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Aug 13, 2007 08:06 AM

What Would You Cook for a First Romantic Dinner ?

OK what would you cook (for a man) for a first real deal romantic dinner date in your home? Here's what I know in terms of parameters. I know he likes steak, chicken, salmon and sweet potatoes for sure. Nothing can be deep fried. He likes southern food in particular. A mixed salad is also a good idea. OK so what would you make knowing all of this? Oh and in case you were wondering, the idea here is to make this man go over the edge in love, if such a thing can be accomplished in a single meal :)

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  1. how about a lime glazed, seared salmon, served over mashed sweet potatoes?

    also, i've had this recipe waiting in the wings, in my epicurious recipe box for ages. i haven't gotten around to making it yet, but it does sound fantastic:

    perhaps start with a salad and then profiteroles for dessert (they're far easier than they seem), served on a single plate with two spoons.


    1. I know it's summer and all that, but the dish that comes to mind is Fall Apart Lamb Shank with Chocolate Almond Piccata from the Slow Meditteranean Kitchen. It is hands down the most delicious dish to ever come out of my kitchen. If my husband weren't already my husband this would have been the dish to convince him.

      I don't have the recipe on me, but if you want it, I can paraphrase it for you when I get home.

      1. jfood's thoughts:

        there are two things you can do between arrival and serving.
        1 - enjoy your time with your date
        2 - enjoy your time with your pots and pans
        Hopefully 1 outweighs 2

        So how do you spend time with date (over a glass of wine and some good apps) and have a romantic dinner.

        Braising is the key. It is almost impossible to overcook a braise. the longer it cooks the better it tastes.

        So jfood would recommend a braise, either chicken (coq au vin), short ribs, osso bucco, something that can linger in a 300 degree oven and is not controllingthe tempo of the night. Likewise make some polenta, some mashed sweet potatoes, some mashed regular potatoes and place in a casserole and leave in the oven as well to keep warm.

        Then when the moment/timing is right you are not scurrying and suateeing and grilling and all that. All you need are plates, some potholders, some serving utensils and a "please join me for the next course."

        7 Replies
        1. re: jfood

          I would have to agree 100% with jfood- Another really yummy idea is penne with vodka cream sauce- Some nice crusty bread and a mixed green salad- I have an outstanding recipe if your interested... This too can wait on you (make the sauce ahead of time) and 10 min. before your ready just boil your penne. I love the profiteroles idea for desert. maybe with some vanilla ice cream in between and chocolate sauce drizzled over the top! YUMM!! I would have some wonderful cheese out to nibble on before dinner (brie for sure) with nice crackers. maybe even make a belini to start! :)

          1. re: gastronomy

            I also wanted to tell you about the first meal i cooked for my husband when he came over for the first time. It was a fluke that he came by so i was really preparing this meal for myself and at the last min. he came over- however it worked out well because he loved the meal and dropped down and porposed.... (okay not quite it was 2 years later) but you get the point! I made chicken breast stuffed with bacon and feta baked in the oven. Roasted Potatoes and salad rounded out the meal. Simple good food. :)

            1. re: gastronomy

              Braising some thing is definately in my thoughts. Also, I am planning make as much as possble 1 day in advance. So braised meats reheat well. Or perhaps stewed chicken pieces etc.

              1. re: Ora

                braised meats and dark meat chicken are better the second day. be careful on the white meat chicken. experience is that the white meat tends to get stringy.

                  1. re: jfood

                    duck legs confit are great for something like this. dead easy, you can make them days ahead of time and people think they're terribly complicated.

                    i finish them with pomegranate molasses and serve with polenta or couscous and a sharp green, like arugula.

            2. re: jfood

              "So jfood would recommend a braise, either chicken (coq au vin), short ribs, osso bucco, something that can linger in a 300 degree oven and is not controllingthe tempo of the night. "
              Plus, the smell of your apartment/house will be SO good when he walks in the door, he can't help but fall in love with you!

            3. Great question, because you want it to be good, but you don't want it stress you out too much, or take too much prep time while your guest is over.

              What always works for me in times like that is my mother's filet of beef tenderloin. And, as a guy, I can tell you there is no faster way to a man's heart than filet of beef.

              The meat is so good all you need to do (other than pay for it, which kind of sucks) is make sure you don't over cook it. But I also suggest some type of coating for the beef, which will add some flavor andhelp seal in the juices.

              My mom's recipe uses a combination Asian spices -- sambal manis, sambal oelek and a think, sweet soy that I think is called kitjap manis (I don't have my recipe with me). The combination of these sauces is spicy, but a thin coating of them on the beef browns up beautifully, seals in the juice, and doesn't overwhelmed the beef.

              With something as impressive, tasty and filling as beef tenderloin, you don't need much else. I'd make a big colorful salad in advance. Then maybe cube some nice potatoes, coat them in oil and get them ready for roasting, also in advance of your guest arriving. Get the beef ready too, simply by tying it to form a strip of uniform thickness and coating it with the sauce. Make up some side bowls of dill and goat cheese to sprinkle on top of potatoes after roasting, and bang, your done until after your guest arrives. When he gets to your place, you can throw the potatoes in the oven. Then when you are almost ready to eat stick the meat in. Have a good bottle of red open and ready to go.

              Warning: You better really like this guy, because he'll be hard to shake after this meal.

              1 Reply
              1. re: gmunno

                I also go with a tenderloin. My standard prep is to make a spice rub (garlic, fresh herbs from the garden, salt, black pepper - could easily use southwestern spices) and lube up the roast with olive oil and then cover in spices. Roasting time can vary but I serve it medium rare. When I made this for my BF I served it with a horseradish cream sauce, creme fraiche mashed potatoes and haricot vert. He swooned, and hasn't left my side since. ;)

              2. I have a couple of things that I like for romantic dinners: first, things eaten with the hands, and things eaten from a common dish. So I would probably start with artichokes with vinagrette or melted butter or a mini goat cheese 'fondue" to dip things into. Then I like steamed mussells of some kind of bouillabaisse to eat with wonderful bread. I would finish with pots du creme or littel molten chocolate pudding cakes.

                I have to say that the comments about braising are very true and if you decide to go in that direction, and he likes southern food, grillades and grits might be well received.