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Old 09-30-2010, 05:52 AM   #1
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Need help Creating a fancy dinner

Ok so my AC died right in the beginning of a heatwave, so im staying at my girlfriends house for the week. To thank her for taking me in i want to cook her a nice dinner. Now around a grill i am pretty good, but in a kitchen i am kinda useless. I would like to cook steak, maybe a potato dish and maybe something else. I have almost no experience cooking inside and the few attempts i have made the meat was dry and oily. So i need some help. Thanks so much

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Old 09-30-2010, 06:09 AM   #2
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How about a swiss steak recipe. Swiss steak is done in the oven and pretty straight forward if you have a dutch oven or tightly cover a baking dish with foil. You could do baked potatoes that can be done at the same time in the oven as well. Pick up one of the bagged salad kits and you should be good to go.

Don't forget to set the table for 2 with full place settings and maybe some candles. Atmosphere is as important as the food.
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:52 AM   #3
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You can cook a perfect steak indoors, especially if you use a cast iron skillet and an oven.

Preheat oven to 350 F
Get your skillet very hot on the stove.
Lay in the steak, and DON'T touch, peek or poke! Just walk away for exactly 3 minutes.
Turn steak over for another 3 minutes and walk away.
Put skillet in the oven for 3 minutes.
Remove skillet from oven, plate the steak and let it rest for 3 minutes.
Serve.
You'll serve a perfect medium rare steak.

For the baked potatos, pierce the potatoes and put in a COVERED dish.
Microwave on high for 5 minutes.
Turn both of the potatoes in the dish so that the inside of the potatoes are now facing out, cover and microwave on high for another 3 minutes. (Wear an oven mitt while handling the potatoes!)

You're on your own for the salad!
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:20 AM   #4
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I did a lot of commercial cooking. This is what I think:
With "almost no experience cokking inside" . . . If I were you instead of attempting to cook in a kitchen I am not familiar with that is stocked with equipment I am not familiar with I WOULD RUN. I would run because looks are deceiving and there are too many things that can go too wrong in a strange kitchen -- even with an experienced cook.

I would surprise her with (pick one) flowers and candy, jewelry, special meal (you wouldn't normally go here) and ???, weekend get-a-way, moolight carriage ride or cruise, massage and spa for a day, cater the meal and pair it with a nice wine. Make it a night she will still remember when she is 90.

I am very lucky as I can sleep with wolves as easily as I can dine on the 91st floor of a skyscraper, or take a weekend cruse. If you are near Palm Springs you can dine on top of the mountain. If I was in Las Cruces I would go to Columbus, Mexico for dinner at La Tienda Rosa.

Whatever you do, make it a spectacular occassion.





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Originally Posted by Keithtopia View Post
Ok so my AC died right in the beginning of a heatwave, so im staying at my girlfriends house for the week. To thank her for taking me in i want to cook her a nice dinner. Now around a grill i am pretty good, but in a kitchen i am kinda useless. I would like to cook steak, maybe a potato dish and maybe something else. I have almost no experience cooking inside and the few attempts i have made the meat was dry and oily. So i need some help. Thanks so much
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linicx View Post
I did a lot of commercial cooking. This is what I think:
With "almost no experience cokking inside" . . . If I were you instead of attempting to cook in a kitchen I am not familiar with that is stocked with equipment I am not familiar with I WOULD RUN. I would run because looks are deceiving and there are too many things that can go too wrong in a strange kitchen -- even with an experienced cook.

I would surprise her with (pick one) flowers and candy, jewelry, special meal (you wouldn't normally go here) and ???, weekend get-a-way, moolight carriage ride or cruise, massage and spa for a day, cater the meal and pair it with a nice wine. Make it a night she will still remember when she is 90.

I am very lucky as I can sleep with wolves as easily as I can dine on the 91st floor of a skyscraper, or take a weekend cruse. If you are near Palm Springs you can dine on top of the mountain. If I was in Las Cruces I would go to Columbus, Mexico for dinner at La Tienda Rosa.

