Date night dinner
So after a more than 10 year absence from the dating pool, I'm jumping back in with both feet.
I've been on a few dinner dates with a handsome gentleman, and am planning to have him come over to my place for dinner in the next week or so. So I need some menu advice. He's reasonably adventurous, well-traveled, smart, and I don't want to screw this up.
I can cook almost anything, but obviously want to stick to my comfort zones for this one: things I know I can do (reliably) well, and not so labor intensive that I look like I've knocked myself out. My thoughts are for an either French(ish) or Italian menu.
Appetizer: Some decent terrines (store bought from a good place)
Entree: Roasted chicken with white wine, tarragon and mustard sauce. Frites (home made).
Dessert: Chocolate mousse
Appetizer: An assortment of interesting antipasti (from a good local place)
Entree: Risotto Milanese (made the way my ex-mother in law taught me with saffron, bone marrow, etc)
Dessert: Zabaglione with raspberries.
Thoughts? Advice? Especially on wine choices and what 40-something guys would enjoy.
It would be great if you knew what this guy usually ordered when you were out. That said, I would choose the chicken because if you make the risotto it might be hard for you to not tell him it was your ex MILs recipe--and would a new boyfriend really want to like that dish?
I would go for the chicken. It is easy but visually very impressive. Also, because a white wine for the chicken should be easy to pick.
A reason against the risotto is he may think the bone marrow strange, probably not.. you said he is well traveled. Another reason against the risotto is it takes all your attention. Something you should have turned to your guest.
Frites are delicious when they are fresh from the fryer, but don't really hold for very long. If you want to have a leisurely time, you might want to reconsider something requiring that much attention. Maybe roast potatoes instead? Or a gratin?
Both entrees sound great, though if it were up to this 40-something, I would say chicken.
As for wine, either of these dishes would pair nicely with a bubbly. Of course, I think almost everything goes well with champagne.
terrines and pate are a good start since they can be plated way ahead.
are you able to roast a chicken so the breasts remain moist, while the legs are sufficiently cooked? ;)
agree about the frites though -- they need to be cooked immediately before serving, the oil can make a mess and definitely makes a smell. something i don't like when i have people over. honestly, since the first course will have plenty of bread, you could just go with roasted asparagus or green beans and skip the starch. i don't find men to be the carbs fiends that women can be.
chocolate mousse is easy and delicious but v-e-r-y heavy. chocolate dipped strawberries and some seasonal fruit with cream will be plenty.
risotto requires too much time at the stove. not good for when you should be making flirty-talk over a glass of getting-to-know-you-better.
zabaglione after risotto would be coma-time.
you could start with some bubbly and olives and anchovy puffs. or a bowl of cooked, chilled shrimp. (stuff to eat with your hands.) then drink a good rhone with the pate and the chicken.
i'm with most people - do the frenchy version - for the reasons stated above. and tho the frites sound amazing paired with that chicken and the mustard sauce, a gratin will pair great and doesn't have you sitting in the kitchen being spattered with oil, or serving wilted fries.
maybe a green salad after the chicken? butter lettuce is beautiful right now - simple and clean, with a dijon shallot dressing, to echo the sauce with the chicken?
as gilintx said, champers is a good pic. maybe for the terrines, and then a bone-dry rosé with the chicken, if you don't want to continue with sparkling.