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dinner menu for picky gourmets

Please help! We moved to our new home, east to midwest, about six months ago, and we've gone out several times with a couple who love to eat out. We've been to their house for dinner a couple times and had a minimal sort of meal, at least IMO. Pork chops and bottled salad dressing. But when we go out they love to eat. Now it's payback time for us. I need to cook for them. No pork, we've done that at their home. Beef or chicken? No Asian--she hates cilantro and that makes me nervous when it comes to adventure.

I consider myself a very cook home cook. But I am nervous about this.

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  1. Zuni chicken with the bread salad. It's impressive to do a simple dish well and even picky gourmets like roast chicken.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9123872/

    1. Seabass or sea scallops - elegant and appealing to most people, and hard to screw up!
      With some asparagus, it is a homemade gourmet entree

      1. Spring rack of lamb is simple and very tasty. Add a salad, potatos au gratin, and seasonal fresh asparagus. Simple and very elegant.

        1 Reply
        1. re: primebeefisgood

          I second that! Watch that rack on the grill - can overcook in a heartbeat. Wrap the protruding bare bones in foil or they will potentially burn and break off.
          As an alternative that looks a little more "steaky" on the plate, try the thicker loin lamb chops. The trade-off is that the loin chops have more fat on them and will cause pretty serious flare-ups on the grill. Be prepared with a squirt bottle of water to douse the flare-ups or your chops will take on a "scorched fat" flavor. That applies to either racks or loins.

        2. It may be more than you'd like to do ($$$) but a beef tenderloin is almost no fail as an entree and can be served with any one of a number of sauces.....hard to beat OR dislike!

          1 Reply
          1. re: LoN

            I'd have to agree about the beef. I've met so many people picky about seafood. To me, I just can't comprehend -- how can you not like seafood?

            Beef tenderloin or a beef rib roast would probably go over well with them.

          2. Don't be afraid of Asian food. I, too, hate cilantro but have found that basil, flat-leaf parsley and/or pea shoots can be acceptable substitutes.

            When I cook for new friends my first meal is always a "mixed" grill-steak, shrimp, scallops and chicken; a simple (but yummy) rice or potato dish; a fresh green veggie(asparagus, beans, peas, etc); a salad w/homemade dressings; bread and for dessert-pound cake served w/assorted berries, sauces and whipped cream.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hipquest

              Celery leaves are an acceptable substitute for cilantro for those of us who have the palate sensitivity to cilantro.