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Old 08-15-2007, 12:44 AM   #11
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For this one girl I was dating, I told her that I was going to cook her dinner and that the meal was going to be a tuna sandwich and mac 'n cheese. The "tuna sandwich" ended up being a seared pepper crusted ahi with a caper and roasted poblano chimichurri (the relish), truffled roasted cauliflower puree (the "mayo"), and toasted brioche squares. The mac 'n cheese was orrechiette with four cheeses (parmigiano reggiano, fontina, gorgonzola, and montasio) with a pan roasted pork loin with a truffle demi.

After dinner, she was like, "When you told me you were a chef, I thought, cool! But when you told me what you were making me for dinner, I thought you were maybe the chef at a high school cafetria or Denny's or something, and not where you told me."

"Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
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Old 08-15-2007, 01:09 AM   #12
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I wish I ad that freedom, unfortunately, I broke a very heavy rule, I dated my hostess, lol. Many years later(and I was single for years)later, Mrs.TATT is the best mistake I mad, but she was not about to let me skate off easy for our "first" dinner.

As for your meal, I might just let ya get to first base with that line up, lol!

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Old 08-15-2007, 01:18 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by kitchenelf
Mr. Kitchenelf says I made my rosemary pesto encrusted lamb for him our third date - I told him no way, I didn't give up that dish that quickly!
Sometimes you have to play your trump card early. I had an former gf who invited me for her mother's special meatloaf. I said I'd bring dessert, so I trotted out my SIL's spumoni cheesecake (3 layers--marzipan, black cherry, and chocalate, topped with whipped cream and black cherry compote). Although the meatloaf was awful--it's her son's favorite and he refused seconds--the cheescake didn't survive the weekend. I have since had her meatloaf (not a euphemism), and it was excellent. What happened that time, I don't know. I do know more of her recipes were forthcoming because of that cheesecake.
"To be broke is not a disgrace, it is only a catastrophe." -- Nero Wolfe/Rex Stout
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Old 08-15-2007, 04:23 AM   #14
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The first meal my husband made for me was beef stroganof. I not only fell in love with the fact that he ould cook, but the presentation. He had lovely china, crystal and silver (which I subsequently "inherited" and have to this day). He doesn't cook much any more (decided somewhere along the line that he likes my food better than his, hmmm, there's probably some sort of manipulation in there, but he still makes pasta from scratch, does all the dishes, and does anything I ask for help with in the kitchen, so can't complain).

The first meal I made for him was a roasted duck for Christmas dinner. I nearly fell apart doing it because for some reason I didn't forsee the fact that a red-wine marinade (of my own invention) would turn the raw duck a lurid color of purple. It did look OK once roasted, but I'd never cooked a duck before, and never worked with red wine. I sold my soul (back then I was very broke) to make him a shrimp cocktail served in an avocado half as an appetizer.

And the first restaurant meals -- two come to mind. One really was our first, we went out as platonic buddies. He was wearing a green Izod, and some how I managed to get catsup all over it. But our first romantic dinner, as a couple, was at a Basque restaurant in Old Town Alexandria. It was to celebrate his promotion. He said that if he made major, he'd take me to La Bergerie, if he was passed over, he'd take me to The Hard Times Cafe. He ordered champagne, and our waiter could not open it. The other waiters gathered around at every chance for the rest of the night, whisper-singing "Macho Macho Man" at the poor guy. We spent the evening laughing (it was a very elegant dinner, very elegant restaurant). I guess there are worse ways to start a marriage than laughing (we also laughed through our wedding ceremony a couple of years later, and are still laughing 25 years later).
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Old 08-15-2007, 11:06 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by TATTRAT

I wish I ad that freedom, unfortunately, I broke a very heavy rule, I dated my hostess, lol. Many years later(and I was single for years)later, Mrs.TATT is the best mistake I mad, but she was not about to let me skate off easy for our "first" dinner.

As for your meal, I might just let ya get to first base with that line up, lol!
I dated a hostess once too. Tsk tsk. Hehe.

