11/02/2011

How To Make A Gourmet Dinner For Your Sweetie (When You Don’t Know How To Cook)

categories: How To:, Kitchen Dates, Romantic Ideas

In the first episode of “How To Be Amazing In The Kitchen When You Are Worthless In The Kitchen,” I prepared chocolate-covered strawberries for Olga, and they were a smashing success! She loved them. If you are super uncomfortable working in the kitchen like I was, then I suggest starting with the first episode because coating strawberries with melted chocolate is something that even a 1st-grader could do. I’ve found that it’s all about the “small victories” in the kitchen. And once I saw the satisfaction on Olga’s face when she tasted my chocolate-covered strawberries, my confidence was sky-high and I was ready to step it up a notch. In fact, I was feeling so good about myself that I decided to go for the whole kit and caboodle of serving an entire gourmet dinner from appetizers to desert.

But how can you pull that off if you are worthless in the kitchen like me? Well, you get a little help from your friends at local restaurants and bakeries. That’s how! Note however that this is NOT simply about ordering take-out from a gourmet restaurant and then serving it at home. If you don’t even bust out a pot or pan, or turn on the oven or microwave, then don’t expect your date to be too impressed. That said, if you want the meal to taste delicious, then you have to work within the confines of your own skill set and that means enlisting the help of some other folks.

Check out the video above to find out if I bit off more than I could chew…

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How To Make Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

categories: How To:, Romantic Ideas

Let me preface this post by saying that I am completely worthless in the kitchen.  I can make a mean bowl of cherrios, and that’s about it. So when I look to do something in the kitchen, I am searching for delicious treats that my five-year old cousin could make with her eyes closed. Chocolate-covered strawberries is one of those things. Here’s how I did it, and trust me, if I can do it so can you.

Step 1 – Get the Goods – Pick up the following from the store:

  1. Fresh strawberries – if you don’t know how to pick the good ones, ask the clerk at the store to help. I just looked for the big red ones.
  2. High-Quality Chocolate – Don’t skimp here. Get the good stuff with at least 60% cacao. You can pick out full chocolate bars, but chocolate chips melt a bit easier. I went with Ghirardelli chocolate chips, which made for a delicious dipping sauce once melted (trust me I ended up licking the bowl clean).
  3. Parchment or Wax paper – You need a non-stick paper to place the strawberries on after you dip them. Parchment or wax paper will do the trick. 4) Champagne (optional) – If you want to really make it extra classy, you can pick up a bottle of champagne as well.

Step 2 – In the Kitchen - It’s time to put on your Chef’s hat and get to work.

  1. Clean the Strawberries – Wash the strawberries and, ideally, let them dry for a few hours. When they’re still wet, the melted chocolate won’t stick quite as well.
  2. Melt the Chocolate – Put the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. I just followed the instructions on the bag, which said to microwave for 1 minute on medium heat, remove and stir, and then heat in 15 second intervals until the chocolate is completely melted.
  3. Dip the Strawberries – This is the fun part! Dip the strawberries in the melted chocolate, rotate a few times till the chocolate stops dripping, and then place on the parchment or wax paper. 4) Refrigerate – Once you are done dipping all the strawberries, put them in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

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How To Have An Amazing Date At A Concert (Coldplay concert at UCLA)

categories: Date Idea, How To:, Los Angeles Dates, Romantic Ideas

Olga and I had the pleasure of watching Coldplay perform live at UCLA in July. Coldplay is one of my favorite bands, and we were in the front of the pit for the whole concert (thanks to the greatest guy ever, Ryan Williams). It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am afraid I’ll never be able to see live music again, as it can only go down from here. Here’s a highlight video of our evening. Watch it, and you’ll never be the same for the following reasons:

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