Lost a bet....must make multi-course meal
I am being asked to create a gourmet meal featuring a starter, an entree, two sides, a specialty drink and dessert.
Any ideas for a gourmet, blow- your- socks -off experience that also features some easy to prepare courses?
(I have been told it can't be Mexican).
Here are some ideas for you Lulu that I would pull from my repetoire for a dinner like that:
1. Cream of asparagus or minted fresh pea soup to start.
2. A "fish course" of one huge seared scallop, if available, or 3 smaller ones, with bit of fresh fennel slaw alongside; OR maybe mini crab cakes with celery root remoulade; OR oysters on the half shell if you like that.
3. Main course of rack of lamb or duck breasts -- both are easy to cook and special enough for a dinner like this. Serve with a green veggie like sauteed spinach or asparagus or whatever looks best (don't do asparagus if you made the soup with it).
4. You may want to skip the sides with the main course (just a small interesting garnish) and serve a mixed micro greens salad with a cheese plate after the main course.
5. I'm not a big dessert person and would probably not manage to eat it even if I made it at this point, but I do enjoy a fruit dessert like poached pears with raspberry and chocolate sauces.
So much of this menu can be made ahead of time, which is always a plus.
A tarte tatin is also a good (IMO) idea for a dessert. If you don't have mini cast iron skillets or more involved equipment, you can always make a delicious open face tart topped with pears poached in Sauternes, vanilla, cinnamon and a bit of sugar. Top the blind baked pastry shape with slices of the pears, drizzle a bit of reduced poaching liquid and add a bit of whipped cream or ice cream.
If you're going the Risotto route, I had success with a porcini and saffron risotto, cooked with chicken broth, rehydrated porcini (whole pieces put in relatively early on and fresh mushrooms with about 10 minutes left).
An easy and satisfying opener would be asparagus spears in hollandaise, or if you want to do a ceviche, you can serve it on a spiced fried wonton skin for texture and flavour.
This recipe (from a Chowhound ages ago) for Banana Ice Cream is delicious and very, very simple. I get raves from many when I offer it. The only thing you have to do with any concern is get the banana perfectly ripe. I found that it was a better, more full bodied, flavor when the bananas got half brown (extra ripe).
Maybe make some perfect brownie cookies and make it into an ice cream sandwich. Place it in a fancy dish vertically (or almost vertically) and put an edible decor in the ice cream middle and a sprig of mint. One edible decor is a very thinly sliced (on a mandoline) lengthwise banana that is then dried. It's shaped like a smile.
I realize the question is very broad...so here's some more info...
I will be serving two people total. Price is no real barrier but I don't want to jump 150 dollars. (I also don't want to skimp).
I am envisioning two kinds of meals right now- neither of which I am married to...in one variation, I start with little rolls with queso blanco in them and then move on to a manchego cheese appetizer of some kind, a ceviche, or fried oysters......meat or seafood- not too heavy with a starch... Dessert should be something with chocolate. (I love chocolate).
IN another variation- there is some kind of amuse bouch, a risotto, a salad, something meaty or perhaps the nobu miso cod dish... and then a tiramisu.
I am not a cook par excellence- but I am determined to make something wonderful and memorable.
I appreciate all your help in advance!
One that I keep under my hat for special occasions-
Antipasti- take your pick, marinated mushrooms, melon wrapped with prosciutto, crudites with bagna cauda, the list goes on...
Primi- Fettuccine Alfredo
Make the portions smaller than usual, 1 pound of fresh pasta for 6 people should be enough
Secondi- Bistecca Alla Fiorentina (con aglio)
T-bone steaks, rubbed with garlic and grilled, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and spritzed with lemon juice at the table. Slice the meat off the bones before plating; 1 T-bone for two people
Contorni- Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, and Green Beans
Dessert- Gelato (a personal favorite is mango and vanilla, topped with raspberry sauce)
You are asking a very large question that can be answer in so many ways, and you left out a lot of details that can help someone help you.
What is your skill level? How much money do you want to spend? Besides Mexican, what cuisine are you aiming for? How many people are you going to feed?