$20 Menu Challenge - Elements Global Cuisine





Mushroom Medley

4 oz sliced exotic mushrooms (porcini, portobello, button)

2 tbs unsalted butter

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/2 cup red wine

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

1/2 tsp dried parsley

Salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Take one sheet of thawed puff pastry (you can save the second piece in the freezer) and cut into 6 rectangular pieces. Place 4 pieces of puff pastry on a cookie sheet and bake.

15 minutes untill browned (you will use the remaining 2 pieces for dessert). Remove from oven and let cool.

Meanwhile over medium heat, in sauté pan, melt butter, add mushroom slices, salt, pepper, thyme and 3/4 of the dried parsley. Add wine, stir and let the liquid reduce by half (about 5 minutes).

Place a cooked puff pastry rectangle on each plate, top with the mushrooms and place a second puff pastry at an angle over the mushroom, use the rest of the chopped parsley to decorate the plate.

Cheese Ravioli

12 cheese ravioli

7 oz coconut milk

1/4 granny smith apple, diced

1 tbs curry powder (yellow)

3 oz raisins

3 oz heavy whipping cream

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 oz dried parsley

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and ravioli. Cook until al dente, don't overcook.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, combine 1/2 of the coconut milk, curry powder, diced apple, raisins, cream, salt and pepper. Heat the ingredients over medium heat, stirring frequently until liquid has reduced by half.

Drain the ravioli and add to the liquid.

Divide the ravioli among 2 plates and decorate with the parsley.

(For an extra $2 you can buy vegetable ravioli instead of cheese.)

Apple Tartlet

8 oz puff pastry

1 3/4 granny smith apple, sliced thin

2 oz raisins

2 tbs sugar

1/8 oz vanilla

3 oz heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the 2 puff pastry rectangles till each one measures 9x6 inches, then crimp the edges inward to form a border. Each rectangle of puff pastry should now measure 6x3 inches. Place 8 slices of apple on each rectangle of puff pastry, overlapping slightly; sprinkle with the sugar and raisins. Place in oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile whip the cream with vanilla. Remove tartlets and serve with the whipped vanilla cream.

In honor of this week's upcoming Food Issue — The $20 Menu Challenge — EatMyFlorida will have a recipe o' the day for the next ten days.

Our challenge to local chefs: Create at least three courses of wonderful food for two and keep the ingredients to under $20. Not too difficult for a home cook, maybe, but we wanted more. We wanted meals that are restaurant quality for all those being pinched by the economy who can't afford as many nights out at the bistro as they could a few years ago. Exquisite food, light on the wallet. Turns out, that wasn't too hard for most of the accomplished chefs who participated, either.

Today's offering is from Elements Global Cuisine in Gulfport. Chef/owners Catherine and Jose Luis Pawelek went the extra mile by creating four menus, one for vegetarians, and three for meat and seafood eaters. Most of the dishes are not only easy for the home cook, they're quick, with a lot of prepared ingredients bought from the supermarket. After the break is the first menu from Elements, an entirely vegetarian feast.

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