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Dinner to impress female date, zero prep time

She is from a class in university and we studied together a couple times and I asked her over for drinks...

So last Sunday she came over for 'drinks' at 530 and we have smoked salmon apps on the roof teracce then I made spicy chicken breasts and while they cooked we made a nice salad and simple balsamic vinaigrette. We had great conversation (but I didnt want to flirt with her at all so she would feel comfortable since it was our first time really getting to know eachother (not talking school/studying and she was in my apt); she is low twenties and Im upper twenties) and she ended up leaving at around 1am. It was easy to put together since I premade baguette toasts with cream cheese and the salmon on them the morning of.

She wants to come over for drinks after our final on Monday. I cant decide what to make, and I actually have exams 9-12 and 1-5pm (the later is our mutual one) which means I have no prep time the morning of.She likes to eat everything and I know she likes sparkling wine. I was thinking that I could get a bottle of prosecco and am unsure what to pair it with for an app...would it be ok with bruscheta (I can make the mix the night before I guess?) .

For the main was thinking of a giant shrimp pan fried in butter and sriracha and really small high quality steak (by then the bottle of great red wine should open) and fingerling baked potatoes coated (precooking) in cayenne, chili, cumin, sesame oil, soya, maybe some herbs de provence and either a small salad or asparagus..... I was considering mussels for the main since they are so easy but I cant make fries at home and I dont think it is great food for a 2nd/3rd get-together...any alternative or suggestions are appreciated!

Thank you

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  1. Pasta,simply dressed with pesto. A light salad with oil and vinegar. And your bruschetta. You probably won't be that hungry.

    5 Replies
    1. re: emglow101

      Pesto is an uncomfortable thing to eat in a new relationship, you're guaranteed to have it in your teeth.

      1. re: weezieduzzit

        How so when it's made into a paste ? Then adding your olive oil.I use a mortar and pestle.

        1. re: emglow101

          The risk is too high- why take the chance of making someone self conscious instead of relaxed?

          1. re: weezieduzzit

            OK, I see your point.It worked for me.

      2. Totally ok to make the bruschetta topping the day before. Your dinner ideas sound lovely. I would have no qualms serving a dry prosecco with the bruschetta or shrimp. Frankly, I would serve sparkly wine with everything, but that's a different thread. :)
        As for mussels, why not serve them on a 2nd or 3rd get-together? It's a great way to find out whether or not your guest's eating style is similar to yours. Just be prepared with lots of napkins, spoons for the broth, bread, etc.
        Actually, mussels, bread, salad... would be pretty easy, and low-prep.

        1. For an appetizer, melon wrapped in prosciutto to accompany the prosecco.

          You could assemble a lasagna the day before, then bake after your exam. Only a salad and maybe some crusty bread and good butter to complete the meal. Steak and shellfish are high-end choices and better delayed until the relationship is more established.

          You don't need a rich dessert after lasagna. Vanilla ice cream topped with fresh berries or whatever other fruit is in peak season. Or fresh pineapple slices topped with brown sugar and broiled, then drizzled with rum, and a few almond cookies.

          2 Replies
          1. re: greygarious

            I agree with every bit of the above. As an alternative dessert, how about affogato? Unless she doesn't drink coffee, it's foolproof, and a slightly more bitter companion to the gelato than berries.

            1. re: greygarious

              I think lasagna is way too heavy for this time of year, and a lot of girls would never dream of eating it, especially in front of a potential boyfriend

            2. I appreciate the great feedback so far... though I should have mentioned that unless it is winter and I am making meatballs I don't eat much pasta, and since I dont have much experience making lasagna it would take me a fair amount of time beforehand. Im not really sure why...and its so simple but I dont think it is right.

              I think everyone agrees that
              -brushetta could be a good starter with prosecco (this is the one I plan on getting which I like http://www.saq.com/page/en/saqcom/vin...)

