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Dear lady friend coming for New Years Eve Dinner

a
amazing grace Dec 30, 2008 02:14 PM

I want to do something really lovely for her. I do need to work up until 4PM. She will arrive at around 6PM. Help! I can do some prep tonight and in the morning. Thanks so much, I love this site, Happy New Year!

  1. atwistedlime Dec 30, 2008 02:34 PM

    A couple questions about the lady... are there any dietary concerns? Does she eat meat? Anything she has a dislike of that you know?

    My go to meal for special times is steak and potatoes. I usually do this because it is so simple and it's hard to mess up. A nice steak grilled or seared in a cast iron skillet. Maybe with a nice mushroom gravy on top or a side of sauteed marinated mushrooms? Twice baked potato or even a nice cheesy mashed potato. Goes well with pretty much any type of vegetable... roasted asparagus, steamed broccoli with hollandaise, spinach sauteed in olive oil and garlic, roasted root vegetables.

    I also generally finish with something chocolate. There are a dozen recipes that are very simple for molten chocolate cakes or a nice chocolate fondue for two?

    Good luck I hope everything turns out excellent!

    1 Reply
    1. re: atwistedlime
      a
      amazing grace Dec 30, 2008 02:58 PM

      Yum, no dietary concerns and she loves good food. Your suggestions are wonderful. Can't miss with chocolate. I also thought about making a great Irish Cream receipe I have using marshmello cream with bourbon. It is very, very decadent. And way too sweet for "everyday." Again, thank you atwistedlime!

    2. Sam Fujisaka Dec 30, 2008 02:38 PM

      Well, tell me, waddayugot in your ref and pantry and waddus she like to eat?

      12 Replies
      1. re: Sam Fujisaka
        a
        amazing grace Dec 30, 2008 03:00 PM

        Sam, pantry is sad right now. I want to do something other than the usual stuff in my freezer, fridge or pantry. Ok, I have been watching the diet. Dont' want to tomorrow night! Suggestions? I can go to the market.

        1. re: amazing grace
          Sam Fujisaka Dec 30, 2008 03:37 PM

          This is getting intriguing (sp?). I'd love to give some suggestions but still have way too many. What ethnic cuisines do you like to prepare (and I mean including European as well as elsewhere)?

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
            a
            amazing grace Dec 30, 2008 03:47 PM

            See, the world is our oyster, so to speak. Both of us love food, but I feel I am the most acomplished with Mexican, Italian, California seafood, does that make sense? Live on the California central coast, so wonderful seafood is not a challenge.

            1. re: amazing grace
              v
              Val Dec 30, 2008 04:14 PM

              Amazing....I'm going to offer you this astounding recipe from Epicurious...with not much effort...but I know living in Cali, you can find good tuna! The sauce here is unbelievable...read the reviews and judge for yourself...

              http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

              1. re: Val
                a
                amazing grace Dec 30, 2008 04:22 PM

                Oh my VAl, this is amazing. Definately in the running!

                1. re: Val
                  a
                  amazing grace Jan 1, 2009 03:56 PM

                  Hi Val, while I did not use this recipe this time, I can hardly wait for my next dinner party where I will. Actually, I think I will try it out on myself this weekend. Thanks much!

                  1. re: Val
                    soniabegonia Jan 2, 2009 11:35 AM

                    This recipe is horribly flawed. It is EXTREMELY salty. I halved the recipe for 2 servings, figuring I can have extra sauce on hand. I tasted it after adding the cream and it was so unbelievably salty. I was able to more or less save it by straining the liquid and adding more cream and whole milk (too much cream, IMO. Even with cutting back the cream and adding milk, I thought it was unnecessarily heavy). The mushrooms had already absorbed so much of the soy sauce that I really didn’t need to add back much of the liquid. The other thing is the soy sauce flavor was so strong and overwhelming that it overpowered the ginger/scallion/mushroom flavors. I would recommend starting with only ONE TABLESPOON of soy sauce for the FULL recipe and correcting the seasoning with salt to avoid soy sauce overload. If you desire more soy sauce flavor, you can always add more. Perhaps low sodium soy sauce would help but I think 6 T is still too much.

                    1. re: soniabegonia
                      v
                      Val Jan 2, 2009 03:31 PM

                      Sonia...I only ever make this recipe for special company...because #1: it is expensive for me...the fresh tuna runs around $20 per pound here in SW FL...and the shiitakes are $4.29 for 4 ounces #2: it is rich, heavy, laden with cream and *perhaps* too much salt depending on your palate! BUT: I only make it once in a while...and I've only ever had people practically ask if they can lick their plate (my father-in-law DID ask me if he could, as a matter of fact...my sons remember that dinner!) I really don't think it's "horribly flawed" but maybe somewhat flawed-- depending on one's tolerance for sodium. Did you read the reviews? Not TOO many people out of 692 said it was way too salty...of course, it all depends on each person's palate. In fact, more people seemed to say it was too rich...well, it is very rich! But once in a while won't kill anyone...it certainly is not an everyday meal, that's for sure!