Might let me get to first base? LOL. Let's just say I Barry Bondsed it. This is a family forum after all...
"Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
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Old 08-15-2007, 12:13 PM   #16
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Here's the dish I served my FPTCF the first time I cooked for him. It's a goodie!

Chicken in Red Wine Vinegar Sauce
6 servings
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
one whole chicken (about 4 pounds) cut into 10 pieces—you could use all breasts or all leg portions if you prefer)
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 shallots, finely chopped
1 cup top quality red wine vinegar
1 cup crème fraîche (or heavy cream, preferably not ultra-pasteurized)
finely chopped fresh (flat-leaf) parsley for garnish

1. Mix salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Split each chicken breast in half, then halve each piece again.
2. Heat the oil and melt the butter in a deep-sided 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. (If your pan isn’t large enough to hold all the chicken in a single layer, use 2 smaller pans, and put half the chicken, oil, and butter in each one.) Rub the chicken pieces with the salt and pepper mixture. When the oil is hot but not smoking, use tongs to add the chicken, skin side down. Brown on both sides until the skin becomes beautifully golden brown, and the chicken is thoroughly cooked, about 12 minutes on each side.

3. Remove the chicken to a serving platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm. Pour off about one-half the fat in the pan. Add the shallots to the remaining oil and brown over medium high heat. Slowly add the vinegar to the skillet and boil until reduced by half. (The fumes will definitely clear your sinuses—great for a cold!!) Add the crème fraîche and cook until the mixture is well blended and has turned a nutty brown color, about 5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan to coat thoroughly and heat briefly in the sauce.

4. Return to the platter, garnish with parsley, and serve immediately.
If there is extra sauce, pass it in a small bowl.
Teacher’s Tips: 1.Be sure the vinegar has boiled down enough before you add the crème fraîche or you’ll end up with a beige, watery sauce.
2. Pork chops also work admirably in this preparation. Brown Chinese vinegar makes a tasty substitution for the red wine vinegar, as well.
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Old 08-15-2007, 12:54 PM   #17
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For my last girlfriend, I made us an anniversary meal of spicy sausage risotto with parmesan and a couple glasses of really good (for a college budget!) wine. It was so rich, so tasty, and she was so impressed!

Unfortunately my current girlfriend is a vegetarian, so I don't get to cook for her very often.
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Old 08-15-2007, 06:24 PM   #18
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I took her to good ol' burger king, and we finished the night off with a small sundae.... not really. I still have a ways to go before I even think about getting married! But someday perhaps, if she can out-cook me.

http://30minutemeals.net - Eat Healthy. Eat Now.
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Old 08-15-2007, 07:19 PM   #19
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At one time, Kim and I were both married to other people, and ran around with the same group of friends. Somebody had a party at least once a month, and somehow, the two of us always ended up in the kitchen cooking or preparing food. We were friends only for 10 years.

When both of us ended up getting divorces, it just seemed natural for us to get together. Kim asked me out to eat, and we went to a very fancy French restaurant in our area. I looked like a million dollars, in a black strapless summer frock, black stockings and high heels.
We started off with an appetizer of brie en crout, smoked salmon, some kind of cracker, and sliced apple. The next course was a soup, and I had a seafood bisque. Don't remember what Kim had, but my main course was Pompano, served whole...eyeballs and all. I was so much in love, that I didn't really pay attention to how it was prepared, but it was the best fish I've ever tasted.
We had homemade crescent rolls to go with, and then, for dessert, I had a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with a shot of creme de menthe.

I was really proud of myself that I didn't get a run in my hose, trip over my high heels, or spill anything. But when I picked up a cigarette and put it to my mouth for Kim to light, he started chuckling. My arm was so coated with crumbs form the crescent rolls that it looked like a piece of fried chicken.

He was the first one to cook a meal for us. Kim didn't have a stove or a kitchen table in his bachelor pad, but he had a big round coffee table that he'd cut down from one of those wonderful old oak tables. He bought big floor cushions for us to sit on, and that's where we had our grilled steak and salad.

Those were happy times!
We get by with a little help from our friends
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Old 08-16-2007, 11:45 AM   #20
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OMG, I love this subject. It's reared its head so many times in my life, it's hard to remember them all.