Whatever you do, make it a spectacular occassion.
As a woman who loves to be appreciated and pampered (who among us does not? ) and also a chef and a home cook, I have to say I agree with linicx. I would not try to make an impressive meal in her kitchen if I were in your shoes.

Since the weather is warm where you are, I might suggest you enlist the best caterer you can afford to pack you an impressive picnic basket with some of your lady's favorite foods, purchase a bottle of REAL Champagne, and take her to the most romantic picnic spot available in your area.
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:28 AM   #6
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I agree a romantic picnic is the way to go. My husband and I had a really romantic picnic when we were dating and continue to go back there. It is a really special place for us. My suggestion, make sure you get some kind of dessert. Chocolate covered strawberries or other bite size nibbles are a great idea.

If you were looking to get away from food. Why not do a couples massage. My husband surprised me with a a couples massage and Hydrotherapy bath on our honeymoon that was great. The spa was amazing. We were in this ultra private suite with tons of candles, dim lighting and soft music. We both had an hour long massage and an hour long soak in this great bath and with fresh fruit, cheese, and mimosas it was great!

It was a really great time of pampering and make me feel so loved and cared for and was a great time to be together. I will never forget it, that is for sure!
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:20 PM   #7
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Cooking is not that hard! You can make a pretty easy and elegant dinner with little effort.

I would however skip the steaks.I think they are easier and better on a grill.

You can roast a chicken or cross rib roast with some baby vegetables and have to work pretty hard to screw it up.Cornish hens are little more elegant if you choose.

Rub either with some spices and pop in a 350 degree oven along with the veg for 1 1/4 hours.Check with a thermometer to make sure you are not overcooking but 1 1/4 hours is almost foolproof for me.If the chicken is starting to pull from the end of the legs it's done!

Make rice,baked potatoes (at sime time as roast),or mashed potatoes to go with.

A Salad and maybe some fruit and cheeses for dessert.


That being said......I did a midnight picnic in the parking lot of an observatory when I was dating my wife.Pretty romantic!They cracked the dome open and had a symphony playing inside (by surprise).

I also did one in the back of my pick-up backed up to a cliff at the ocean.I brought a little stove and had lobster bisque and some wine. Some people passed by and commented what a "Lance Romance" I was.

Good Luck!
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:01 PM   #8
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WOW, I had no idea our members here were such romantics! I'm impressed with all of your ideas. I'd agree that it may not be a good idea to try cooking in her kitchen. I don't think I'd appreciate a house guest cooking for me as a surprise, and she just may feel the same. On the other hand, I always welcome help from house guests, but I think you should ask her first, if you really want to do this.
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:05 PM   #9
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I agree, I would stick to what you're best at doing. Do some the grilling outdoors. Find a nearby park with picnic tables and grills.
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:10 PM   #10
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Fondue can be fun, it gets peoploe dipping into delicious Swiss Gruyere with bits of meat or whatever, and fondue rather gets people loosened up and more chatty. That Swiss steak idea with the potaoes does sound very nice, must say. :)

And welcome to DC. I hope you stick around. People are really nice here.

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Old 09-30-2010, 01:31 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Linux View Post
Fondue can be fun, it gets peoploe dipping into delicious Swiss Gruyere with bits of meat or whatever, and fondue rather gets people loosened up and more chatty. That Swiss steak idea with the potaoes does sound very nice, must say. :)

And welcome to DC. I hope you stick around. People are really nice here.

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Not to mention the rule about having to kiss the person next to you if you drop your food in the pot.

My freind brought me a gold eldelweiss embellished fondue pot from switzerland on his last trip to visit his parents.One of my favorite possesions!I own 5 fondue sets I think.

He says a lot people dunk the bread in a little Kirshwasser before dipping into the cheese.I pour some shots of it when I make fondue for him.Sip and Dunk!
Repeat!
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Old 09-30-2010, 05:55 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the ideas, there are some great ones. However, some aren't going to work. Its way to hot and muggy outside for a picnik, also money is a little tight so catering is out. She does know im using her kitchen, i've cooked in it before, just with lackluster results. She is also coming home kinda late tonight.