                  2. re: amazing grace
                    Sam Fujisaka Dec 30, 2008 05:03 PM

                    1. Pork enchiladas with green sauce or red snapper burritos or chiles rellenos - with green rice, tortilla soup, spiced plantain chips, and mango margaritas.

                    2. Linguini with prawns and arugula or tagliolini with shrimp and zucchini or ravioli di pesce di mare - with spinach, mushroom, and Parmasan salad or orange and fennel salad, asparagus or other risotto or rice and peas, and baked Sicilian eggplant. Grappa.

                    3. Either Val's Tuna or salmon steaks with pipian sauce served with rice with toasted pumpkin seeds and new green beans with epazote.

                    1. re: amazing grace
                      alanbarnes Dec 30, 2008 06:15 PM

                      Can you score live Monterey Bay spot prawns in your neighborhood? Lots of Asian markets have them. You could saute them simply with garlic and butter (and a bunch of parsley at the end) and serve with rice or pasta. Or make Coctel de Camarones (a big beer schooner full of tomato juice, fresh-cooked shrimp, avocado, onion, etc.).

                      If you open with shrimp cocktail, then you could still do a braised pork dish for a main course. Chili verde is always a good standby. A few good tortillas, and it's dinner...

                  3. re: amazing grace
                    atwistedlime Dec 30, 2008 03:44 PM

                    I just found a recipe I intend to try tonight for a Chocolate Souffle with a Chocolate Grand Marnier sauce. If I accomplish it tonight I will let you know how it is.

                    I had another thought. On my last anniversary I made a shrimp pasta that was very light basically it was the following:

                    asparagus
                    shrimp
                    cherry tomatoes
                    lemon juice
                    olive oil
                    parm cheese

                    I think that was it... for some reason I am thinking there were capers but I am fairly certain there were not. Maybe that was the greek pasta I made a few months ago.

                    I know a lot of people say no garlic or onions on a nice dinner date but in my opinion as long as you are both eating it what does it matter?

                    The mallow cream and bourbon sounds luscious!

                    1. re: atwistedlime
                      a
                      amazing grace Jan 1, 2009 03:58 PM

                      Yum is all I have to say. atwistedlime. I did use this as I felt quite comfortable with it. I did add capers with homemade linguine, it was fabulous! Thanks so much.

                2. v
                  Virginia Girl Dec 30, 2008 03:41 PM

                  If home alone with my husband, I serve lobster, steamed new potatoes and a salad. If you have a local store that has live lobsters and will steam them for you, you can pick it up on your way home...still hot. Normally, I reserve the lobsters and when I arrive at the store ask them to steam them while I finish my shopping. Cook your new potatoes, skin on, in the microwave (you can test one to see how long for the size). Have your salad dressing made beforehand and voila.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Virginia Girl
                    a
                    amazing grace Dec 30, 2008 03:50 PM

                    No husbands here. No live lobsters heres either. Shoud have been more specificl I am but a few mile from the California coast. However,will not be able to run over there tomorrow. Virginia Girl, I so appreciate your input.

                  2. v
                    Virginia Girl Dec 30, 2008 03:44 PM

                    Addendum: The reason I have the lobsters cooked at the market is I can't stand to kill them. The last time I bought live lobsters I felt like driving them to the shore and releasing them. I insist they kill them before cooking, too. I know I'm a wimp.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Virginia Girl
                      a
                      amazing grace Dec 30, 2008 05:35 PM

                      Virginia Girl, you have articulated exaxtly where I am coming from and did not want to say. Thank you, thank you. I can't kill anything, yes a certified wimp and I would accompany you to the shore! Unreasonable, yes, I am not a vegetarian. I should be embarresed and am.

                    2. TheSnowpea Dec 30, 2008 03:45 PM

                      Can I suggest a chicken you have prepared with a salt rub with herbs? I make a salt rub based on Sally Schneiders's mock duck confit recipe. I can type it up if you are interested.

                      You rub your salt on the chicken in the morning, leave it in the fridge as the salt does its magic, and pop the chicken in the oven for the requisite amount of time. You can prepare a soup and wash some greens in the coming days for a salad. And of course buy a couple of good cheeses to serve with grapes, sliced aples and good bread. I'll leave dessert suggestions to others, but if you're not a big baker, give yourself a break and buy something nice from your local patisserie if you have one.

                      Serve some drinks and nibbles for when she arrives and she can give you a hand in the kitchen as you prepare the final stages. It's always nice to help the host, I think, and gives you something to dispel any awkward moments at first :-)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: TheSnowpea
                        a
                        amazing grace Dec 30, 2008 05:38 PM

                        Thank you Snowpea, I could pull this off

                        1. re: amazing grace
                          TheSnowpea Dec 30, 2008 07:42 PM

                          When you've done your cookery magic, come back to this thread and tell us what you made :-D I'm sure we'll all be curious to find out how it went (well, cooking-wise, anyway ;-)

                      2. v
                        Virginia Girl Dec 30, 2008 03:46 PM

                        Sorry, me again. Have them crack the claws and keep the juices, and split the tails. that way you don't have any work to do when you get home. Melt some butter for the lobster and the new potatoes. Add chopped chives to the potatoes! I really hope you do this. It's an elegant, no work dinner that you can pull off. Yes, it's expensive, but hey, that's the trade off sometimes when you don't have the time. And it's realllllly good.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Virginia Girl
                          a
                          amazing grace Dec 30, 2008 04:24 PM

                          Thank you Virginia Girl! love the way you think. I will let you know if I go for the tails!

