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Menu Help - cooking for "the Man" for the 1st time

HELP! He asked me to make him dinner. I make a really good asian influenced marinade that I LOVE over Ahi tuna. Simple easy. HERES THE PROBLEM - the sides...I want to keep it simple...dinner may be on the late side, so nothing complicated. I was thinking roasted baby carrots, baby zucinni and baby bok choy and then couscous and a salad.

I need your help. I have 6 days to pull this together. And Yes, I will obsess needlessly until the first bite is taken.

Thanks in advance for all your help and suggestions.

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  1. Have you thought about plating the ahi on a bed of fresh spinach. I like to rinse the leaves and then place them on the plate flat. I take a damp piece of towel paper and microw wave it for a minute or so. The spinach retains is structural integrity and looks great.

    You can also plate the tuna over mashed taters with wasabi.

    1. Steamed snap peas, roasted baby potatoes and a salad. Don't overdo it. Sounds lovely though. Good luck.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ldkelley

        I would never mix fish and carrots; spinach would definitely work. Good luck!

        1. re: foodslut

          I am a carrott lover....Please tell me why no carrots and fish?

      2. Cellophane noodles are easy and cook up some veg. in a soy/ginger based sauce.

        1. I like roasted mushrooms a lot with Tuna, and they make for a slightly meatier side dish for a male palate.
          I'm also a huge fan of a simple seared asparagus.

          1. What about green beans- I've done a spicy hoisin/soy/ginger sauce with lightly fried green beans which seems time consuming but is pretty easy if you treat it more like a stir-fry.

            You could also reserve some of the marinade to reduce and pour over sauteed green beans.

            1. Is he a picky eater?
              Some are.
              Does he eat spinach? Fresh squash? If you aren't sure, ask.
              I know someone who won't eat cheese because when he was little, his Father showed him chees under a high power microscope. Funny creatures, men are.

              1. cubed zuchinni... tossed in a pan with garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper... simple but damn tasty... I could almost inject the stuff...

                2 Replies
                1. re: Finsmom

                  Finsmom - Thank you, this sounds perfect and yummy!!

                  1. re: Finsmom

                    I do something similar with zucchini "matchsticks" and sliced or slivered almonds.

                    Heat some o oil in a pan, heat the almonds until starting to brown. (Watch closely -- they can burn in a flash.) Then stir in zucchini and cook just a few minutes. Salt and pepper.

                    I don't know why but done this way with the almonds it almost doesn't quite seem like zucchini.

                  2. Are you sure this is an Ahi kind of guy? Most guys I know are the stroganoff, steak, short ribs, etc kind.
                    If he is, I would fix the snap peas suggested, a salad with a sweet/sour dressing and fried rice.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Gail

                      He is a fish, chicken, tofu kinda guy, but thanks for asking. Picky in the sense that it needs to be the best quality. End of the day, he is a man, and will eat anything you put in front of him.

                      1. re: yummyinmytummy

                        >>>will eat anything you put in front of him.<<<

                        Ah...he is my kind of guy (minus the tofu) that is! Hope your dinner turns out delish...

                    2. I made a zucchini cake recently- grated zucchini sauteed with garlic, red pepper flae, then mixed with flour and milk to form pattie and sauteed. These got rave reviews from men at the table and looked really nice on the plate ( I made them silver dollar size). I would plan for a simple dessert too since it is the first time you are making dinner for someone special. Good luck, I am sure it will be great!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cassoulady

                        that would look fantastic with the seared Ahi on top, maybe all sitting on top of some wilted spinach, with a wasabi mayo drizzed over it.

                      2. Baby carrots...baby zuke...baby bok? Baby, baby, baby... (I do love baby bok choy, however...) That's kinda cute.
                        Ok- my manly man does love Ahi but not couscous. I do a dry sauteed string bean (garlic, splash of soy) that we love. It's way too hot in FL to roast anything in the oven so I can't even think about. Sometimes I do orzo as a side, along with a simple cucumber salad that's just sliced cukes topped with rice wine vinegar.

