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Sexy food-What do you cook to woo someone?

MIss G Jan 24, 2012 04:55 PM

So..hot date this weekend...what do you cook without looking like you're trying? Something that can be quickly grilled/sauteed? Or something that cooks a long time that can be made ahead? Thanks!

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  1. biondanonima RE: MIss G Jan 24, 2012 05:49 PM

    If it's cold in your part of the world, I vote for something braised that can be made ahead (something that goes well with a nice red wine!). Homemade bread is always impressive. Fondue, although cliche, is delicious and the interactiveness of it can be good for a date. Chocolate for dessert?

    2 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima
      weezieduzzit RE: biondanonima Jan 24, 2012 05:57 PM

      I recommend finding out if the person likes chocolate before making something chocolate. Not everyone does. I've been annoyed by people my whole life who just assume everyone loves chocolate and have given it to me as gifts, chocolate birthday cakes, etc. Wasted time and money for them, nothing to eat for me.

      1. re: biondanonima
        peppermint_sky RE: biondanonima Jan 29, 2012 08:37 AM

        You can do the NYT no-knead bread and you and your guest will certainly be seduced by the texture, flavor, aroma... Start the process the night before.... mmmmmm! Here's a picture of my 1st-ever batch from this fall:

      2. s
        seamunky RE: MIss G Jan 24, 2012 05:55 PM

        i like to make pad thai. all those spices and flavors dancing around in your mouth. enticing and evocative! if you prep ahead of time, you can nonchalantly toss everything together in the pan when your date arrives and wow her with "I can't believe you put this together in just 5 minutes!" (Of course, your ingredients have to look casual like all chopped veggies on one plate and not everything in individual ramekins like you see in the cooking shows!)

        1 Reply
        1. re: seamunky
          mcel215 RE: seamunky Jan 26, 2012 03:17 AM

          Do you have a good recipe for Pad Thai? Could you share it here?


        2. weezieduzzit RE: MIss G Jan 24, 2012 05:55 PM

          Beef Wellington worked for me. Its the first thing I made him and I now make it on our anniversary every year. :)

          1. Chinon00 RE: MIss G Jan 24, 2012 06:39 PM

            When I was dating I'd always have cloth napkins, white china, table cloth and multiple courses. Start w/ an aperitif of Champagne. Do a soup, pasta and a meat course (all homemade of course). Have coffee to serve w/ whatever dessert you have.
            And if she/he doesn't enjoy it then they're not the one;]

            1. Hank Hanover RE: MIss G Jan 24, 2012 06:57 PM

              Miss G;

              I'm going to assume you are wooing a man. I will remind you about something you already know.

              WE ARE ALL PIGS! Just show up. That's all you need to do.

              If you really want to cook something that will woo him, try oysters and a salad with avocado on it. Wear an apron with nothing else. That will take care of it. If it doesn't, he is gay.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Hank Hanover
                MIss G RE: Hank Hanover Jan 24, 2012 07:46 PM

                Wow, thank you...yes, I'm trying to woo a man

                1. re: MIss G
                  charlesbois RE: MIss G Jan 24, 2012 07:56 PM

                  Well if you want to enjoy the meal first, then maybe wear more than just an apron...at least until dessert.

                  I say gougeres to start. Burgundy to drink. A med rare steak with sauteed mushrooms and a spinach salad with warm bacon dressing.

                  I like an airy chocolate cake with powdered sugar and berries. My mom always said men liked yellow cake. Or maybe just a really good cognac. bonne chance!

                  1. re: MIss G
                    Hank Hanover RE: MIss G Jan 25, 2012 10:51 PM

                    Honestly, Cook whatever you like. I would recommend making it meat and potato intensive. Try to get him involved in the cooking for a little bonding. Have a small dessert. Chocolate would be wonderful. Don't fill him up with a heavy meal.
                    Ooh, I know. Share a chocolate brownie sundae.

                    Watch a movie together.... not a chick flick ...not an action flick... maybe a comedy, even a romantic comedy.

                    By then if you two are attracted to each other, both of you will know it.

                  2. re: Hank Hanover
                    TheHuntress RE: Hank Hanover Jan 24, 2012 11:03 PM

                    LOL Splendid advice!

                    1. re: Hank Hanover
                      jkling17 RE: Hank Hanover Jan 25, 2012 06:21 PM

                      Best response to ANY question I have seen on Chowhounds ... EVER.

                      Keep it simple. Since guys are all pigs - serve up pulled pork. Slow cooked in crockpot until it's 200 degrees. Or oven @225 until meat is at 200. Shred, infuse with olive oil, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and srirachi sauce if heat is desired. Simple and perfect. Serve with veggies like brussels sprouts or butternut squash.

                    2. Chinon00 RE: MIss G Jan 24, 2012 08:16 PM

                      I'm a guy and I'll admit that when I began my response to you I assumed that you were a male wooing a woman and wrote accordingly. Honestly I think that if a guy isn't a foodie and the gal is then it isn't as much of an issue w/ what you make. Women have greater opportunity to explore different recipes and restaurants due to having girlfriends who in my experience are much more eager to do this sort of thing than men. Foodie guys (like myself) tend to share the vast majority of meals with our wives, GFs, or other couples.
                      So honestly for a guy just preparing a solid meal should cover it whether he's a foodie or not. One thing that I've always hated though is when a date feeds me using her fork or spoon. And it doesn't matter if its in public or not. I can't stand that.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Chinon00
                        MIss G RE: Chinon00 Jan 24, 2012 08:27 PM

                        Did the "miss" in MissG not tip you off? ;)

                        1. re: MIss G
                          Hank Hanover RE: MIss G Jan 24, 2012 10:25 PM

                          We don't listen or read, either. :-)

                          1. re: Hank Hanover
                            sandylc RE: Hank Hanover Jan 25, 2012 07:57 PM

                            Are you secretly my husband? :-)

                            1. re: sandylc
                              Hank Hanover RE: sandylc Jan 25, 2012 10:45 PM

                              No... we are all part of the man club. There are certain rules and expectations we have to live up to.