                        2. c
                          cimui Dec 30, 2008 06:32 PM

                          amazing grace, you are a really sweet friend! i know your lady friend will really appreciate your efforts no matter what you make.

                          a classy, mostly healthy, throw-together meal:

                          protein: cider glazed pork chops OR pan seared sea scallops

                          green veggie: oven roasted asparagus OR roasted brussel sprouts

                          starch: roasted turnips (I'd only serve this if you choose to make asparagus since it's too similar visually and in flavor profile to brussel sprouts) OR chevre whipped potatoes OR mashed turnips (could mix with potatoes) OR risotto

                          dessert: ridiculously fast and easy flourless chocolate cake (a bit moist and doesn't always hold together perfectly, but it's always delicious and can be served scooped into a bowl with ice cream if it's too soft)

                          i think most of these are fairly straightforward, but i'll post the cider glazed chops and flourless chocolate cake recipes in a sec...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: cimui
                            c
                            cimui Dec 30, 2008 06:39 PM

                            Cider Glazed Pork Chops

                            4 1 inch pork chops
                            2 tablespoons olive oil
                            2 cups apple cider
                            3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
                            4 tablespoons cider vinegar
                            1 tablespoon prepared mustard

                            Pat pork chops dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté chops until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Stir together cider and brown sugar and add to skillet. Simmer, uncovered, turning chops once, until meat is almost cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer chops to a plate. (I used my instant read thermometer and pulled them out at about 135 degrees) Add vinegar and mustard to sauce and boil, stirring to scrape up any brown bits, until reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 5-7 minutes. Return chops with any juices on plate to skillet and simmer until meat is just cooked through and sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

                            ************************************

                            if you have tonight to start on a lemon mascarpone mousse:

                            16 oz. Mascarpone cheese

                            2/3 cup sugar + 1/4 cup sugar for the egg whites

                            3 lemons

                            zest of 1 lime

                            5 eggs, separated

                            1. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until they are very pale.

                            2. Beat in the mascarpone cheese, the lemon juice and the lime zest until very well combined.

                            3. In a clean bowl, with clean beaters, whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form.

                            4. add the 1/4 cup of sugar into the whites and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

                            5. Gently fold the whites into the mascarpone/lemon mixture until no streaks remain.

                            6. Divide among 6 ramequins or other decorative bowls and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

                            ******************************************

                            Quick and Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe

                            12 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
                            1/2 C. butter
                            1/4 C. sugar
                            1/4 C. strong freshly brewed coffee
                            2 T. liqueur
                            3 eggs

                            Heat oven to 425°F. Butter 8-inch springform pan. Sprinkle additional sugar to coat sides and bottom of pan.
                            In medium glass bowl, combine chocolate, butter, 1/4 cup sugar, coffee and liqueur (such as Chambord, Amaretto or Kahlua). Microwave on high 1-2 minutes or until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth when stirred.
                            Whisk in eggs until smooth and well blended. Turn mixture into prepared pan. Bake 10-15 minutes. Cake will not completely set in middle. Sides should pull away slightly from pan. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold.
                            Makes 10-12 servings.

                            1. re: cimui
                              c
                              cimui Dec 30, 2008 06:44 PM

                              a few relatively fast/easy ideas of appetizers if you want them:

                              pancetta wrapped stuffed medjool dates (stuff with chevre, a pecan), toast in oven until pancetta is crisp

                              gougeres

                              ceviche with cumin dusted tortilla chips

                            2. yayadave Dec 30, 2008 08:59 PM

                              You might cook some fish in parchment. Easy, quick, and impressive when you cut the parchment and the smell gets out. Add a simple rice pilaf and veg.

                              1. a
                                amazing grace Jan 1, 2009 04:07 PM

                                You are all amazing! Thank you so much for all of your suggestions. I loved them all. Ended up doing the following:

                                Humus dip with pita chips (I needed to be fast and easy at this point) also, little pots of mixed nuts served with Boodles, tonic and a squeeze of lime.

                                Champagne flutes

                                Romaine spears dribbled with my favorite blue cheese dressing receipe, crisp bacon b, shaved hard boiled egg and sprinkled with fresh flat leafed parsley and a squeeze of lemon

                                Linquine, asparagus, shrimp and roasted garlic

                                Breadsticks. (made the dough the night before)

                                Grandpa Chets Homemade Creame liquour for desert

                                Again, thank you. This is my go to place when for great suggestions, lovely people and ispiration.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: amazing grace
                                  v
                                  Val Jan 1, 2009 04:11 PM

                                  AG, what an inspired menu! Really great...thanks for reporting back to us, too!

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