I used to bake pound cakes for an old boyfriend (whose body seemed to flush out fat naturally ). He was a body builder and played many sports so he never got fat eating them.

I prepared a wonderful saffron rice salad from Saveur for an internet meet. That was memorable. I also prepared several breakfasts from a book called Breakfast In Bed. If you can get your hands on this book it's great when you want to have a wonderful breakfast at home with minimal prep on the morning you plan to serve it.

Bottom line is, I always know when a guy's gotten to me because I question my culinary ability if I need to prepare a meal for him. That was my recent experience when I made dinner for someone on whom I had a terrible crush. After asking him what he wanted for dinner and getting no response... I decided on two family favorites. See below.

I'm happy to report we've been together since February .

Italian Potato Pie

4 Really large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
Water for boiling
Salt for the water - Lots of it
1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
1 cup milk, warmed in the nuke to at least body temp
1/2 lb. cubed mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
around 1/4 lb. prosciutto, chopped
Bread crumbs for top
Butter to dot on top

Boil potatoes in the salted water until you can pierce a potato with a paring knife. Drain.

Rice the potatoes into a bowl. If you don't have a ricer, mash them as smooth as possible. Add the melted butter, cubed mozzie, shredded parm, milk and prosciutto. Fold everything together. Taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary with S&P. If you feel the mixture is too stiff, add a bit more milk and combine. Transfer the potato mixture to an oven proof dish that has been sprayed with vegetable spray.

Can be prepared one day ahead to this stage (I made mine all the same day because I was out the night before watching his band...LOL).

Preheat oven to 400. If you've had the pie in the fridge, take it out and leave it at room temp for about an hour. Place the dish on a baking sheet and cover loosely with foil or with the lid of the baking dish. Bake until very hot, about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on depth of baking dish. Pull the baking dish out of the oven, sprinkle the top of the pie with bread crumbs and dot with butter. Return the pie to the oven and brown the top either with the broiler, or just bake it a while longer.

This dish has been in my family for years. It's the dictionary definition of an old family recipe (as is the following one). People always come back to it and it's great for large parties or to bring to a pot luck.

Chicken Spedini

Chicken breast, very thinly filleted, and cut into narrow strips 1 1/2" to 2" wide
1 large chopped onion
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 22-ounce container Pomi strained tomatoes
5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 lb. piece of provolone, cut into tiny dice
1 cup breadcrumbs
Skewers (I prefer metal for this - you can use bamboo but either soak them or cut off excess bamboo skewer with a scissor or sharp knife)
Bread crumbs for coating the spedini
onion for the skewers

Make the filling. Saute the onion in the olive oil until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the Pomi strained tomatoes (or you could use a can of crushed tomatoes or tomato puree) and the basil and stir to combine. Cook this mixture for about 5 minutes. Add the provolone dice and stir. Directly after adding the cheese, add the bread crumbs. Taste for seasoning. The mixture should have a "paste" like consistency.

Let the filling cool - or chill it.

Take about 1 teaspoon of the mixture and spread it on a chicken strip. Roll up the chicken strip and place on a skewer. Follow with an onion slice (not the whole slice, just one layer). Repeat until all chicken is used - you'll probably have some filling left over. This can be used for stuffing mushrooms or anything you like.

Can be prepared up to this point 1 day in advance.

Preheat the oven to 400.

With your fingers, place a light coat of olive oil on the chicken skewers. Dip the skewered chicken into the bread crumbs (a flat dinner plate facilitates this nicely). Also dip the sides where the filling is exposed. This helps to prevent the filling from escaping out the sides of the rolls. Place on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with vegetable spray. Drizzle a little olive oil over each skewer. Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken. I've never asked a butcher to cut these for me - I've always done my own so thickness will vary from person to person. You want to cook the chicken through but not overcook it.

I served these on a platter, still on the skewers. I think it makes a better presentation than having them helter skelter all over the platter.

I also made a caprese-type salad of fior de latte (fresh mozzarella in tiny balls), shredded basil and grape tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, S&P. I served a couple of varieties of bread.

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