              For the Main
              -small fillet with a shrimp
              -mussels
              -I like making wenierschnitzel but I dont think that is date food

              Dessert:
              I personally dont think I really need one ... I have some cheeses etc

              PS the other wine will likely be Osoyoos Larose unless someone can suggest similar but cheaper .. I served it last time and she adored it and actually recognized it which most of my dates definitely would not (and to those who are skeptical I highly doubt she is using me for my wine lol)....

              4 Replies
              1. re: kpaxonite

                Do you know that she doesn't care for desserts? Speaking as a female (albeit many years past my twenties), I almost always have a hankering for a little sonething sweet after dinner. Doesn't have to be anything big or elaborate - strawberries, some quality chocolate or bakery cookies (a handful of M&Ms will do in a pinch).

                1. re: kpaxonite

                  Desert can be "coffee & couch" lol!

                  1. re: kpaxonite

                    Okay, understand your reservations about pasta. I do want to reiterate my thumbs up to greygarious' earlier comment.

                    If a guy I'd been casually seeing made me surf and turf with a filet and giant shrimp on our 2nd date, I would think "gee, he's got it bad for me". (NB: this has never happened to me :-) but that is what I'd think). If that's the impression you'd like to give, rock on! You are clearly a foodie and she seems to be as well, but if a guy in college made me a torta espanola, that would be enough.

                    Also, it doesn't hurt to have an emergency pint of gelato in the fridge.

                    1. re: kpaxonite

                      Why not some kind of light thin crust pizza with a nice salad and a nice bottle of red wine?

                    2. The prosecco would be great with a simple cruidites and dip. Since you have so little prep time i suggest you have her cook with you? Just say "i was thinking we could just make dinner at my place- are you ok with spicy food?" Then pick up amd semi prep the shrimp or steak (both feels like overkill) and then you can make the fingerlings and aspargus and salad together. All those flavors on the potatoes sound overwhelming, maybe simplify to one or two. A homemade vinegrette for the veggies will impress her. A good store bought gelato for dessert maybe.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                        Good call. Just to be clear when I wrote "a giant shrimp" that is what I meant... Like one giant shrimp on each dish... not a plate of them.

                        I was thinking of actually getting her to walk to the (very close) grocery store after our exam since she likes to make coq au vin I told her she owes me for a beer I bought her yesterday and suggested she make me dinner but at the same time dont want to put her on the spot.

                        1. re: kpaxonite

                          if it's summer in your neck of the woods, i wouldn't want lasagne either, and any kind of long pasta isn't something many can eat with elegance so not great date food. (rule of thumb: if you wouldn't order it confidently at a business dinner, it's not good date food.)

                          i think the prosecco with bruschetta sounds like a great start. you could also poach the shrimp the day before and serve it chilled with a lemony aioli.

                          for the main--

                          i'd do either buttery shrimp, OR some steak with the potatoes. with apps, you could serve steaks that are only 4-5 oz and not spend a fortune. mussels can be drippy and not everybody likes eating with their hands, so again, not a first date dinner. asparagus is out of season for me, so i'd do local zucchini or green beans right now, simply, with butter and lemon.

                          as for the osoyoos larose, we don't get a lot of canadian wines my way, but i have had its sister from bordeaux, gruaud larose, and like it a lot!

                          some fresh berries might be all you need for dessert, or cheese if you like going that way. not every female has a sweet tooth, myself included. you also don't want to stuff the poor thing into a food coma.

                          as for instead asking her to make coq au vin? lol. it's a wintery dish, it takes a long time to cook, and that would be a bad bait and switch to me. invite her over for dinner then spring the surprise that she's the cook? if she wants to cook for you, at her place, she'll offer. :)

                          have fun!

                          1. re: kpaxonite

                            I think you should do your shopping ahead of time,(it feels too familiar this early) and if/when the date goes as well as we suspect it would only be natural that she would invite you to hers for dinner next. A semi-joking "so when are you going to teach me your famous coq-au-vin?" Would work with me ;)