Tomorrow is my 8 year wedding anniversary. My husband and I got married on March 18, 2001 in what actually turned out to be a very frugal wedding ceremony! My mom's friend was a Notary Public and she came over to my parent's house and performed the ceremony for free. The whole thing literally took about 5 minutes and my husband and I still laugh about it, about how nervous we were and how we managed to flub our wedding vows. Our frugal wedding luckily set the stage for our frugal lifestyle afterwards. We started out our life together with no debt from a big wedding, so when we (unexpectedly!) had our first child right away...It wasn't nearly as financially devastating as it could've been. I've been a stay at home mom since I became pregnant with her and the only reason I was able to do that is we had no debt at all starting out. Even our car was paid off, because it was the one my parents bought me in my senior year of high school.
Anyway, here is what I plan to make for the occasion!
Frugal fish and corn chowder
4 slabs thick cut bacon, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2-1tsp cumin(depending on taste)
1tsp dried thyme or 1Tbsp fresh thyme
4C chicken broth
2C diced potatoes (if using russets, peel)
2C fresh or frozen corn
1C shredded carrots
1/2-1 pound orange roughy fillets, skin removed if present
1/2C heavy cream or evaporated whole milk
Cut the bacon into 1 inch dice. Cook over low heat until most of the fat is rendered and then turn the heat to high to crisp the bacon. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour out the bacon fat from the pan, reserving 2 Tbsp. Cook the onion and bell pepper in the reserved bacon fat for 5 minutes. Add the cumin, turmeric and thyme and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes, corn and carrots and bring to a boil. Boil vigorously for 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Add the orange roughy fillets, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flaking. Break up the fish fillets with a wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove the pan from the heat. Let the pan sit for about 10 minutes and then add a little of the cream or evaporated milk to see if it separates. If the chowder is still extremely hot, the cream might separate, so it's best to check. If the cream blends well with the chowder, add the rest and stir it in. Serve and enjoy! This is my favorite chowder. I make it a lot in the summer, when fresh corn is plentiful.
2C all purpose flour
1Tbsp baking powder
2Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
preheat oven to 400 degrees
Place flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and rosemary in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and process until the butter is the size of small peas. In a small bowl, combine the milk and egg. Add the milk mixture to the food processor and pulse until the dough begins to come together. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and shape into a disk. Place the disk on a cookie sheet and pat it into a round about 1 inch thick. Cut the round into 8 wedges and separate them. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned and the bottoms are crisp and browned. These scones go well with pretty much any soup or chowder!
Lemon filled cake
2 1/2C self rising flour
1 1/2C sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1/4C light corn syrup
2 egg whites
1/4tsp cream of tartar
1/3 fresh lemon juice
1Tbsp lemon zest, finely grated
6Tbsp butter, cold
(Make the cake first)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 2 round cake pans and line the bottoms with greased parchment. Combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Mix milk and vanilla together in a separate bowl. Add butter, eggs and 1/4C of the milk to the flour mixture and beat well with a mixer at medium speed for about 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl down and add the remaining milk. Beat just until combined. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 pans and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool for ten minutes and then remove the cake from the pans onto a wire rack to cool completely.
(The lemon curd can be made up to 2 weeks in advance)
Bring about 3 inches of water to a boil in the bottom of a double boiler. Combine the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest in the top of the double boiler and mix very well with a fork. Cook the egg mixture over the simmering water, stirring often for 8-10 minutes. It will thicken into a bright yellow sauce and coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove the lemon curd from the heat and cut the butter into small chunks. Add the chunks a few at a time, stirring them well into the curd before adding the next batch. Store in a tightly covered glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
(Make the frosting after the cake has cooled completely)
Bring about 3 inches of water to a boil in the bottom of a double boiler. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in the top of the double boiler. Beat for 1 minute with a mixer at low speed. Place the top of the double boiler over the boiling water and lower the heat to maintain a simmer in the water below. Beat the egg mixture with a handheld mixer at high speed for 7-14 minutes, until it has tripled in volume and holds stiff, curly peaks when the beaters are stopped and slowly lifted. Remove from heat and add the vanilla, beating for 2 more minutes.
To assemble the cake, place one layer top side down on a cake stand or large plate. Spread the layer generously with the lemon curd. Place the second layer top side up over the lemon curd. Cover the cake with a complete and thick layer of frosting and enjoy your beautiful creation. Store this cake in the fridge.
Note: If you don't want to make lemon curd, you can use 1C of raspberry or blackberry jam instead.