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Fancy, luxurious, indulgent


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I'm planning a birthday dinner for a close friend. The idea is to give her a kind of giftcertificate which will list a couple of really great wines from our cellar, and a menu to go with the wines (or maybe, if i can't decide on the menu before the birthday, just say: gourmet dinner to match the wines).

My friend loves good food and wine and eats out a lot. I cook for her and her partner often. I consider myself a good cook, but also a cheap one. Or should I say I'm careful with my budget? :raz: Anyway, even for dinnerparties, I tend to choose the more inexpensive meats and fishes, and no luxury ingredients. When I go shooping for food I'm just not wired that way to get the 'fancy'stuff. But I want this dinner to be fancy, and that got me thinking about what I consider 'fancy', luxurious food, the kind of food you cook for someone you really want to spoil, the kind of food that makes you go 'wow'.

Lobster comes to mind, sweetbreads, and morels. Really good beef.

After that, I'm stuck.

What are your fancy foods? What would you cook for a dinner like this? Or maybe a better question is, what would you like someone else to cook for you that would make you feel very very special?

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Oysters (even though they aren't really that expensive), foie gras of course, truffles (though very hard to find good preserved).

Champagne and oysters, sauternes and seared foie...

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my new favorite(as of today) jamon iberico, good bleu cheeses, the freshest fruits in season, some berkshire pig and a bottle of Pol Roget Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill - 1998 if you can find it.

course in this high heat and humidity i think i'd go with some cold soups like a cherry soup as well

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.


Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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Start with the oysters and beer. Go to cassoulet and good red wine. Finish with serious cheeses, some grapes, and more red wine. Simple, but the last meal I'd eat if I knew my time was up.

Paul B

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butter poached lobster with an asparagus ravioli, caviar on top if you must

chilled red pepper or carrot soup with creme fraiche

fillet of beef seared rare with mushrooms and onions and baby potatoes that have been boiled then crushed lightly and pan fried

cheese and fruit then a lemon or chocolate dessert

no Dill for me please but most people would find a place for it


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers


Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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It doesn't have to be rich as long as the ingredients are impeccable.

There are exceptions though. :wink:


Lobster roll, yucca chips


Quail, quail egg, tomato confit, chantrelles, zucchini, balsamic gastrique


Heirloom tomatoes, apricot, watermelon, plum, tomato foam, watercress, tomato sorbet

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Deviled Eggs

Charbroiled Oysters

Decent Champagne

Okra and Tomatoes

Squash Casserole

Lady Peas and Tasso

Roasted Chicken

Smoked Butt

Leidenheimer Table Loaves, toasted and brushed with butter

Decent Red and White Wine

Cheese Board of great American Cheeses

Semi Sweet Dessert of some sort

Whatever Reisling I had at 11 Madison Park a couple of weeks ago (awesome)

A home distilled assortment for those who haven't floundered after the above

An ambulance that my insurance will pay for

That should about cover it.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Well, when is the dinner and what are the wines you'd want to share? That's where I'd start, with the wine, then with what's best in the market at the moment.

In general, the foods that make me feel special are the foods that take a lot of work on the part of the cook, small things that are stuffed, or puff-wrapped, or things that have been smoothed to a velvet consistency. I guess to me it's the effort and attention that go into the food, as opposed to the cost of the ingredients, that make me feel special.

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The only ingredient that I haven't seen mentioned yet is saffron. Depending on the rest of your menu, it can be part of a sauce, a flavoring for a starchy side like potatoes or risotto......

And if using asparagus, I might consider white asparagus, as it's fussier to grow than green.

Good luck treating your friend well and making her feel pampered. :smile:

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Anything that takes skill and is not well suited to a restaurant kitchen is a luxury for me. A lot of these are things I *can* do and enjoy immensely... but they're fussy, fiddly and somewhat technical.