                              We don't ask for directions.
                              We don't listen, espcially to women we are dating because we are trying to figure out if we will get lucky tonight.
                              We don't remember anniversaries or birthdays.
                              We only like meat and potatoes. We eat veggies because you make us.
                              We are all looking to marry our mothers.

                              Violating these rules mandates every other man in the room to demand your man club card.

                              1. re: Hank Hanover
                                TheHuntress RE: Hank Hanover Jan 26, 2012 02:55 AM

                                I'm glad we finally sorted that out :D

                                1. re: Hank Hanover
                                  melpy RE: Hank Hanover Jan 27, 2012 04:59 AM

                                  Thank god mine doesn't want to marry someone like his mother. However he said I'm turning into my mother, then he said it was a good thing that she really is a good person.

                                2. re: sandylc
                                  skaboy RE: sandylc Jan 25, 2012 11:37 PM


                          2. h
                            hsk RE: MIss G Jan 24, 2012 08:41 PM

                            Back in the day I usually relied on salad and pasta, pre-prepped, easily thrown together on the spot in minutes. Shows off what a great cook you are and leaves time for chatting, etc.

                            1. mattstolz RE: MIss G Jan 24, 2012 08:50 PM

                              the sexiest food there is: a well made, homemade pasta. especially when balsamic is included

                              the only thing sexier is a female who is not afraid to actually EAT the meal. at least for me: regardless of how delicious/sexy a meal is, or how hard i know a girl worked to prepare it, i feel so awkward really enjoying eating it when my dining partner eats very little.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mattstolz
                                QueenDairy RE: mattstolz Jan 24, 2012 11:55 PM

                                Amen to that!

                              2. l
                                luciaannek RE: MIss G Jan 24, 2012 09:05 PM

                                Imma be honest, I just don't understand the idea of "sexy" food. It either tastes good, or it doesn't. Additionally, I don't really understand why it would be different if you were cooking for a man or a woman. Again, food either tastes good, or it doesn't.

                                I'd make sure to check their dietary preferences, and make something you know you can make well, and are familiar with. Situations like this can be stressful, so I'd say it's not a good time to try something new or particularly technical.

                                My only other advice is that I tend to keep romantic meals light, so as to not weigh you down if you plan on being active later.

                                As a side note, I am planning on making beef heart for Valentine's Day.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: luciaannek
                                  caseyjo RE: luciaannek Jan 24, 2012 09:20 PM

                                  I agree with all of this. I usually cook dishes I have tried a bunch of times and really want to share with others. I've gotten compliments for braised dishes and stews, since my friends don't tend to make them at home. On big occasions, I never serve something I haven't made before. Don't do it, because you will get stressed out, and you will take too long to prep, and you won't have enough time to do your makeup, and you'll probably have to throw everything on your bedroom floor into the closet last minute (at least, if you're anything like me).

                                  Checking dietary preferences is key, especially since you don't want to spend hours on a chocolate cake only to find that the guy doesn't like sweets. Fancy food can be intimidating too, especially if he doesn't know what quinoa or fennel or persimmons are. Most guys I know would rather have steak, or maybe tacos.

                                  Fancier things don't go over as well as something simple with good ingredients. If you don't want to look like you're trying too hard, don't try to hard. My boyfriend has been way more impressed watching me casually throwing dinner together ("You really don't need a recipe? Crazy!"), especially since it's pretty clear that I love cooking.

                                  Remember, the company is more important than the food. And wine makes everything better.

                                  1. re: luciaannek
                                    QueenDairy RE: luciaannek Jan 24, 2012 11:46 PM

                                    I agree on keeping the meal on the light side. You don't want to be super stuffed and pass out in a food coma! lol

                                  2. caseyjo RE: MIss G Jan 24, 2012 09:23 PM

                                    I forgot to say, the first meal I made for my boyfriend was bacon wrapped duck legs and diced potatoes sautéed in butter and tossed with herbs. Simple, effective, tasty, and bacony.

                                    (Also a good weeknight meal; definitely cures the Wednesday blues).

                                    1. TheHuntress RE: MIss G Jan 24, 2012 11:10 PM

                                      I suppose it really does depend if you're in the throws of Summer or Winter. Either way, as many have suggested, champagne is a definite opener to the evening. If it's summer I'm a fan of finger foods, particularly cold seafoods, most definitely oysters. This has the added benefit of being able to prepare ahead of time and keep chilled in the fridge until its time to eat.

                                      If it's winter I think a killer pasta is the way to go. I love to make a silky carbonara with good, crispy pancetta. Otherwise it's a good blue steak with seasonal vegetables.

                                      Dessert you can't go wrong with cutting up fruit and using it for dipping into melted chocolate with fingers. Fun, sexy and completely delicious :)

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: TheHuntress
                                        ChristinaMason RE: TheHuntress Jan 25, 2012 06:34 AM

                                        Would you share your favorite carbonara preparation?

                                        1. re: ChristinaMason
                                          TheHuntress RE: ChristinaMason Jan 25, 2012 08:40 PM

                                          Of course! Now I do have a tendency to not measure when cooking and I'm translating into imperial measurements, so definitely feel free to play around until you get it right for yourself :)

                                          In a small bowl whisk 4 egg yolks together and then add about 2oz of grated parmesan, grated nutmeg to taste and lots of black pepper. Set this bowl aside.

                                          So I bring my pot of pasta water to the boil - this is the only time I don't salt my pasta water as the end result is very salty and salted pasta ends up being overkill. I usually cook about 10oz of pasta.

                                          While that's going on I heat my pan and some oil and add about 4oz of pancetta. Sometimes I buy a chunk and cut it into cubes, sometimes I cut slices into strips and sometimes if I don't have any I just use ordinary bacon. Whatever you prefer. I fry that until it's nice and crispy and then add about 2oz of alcohol - I usually use dry white wine, as it's always at hand, but I did go through a phase of using a 70 year old, 3 generation port. Sounds crazy, decadent, I know, but it was DELICIOUS! If you're alcohol free I imagine chicken stock would be the next best thing.

