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Dinner ideas for cooking with girlfriend

Whenever my girlfriend comes into town we like to at least spend one night in cooking together, playing music, and dancing in the kitchen. We like to cook things that take a while to put together so we have a lot of time to hang out and have fun. Sauces that have a fair number of ingredients and that need to simmer for a while and be stirred every so often are pretty ideal. Any ideas? I live fairly close to the coast so fresh seafood is always available...shrimp, scallops, etc.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Crawfish Monica. Any seafood lasagna.

    1. Sounds like a good recipe for seafood risotto might fit
      the bill. Can't beat it with that fresh shellfish. That and a salad with a homemade dressing--what could be better.
      Don't have a recipe for the risotto, but you might not even need one.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Bashful3

        I think risotto is a lovely idea but I think a recipe, for proportions, is quite important. Here's a seafood one:

        http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/cr...

        @carry, would seafood in a lasagna be painfully overcooked? Never heard of that.

        1. re: c oliver

          Possibly. You could avoid that by cooking the lasagna noodles nearly all the way and just broil the lasagna for 10 minutes or so. Or just make a veggie lasagna and top with shrimp cooked to your liking.

          I've had some pretty fantastic crab (blue is a terrific selection) meat lasagna with white sauce.

          Also, if lasagna isn't your thing a ravioli with cheese and minced shellfish could be nice.

        2. re: Bashful3

          before reading the replies - or even the full OP risotto came to mind - there is something romantic and perfect for "dancing in the kitchen" about risotto

          1. re: Bashful3

            +1 for the risotto
            You could even make your own shellfish stock since you have time

            1. re: Ttrockwood

              Far more simple is to poach a few shrimp in a light wine, such as a trebianno, then poach large scallops. Set them aside and use the wine - broth for the risotto. Quickly sear the shellfish before adding to the risotto at the end.

              1. re: law_doc89

                Perhaps simpler but then you're cooking the shellfish twice. Making stock from shells may be the easiest thing one can do in the kitchen, IMO.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Quick sear, not re-cook. Try it, you'll like it.

                  1. re: law_doc89

                    For me, a quick sear IS cooking for things like shrimp and scallops. In addition I want to cook those shells for quite a while and get more flavor than a quick sear is ever going to give ME.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Well, you'll never know.

                      OP: Try it!

            2. re: Bashful3

              This shrimp risotto recipe appeared in the valentine's day edition of Bon Appetit many years ago. I make it often. It was billed as "a romantic dinner to cook together"

              http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

              1. re: DGresh

                I've made that to rave reviews. Very tasty!

                1. re: EarlyBird

                  +1 we just made gumbo this weekend and had a great time cooking. And gumbo tastes better on Day 2. I used Alton Brown's recipe mixed & matched with Fabio Viviani's recipe and came up with a wonderful end-result!

                  Alton's recipe is seafood gumbo: http://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/good...

                  And Fabio's is chicken & sausage. I get such a kick out of his cooking tutorials. Take 5 minutes for a laugh. http://shine.yahoo.com/shine-food/fab...

                  1. re: Tehama

                    Great lead. Thanks. On another thread elsewhere asking for gumbo "tricks" I mentioned using St. Alton the Brown's trick for the roux, which is to bake it in a cast iron pan in the oven. Fool proof.

                    1. re: EarlyBird

                      You know, in all of the gumbo that I've made in my life, I have never tried this. I always say, maybe next time.....got too used to setting up a barstool and stirring roux for 45 min whilst drinking wine! Now, with kids, time is more precious.

                      1. re: rudeboy

                        It's so simple you'll wonder why this isn't the way your mom taught you. I do 1/2 oil and 1/2 flour mixed well, placed in a cast iron skillet and bake it at 350. About half way through I stir it well and continue baking until I like it's color, which is usually between peanut butter and chocolate color. Never burn it, and you can be working on the rest of the meal while doing so.

                        1. re: EarlyBird

                          works for polenta as well.....though it is fun to drink wine and stir forever.....

                          1. re: EarlyBird

                            Funny, but this happens all the time. I got that feeling that I just HAD to make gumbo last night. But I still did the roux on the stovetop because the oven was occupied and I wasn't on home turf. Simple chicken thigh/sausage gumbo with a very dark roux. I added some chinese 5 spice, but not too much. It really worked with the dark roux.

                            But gumbo is a good idea for the OP. Where is the OP anyhow? I wonder if this even already happened.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Here's the cioppino recipe I want to make...next time I have access to good seafood.

                      http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Cioppino is a sexy meal. Lot's of good prep with all the ingredients. You could call it fore-prep. I modified a preparation like this - omitting the tomato paste and just using tomato concasse, using hungarian hot paprika instead of cayenne, no salt, but lobster base instead of water, no fish, and then finishing with cream and some sort of liquor. Last time, i used an airplane bottle of Southern Comfort. Cheap stuff, Southern Comfort is, but it was there and gave my concoction a bit of sweetness that really worked in the soup. Sexed up cioppino.

                        1. re: rudeboy

                          Damn, that sounds wonderful. And I love those little bottles of booze for things that I have no need for a big 'un.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            In Texas, there's a state law that says that you can't buy just one in a package store. You have to buy two. I'm not sure where the logic is here (I mean, they could say eight), but it worked for me, because I drank one and used the other in the food!

                            1. re: rudeboy

                              I lived in Dallas for three months many years ago and they had weird liquor laws then. But your situation sounds like a win-win :)