucket list for 2017! Cornish game hen are a way to wow guests and a great alternative to ham for Easter Dinner or beef for Christmas.

I made them on a snowy April Fools Day. We took advantage of a nasty day outside, in between sports seasons, to stay warm inside, start a home improvement project, play board games and make some comfort food.

Cornish Game Hen

Ingredients

5 Cornish game hen, keep the gizzards and neck

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons of salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground thyme

1 lemon, zested and cut into 6 pieces

1 large white onion, cut into 12 pieces

5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

10 stems of fresh thyme

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large roasting pan with cooking spray. Dry the hens. Stuff each with a piece of onion, piece of garlic, piece of lemon and a stem of thyme Mix the lemon zest with the salt, pepper and ground thyme in a small bowl. Rub each hen with olive oil and sprinkle with  the lemon zest, salt, pepper and ground thyme mixture. Place into roasting pan and surround with the gizzards, rest of the onions, garlic and thyme stems. Roast in oven for about 1 hour and 10 to 20 minutes. Check internal temperature. When cooked through and juices run clear, place hens on a cutting board under a foil tent to rest for about 10 minutes.

You can make a great pan sauce with the drippings. Place the roasting pan on the stove over medium heat (2 burners if a large pan) and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove the gizzards, onions, garlic and thyme stems. Add the juice of about 1/2 a lemon, a tablespoon of brown sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and stir. Whisk in 1 to 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes, whisking to get clumps out. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and remove from heat. It is ready to serve!

Each person got half of a bird and I still have enough to make a pasta dish with the leftovers for dinner tonight. I served served the hens with wild rice from Wegmans and frozen peas.

What are you making for Easter dinner? I am thinking ham, salmon, a potato dish and maybe asparagus. What sides are tradition in your family? Try something new like my Sweet Potato Gratin or polenta with Balsamic green beans.