                                          Once you've added your liquid let it reduce until there's just a couple of teaspoons left and then add about 1 and a half oz of butter. When all the butter is melted I turn off the heat and add the cooked, drained pasta to the bacon pan, with about 2-3oz of pasta water. I toss this all together to evenly distribute the bacon and then I get my egg mixture and toss that through the hot pasta.

                                          If you so wish you can add extra black pepper and garnish with some chopped parsley :)

                                          1. re: TheHuntress
                                            ChristinaMason RE: TheHuntress Jan 26, 2012 02:54 PM


                                      2. QueenDairy RE: MIss G Jan 24, 2012 11:31 PM

                                        You cannot go wrong with pasta such as capellini with shrimp, tossed salad, fresh bread, and a light wine. Make sure you know of any food allergies... :)

                                        Trust me, you want to be relaxed, fresh and fuss-free to enjoy yourself fully. It's better to keep it simple, yet tasteful. For dessert, a slice of cheesecake or angel food topped with fresh raspberries and sauce drizzled on top. Flutes of champagne are also nice to sip with the dessert. If you'd prefer not too drink very much, coffee also pairs well with the dessert.

                                        For capelleni, here is a nice recipe:


                                        For a simple salad:


                                        I would be even sneakier and buy bagged salad with that assortment. Ha! Oh, the shame... Honestly, if the chemistry is good, he shouldn't care about the food very much.

                                        I hope this helps. A lovely centerpiece with red roses is always nice, as are candles to provide a soft, sexy glow. ;) Have a wonderful time!

                                        1. nofunlatte RE: MIss G Jan 25, 2012 04:20 AM

                                          A few too many unknowns here. Have you been seeing this guy for a bit or is this Date Two? I think your meal really depends on whether you are actually already dating said person or if you aren't but WANT to. If you are cooking for a potential mate, something easy and effortless would work better. The last thing you want to do is look desperate and/or "trying too hard". you've gotten some good suggestions for easy, lighter fare (an important consideration if there are to be gymnastics later on!). Also, go easy on the decor if this is the case. The soft lighting, the mood music, the candles--lovely ideas if you have been seeing this person, but it screams "I've subscribed to Brides magazine and I have the baby name picked out" if this is a new suitor (or suitee if you are doin' the wooin'!) and if it's the latter, let HIM bring the flowers!

                                          Don't try anything overly complicated (you want to enjoy this evening) and don't worry about a trial run. If something goes wrong, just laugh it off and let him see you are human and you know how to roll with life's flow! FWIW, the first meal I'd cooked for a boyfriend once (we'd been dating for a couple of months I think) was a pork chop dish with orange sauce. I'd sourced some heritage pork and was excited to show off my cooking skills, which I'd touted. We were "talking" in the living from when all of a sudden I smelled something burning. The entire kitchen was filled with that acrid smoke and I had to open windows and the patio doors to get rid of the smoke. It was nine degrees at the time.

                                          BTW, you mentioned grilling. I once dated a guy who told me how sexy he thought I looked while I was dealing with live fire (charcoal grill).

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: nofunlatte
                                            DaisyM RE: nofunlatte Jan 25, 2012 05:02 AM

                                            The only time I can count on my husband coming home early is when he knows I'm making prime rib. I use Ina's recipe and it always comes out perfectly. Start with a shrimp cocktail, bake some potatoes and buy something wonderful for dessert.. It is an easy meal that is impressive.

                                            1. re: nofunlatte
                                              jvanderh RE: nofunlatte Jan 26, 2012 04:04 PM

                                              This is excellent advice. Fussing too much sends a signal that you think you've gotta earn him. Pick up a couple steaks and let him man the grill or frying pan!

                                              1. re: jvanderh
                                                Bliss149 RE: jvanderh Jan 26, 2012 06:45 PM

                                                2nd.. good filet mignon, baked potato, and simple veg worked for me every time. After that you probably won't want dessert but I would "happen to have" a nice plate of cut up fruit in the fridge for later.

                                                1. re: Bliss149
                                                  QueenDairy RE: Bliss149 Jan 27, 2012 01:18 PM

                                                  Hah! I love this! You can't go wrong with that!

                                            2. ChristinaMason RE: MIss G Jan 25, 2012 06:42 AM

                                              The first meal I ever cooked for my now-husband definitely wasn't intended to woo him, and it was somewhat disastrous, which just goes to show, as others have said, if he likes you, the food really won't matter.

                                              I made this lentil and sausage dish: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... subbing inferior brown lentils, which I accidentally let overcook to mush because I was distracted running around preparing a cheese plate and getting ready for him and another (male) friend to arrive. Of course I made the rookie mistake of apologizing too much for the food, and he was very sweet and cleaned his plate and even had seconds.

                                              I'm sure there must have been dessert, so maybe I redeemed myself there. Doubt it was homemade, as I wasn't much of a baker.

                                              Anyway, my point is, if we could survive a lousy meal with a third wheel and come out happy couple in the end, you know the food is really secondary to the company :)

                                              1. mattstolz RE: MIss G Jan 25, 2012 06:53 AM

                                                oh, if your house/apartment happened to smell like fresh baked cookies or brownies when he arrived, that probably wouldnt hurt your chances.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: mattstolz
                                                  peppermint_sky RE: mattstolz Jan 29, 2012 08:43 AM

                                                  Or, as mentioned above, homemade bread that you are about to pop out of the oven! Mmmmmm....

                                                  1. re: peppermint_sky
                                                    betsydiver RE: peppermint_sky Feb 10, 2012 07:55 AM

                                                    and then use the bread to slurp up broth from steamed mussels with white wine and shallots,

                                                    1. re: betsydiver
                                                      ChristinaMason RE: betsydiver Feb 14, 2012 08:43 AM

                                                      +1 nice idea

                                                2. t
                                                  taboo RE: MIss G Jan 25, 2012 07:00 AM

                                                  This is a great, fun post! Ok...since from my experience, men are very simple unless they are major foodies as others have stated. Since men mostly make stir fry, pasta or steak, I would stay away from those. The dishes that got the most raves from dates were a chicken with a sauce and herbs in a skillet and I started with crab cakes. The other one was a started of Ceviche and then a miso glazed Cod or Citrus baked salmon. Pair any of the above with a grain and for dessert some fruit and sorbet. Of courst, you can not forget the wine and yes... men LOVE when women actually eat as I do. The dishes are impressive, shows you can cook and men love to watch you chop and prepare in the kitchen while you are chatting with them and sipping some wine. Most of all - Have fun!!!!!