Consomme, because a well done one is a delicious first course, and it means I'll have room for the rest of the meal. It takes a good bit of knowledgeable fussing to make it come out, so it's a real luxury to me. Very few restaurants will do it well, and doing it myself is a pain. One of my favorites in this vein was a "french onion soup" consomme built around a crystal clear beef broth with a toasted round of good bread with melted cheese.

Supremes de voilaille en gougons because oh my *god* is it a pain in the ass to make... and I love it dearly. It sounds so simple... chicken breasts cut into longish bite sized *even* pieces, dredged in seasoned flour, then browned to a turn in oil. Lots of chopping, lots of finicky detail work. And serving it forth all by itself is delicious, but it *looks* terrible. So then you get more fiddly detail work to make it into a good looking plate. (yes, I know it sounds like the French version of chicken nuggets... done right, it's a lot livelier than a regular chicken nugget)

A well chosen cheese and fruit combination for dessert isn't hard to do in theory. In practice, unless I do it myself, I don't get to have it. This makes me sad, since cheese can make a merely ok piece of fruit quite nice, and can take perfect fruit into the sublime. The *wrong* cheese is nowhere near as nice. This is something of a shopping exercise, but a lot of it is taste too.

Really good bacon (and other cured meats) are hard to find.

A flat out *pretty* composed salad that tastes good is also a luxury... usually I end up going the lazy route and making a tossed salad out of cooked vegetables. One I particularly like for this time of year is based around roasted new potatoes, blanched sugar snap peas, and a vinagarette built around Green Goddess style herbs... add other elements to taste. My version is never very pretty tho, and that makes me sad.

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I will second the butter poached lobster. And most definitely the bottle of Pol Roget Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill - any vintage at all. It's glorious. :wub: A really good soup or braise that your guest knows took a lot of time. Doesn't even have to be fancy ingredients - it's the time frame of preparation and the perfect end result that are important. Home made charcuterie works that way too. Duck prosciutto, perhaps? Or some sausages you've made yourself?

I think the fact that you're going to so much effort will convey your sincerest love and friendship. You're a very good friend. :smile:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Really want food to make people go wow food wise considering the season:-

(And depending on prep tome / money) i'd go for this menu:-

Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, el Pata Negra - Your in Amsterdam so no problem to get it. Costs the earth but worth it, serve on it's own simply with good bread. If you'd like to add a little texture then perhaps some slices of perfectly ripe melon or pear.


Clear tomato consomme (ever so slightly gelled, enough to just hold the crab) spiked with finely chopped basil leaves with a heap of fresh white crab meat in the middle.


Cucumber & Crème fraîche salad - with caviar (Or avruga or any other quality fish roe). Cucumber peeled, deseeded cut lengthwise into 6, then into slices, slightly salted for a couple of hours to firm, rinsed then dried in towels. Mixed with just enough Crème fraîche to bind and then formed into 2" to 4" ring molds and left to chill. Just before serving place a good heaped teaspoon of caviar on top.


Sauteed King scallops with lemon risotto (made with fresh homemade chicken stock)


Butter poached lobster.

(Yes it is very good)


Wagu beef - if you can cook it well it's fantastic. With jersey royal new potatoes and a dressed green salad.


Roast Poulet De Bresse, with jersey royal new potatoes and a dressed green salad.


Cheese:Cheese: Epoise, Manchego but there are many fine dutch cheeses out there just pick a small but good selection. If you want to try new things then (being from the UK) try Cornish Yarg, Stinking Bishop and a good Wenslydale.

As for puddings - Not really a pudding guy but summer pudding with fresh cream always works for me.

If you want something more adventurous you could try:-

Pears poached in red wine with cassis and, with basil bavois


Pineapple carpaccio in a light Sichuan pepper jelly with basil sorbet.


Sage panacotta

Edited by ermintrude (log)

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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I come from the camp in which "fancy" doesn't necessarily mean expensive ingredients; it can mean labor intensive or complex cooking. Since this is summer, I might go for a paella instead of a cassoulet. Lovely delicate English peas, beautiful bivalves and a dramatic presentation. Not necessarily something that breaks the bank.

