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Jul 13, 2007 07:45 PM

meeting the best friends new girl...


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  1. So, my other and I are meeting his best friends new girl on Sunday evening for the Espy Awards. Strictly a casual affair, of course, however, cooking for someone I have never met before is making my head hurt. I know that I don't want to spend my sunday evening slaving over a stove. I know that the new girl does not eat pork of any form (huh??) and is okay with spice. That's it. That's all I know.


    15 Replies
    1. re: chelleyd01

      Before you do a lot of planning, better find which is she- Jewish or Muslim? ;-)

      1. re: MikeLM

        Agreed. (Or maybe she had a pet pig growing up)

        One suggestion is a middle eastern spread with hummus, baba ghanouj, tabbouleh, pita, olives + feta, and chicken kebabs. Most people eat chicken, and keeping any dairy products separate and optional would also help avoid some dietary issues.

        1. re: atomic

          If she is Jewish, find out if she's kosher, and how kosher. Some will eat meat or chicken with milk products, some won't. Though I grew up in a kosher home, I once served chicken prepared in butter to a kosher friend - big oops - should have known better. Another friend who grew up more religious than me once asked for a cheeseburger for her daughter at my house - surprise - ran up and got her the cheese!

      2. re: chelleyd01

        Chicken/green chile/sour cream enchiladas served Tex-Mex style. I don't think I've ever met anyone who doesn't love them, you can make them up ahead of time ready to bake.

        Serve already plated up (w/some finishing sauce/grated cheese, sour cream), on the side a heap of undressed shredded crisp iceburg lettuce w/some chopped tomatoes & sliced scallions or chopped red onion mixed in.

        Have some extra warm sauce and cold sour cream on the table, and if you want to go all out, some guacamole.

        One of my favorite braindead easy summer desserts is individual stemmed glasses of chilled tapioca pudding made with cream of coconut and topped with fresh lime zest and a handful of halved seedless grapes in 2 or 3 colors. (The different colors of grapes look like tourmalines.)

        This is adapted from an old Martha recipe and it is almost shockingly good.

        1. re: chelleyd01

          Silver Palate's Chicken Mirabella, hands down my "success every time" meal.

          Easy too.

          BTW, I use chicken breasts. And no one knows there are prunes in the dish, as they are now known as dried

          Wine and a good loaf of hearty bread, voila!

          1. re: mcel215

            Would you be willing to paraphrase this recipe? I used to have a chicken recipe using prunes which was great, but I lost it.

            1. re: Babette


              And I believe I meant Chicken Marbella (type-o), sorry.

              I am not good at attaching links, but if you want the recipe let me know.

              I believe though, that you can google it. If you can't, then send me an email, and I will send you the recipe. It's from the Silver Palate Cookbook.

              1. re: mcel215

                Got it, thanks.


                This looks better than the recipe I lost. Can't wait to try it. Have you tried serving it cold (room temp), picnic style? Seems as though it would be perfect for party fare, done ahead of time.

                1. re: Babette

                  I have made it ahead of time, but not served it cold.

                  I have a staub that I make it in, refrigerate, and heat up in the oven slowly.

                  And as I said, I use the breast meat, but friends use the thighs and love it.

            2. re: mcel215

              Edit:This was intended to respond to your farmers market purchases, below, chelleyd01, and request for input.

              Maybe others have hints how to keep it from drying out but I wouldn't grill the chicken without skins. Like the sounds of the salsa, though.

              The mashed reds sound great. All the rest sounds great. Are you going to bake the cupcakes--if so, would you post the recipe?

              1. re: Babette

                I am baking the cupcakes...totally non-chowhound, but I am technically the baker of the cakes. I use a dark chocolate cake mix, made to the directions on the box. I mix a package of cream cheese (very soft) with 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 egg and a spash of vanilla. After it is blended and creamy, I stir in 1/2 bag of mini chocolate chips. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full of batter, add a nice dollop of the cream cheese mixture and bake for the amount of time the cupcake box says, only 25 degrees cooler so that the cheesecake part has time to cook. Now, because I am getting "fancy schmancy", I am adding 3 or 4 fresh raspberries pushed into the cheesecake dollop before baking.

                There are far more complicated, make the batter from scratch, melt the dark chocolate, add sour cream and such recipes out there, but frankly, I don't have the time. I have NEVER made a batch that every single one have not disappeared the first day.

              2. re: mcel215

                I might not know there were prunes in there, but my stomach would know shortly after! I HATE when people sneak prunes into recipes, I never know if it's their cooking that upset my stomach or what. Maybe it's just me, but I consider it the equivalent of sneaking Exlax into a dish.
                Feels good to get that off my chest.....

              3. re: chelleyd01

                Maybe a "laptop" meal if you're going to be in front of the TV. A platter of deli meats. I would cook my own roast beef, deli roast chicken, ham (others might like it). Have it all cooked and sliced on the platter and serve it with various sauces and bakery sandwich rolls. For sides, potato or mac salad or even mac & cheese. Pea salad, 3 bean salad, olives, pickles. Basically, an indoor picnic. For dessert, ice cream sandwiches.

                This would create a pick and choose meal that you could fix in advance.

                1. re: Gail

                  Definitely an easy option if you don't know dietary preferences entirely... You could actually turn this into a panini bar if you have a panini press, George Foreman, waffle iron, or simply a saucepan and an aluminum-foil covered brick :)

                2. re: chelleyd01

                  Its not that odd.....I don't eat pork either. Not because I am Jewish, but because I drove by pigs in trucks every morning for two years. To think their last moments were stuck crammed in a truck did it for me. But, it was not an easy decision, after all pork is delicious.

