Posted by The Serious Eats Team at 7:00AM on 01/24/07
I have a new one. I just mastered my Nonna's "Green" Lasagna. Homemade paper thin spinach noodles layered with meat sauce, white sauce and either Monterey Jack or mozerella. My MIL went nuts for this and has requested I make it for mothers day and her birthday this year.
Pizza!! I'll never tire of hearing folks say, "this is the best pizza I've ever had!" This is especially true if they've never had a N.Y. or N.J. pizza.
Bangers and mash
A savory souffle
Langoustines poached in duck fat
Back when I lived in a dirty hovel filled with drug addled musicians and spent nitrous containers, that is to say, back when I didn't know better and didn't care, I would try to impress my lady friends by cooking a sort of honey ginger vegetable stir fry. It was only sort of a honey ginger vegetable stir fry because it only resembled what a normal person would understand as honey ginger vegetable stir fry in that it had both honey and ginger in it. It otherwise consisted of a disgusting, sticky, fried mess, more like an aborted attempt at honey baking a head of broccoli than an fresh asian meal.
I cooked this meal about 10 times for 10 different women. During that period, I believe my maximum number of dates per woman was averaging about 1.2. Looking back, this makes perfect sense.
It completely depends on who I am trying to impress. For example, while my Grandmother taught me to make pretty much the best roast beef ever, my vegan friends would NOT be impressed.
I make something I know is good and that I can make well, but most importantly, I make something I know my guest will love. Thoughtfulness, especially if it tastes great, can be pretty impressive.
Mmmm. Shrimp and grits. They are so easy to make and so yummy!
My shear ability to cook someting out of the mish-mash of things in my future husband's fridge was enough to seal the deal.
Now, I make a lasagne and salad for the home front. If I have to take something somewhere, I make a pavlova. Easy, but no one is ever going to make it. Plus, I get to make real whipped cream and whatever fruit is in season.
Heh. I learned to cook early on (Mom and ninth grade home ec. taught me) but really started to practice in college to try to impress girls. I don't even remember what I tried to cook (actually, I do, but much too embarrassing to relate, given my naivete at the time). Anyway, all the poorly executed college dinners now pale in comparison to my awesome-if-I-do-say-so-myself grilled pizza, which I just learned to make a couple years ago. Not only is it delicious but it's still a relatively uncommon grillable. It always gets raves when I make it for friends. I recommend it highly. The best part is that, with this dish, I wasn't trying to impress anyone but myself. I guess they're right: Do what you love and the rest will follow ;)
A boned and stuffed chicken - I have a Chinese and an Italian version. Both look remarkable and taste great.
I make a great dish with chickpeas and apricots. It's exotic and delicious and people always ask for the recipe. I also make wonderful stuffed aubergines with currants and pinenuts.
Ridiculously easy starter - just a few slices of the knife for prep. Bake halved red peppers w/garlic/salt/pepp and olive oil for 40 min at 350, then put a halved scallop into each pepper half and bake 10 min more. Put on top of greens, and dab a dollop of pesto from a jar on top. No dressing needed, just serve it up - and it's visually striking to boot!
Neapolitan Mushroom Soup, Spaghetti Puttanesca and Roast Prime Rib au Poivre ('specially the soup...with homemade crusty bread...). Also some pretty good Venison Medallions with Blueberry / Juniper Berry Sauce...living in northern Minnesota we can shoot and process the venison ourselves and pick the blueberries.
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