                                                  1. o
                                                    oooYUM RE: MIss G Jan 25, 2012 07:54 AM

                                                    This IS a fun thread !
                                                    Do you think it matters how old the guy is ?
                                                    Anyway, keeping it simple is good !!!
                                                    Back in the day, what worked for me:
                                                    Lasagne ( put together ahead and oven-ready) served
                                                    With garlic bread and nice wine ( the whole house smelled
                                                    So good, which was a nice plus, as this fellow's Mom
                                                    Evidently didnt cook :-)
                                                    Another time i went to Pike Place Market and purchased
                                                    Cooked and chilled crab, which I served al-fresco with
                                                    Good bread and wine ( ooo la LA !!!)

                                                    I loved the "men are pigs" comment !
                                                    Wow your guy, but keep in mind that he's gonna be
                                                    More interested in YOU than the dinner :-D

                                                    Edited to add: just make something yummy thats simple
                                                    And keep in mind, MANY young women these days dont cook !!!
                                                    ( shocking, I know !
                                                    So you will probably already be sexy in that regard !!!
                                                    I like to channel "Chocolat", I thought the cooking scenes
                                                    Were incredibly sexy !!!!

                                                    1. i
                                                      INDIANRIVERFL RE: MIss G Jan 25, 2012 08:07 AM

                                                      Being an old school neanderthal, I am in the habit of asking the lady what she would prefer, or what she doesn't like.

                                                      For unplanned noshing, any protein on hand mixed into ramen noodles and half a can of peas. Habaneros and whatever sauce on hand to taste. This is normally a late night staple. Early mornings are french omelets.

                                                      And it is always time for a vouvray or vinho verde. Save the bubbly for after she passes muster.

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                                        Saluti RE: INDIANRIVERFL Jan 26, 2012 11:19 AM

                                                        I like that you ask a lady what she prefers before you make her a meal. There are certain foods that I would never eat: veal, foie gras, crab, lobster (basically anything that was boiled or cooked alive). People really need to find out what someone will and will not eat before going through the trouble of making an elaborate meal. Seriously, I don't know anyone who doesn't love the smell of garlic being fried in some olive oil. That smell alone could win anyone over. A simple pasta dish or pretty much anything with a cream sauce or cheese will make me very happy. Actually, anything apart from the aforementioned foods would work for me.

                                                        1. re: Saluti
                                                          Chinon00 RE: Saluti Jan 26, 2012 11:37 AM

                                                          "There are certain foods that I would never eat: veal, foie gras, crab, lobster (basically anything that was boiled or cooked alive)."

                                                          But veal, and duck/goose aren't boiled or cooked alive.

                                                          1. re: Chinon00
                                                            Saluti RE: Chinon00 Jan 26, 2012 12:01 PM

                                                            Crabs and lobsters are cooked alive and I added the comment in parenthesis after mentioning both. My apologies if I didn't structure my sentence properly. I certainly didn't mean to confuse anybody.

                                                            1. re: Saluti
                                                              tigercrane RE: Saluti Jan 26, 2012 09:13 PM

                                                              Looks like it should have been "foods that involve cruelty to animals."

                                                              "Cruel Food"....should be the title for Bourdain's next book!

                                                          2. re: Saluti
                                                            Hank Hanover RE: Saluti Jan 26, 2012 11:42 AM

                                                            That's a good point. You should learn about a prospective mate and if they don't share your values, you should keep looking.

                                                            I approach it from a different point of view than does Saluti. I wouldn't waste my time if the girl was a vegetarian, vegan or like Saluti has a lot of conscience issues. There is no sense arguing and I have never understood why someone would marry hoping to change their spouse.

                                                            I'm not criticizing Saluti in any way. She has a right to her opinion.

                                                            1. re: Hank Hanover
                                                              Chinon00 RE: Hank Hanover Jan 27, 2012 12:29 AM

                                                              "There is no sense arguing and I have never understood why someone would marry hoping to change their spouse."

                                                              In my early serious dating years I'd assumed that there was a connection between one's education level and their level of curiosity in regard to food (as well as things like places to travel, music, etc). Figured you'd have a much better shot at finding a foodie from an "educated" pool versus a non educated one. I was so wrong and in restospect wasted a bunch of time.

                                                        2. k
                                                          KateBChi RE: MIss G Jan 25, 2012 09:32 AM

                                                          Assuming that it is winter where you are I'd do a make ahead braised dish. Veal, lamb or beef osso buco are great comfort foods and I like to add olives and capers and gremolata to liven things up a bit. These can be made several days in advance (including making your own meat stock which my SO swears is when he knew he was in love. A true pain now since he can always tell when I don't make home-made stock for his soup or whatever!). Serve with buttered egg noodles (easy) or risotto (more impressive and classical). Several other really good braised dishes include Chicken Canzanese (not the Hesser version but the Cook's Illustrated version), olive oil brined lemon chicken, beef bourguionne, beef short ribs with horseradish, appropriate winter vegetables and potato puree or beef braciole with gnocchi (Gnocchi can be made ahead of time and frozen). All of these are make ahead although require last minute touches and for some reason make men think you are a nurturing sort (which you probably are if you are making these dishes and nurturing in a good and hopefully sexy way).

                                                          The opposite approach would be a refreshing winter salad with sweet and spicy nuts (make ahead), shallot vinaigrette (make ahead and refrigerate), mixed baby greens and apple or pear with some type of cheese (warm pan fried or oven baked panko crusted goat cheese rounds are nice) followed by a seafood dish. The seafood can be anything but I like skate wings in brown butter and capers (fast and easy to make) or spaghetti with clams
                                                          (clams can be steamed in advance, removed from shells and soaked in clam juice and the sauce for the spaghetti can be made hours in advance and merely put it together with cooking the pasta, warming the sauce and cutting the Italian parsley) or a quick saute of Dover sole filets with capers, lemon, butter and sliced almonds.