Having a paella is the perfect excuse to serve jamon (dressed up with melon--yum!) for a starter, which does break the bank. Or proscuitto and melon isn't too shabby either. Can you ever go wrong with oysters? I don't mind the shucking if I have company to talk to, and oysters go great with champagne if it's a special occasion. I like the suggestions above of a tomato consomme if you have some fabulous tomatoes already. That would work even without the crab as something simple made really special. It's the kind of thing almost no one ever makes for themselves.

For me the most special foods are the ones the are seasonal and at their peak. The one simple thing I appreciate most these days is fresh wild salmon: healthy, and pricey enough so most people I know don't eat as much of as they would like.

For dessert I would showcase whatever fruits are best right now, like peaches. Perfect fresh fruit paired with an exotic sorbet. That pineapple carpaccio w/sichuan jelly and basil sorbet sounds out of this world. Thai basil sorbet, yeah? Ermintrude, where is that recipe?

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If you were cooking for me Klary at home then i wouldn't want you to torture yourself replicating restaurant-style dishes. I appreciate generosity rather than technical brilliance. I agree with petite tête de chou and would love a fantastic fruits de mer to start - lobster, oyster, langoustine, sea urchin, crab, prawns, mussels & clams. All easy to prepare the only caveat is absolute freshness. Then how about a whole roast turbot or if you don't fancy more seafood then i would be equally happy with a roast suckling pig. No cheese for me but a nice selection of petit-fours & desserts. Yum, when can i come round? :biggrin:

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Time that passes in quiet contentment...a pretty table, even if it is decorated with a leaf or a bowl of fruit rather than elaborate tableware...I agree with small, individually made items, or at least small servings to give a sense of openness to the meal. In other words, if the cooking is labor-intensive, the eating should somehow seem almost casual, no work at all!

One dish of hand-rolled short or filled pasta would thrill me, I think!

A perfect consomme or other clear soup does sound wonderful, especially for a woman friend. However, boiled fish (for those who like fish) is a very fine home dish, because the fragrance of the fish is not lost by waiting.

And at this time of year, small berries such as currants, and small early vegetables must still be a pleasure to find in the shops? Do the Dutch make anything as old-fashioned as junket or other delicate curds to go with such fruit? That would go nicely with a glass of a smooth dessert wine.

However, if the evening is to be pampering rather than overwhelming, would a light, crisp beer be as nice as wine??

A beer would open the way to small open sandwiches on wonderful bread, plus aromatics such as fennel, a tiny amount of friend shrimp, some local mussels or other shellfish, a rich vegetably something in condiment quantities...

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Your Asparagus Dinners (I always think of them as capitalized, to agree with their importance) are things of inestimable beauty and glorious fulfillment. I can think of no better dish to set before King, friend, anyone---all that rich bounty, warm and soft, just a wonderful PILLOW of a meal.

The soft whiteness of taking up those delicate wands in your fingers and lifting them in voluptuous mouthfuls, the cushiony translucence of just-right golden egg yolk, the thin, rosy leaves of rich ham, the steaming little baby potatoes, with the runnels melty-warm butter laved over all.

Perhaps a lemony vinaigrette on tiny Spring lettuces, with a scattering of paper-thin sweet onion, supremed orange segments, and crisp, nutty sunflower seeds or pistachios.

And there's no more exquisitely-elegant dessert than the one you serve in the clear trifle bowl: The layers of custard, poached pears, advocaat and whirls of whipped cream.

Or perhaps your own perfectly-poached rosy quinces with a slice of your incomparable butter-cake---the first recipe from the Dutch Cooking thread.

And that asparagus quiche last month was a Thing of Beauty and a Joy Forever.

Edited by racheld (log)
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Fresh pork tenderloin from the Spanish Pata Negra Pig, roasted and served with a slice of Lardo on top and hashed brussels sprouts with bacon.

You can get this amazing pork in Europe.

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