                3. Dear Chelleyd01,

                  One thing for sure, and me being a woman, I know this. When it comes to food and dining out, and if we are in unfamiliar territory, we will usually order chicken or fish. However, since you don't know her, the chances of her liking fish are iffy.

                  Well lets do this then, how about a chicken breast pounded thin, spread with a layer of garlic and shallot butter, layers of fresh sauteed spinach, sun dried tomato, and Gruyere, dash with white wine., and roll it up. Saute and brown on all sides. Make a light white wine sauce with the pan drippings, add finely chopped parsley, a dab of butter for sheen, and I'll bet you have a lovely sauce. If you have mushrooms well, then your doing even better than I thought. Creamy new red baby potatoes are perfect to go with this dish.

                  Then with that, add a side salad of fresh and crisp arugula or spring greens, a beautiful avocado, sliced green apple (or red) and tossed with a citrus dressing.

                  Another side could be a toss of asparagus with roasted red pepper in balsamic with shallots,and parm.

                  Seriously none of the above are difficult, and can be prepared in advance, hope it all works out for you.

                  Have a wonderful time!

                  1. Great suggestions, but the Espy Awards (for the girly girls out there) are the ESPN Sports awards. Spinach and sun drieds would be great for a normal sunday soiree, just not for the Espys. I need something more rugged...more manly and meet the new girl friendly. God, I hate this!! Maybe a grilled marinated chicken? I know my other has requested my mashed red skins (more chunky and informal than anything) but thats all I got. SAM!!!!!!!! Where are ya? Your usually a ringer on this kinda stuff!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: chelleyd01

                      Teriyaki chicken is incredibly reliable, easy to hold in front of a TV, easy, and tasty. Howzabout legs and thighs; they'll get along with your red mashers, and maybe for fun and difference a shelled edamame salad with sliced fennel, grape tomatoes, and a zingy vinaigrette? You can add a little toasted sesame oil and a smidge of shoyu to the salad dressing to tie it in with the chicken, and the flavors would happily smudge onto the spuds.

                    2. My idea:
                      Tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa (or maybe a 7 layer dip) and margaritas for a starter.
                      BBQ chicken with your smashed potatoes and some grilled veggies (zuchinni, red peppers,onions, and mushrooms is a good combo... drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic and rosemary if you like... could be on skewers).
                      An ice cream pie for dessert. Be creative! Layer your favorite flavor softened ice cream with fudge or caramel sauce, crushed cookies or candy, or fruit in a graham cracker or chocolate cookie crust. (I love vanilla with fudge sauce, crushed nutter butters, and salted peanuts in a choc cookie crust!) Or you could purchase a really good fruit pie and vanilla ice cream to save time.
                      A variety of imported or microbrews would be nice, too!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: hollyeve

                        I was going to suggest barbequing/grilling as well. They're fun and ultra casual and don't require a ton of prep.

                      2. Okay, so, I hit the farmers market for some inspiration. Please, take what I have and feel free to scold me, change me, create something new or praise it!

                        I have 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts (organic, from my butcher and when boneless because its just plain easier sometimes)

                        I got some beautiful plum tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, mango and limes to make a fresh salsa for the grilled chicken.
                        The mashed reds with a frightening amount of sour cream, butter and crisp bacon crumbles and some lovely hawaiian red salt.
                        Garden red leaf lettuce with roasted tomatoes, the tiny sweet pickling cucumbers and the best balsamic and splash of OO.
                        Black bottom cupcakes with fresh raspberries baked in the cheesecake center.

                        Good? Great? Bad? Ehhhh?

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: chelleyd01

                          Sounds good, but... What about the no pork issue (bacon)???

                          1. re: hollyeve

                            Oh sorry! The bacon is added as more of a garnish. The guys can load it up, she can be pork free. Believe me when I say that I absolutely will be getting to the bottom of the pork drama. Maybe she has just never had decently cooked pork. I think Jewish and Muslim are out, but Im not 100%. Muslim for sure is out, but maybe not Jewish.

                            While I enjoy satisfying all of my guests, my main focus is to make sure my Other is satisfied. Bacon, bacon, bacon oh and a side of bacon will do him just fine! LOL!

                            1. re: chelleyd01

                              Sorry am I missing something what are you doing with the chicken?

                          2. re: chelleyd01

                            Sounds good... is the salad being served first or all together (I assume all together)? I might add some roasted veggies.

                            Only thing that combination-wise is a bit odd to me is that the chicken w/ salsa has a more southwestern flare to it, and I wouldn't have expected you to pair it with potatoes, as opposed to a rice side dish. Don't know if you have any avocado on hand, but I think it might be good for the salad to play off of the theme of the chicken w/ salsa.

                            1. re: Emme

                              Oh I too would prefer rice. My Other has the potatoes on the request list. I am leaving the salsa as an add your own option because it is a little SPICY and I am leaving it to each diner as an addition. I should have probably said that the best friend is 6'4, 300lbs and it would probably take 3lbs of rice to make a dent in him. He can consume 2lbs of the redskins all alone! I did pick up a lovely Haas avacado tonight while I was putzing around in my local "I can't believe you charge $_____ for that?!?!?!?" mega-mart.

                              The chicken is marinating in fresh lemon/lime/zest/olive oil/garlic and a smattering of herbs from my Aunt's garden.

                              1. re: chelleyd01

                                Thanks for the cupcake info--I want to try this--& please report back on how it went!