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Old 11-09-2006, 01:50 PM   #1
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Romantic dinner for 8...with a catch...

My girlfriend and I are going away this weekend with 3 other couples. The place where we are staying has a kitchen [with pots pans and silverwear etc.] however there is only a STOVE and MICROWAVE and no OVEN.

As we are all students and on a limited budget, I volunteered to cook dinner on saturday night. I am trying to think up a delicious and subtly romantic dinner idea... REMEMBER i do not have an OVEN to work with... so i cant make something beforehand and heat it up (my initial idea).

One of my thoughts is Chicken Marsala [as i can use the stove for noodles and sautee]. If anyone has an idea of a romantic dinner idea please let me know!

Thanks so much!



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Old 11-09-2006, 02:17 PM   #2
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Wow, I'm not sure I've ever had a meal with three other couples that could be described as romantic ;)

Any pan cooked chicken dish is a good idea (there are so many to choose from), or pasta if you want to keep it simpler, although pasta + romance never works for me (it makes me very sleepy) I know it works for some!
A quick light pan chicken I often make is with orange juice, and at the end a little of whatever creamy I have in the fridge...yoghurt usually, or creme fresh, the orange needs a tang in the creamyness to temper sweetness.
Despite your limited budget if they are in season where you are a couple of oysters per person makes everything seem more fancy....with the budget and the number of people I think you would easily get away with two each, even one each to set the mood, with a coice of shallot vinegar (you only need one shallot), lemon juice and tobasco.

Again, romance calls for puddings that can be taken away to eat in couples imo, so I would individually prepare something like creme brulee in ramekins, and not bother with more than a coule of strawberries if you want a garnish.

People do not want to feel stuffed full and bloated. I would go easy on the portions and offer a crisp green salad (even just baby leaves) dreesed with evoo/balsamic if you have it. Other wise, bearing in mind the costs, just squeeze an orange over the leaves. If you are drinking (not sure of your age ;)) then I'd get an Italian sparkling, much cheaper than champagne but will set the mood well. Or a rose....I have been thrilled with the rose revolution in recent years and there are some really excellent pinks about. We regularly have an Austrailan pink bubbly which is truley delightful and light, if a little on the sweeter side.

What a lovely idea, I hope you have a good meal.

In omnibus amor et iustum
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Old 11-09-2006, 02:39 PM   #3
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Thank you so much for that long and insightful post. You really put a lot of thought into that an I am truly appreciative.

The oyster idea is terrific, and the wine recommendations great as well.

I planned to make a nice green salad, so we are on the same page there. I hadnt thought about the effect a "heavier" meal might have on us. That is a GREAT point and something i surely will consider.

We are all between the ages of 25-27 and we do enjoy our vino! For dessert, my girlfriend is making home made pumpkin pie (yes the kind from the pumpkin!). She has made it once already this season and it was, by far, THE BEST pumpkin pie i have ever tasted.

Thanks again, and please keep the suggestions coming!

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Old 11-09-2006, 02:56 PM   #4
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Lulu's idea of oysters for starters is a great idea. For main course, you might want to consider seafood paella laden with calamari, prawns, fish, clams, mussels etc.
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:00 PM   #5
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...and keep in the back of your mind that you can heat foods (carefully so they don't dry out) in the microwave. Also putting a dish to be heated over a pot of simmering water (an oven-proof dish) will work also. So you can do a lot ahead of time - like rice, mashed pottoes, etc.

Sounds like fun!!
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:06 PM   #6
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I have never thought to heat something in that way... and probably never would have, had you not mentioned it... BRILLIANT!

One of the ladies is allergic to shell fish, and my lady is a "lactard" so those are things that I must keep in mind (and henceforth keep you informed about).

Keep them coming! Thanks everyone!!!!!

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Old 11-09-2006, 03:10 PM   #7
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Truly yummy food is romantic, Corey... it doesn't have to be a specific dish.

I would make up a big pot of delicious beef stew, or chicken with rice, and take it along in the pot. You can heat it up on top the stove, just fine. Add a little stock and/or wine and stir it frequently so it won't stick.