                                                          As for dessert it should either be very simple or made ahead of time. Creme brullet made the day before or really any type of custard made ahead. Ice cream doused with a fruity liquor and some berries or a chocolate sauce or poached apples or pears with a made ahead almond financier are sure to make a guest feel good!

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: KateBChi
                                                            ChristinaMason RE: KateBChi Jan 25, 2012 06:12 PM

                                                            Great ideas, and I like how you take the planning/cooking ahead into account. Well thought-out.

                                                            1. re: ChristinaMason
                                                              KateBChi RE: ChristinaMason Jan 27, 2012 04:05 AM

                                                              Thanks! Another thought for a cook who is comfortable with cooking steaks is rib eye with parmesan butter and balsamic shallot glaze served over arugula. Mix parmesan cheese and softened butter several hours in advance. Make sauce of reduced balsamic vinegar, minced shallots and brown sugar until it coats a spoon, reserve in refrigerator and bring out when ready to cook the already salt and peppered steaks (about 25 minutes before cooking). Place the arugula on two plates and drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil and shaved parmesan. Cook steaks, let rest then slice and place over arugula salad. Top with parmesan butter and douse with the balsamic glaze.

                                                              Buttertart mentioned pommes souffles. I love them too but they are a little tricky and timing is everything. A simpler albeit different version is to pre-cook quartered potatoes (I like Yukon Golds) by placing in a roasting pan with generous quantities of olive oil, salt and lots of fresh herbs and slow roast at about 325 F till close to tender. You can do this in the morning and if you are feeling healthy let sit out till needed (refrigerate if you must but bring back to room temperature). Heat oven to 450 to 475 F. Assuming you coated well with oil put back in the oven for a final really hot sear. They should puff up and brown and turn seriously lovely. The herbs may burn a bit but in my experience not in a bad way.

                                                              As many have mentioned it won't really matter if the chemistry is true but if you are going to do something that is important don't make a half-a**ed effort

                                                              1. re: KateBChi
                                                                buttertart RE: KateBChi Jan 27, 2012 05:15 PM

                                                                Hmm, I must try those potatoes. The soufflé ones appeal because of the effort and precision (and luck) involved.

                                                              2. re: ChristinaMason
                                                                peppermint_sky RE: ChristinaMason Jan 29, 2012 08:57 AM

                                                                KateB's idea for the winter salad + seafood is an intriguing route, especially for a lighter option. A creative seafood entree could be **fish in a packet** aka fish en papillote or fish in parchment-- it is fun and cute to unwrap the crinkly parchment paper! Light and flavorful and imaginative.

                                                                I've done this with capers, lemon, fresh herbs or tomatoes, olives and a little olive oil plus the fish. For the salad I am really thrilled with this honey vinaigrette and I do it on arugula, toasted pistachio, celery, dried cranberries or fresh winter fruit, blue cheese.

                                                                Honey vinaigrette:

                                                                Here's the fish in a packet I made (years ago now, and it was delicious



                                                                I was looking for other recipes for fish en papillote for you and I found this wild mushrooms en papillote, with a high rating from epicurious. I've never done that, and now I want to! I --have-- done tofu en papillote as a vegetarian option and served fish en papillote to the other guests.


                                                                I haven't used these exact recipes, but they look great too:

                                                                Fish en papillote with tomatoes and olives:

                                                                Fish en papillote with asparagus and orange:

                                                                For a seasonal dessert -- This cranberry upside down cake is pretty and easy and you could make it earlier in the day. Very simple preparation and the red berries look.... romantic!


                                                            2. buttertart RE: MIss G Jan 25, 2012 09:39 AM

                                                              If someone were ever to make pommes soufflés for me and include them in a meal with oysters on the half shell and rare lamb tenderloin, I could be tempted to stray.

                                                              1. j
                                                                jarona RE: MIss G Jan 25, 2012 10:03 AM

                                                                First of all, the first dinner I made for my frenchman was a disaster. I tried too hard. I was flustered and a pyrex plate in which a perfect cherry clafoutis had been made exploded. All. Over. Me. ....then to make matters worse, I spilled a bottle of red wine. Good. Red. Wine. All. Over. Him. He ended up coming back for a second dinner. That was 7 years ago..so to woo my frenchman the second time , I made steak. He loves steak. Nice and rare. But to start off we had Kir Royales. Champagne and Cassis. I made sure we started off with procuito and melon..then came the steak. Although he loves fries, I did not make them. Instead I sliced potatoes extremely thin and seasoned them with salt and pepper and sauteed them in butter and served them topped with parsley. After that it was a nice cheese platter....and for dessert--I didn't make another clafoutis, instead I made his other favorite--Creme Caramel. Since that night, I've covered just about all his favorite french dishes and desserts. Yeah..I think there may be some truth that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. One caveat--when you cook a couple of great meals--they will expect it forever. I hope you like to cook:)
                                                                Good luck and I hope you woo your date very well!

                                                                1. e
                                                                  elenacampana RE: MIss G Jan 25, 2012 10:13 AM

                                                                  Not a first date meal, but a first really amazing date meal: I roasted a nice chicken with some little potatoes, sliced up some ripe tomatoes, tossed with olive oil and olives. VERY good wine...great conversation, lots of laughing, and - well, the cold chicken was superb with a freshly-made aioli around 1 AM. Many years later, this is still our romantic dish.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: elenacampana
                                                                    mcel215 RE: elenacampana Jan 26, 2012 03:25 AM

                                                                    My thoughts exactly. And do roast it the Zuni way. :)


                                                                  2. Beach Chick RE: MIss G Jan 25, 2012 10:23 AM

                                                                    Most of my friends are guys and they tell me they would love to find a gal that can cook.

