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Old 07-02-2014, 01:44 AM   #1
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Meal idea for a new cook?

Hey everyone, I searched around the internet and came upon this forum, so I thought I'd sign up and see if you guys can help out.

I'm a pretty experienced cook, been doing it for the last 12 years or so - I've made a wide range of things and I know my way around a kitchen alright. However, I'm dating a girl who cannot cook, but has expressed interest in learning (apparently she claims she's so bad, she can burn grilled cheese).

I decided that a fun idea might be to have her over one night and we can make something together. However, I'm trying to find a recipe that would work well, so I'm hoping someone here might have something in mind that meets this criteria:

- Should be relatively simple (Can be a -little- complex since I'll be there, but I'd like to start her off with something basic)
- Should be something that might be fun for two people to make together
- Needs to be meat-less (she's a pescatarian - so seafood like fish is ok, but just no chicken, beef or pork)
- Also can't have rice - she's not a big rice person.

EDIT: Regarding no meat, things like beef bouillon is ok - she eats gravy, for example - just not the actual meat itself.

If anyone has any ideas, I would appreciate it!

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Old 07-02-2014, 02:17 AM   #2
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How about just simple grilled catfish or flounder, served with steamed veggies and a garden salad?

Would that work? If you steam mixed veggies and melt some cheese and put the melted cheese over the veggies, that might work ok.

Or instead of the veggies, boil some corn on the cob. We love that too. You can always dress up the basic lettuce salad with radishes, grape tomatoes, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, diced ham, cut up bell pepper, a bit of red onion, and some real bacon pieces with the dressing of your choice.

Just my ideas, but wait....the folks here will have much better ideas for you. Let's see what they say.
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Old 07-02-2014, 02:27 AM   #3
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Even though she's not into rice, how about doing a stir-fry sort of dish and serve it over something else. This type of meal could teach her some knife skills during the prep for the veggies and protein/meat and also illustrate how to work with heat when the cooking part is done. It would be relatively quick and tasty.
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Old 07-02-2014, 02:40 AM   #4
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This is a great recipe, add a salad, crusty loaf of bread and a glass of wine.

I serve it with linguine. I have made it with shrimp. I think it would be good with a dozen littleneck clams or a variety of seafood. If you don't have snow peas use broccoli florets or asparagus tips. It is more of a process than an actual recipe so use whatever is available fresh and sounds good to you at the time.

Recipes from 4EveryKitchen: Pasta with Scallops & Snow Peas Poached in White Wine
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Old 07-02-2014, 09:42 AM   #5
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Since she wants to learn, I'll also suggest pasta. It can offer some useful lessons for new cooks. Like what al dente means and when to stop there and when to finish cooking the pasta. And with seafood like shrimp, it offers experience in not overcooking. And the prep for other ingredients lets you smash the covering from garlic. You can even, if you want more of a project, make the pasta from scratch, since it's easy and pretty fault tolerant.

And a salad gives you a chance to make vinaigrette, introducing finely diced shallots and the concept of umami via anchovy paste, as well as the lesson of thoroughly dry greens to accept the dressing.

Of course, you can also make a dressing based upon mayonnaise, making your own mayo, since it's pretty gee-whiz for a non-cooker to see it magically emulsify to just like or better than store-bought.
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:09 AM   #6
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You are going to get a lot more ideas. But I just want to welcome you to DC. This is a great place to have fun in the kitchen. It is an international forum, so you will find foods from every land. The folks here have a great sense of humor. Just take a look at "Today's Funny." So sit back and start reading all the great responses you get with great ideas.

For me, I am not going to give you ideas of what dishes to make, but advice on how to teach her. Make sure you teach her the proper names of the activities you are doing. What is the difference between dicing and cutting into small pieces. The difference between a measuring cup for dry ingredients and wet ones. The difference between a paring knife and a chef's knife.

But the main thing to teach her is the "why." Why you use a paring knife to peel an apple as to a ten inch chef's knife.

But the most important thing of all, is to have fun together in the kitchen. If you or she makes a mistake, so what. It is just the two of you and who knows. You both might just make the dish taste better. And you will have something to laugh about over dinner. Good luck and have fun.
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:21 AM   #7
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Fettuccine Alfredo. Pasta and three ingredients and you have a meal to die for. Add some garlic bread, a Caesar salad and a bottle of wine and you are a hero.
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Old 07-02-2014, 11:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tribalbob View Post
Hey everyone, I searched around the internet and came upon this forum, so I thought I'd sign up and see if you guys can help out.

I'm a pretty experienced cook, been doing it for the last 12 years or so - I've made a wide range of things and I know my way around a kitchen alright. However, I'm dating a girl who cannot cook, but has expressed interest in learning (apparently she claims she's so bad, she can burn grilled cheese).

I decided that a fun idea might be to have her over one night and we can make something together. However, I'm trying to find a recipe that would work well, so I'm hoping someone here might have something in mind that meets this criteria:

- Should be relatively simple (Can be a -little- complex since I'll be there, but I'd like to start her off with something basic)
- Should be something that might be fun for two people to make together
- Needs to be meat-less (she's a pescatarian - so seafood like fish is ok, but just no chicken, beef or pork)
- Also can't have rice - she's not a big rice person.

EDIT: Regarding no meat, things like beef bouillon is ok - she eats gravy, for example - just not the actual meat itself.

If anyone has any ideas, I would appreciate it!
Welcome to DC.

Umm....have you suggested this "treat" to her? Regardless of what she said, you could be making a very serious mistake.

She claims to be able to burn grilled cheese - this isn't inability to cook as much as lack of concentration and lack of interest. Perhaps she's just not interesting in cooking and was just being polite.

This idea has a massive built-in hidden agenda here. An offer to teach me to drive, play tennis, shoot clay pigeons - fine - but if I was a non-cook and a boyfriend offered to teach me to cook I would find such an offer patronising in the extreme. I would consider it a major criticism of my suitability as his girlfriend and would be likely to give said (by then ex-) boyfriend a sharp left hook and the bum's rush!!!

Wait until she actually asks you to teach her without any prompting from you and then STILL be careful how you approach the task

Perhaps, when you know her better, you could negotiate a compromise where when it's your turn to supply the food you cook - when it's her turn she buys dinner in a restaurant.
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Old 07-02-2014, 12:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Fettuccine Alfredo. Pasta and three ingredients and you have a meal to die for. Add some garlic bread, a Caesar salad and a bottle of wine and you are a hero.
I'm in Andy's camp with a simple something pasta for the first time.

If you want to teach something a little more involved, you could do something like baked cheese stuffed pasta shells with a made from scratch home made marinara sauce.

Having said that, Mad Cook may have a point that she's really not interested in cooking. If that's the case, she could sit and watch. With a good bottle of wine and conversation it could still be a memorable date.

Good luck, and welcome to Discuss Cooking.
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Old 07-02-2014, 06:29 PM   #10
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Having her help chop, do salad, etc. might be a way to ease her into cooking...helping make the meal but not necessarily being taught how to cook. I suspect she may lack an interest...
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