I going to look into the swiss steak idea, see if i can do that
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Old 10-04-2010, 01:10 PM   #13
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Most grocery stores have a section of pre-cooked foods near the deli. Pick up some stuffed chicken breasts, a pasta salad, buy some fruit and cheese for dessert and maybe a bottle of wine if you can afford it. If she is the woman you say she is(after all she did save your behind, did she not?) then she will love the fact that you thought of her enough to try to please her. Don't try to compete with her.
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:54 PM   #14
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I taught a 16 year old to make a really nice meal, in his kitchen, for his family, on the cheap, with no cast iron, one knife that I had to hone on the back of another steel knife, and an electric stove I'd never cooked on. And it was easy. He made pita pocket sandwiches that everyone in the house was amazed with. It was a little elegant, and very unique for the household. Here's what I did, and you can do as well, without the perfect equipment. But first, get her permission to use the kitchen. The only thing you will cook is sirloin steak.

Ingredients:
1 half inch thick sirloin steak, well marbled from your meat market, or talk to the butcher at the grocery store and ask for help selecting one good sirloin.

*1 Haas avocado. It's ripe when there is slight give when gently pressing the fruit.
*1 package bean sprouts
*1 package pita pocket bread
*Mayonaise
*Salt
*Pepper
*Brown spicy mustard
Cooking oil

Heat two tbs. cooking oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper onto the steak and stab it all over with a fork to tenderize. Place the steak into the hot pan and cook for two and a half minutes on each side. Remove the steak from the heat to a platter and turn off the stove. Prepare the pita pockets by slicing in half, and then splitting through the middle of the bread to form a pocket. Using your sharp knife, slice the avocado lengthwise all the way around. Twist the two halves to separate them from each other. Use a spoon to remove the avocado meat from the peeling. Slice into thin slices. Look at the steak. You will notice a natural grain in the meat. Clean the knife and place the cutting edge to cut sideways to the meat grain. Hold the knife an a 45 degree angle and slice into thin slices. Spread mayo and mustard inside the pita bread. Fill with slices of meat, avocado, and bean sprouts. You might want to substitute A1 sauce for the mustard, depending on her tastes. Serve with her favorite beverage, and slices of fresh fruit, or yogurt for desert. Cottage cheese would be a good side with this sandwich.

Yes, cast iron is ideal. But I have successfully made great steaks on worn out, warped, flimsy aluminum pans. Heat is heat. You just have to pay attention to what you are doing.

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Old 10-04-2010, 05:56 PM   #15
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I bet you did something to that AC just to move in with your girl friend.

Sory, couldn't stop my self. I think steak and potato, maybe with some green beans on the side plus a bottle of wine and candles is plenty romantic. Considering you do not feel comfortable inside the kitchen. Don't be so hard on you. The less is more.
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Old 10-04-2010, 06:11 PM   #16
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Not to mention the rule about having to kiss the person next to you if you drop your food in the pot.
In my book, there are no rules about having to kiss the person next to me unless I am enjoying their food, dropped from their vertical position to my horizontal.
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Old 10-05-2010, 03:09 AM   #17
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Well im back home now, the weather is cool enough finally that i dont need AC. As for the dinner i went with breaded porkchops, greenbeans, and baked potatos. Simple and she loved it. Thanks for all the suggestions
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Old 10-05-2010, 05:30 AM   #18
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If your girlfriend likes shellfish, you can buy some pretty darned good quality IQF cooked shrimp. Just thaw it and present it in a half avocado or cupped lettuce leaf with a vinegar and oil type dressing (many on the market). For a starch, go to the rice section of your grocery store and find Near East brand couscous or taboule. All you need to do is boil water and pour it over the mix. This is my "go to" starch when my (not air conditioned) kitchen is unbearable hot. You can eat the couscous hot or cold, the taboule cold. Then I would go with something fruit-based for the desert.
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