                                                                    I would start with jumbo shrimp cocktails with a good horseradish sauce and champagne..
                                                                    Ahi seared rare with a wasabi light soy dip with some asparagus..
                                                                    Dessert of cream puffs with chocolate sauce and coffee after dinner drink,
                                                                    Guaco dip with Marg's/Pacifico's
                                                                    Enchiladas topped with sour cream and guac slices served with Spanish Rice
                                                                    Mexican hot chocolate with a slice of pound cake with drizzle of choc sauce and fresh fruit

                                                                    Coffee..goat cheese, green onion, heirloom tomato frittata with chicken sausages and english muffins...bloody marys.
                                                                    ; )

                                                                    1. j
                                                                      JudiAU RE: MIss G Jan 25, 2012 10:25 AM

                                                                      heh heh heh

                                                                      This is always what worked for me:

                                                                      classic meat and potatoes of some sort, but in small portions--

                                                                      perfectly made cocktail, whatever you like

                                                                      really good thick cut ribeye to share (so not a huge portion) or rack of lamb and au gratin potatoes, bitter greens salad with anchovy and garlic dressing, and a simple veg on the side, a few pieces of chocolates and a nice bottle of wine; a roast chicken is also a good option

                                                                      If you are on a budget, have your guest bring the wine

                                                                      1. o
                                                                        oooYUM RE: MIss G Jan 25, 2012 11:20 AM

                                                                        My Sister says get the man involved
                                                                        In cooking the meal too !
                                                                        Hmmm that has possibilities :-)
                                                                        Even if all he can do is wash and tear greens for a salad

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: oooYUM
                                                                          MIss G RE: oooYUM Jan 25, 2012 07:48 PM

                                                                          Definitely the most entertaining thread I 've seen in awhile, thanks to all of you so far. He's older, date two and loves Asian cuisine. I'm on the fence between the pai Thai and something braised. (I live in San Francisco, it's winter )

                                                                          1. re: MIss G
                                                                            ChristinaMason RE: MIss G Jan 25, 2012 07:50 PM

                                                                            jap chae! even easier and very tasty.

                                                                            1. re: MIss G
                                                                              foiegras RE: MIss G Feb 6, 2012 06:25 PM

                                                                              You could do an Asian preparation of braised short ribs ... though my personal favorite involves Dublin Dr Pepper.

                                                                          2. s
                                                                            subal RE: MIss G Jan 25, 2012 08:36 PM

                                                                            When my present wife cooked her first meal for me it was spaghetti. After arriving at her apartment, I looked in the pot of home made sauce and stirred up some thing resembling a very pregnant golf ball.
                                                                            "what is this?"
                                                                            "why it's a garlic clove my dear!"

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: subal
                                                                              ChristinaMason RE: subal Jan 26, 2012 02:55 PM

                                                                              LOL, the entire head?

                                                                            2. rcallner RE: MIss G Jan 25, 2012 09:07 PM

                                                                              Ms. G, I confess I'm too tired/lazy after my day to read all the other undoubtedly useful replies, but - here's the thing. Make it fun. You should both have a good time no matter where things lead to in the short or long term. And think about what you KNOW he likes to eat, and blow his socks off in that department. If he turns out to be a keeper, you're going to want someone (since you're a hound) who responds to food at least some degree close to the way you do, and you want to demonstrate you can meet that food wow factor. And it should be wow for you, too. (If you do all that and he's not really really impressed, well, hopefully, he's got other things going for him, or you know you had a fun hot date and can move on.)

                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                              1. re: rcallner
                                                                                DaisyM RE: rcallner Jan 26, 2012 03:08 AM

                                                                                I asked my husband what he thought you should serve and he thought for a moment and said, "Take out Chinese, served naked" What??? Honey, she's not talking about just sex....she's interested in a serious relationship! "Oh! Well then, shrimp cocktail, roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and chocolate pie".

                                                                                1. re: DaisyM
                                                                                  mattstolz RE: DaisyM Jan 26, 2012 05:22 AM

                                                                                  and here lies the difference between men and women.

                                                                                  nowhere in that OP did i see anything that pointed to the fact that she wants a serious relationship. just that she wanted to build some lust haha. i assumed the same as your husband, im sure most the women assumed along with you!

                                                                                  1. re: mattstolz
                                                                                    DaisyM RE: mattstolz Jan 26, 2012 06:14 AM

                                                                                    Matt, you are so right! It has taken me an awful long time to figure that out. It also took me a while to realize that for most men if you keep them well fed and keep the drama to a minimum, they are pretty happy. (well, at least my husband seems to be!)

                                                                                    1. re: mattstolz
                                                                                      foiegras RE: mattstolz Feb 6, 2012 06:29 PM

                                                                                      Since when does a woman worry about what to cook for someone she just wants to get into bed ;) Surely that doesn't require any food or consultation and is easy enough :)

                                                                                      1. re: foiegras
                                                                                        Hank Hanover RE: foiegras Feb 6, 2012 10:29 PM

                                                                                        It will be difficult but I suspect she wants to be able to talk to him either before or after bed.

                                                                                        At the very least, she wants to be able to talk about the food. ;-

                                                                                    2. re: DaisyM
                                                                                      QueenDairy RE: DaisyM Jan 26, 2012 11:42 AM

                                                                                      LOL! I love it

                                                                                  2. w
                                                                                    Westy RE: MIss G Jan 26, 2012 06:01 AM

                                                                                    Duck breasts. Slice the skin (not too deep into the meat), add a rub of some sort (a little chinese five spice, and maybe a even a VERY small amount of a bbq rub with brown sugar. Slowly reder off the fat, skin side down. Make sure you tip the duck breasts using tongs. Gotta crisp up the skin on each side. pour off fat. Finish in a hot oven.

                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Westy
                                                                                      Terrie H. RE: Westy Jan 26, 2012 03:22 PM

                                                                                      When I used to be up to this sort of thing, duck breast was one of my go-to dishes, too.
                                                                                      Easy to cook, and special or even close to exotic, depending on the guest.

                                                                                      Sadly, my first dinner for my current bf resulted in fracturing the bridge of my nose. That was 1-1/2 years ago and he still can't figure out how I did it. I'm blaming the heavy pan he had on a high shelf (he is 6'4"), but the truth could be the number of cocktails we had enjoyed. If you can break you face and someone still sticks around, maybe the food isn't the most important part of the evening. ;))

                                                                                      1. re: Terrie H.
                                                                                        sandylc RE: Terrie H. Jan 26, 2012 03:46 PM

                                                                                        The good part is that you will never forget that date!