                        1. Try this carrot and zuchini saute with fresh dill, it's really good. Grate some zuchini, salt, drain and squeeze out liquid. Grate carrots. Saute the carrots until just about done, add the grated zuchini and saute with some fresh dill. It's just a delicious vegatable dish and very pretty with the slivers of green and orange. I've served it with many different things and everyone has always loved it. I found this recipe years ago in Gourmet Magazine.

                          1. I have made and "asian-flavored" slaw with tuna made with napa or savoy cabbage- of course, I'm thinking cool foods in this weather! Make-ahead friendly too.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: WCchopper

                              According to French food theory, carrots are too sweet to serve with fish--the flavors just don't go well together. A lot of people disagree with this, but I've found it to be true.

                            2. Hi,
                              Sometimes simple, seasonal and fresh is the way to go. I feel for stuff like this, aka feedin' ur man for the first time, shouldn't be to complicated because there is greater risk of botching it up.

                              I think the wasabi potatoes is a great idea and with be hearty with the tuna. You could even cook the potatoes in advance and mash them the night of.

                              I also think carrots don't go with tuna although I love them.

                              Why not check out Union Sq farmers market on Wed (since I am assuming this dinner is late next week) and get some great seasonal produce. I had some AWESOME plump sugar snap peas this week from there for only 2.50. I also got some baby bok choy.
                              Snap peas, bok choy and maybe a different color veggie in there to make it more visually appealing. Since these veggies at the f. market are really fresh all you'll have to do is quickly stir fry them.

                              Also for couscous if you want a carb that's a good easy idea- hard to mess up. Do though flavor the water before hand, possibly with some seasoning to correlate with the rest of the meal or just some good sea salt and cracked pepper.

                              On a side note in Chelsea Market all the way in the back on the left hand side there is store that makes gift baskets but also sells chocolates, seasons, all little cute basket items. They have these GREAT seasoning there (I forgot the name of the brand) but they carry this one that you can either use as seasoning or as a crust for Tuna. It's got wasabi, panko, little bits of seaweed among other things.

                              Good luck!

                              PS- Is he a drinker? Rather then wine what about a nice chilled sake to change it up?

                              1. I just made this dessert for my hubby tonight. It was super easy to make, and pretty impressive. Nice and cool for summer, and you can make it ahead.

                                Frozen Strawberry Souffles

                                Here is the link for the candied strawberry chips that they use as a garnish. I thought they looked really cool, and were tasty too.

                                Candied Strawberry Chips

                                1. So if no couscous - what rice? Orzo? I told you I would obsess....;->

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: yummyinmytummy

                                    Why not really free yourself up and combine noodles, veggies and salad. Do a cold noodle salad w/ a ginger/soy vinaigrette, bok choy, scallions, peppers, and other asian veggies. Noodles would give it some girth (sometimes need for boys) and still keep it healthy.

                                  2. Perhaps food is the way to a man's heart. I know it sure gets my attention. I would keep it all asian and rather than the couscous go with COLD SESAME NOODLES
                                    1/2 lb Noodles, Chinese (thin)
                                    1/4 c Sesame oil
                                    2 t Sesame Paste
                                    1/2 c Peanut butter
                                    1 1/2 tb Vinegar
                                    2 t Hunan Pepper Sauce
                                    1 Med Chili Pepper - fresh
                                    2 tb Sugar
                                    1 c Chicken broth
                                    1/2 t White pepper
                                    2 Med Cucumber, 1 medium
                                    2 Pieces Scallions
                                    1/4 c Cilantro
                                    Boil the noodles in a large pot of well-salted water until tender. Drain,
                                    cool thoroughly in cold water, and drain again. Toss the noodles with the
                                    sesame oil. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
                                    Mince the fresh chile pepper, the scallions and the cilantro. Peel and
                                    seed the cucumber and cut into fine julienne.
                                    In a large bowl, combine the sesame seed paste, peanut butter, vinegar,
                                    Hunan pepper sauce, chile, sugar, chicken broth and white pepper. Add the
                                    cold noodles and toss well. Add the cucumbers, scallions and cilantro,
                                    toss again, and serve.
                                    As this is served cold you can make it in advance and should pair very well with the tuna, zucchini and bok choy. I would skip the carrots and go with butter sautéed shiitake mushrooms.