Toss a terrific salad with freshly made vinaigrette you've brought along in a screw-top jar (shake and toss!) and bring some great bread.

If you want to make the dessert on site, poack some pears in red wine and then reduce the poaching liquid to make a sexy sauce.
Wine is the food that completes the meal.
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:24 PM   #8
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Okay, chef_corey, I'm going to take an entirely different approach to your romantic dinner. I'm not going to address the food issue. I'm going for atmosphere.

You say the place has silverware, plates, etc. That's fine but, just in case, bring along some lovely "glass" wine glasses, some candle holders, some candles. Look for a beautiful tablecloth and add a couple of mirror tiles to put on the center of the table to put the candles in their holders on. To bring more romance to the table (sorry, I had to say that), take along some fresh flowers, roses preferably.

If you can't bring flowers, go to your local hobby/craft store and buy some flat glass pebbles and sprinkle them on the mirror tiles on the table. There's nothing more romantic than crystal and shimmer under the glow of candlelight.

Now, music. Look in your music library and pick out the most romantic music to play throughout the evening.

Good food, good company, soft lights, shimmer and sparkle, beautiful music. If these don't spell romance, nothing does. Have a great time!

P.S. I used to set a romantic dinner for Buck once a week when we were dating. We've been together 30 years. I must've done something right.
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!
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Old 11-10-2006, 01:10 AM   #9
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I made a romantic dinner for eight once. Me and seven women. I can not, for the life of me, remember what we had.
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Old 11-10-2006, 08:58 AM   #10
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I'd start out with a salad of mixed greens. I'd make a fresh vinegrette and top the salad with crispy croutons and parmesan.

For the entree I'd make one of the following:

Chicken Francese or Chicken Piccata
GB's recipe for Orzo with Parsely and Lemon Zest
Roasted Asparagus

For Dessert I'm make these little Chocolate Molten Cakes. I just received my magazine from Kraft Foods and there is a recipe in it that looks sooooo good and easy to make. The picture in the magazine is much better than on the website. In the magazine they lightly dusted it with powdered sugar and served it with fresh raspberries on the side.
http://www.kraftfoods.com/main.aspx?s=recipe&m=recipe/knet_recipe_display&u1=keyword&u2=Baker's%20Molten &u3=**3*5&wf=9&recipe_id=69182
Se non supporta il calore, vattene dalla cucina!
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Old 11-10-2006, 09:07 AM   #11
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You may want to look at making little appetizers or tapas they are easy to make and can be very romantic if you serve them to one another. Regardless of what the main course turns out to be you could always melt chocloate for dessert and cut up fruit into it. Chocolate fondue for 8 could be fun.
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Old 11-10-2006, 10:45 AM   #12
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Fondue would be fun, a cheese one before your main course would mean your gf's pumpkin pie was not upstaged.....

Also, it occured to me that the best part of a romantic trip for me is the late breakfast next morning, have you planned that? Its much easier of course, get a good loaf on the way up, or pastries or muffins, or some pancakes and bacon (I love north American breakfasts :)) and lovely hot chocolate or coffee.

Chocolate is a reuring theme in romantic meals, its the endorphins that it is meant to release and its melting point.....invaluable!
In omnibus amor et iustum
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Old 12-06-2006, 11:04 PM   #13
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Hmmm.... I'm with the group who say eight people isn't romantic, two people is! I like your idea of chicken marsala (or picata, or anything similar). A bag of mixed baby greens, the pasta, a purchased desert (cheesecake or ice cream topped with a liquer comes to mind). Some antipasa before with cocktails. Simple, can be done with your limitations. But romance? I don't think so!
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Old 12-07-2006, 09:40 AM   #14
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Box of Gianduja. Thats your dessert. Mostly cocoa butter. And we know what temperature that melts at. Body temperature.

How about a nice cep risotto if you get a hold of the ceps. A pasta of some kind makes sense, all done on the stove.

Mr C says hi!
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