                                                                                        1. re: sandylc
                                                                                          Terrie H. RE: sandylc Jan 27, 2012 05:32 AM

                                                                                          If I could only remember! ;))

                                                                                        2. re: Terrie H.
                                                                                          Bada Bing RE: Terrie H. Jan 28, 2012 06:16 PM


                                                                                          The food should never be the most important part. :)

                                                                                          1. re: Bada Bing
                                                                                            sandylc RE: Bada Bing Jan 28, 2012 06:24 PM

                                                                                            Funny thing. It only becomes an issue if it's bad.

                                                                                            1. re: sandylc
                                                                                              mattstolz RE: sandylc Jan 28, 2012 06:42 PM

                                                                                              in my experience, the food only becomes an issue if the COMPANY is bad. easy to blame a bad date on bad food, but (for me at least) its almost as easy to overlook slightly bad food for really good company.

                                                                                              1. re: mattstolz
                                                                                                sandylc RE: mattstolz Jan 28, 2012 06:53 PM

                                                                                                I agree. My point is that when the food is good, it is less of an issue than when it is bad. Foodwise.

                                                                                      2. s
                                                                                        sassyapron RE: MIss G Jan 26, 2012 09:32 AM

                                                                                        I won my husband's heart with my stuffed turkey roulade served with apple cranberry casserole, braised asparagus and a homemade chocolate rum cake (and agreed, check to make sure they love chocolate first)!! Serve the correct types of wine with each course. In this case, I chose a Chardonnay for the main course and then a Burgandey to accompany the cake. Best!

                                                                                        1. BananaBirkLarsen RE: MIss G Jan 26, 2012 12:03 PM

                                                                                          I think the first thing I ever cooked for my boyfriend was Trader Joe's microwave cannelloni with a green salad and wine. I realise this doesn't sound all that impressive, but we were in a tiny hotel room and I was working with very few tools (microwave, coffee maker, plastic forks and knives). The wine made the meal. I guess if you're already in a hotel room, though, that's half the battle right there.

                                                                                          1. b
                                                                                            bitchincook RE: MIss G Jan 26, 2012 01:45 PM

                                                                                            I'm firmly in the "it doesn't matter" camp. When I was wooing my now-husband, way back when, I invited him to my apartment for dinner and served stuffed mushrooms for an appetizer and Cornish hens for the main course. I didn't know that he "hates" mushrooms and doesn't like Cornish hens. Too much work cutting them up for too little meat is his view. Somehow he managed to eat enough of everything for me not to notice. It helped that he had brought an excellent bottle of wine. But no doubt what helped the most was that he was way more into me than into food. These days, if I tell him I am planning Cornish hens for dinner, he starts calling restaurants for a reservation for the two of us.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: bitchincook
                                                                                              ChristinaMason RE: bitchincook Jan 26, 2012 02:58 PM

                                                                                              <These days, if I tell him I am planning Cornish hens for dinner, he starts calling restaurants for a reservation for the two of us.>

                                                                                              That's great!

                                                                                              1. re: bitchincook
                                                                                                melpy RE: bitchincook Jan 27, 2012 07:35 AM

                                                                                                Unless the guy is judgmental, it doesn't matter. I was 22, hadn't cooked much and tried to make "chicken scampi". It was so dry you had to drink water with it. I think that's I served, over spaghetti. And my roommate came home from work and ate with us! 5 years later and he stuck it out!

                                                                                              2. d
                                                                                                dianne0712 RE: MIss G Jan 26, 2012 03:12 PM

                                                                                                I have my own theory, which I have scientific back-up for,and that is to serve cinnamon based dessert which is supposed to be the most erotic scent for men. Besides,who doesn't love a good cinnamon roll? On the other hand, on posing this seemingly innocent question to my husband last night, we had a four hour conversation about this topic.My husband has a lot of strong ideas on this,but I will try to encapsulate the most important parts. Fondue is great,or any type of meal that's interactive and allows you to serve each other,bond,accidentally brush against each other. Do not under any circumstances wait on him hand and foot. Apparently this is awkward and boring. If there is meat, let him cut it. Pick something that doesn't keep you in the kitchen(most fondue prep can be done earlier allowing

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: dianne0712
                                                                                                  peppermint_sky RE: dianne0712 Jan 29, 2012 09:01 AM

                                                                                                  dianne, great point on cinnamon. If he stays for breakfast, here's a cinnamon sweet that will woo (and these come together very quickly and easily). You need mini muffin tins for this recipe


                                                                                                  And a photo of mine (i chopped the pecans into smaller pieces, as you can see):

                                                                                                2. s
                                                                                                  sparkareno RE: MIss G Jan 26, 2012 03:29 PM

                                                                                                  I don't know why but I think rack of lamb is a sexy food. Just don't make anything with too much garlic if you want there to be an "after party". And I don't know a man alive who doesn't love meatloaf. Or mac & cheese....maybe add some lobster?

                                                                                                  1. t
                                                                                                    tigercrane RE: MIss G Jan 26, 2012 09:10 PM

                                                                                                    Don't forget to keep it light, in case there are....athletics later. ;)

                                                                                                    1. f
                                                                                                      food_eater79 RE: MIss G Jan 27, 2012 12:35 AM

                                                                                                      As a dude, I would say start with a good wine or champagne. The dinner can be a caesar salad, then a simple steak or seafood dish. Dessert not necessary in my opinion, unless you guys have a penchant for dessert. After that, it's all good. But keep the alcohol flowing. Sit down to a movie and you'll be making out before you know it if things are cool.

                                                                                                      1. vanderb RE: MIss G Jan 27, 2012 04:52 AM

                                                                                                        My mother always told me if you're eating at a restaurant with a date to ensure there are non-messy things to eat that won't embarrass your companion, and I agreed with Mom. But, if you're cooking at home I have to say the messier the better and the more interactive the better. Dinner and eating should be fun and is one of the only activities that involves all 5 senses... the other could be a result of the first.

