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Another Menu to Impress... the B-I-P

Hello to all... I know this question has been posed in a zillion ways, but hopefully it won't offend...
I'm having the B-I-P (boy-in-progress... not boyfriend, but not seeing others... my term) over for dinner on Tuesday. I want to impress, no, knock his socks off. He loves food and cooking, but I feel like given his restaurant choices thus far, that I can blow what he conceives of as good food away.

Some info... He's British, unfortunately allergic to shellfish (my favorite), doesn't have too many dislikes... My allergies I will deal with altering for myself.

I had originally planned on making Tikka Masala... Chicken for him, and either chicken or veggie for me. If I go this route, I'm not sure what I want to make to go with it. Was thinking about some form of Saag... and probably rice... Any suggestions for nice complimentary menus?

My other thought was not to go *all out* on the first meal. Something simple but classic instead. Then I can go more complex next time, and not set the bar too high. :) Roasted chicken, probably over roasted veggies and potatoes. Maybe a nice salad and a homemade loaf of bread? The bread and potatoes sound like too much starch, but I know he's a meat and potatoes guy.

I'm usually not indecisive like this when cooking for boys. My mind seems to keep going blank when I try to access my arsenal of proven dishes. Nothing I normally make sounds good enough to me. I want to make a meal that I feel good about, as I don't want to impart nerves to the food. He'll surely be polite, whatever I serve, but I want to make him go ohmygod-this-is-brilliant, and to still be thinking of the meal days later...

Help me curl his... taste buds! TIA!

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  1. Probably not what you are looking for, but Spaghetti and meatballs are always a winner with the men folk I know. Add a really nice green salad with some heirloom tomatoes and you are good to go. You could do a nice berry panna cotta for desert.

    1. I think the Tikka Masala sounds perfect. Since he's British that might even be classified as a comfort food. I would make it all chicken so the two of you are sharing the same meal and you can have a couple different chutnies on the side with varying heat levels. And maybe find some Indian beer?

      2 Replies
      1. re: escondido123

        I love Tikka Masala. I serve it with Long Grain Rice, Cucumber, Tomato and Red Onion Raita, and Naan that I heat up in the frying pan with butter and oil. Then keep warm in the oven. If you want a starter Fatoosh Salad is always enjoyed.

        1. re: escondido123

          This boy agrees wholeheartedly. Don't care if it's chicken or tofu, but I want to be eating the same thing you're eating.

        2. if you're confident of the execution, go for it! make one dish that you both can eat, however, not 2 versions of the same thing. less work and seems more polite.

          i can't advise much on that tiki masala menu, since i never eat, nor cook, indian food.

          in general, don't make anything too heavy, or too saucy. one can spoil ardor with a food coma and the other is potentially too messy! shirt-spills can be embarrassing for some, lol.

          1. If you and he love Indian food, I'd go for Badam Pullao with edible silver leaf (have a good recipe, if you need it), to which you could add Tandoori chicken, and a raita. Rasgullas or gulab jamon for dessert.

            7 Replies
            1. re: pine time

              would love to see your recipe!

              1. re: Emme

                I'm admittedly paranoid, but I usually steer clear of trying out recipes for the first time on guests, unless we're super-close already. I'd stick with something you're already comfortable making. That's just me though.

                1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                  Generally I agree with 8" pestle, but occasionally I've broken that rule with great success. Sorry for the delay, but here's my version of the badam pullao:

                  1/2 c ghee or clarified butter

                  2-4 ozs blanched or toasted almonds

                  1/4 c fresh coconut, finely chopped

                  3/4 c pistachios

                  1/4 c raisins, optional

                  1" piece gingeroot, grated

                  1 bay leaf

                  6 crushed cardamoms

                  4 whole cloves

                  1/4 tsp saffron threads, soaked in 1 Tbl warm milk

                  1 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

                  3/4 tsp ground mace

                  2 jalapenos, diced

                  2 1/2 Tbls cilantro, finely chopped

                  2 c basmati rice, washed & drained

                  2 tsp salt

                  2 tsp sugar

                  3 c thin coconut milk

                  Heat ghee, fry almonds, coconut, pistachios for 1 min. Add raisins, if using, ginger, bay, cardamom, clove, saffron & milk, nutmeg, mace, jalapeno & cilantro. Cook & stir about 1 min. Add rice, salt, sugar, coconut milk; boil 3-4 min. cover & simmer on very low about 20 min. Remove from heat, keep covered for 10 more min. Fluff. Garnish as desired (for company, I often use silver leaf for garnish; can purchase online or at a good Indian store.)

                  1. re: pine time

                    oh man! i've got all those ingredients except the coconut milk and mace on hand. definitely going to try this to impress myself and MY honey!

                    1. re: mariacarmen

                      Let me know how yours turns out. I think fresh coconut is imperative--tried it once with the packaged kind, and just wasn't the same.

                      1. re: pine time

                        What is "thin" coconut milk? Is that in opposition to coconut cream?

                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                          2 options ( I always use fresh coconut, but the 2nd one is for canned):
                          1. 1 cup of freshly grated or chopped coconut, 1 c of boiling water. Boil, remove from heat. Let stand about 1/2 hr, put in blender. Strain, use.
                          2. 1 oz coconut cream in 1 c of boiling water.

            2. Beef Wellington is surprisingly easy to make and makes a great impression. Serve w/ garlic mashed potatoes and a salad or green veg. Always goes over big when I make it for a dinner party.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sherriberry

                Its the first thing I ever made the DH and its now an occasional anniversary dinner. It's a winner every time. I did a brandy cream sauce to go with it this past time and it was wonderful!