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Home Cooking 57

Fifth anniversary coming up - Please help me plan a meal that I can cook for my girlfriend.

Manhattanfoodie | Jan 27, 201504:08 PM

This weekend, my girlfriend and I are celebrating our 5 year anniversary so I figured it might be interesting to do a date night at home and have cook a multi-course meal for her. We always eat out and I enjoy cooking so I thought this might be a nice time to switch things up. I'd love to hear ideas and recipes for what I should cook because Google is giving me too many suggestions to handle. I'm not necessarily looking for a theme, i.e., all seafood or all Italian so hopefully that makes things a little easier. We have no food allergies or other food restrictions. That being said, we prefer savory food over sweet food. So here's the plan for now:

1. An amuse-bouche to start. I realize this may be a lot of work for what will essentially be one little bite but it's fun to think of. I just bought these little soup spoons that I think will make perfect serving vehicles for this. Or shot-glasses. I saw this Chorizo-seared scallop recipe online that I thought was interesting but I would love to hear other ideas.

2. An appetizer next. I don't have any ideas yet but I'm looking for something that can be put together quick. Or even have set up before she arrives. One thought that comes to mind is oysters - shouldn't take me too long to shuck a dozen oysters while she sips on her cocktail. Any other ideas? I also thought of steak or Tuna tartare but I've never worked with it and I'm not sure where to start, i.e., where I can get tartare quality meat.

3. A pasta course - this one I think will be the simplest of all. I'm thinking I will make a bolognese sauce in advance and when she gets here, I will make the pasta (pappardelle or rigatoni) and toss it with the sauce and top of with parmesan cheese.

4. The main course - We're both non-vegetarian so this would ideally be something with meat or seafood in it. I've never had good results with making perfectly seared fish so I don't know if I should even attempt it. I was hoping that this, again, would be something prepared or mostly prepared in advance and something that I can have on a plate in less than 10 minutes or so after I'm done with the pasta.

For the entree, one of the thoughts that came to mind is braised lamb shanks. I can have that going for a while and when we're ready to eat, I can easily have that on a plate. Any idea for what I should serve on the side?

I also thought it might be nice to give her the choice of two entrees, somewhat like a restaurant so that she could pick one that she liked and I could have the other one - not sure if this is too ambitious.
I live in Manhattan and have a Manhattan-sized kitchen so I don't have a lot of space. I have an oven, a microwave oven and a 4 burner stove that I can use. I also have a Vitamix and an immersion blender. I do think I will have sufficient pots and pants for everything that I am cooking. I am not looking to spend a ton of money - ideally less than $100 but I can stretch up to $200 including a bottle or two of not-too-expensive wine. I would have cooked a steak but I don't have sufficient ventilation in my apartment for that.

Phew - I didn't realize how long this post was and I apologize for the length. I think I've included everything I've said but I'll be editing as I go along if I think I've missed something. Thanks! I will have Thursday night, Friday night and all of Saturday t get this set up so I do think I'll have sufficient time to pre-prep some or ideally most of what I will be cooking on Saturday.

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