By ‘intimate’ I do not mean sushi served with a human body as a plate.
I don’t know about your house, but my intimate dinners usually consist of a friend that I haven’t seen in ages, a date or special occasion with my significant other, or a first meeting with a new friend’s spouse.
For these kinds of evenings, you always want to be on your cooking A-game – without having to spend the whole evening in the kitchen. Everything should be delicately prepared and delicious while letting you spend time with your guests, instead of checking that meat is still moist or that the bottom of the rice hasn’t burnt.
I love the following dishes because for their unique tastes and interesting, but complimentary mix of flavors, but more importantly because you can love them and leave. Most can be made the night before without losing flavor or require only the minimal attention and infrequent check-ins during your dinner.
Course 1: Salad
Roasted Beet and Caramelized Onion Salad
Roast the beets and caramelize the onions the night before and put everything together in five minutes before your meal.
Course 2: Soup
Leek and Potato Soup
Served chilled, this can be completely prepped in advance. If you want to have a warm soup to warm up on a chilly winter night, you can get the soup ready before your guests arrive and keep it over low heat until serving.
Course 3: Pasta
White Wine and Cherry Tomato Angel Hair
Though this dish requires the most attention during your dinner itself, it is primarily a set it and forget it dish that you just need to watch to make sure that you don’t overcook the pasta.
Course 4: Dessert
Pastries with Apple-Pear Compote
Pick up some sweet rolls from your favorite local bakery and let this delicious compote cook itself while you enjoy your pasta.