                                                                                                        Whole artichokes, boiled with two squeezed lemons (or champagne vinegar), peppercorns and garlic cloves, until a fork slides easily into the base of the artichoke stem served with a nice grainy mustard and aoli dip is a perfect dish. After that a nice spaghetti with red sauce and boccanci mozzarella to give you loads of messy cheese strings. End the meal with a great fruit plate including figs, passion fruit, mangostein and rambutan to help motivate exotic thoughts.

                                                                                                        1. f
                                                                                                          foodiemahoodie RE: MIss G Jan 27, 2012 05:53 PM

                                                                                                          Sexy food. I've actually given this considerable thought but from the man's POV. (and I've written about it before). And that's the advice I'm going to give here. I think it works both ways.

                                                                                                          Decadent food is sexy and lusty - lobster, foie gras, caviar, champagne, oysters.

                                                                                                          Also fun (and I've done this for Valentine's Day dinners) - food considered to be aphrodisiacs - oysters, uni, etc. and some foods (and combinations) which are supposedly actually are aphrodisiacs.

                                                                                                          Something you can prep ahead of time and then stand at the stove with a glass of wine and cook (what I call the cooking show - perfect example of that is risotto).

                                                                                                          Anything with a flambe. A little danger gets the pulse going.

                                                                                                          And drink. Wine pairings are good because you end up drinking more, and drinking is always conducive to sex. Decadent wines - champagne, Bordeaux, sauternes - all pretty sexy stuff. Especially a few of them.

                                                                                                          And I always serve a little late - so guests get appropriately soused (and then some) for the meal.

                                                                                                          1. mrsbuffer RE: MIss G Jan 29, 2012 08:21 AM

                                                                                                            The first dinner I ever cooked for mrbuffer was homemade eggplant parmesan with homemade red sauce with spaghetti and fresh Italian bread. He said it was better than his mother's! It's an Italian thing...that was fourteen years ago this weekend...so I guess it worked!

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: mrsbuffer
                                                                                                              Beach Chick RE: mrsbuffer Jan 29, 2012 09:47 AM

                                                                                                              Love that..
                                                                                                              Homemade lasagna or eggplant parmesan is one of my stellar dishes that always kills it and no better compliment when the guys says it's better than his Mother's!
                                                                                                              Happy 14!
                                                                                                              ; )

                                                                                                              1. re: mrsbuffer
                                                                                                                kubasd RE: mrsbuffer Jan 29, 2012 05:10 PM

                                                                                                                Plus it is something that you just take out of the over, let sit for a bit, and serve. Nothing easier than that! More time to hang out, talk, and drink wine :)

                                                                                                              2. c
                                                                                                                chilerosa RE: MIss G Jan 29, 2012 12:49 PM

                                                                                                                Roasted quail with rose petal jam; that was the dish that turn everyone on fire in the movie "Like Water for Chocolate" (do a quick google search for it). Serve it with roasted potatoes and rose sparkling wine.

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: chilerosa
                                                                                                                  peppermint_sky RE: chilerosa Jan 29, 2012 01:48 PM

                                                                                                                  and watch the movie, definitely.... I have done that dish with chicken.

                                                                                                                  1. re: chilerosa
                                                                                                                    Hank Hanover RE: chilerosa Feb 6, 2012 10:30 PM

                                                                                                                    chick flick

                                                                                                                  2. w
                                                                                                                    walker RE: MIss G Jan 29, 2012 02:57 PM

                                                                                                                    The other night I made JFood's short ribs .. excellent. Not hard to make, leftovers are great (you can probably freeze).

                                                                                                                    One great thing about this recipe is that it's made ahead and when you want to serve, all you do is heat it up. Add a salad and wine and you're all set.

                                                                                                                    Re: Cinnamon: Have you tried the Greenley's cinnamon bread sold at WF and Costco? Costco only carries the one w/out raisins and I prefer with. You could serve that toast as an app.

                                                                                                                    1. Veggo RE: MIss G Jan 29, 2012 05:45 PM

                                                                                                                      I have had nice experiences grilling a frenched rack of lamb - 8 or 9 ribs - with good vino, and later a can of Reddi Wip.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                        JerryMe RE: Veggo Jan 29, 2012 05:51 PM

                                                                                                                        Tee Hee - Can of Redi Whip . . .Love that.

                                                                                                                        SO loves meat and potatoes so I make meatloaf and mashed which is good as leftovers as well but what I love to make is meal of simple appetizers and then you can nosh all nite and spend the time talking.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                          Kholvaitar RE: Veggo Sep 2, 2013 05:32 AM


                                                                                                                        2. GraceW RE: MIss G Jan 29, 2012 06:27 PM

                                                                                                                          I would probably go out to dinner.. then have Baker's One Bowl Brownies (SUPER FUDGE tasting!) and vanilla ice cream waiting at home for us to enjoy afterward.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: GraceW
                                                                                                                            DaisyM RE: GraceW Jan 31, 2012 03:55 AM

                                                                                                                            What did you end up cooking.....and did it work???

                                                                                                                          2. m
                                                                                                                            MIss G RE: MIss G Feb 6, 2012 06:35 PM

                                                                                                                            Thank you everyone, especially the men for being so candid. This has been a very entertaining thread. We "ahem" got half way through steaks...

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: MIss G
                                                                                                                              TheHuntress RE: MIss G Feb 7, 2012 01:26 AM

                                                                                                                              Nice one :)

                                                                                                                            2. r
                                                                                                                              Rick RE: MIss G Feb 6, 2012 08:08 PM

                                                                                                                              High quality steak or prime rib go over really well with my gf for a special occasion. Easy to prepare and you can make just about anything for a side. You can literally cook the steaks in just a few minutes so no real "trying" on your part either!

                                                                                                                              1. b
                                                                                                                                brooktroutchaser RE: MIss G Jun 13, 2013 09:58 PM

                                                                                                                                Caesar salad, roast chicken, dark chocolate.

                                                                                                                                1. d
                                                                                                                                  danweiss RE: MIss G Sep 2, 2013 05:47 AM

                                                                                                                                  The main thing is that it is easy to eat. I've made bad experiences with spaghetti and some exquisite sauce. So now I would decide on penne ;)

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