Boyfriends birthday/moving in dinner
For his birthday next month, my boyfriend said all he wanted was for me to make him dinner. Unfortunately at this point in time we are living in a weird combination of his parents house and the basement of the family I'm staying with so there is really no good place for me to cook said dinner. We are planning on moving in together sometime in late September- early October so it would be much easier and much more romantic for me to cook him a nice meal on our first functioning day in the apartment (and by that I mean once everything is unpacked) since it will be in our own place. However, this means I have to make something really "wow" worthy since it will be a delayed celebration of his birthday (aside from giving him his presents since he won't let me take him out for dinner) AND the first meal we will be sharing in our new place. I really, really need some help here. I am open to any type of meat or seafood used. He's not picky so I can make him anything as long as it's nice. I figured I would make a salad, a main dish, a dessert and possibly, if I'm feeling up to the challenge, an appetizer. Any and all ideas are appreciated! If it helps at all with suggestions, I am very familiar with cooking things from scratch and more complex recipes since I spent 8 years as a vegan and needed to follow some complicated recipes. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! :)
A great filet dinner always has a bit of "wow" factor. You can fancy it up with a bearnese sauce, or mushrooms sauteed with garlic, butter, wine and herbs. You can go traditional with a baked potato, or play around with some potato recipes (such a versatile starch! Same with the veggie--creamed spinach is always tasty, or you could do roasted brussel sprouts with caramelized shallots, bacon, and balsamic. A great salad I do that is SO simple and delicious is spinach, with chopped apples and white onions that have been marinating in dijan and white wine vinegar, then all tossed together. A great app that goes with this and looks very fancy is asparugus in phyllo dough with hollandaise. Let me know if any of these appeals to you, and I will share whatever recipes I have!
If you want to do a four course meal (appetizer, salad, main dish, dessert) I'd suggest making an appetizer that can be put together ahead of time - preferably one that "melds" together better with a few hours in the fridge - a salad that is quick to put together but packed with umami, a hearty grain (rather than protein) based main dish, and fruit based dessert.
In this vein, I'd suggest:
Chilled Tuna Poke
Arugula/Pine nut/Parmesan/lemon vinaigrette
Mushroom and Bacon Risotto
Spiced Poached Pears and Creme Anglais
The other courses in this meal should be "light" enough to offset the creamy heaviness of the risotto.
I'd choose his favorite starch, protein and sweet and then work from there. For instance, my DH loves potatoes above all other starches, fatty beef or pork above all other meats, and tangy stuff (lemon, sour cherry, etc.) for dessert. If your BF has strong preferences in those areas, let us know and we'll help you build the perfect menu!
Are you comfortable with grilling? and if so are you comfortable with grill steak? If so you also need to know the what temp he likes his steak at, (Rare, Medium Rare, Medium ) Etc.
I really like the suggestion of the chow hound who mentioned filet because most guys who eat meat really enjoy filet or a nice grilled steak.
Drink: Wine or his favorite beer
Baked or Mash Potato
Grilled veggie or veggie dish (seasonal)
Dessert Chocolate Mousse
Surf and Turf
Pick your proteins
(Scallops, Lobster, Shrimp, Crab, fish)
(Steak, Pork, Lamb, Chicken)
This has good ratings - http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
I say first do some reconnaissance next time you can catch a minute with his mom- ask if there was a special birthday meal he loved as a kid, or maybe his grandmother always made him lemon squares, or he loved ribs- whatever.
Then use what you learn and go from there, spending the most time and effort on said special dish from his childhood. Often those memories are very special and something as simple as a version of lemon squares could make his day even more important since you found out and made them.
I'm a fan of Italy Italian food for a wow factor without being too complex, and if you've just moved in, you probably don't have a kitchen stocked with a ton of ingredients yet.
Something simple like some spiced olives and feta cheese for an appetizer.
First course - a good soup, or homemade gnocci or fresh pasta with Marcella Hazan's simple tomato sauce recipe, and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Second course - chicken alla diavolo (basically, bone in skin on chicken marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, salt and tons of freshly ground pepper), with a room temperature asparagus or green bean dish on the side.
Salad course - a simple mixed argrula salad with white wine vinegar and oil.
Dessert - tiramisu, if you're feeling ambitious, or a good vanilla ice cream with fresh fruit.
The tomato sauce, appetizer, asparagus, salad and dessert can be made in advance. If you're making gnocci, they can be made a bit ahead of time, and cook quickly. You can time the chicken so it finishes about the time you finish your first course, and let it stay warm in the oven while you eat.
Another good option is the simple and hearty. My husband always chooses a home cooked steak dinner for his birthday - homemade tomato soup, good steak, pan fried to medium, served with a mushroom and brandy cream sauce, baked potatoes with sour cream and green onions on the side, creamed corn (Mark Bittmant's recipe), romaine salad with blue cheese and walnuts (another Hazan recipe). The salad, corn and soup can be made ahead, the potatoes don't require much attention, and the sauce can be made right before you fry the steaks.
I live in SF in a very tiny apartment - If I want to entertain, I pick out a great park, do all my prep at home and take either my hibachi or my baby weber kettle to the park with the best view and throw down.
Last year for my brother and his wife the menu was
- Melon and procuitto
- Muscles with hard cider and saffron (I have a portable propane burner for these).
- Coffee rubbed rib eye's with twice baked spuds done the right way:-)
- you could also throw in a lobster tail for good measure!!
Key is the prep - I don't know where you live but you can find nice park and go for it.
If you don't have a grill (shame shame)
you can pick up a weber off craig's list for just a few bucks.
I would opt for a bone in Rib Eye other than fillet however.
I have some other idea's if this doesn't work