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Wedding gift idea - dinner kit ideas needed

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I have some friends who got married but they didn't have a wedding, didn't register for anything, and generally have everything they need. They have a baby so going out can be difficult, so I thought I'd prepare them a "dinner kit" with high end stuff they wouldn't normally buy for themselves. I'm thinking some nice cheeses/charcuterie to start, then dry aged steaks, perhaps a salad with nice local greens. I'm stumped for a side though. I don't want them to have to do too much work to prepare it. I thought about some herbed baby potatoes they could roast, but anyone have any other ideas for an easy side with steak?

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  1. Maybe a biscuit mix? Then specify how much egg and milk to add. Although that does require some work.

    How about an herbed oil or spice mix that they can add to some sort of roasted veg? Truffle oil maybe?

    1. The tricky part is not knowing exactly when they will choose to prepare the dinner. The meats and cheese have a little flexibility but greens and many prepped vegetables do not.

      A marinated vegetable would hold up for several days. Perhaps a selection of interesting grains (black rice, unusual colors of quinoa) or a homemade or gourmet shop pilaf mix.

      The starter has room for interesting crackers and pickles!

      1. While you know them better than I do, the idea of a present that says "here, do this" sounds a little less carefree than gift-giving should be. Isn't there a nice gourmet take-out place in your area that has higher-end foods to go? There are several in my area and a gift of a nice bottle of wine with a gift certificate sounds less pressure-y to me. But that's just me.

        1. We were given a similar gift after our son was born and it ranks as one of the most thoughtful and appreciated gifts I ever received.

          I would suggest giving it with three or so dates and let them pick which day is best for them. That way you can deliver it nearly ready. Have the potatoes (which I think are perfect with steak and salad) ready to go in a pan and the salad prepped with dressing on the side.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cleobeach

            Totally agree- this way they can pick the best day and you could drop off everything ready to go except the steaks. A potato dish they just need to reheat would be great, i love this recipe- i often swap for more mild cheese:
            http://prod.bonappetit.com/recipe/cru...

          2. What a nice idea. Instead of roasted potatoes (which I'd love to get!) you could do roasted butternut cut into cubes and mixed with olive oil, garlic, and herbs. Don't forget a good bottle of wine!

            A friend did something similar for me after a kid was born. She packed it in a large, sturdy, monogramed canvas tote from Lands End which I still use 15 years later.

            1. Creamed spinach is a wonderful accompaniment to a nice steak. Also a nice grilled asparagus is a fine option as well.

              1. Some Haricot Vert & Wax Beans, & some different color Carrots (yellow, orange, purple) perhaps? They hold up pretty well and add a lot of color to a dish, plus they are easy to prepare. You could steam the beans for example, then quickly sautee them in garlic and olive oil, and top with crumbled gorgonzola and toasted walnuts.

                1. I would make a gratin. There are so many variations...how about potato and mushroom or root vegetable or white and sweet potato with horseradish crust etc....fine cooking is a great resource for ideas.
                  http://www.finecooking.com/articles/c...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: DowntownJosie

                    Thanks for the ideas everyone! I thought of a gratin right after I posed this! Also I thought I'd get them a cast iron pan for cooking the steaks, and maybe a nice dish for the gratin that they can keep.

                    My plan was to ask them for a date where they'll both be home and don't have any dinner plans already. The surprise will be slightly spoiled, but I think they'd be OK with that.

                    I thought about playing "private chef" and cooking everything for them onsite, but I don't know that they'd feel totally comfortable with that.

                    Unfortunately there really isn't much in the way of gourmet takeout in our city. Whole Foods is pretty much it, and it's not convenient to them. I've long fantasized about opening a Barefoot Contessa-type store here...

                    1. re: PghJen

                      I'd give them the gratin pre-cooked and let them do the steaks themselves unless you think they're so clueless in the kitchen that they don't know how to grill a steak. (don't laugh, I'm terrible at it - steak's too expensive to be in our menu more than once a year! DH will never let me live down the year I bought us a really expensive fancy steak for Christmas dinner, and turned it into shoe leather...)

                  2. Some olives with your cheeses/charcuterie would be nice, or even an olive walnut tapanade. Also, you could make a simple butternut soup this time of year, which would be simple to re-heat.

                    1. This type of thing was one of the better baby gifts we received. Our cousin emailed us and said they would like to bring us dinner in, when would work for us to drop it off. They brought pork chops baked with apples and sweet potatoes, a salad kit with dressing, and fruit salad. There were 3 meals worth of pork, so 2 of them went into the food savor bags and were much appreciated later.

                      As far as sides, I love roasted baby red potatoes, but a nice gratin reheats well too, which is always nice with leftovers.