Memorable how? Memorable like our guests would be astounded by our skill and creativity or memorable like the meal really let someone know how much you care about them? My husband and I watched a show about the Cooks Illustrated/ America's Test Kitchen team recreate a meal from the original Fanny Farmer cookbook as everything would have been done in her day and we thought it would be fun to do something similar in a much smaller scale/ different "starting menu." That would probably be memorable for us....once I had a bad cold and my now-husband made me chicken-fried steak and amazing mashed potatoes and gravy. That was memorable to me because it made me feel really cared for (and it was yummy and it was the first time he cooked for me). So I guess it depends on your definition of memorable.
My husband and I had friends over for dinner last night, and he did most of the cooking [unusual for us] because I was making a pie for dessert. He bought big fillets of fresh rainbow trout and a new porcelain type of perforated sheet for grilling it (over hardwood charcoal fire) - no marinade just a little olive oil. He also made a caprese salad (his favorite) using gorgeous gargantuan heirloom tomatoes from the farmer's market and buffalo mozzarella. He made a potato salad using the last of the purple potatoes from our garden. He grilled some peppers and onions alongside the fish, again just a little olive oil. Flash-boiled corn on the cob. Our friends brought a nice bottle of wine. Oh and my husband made strawberry daiquiris! The blueberry pie came out perfect. There was also half of a delicious chilled lemon meringue pie that our teenage daughter made a couple of days ago. We watched the Olympics. Really fresh ingredients, simple preparations, shared with good friends and family... it was quite memorable!
Recently I herniated a lumbar disk and spent weeks in a phenomenal amount of pain. I couldn't sit, stand, or walk without howling sciatic pain down my leg. Needless to say, I couldn't cook, either. At some point, however, the need to nourish myself and my family overwhelmed my need to be sedentary, and I had my husband set up my three year-old daughter's craft table on the floor of the kitchen and move the cutting board and utensils I would need onto or near it, and I strapped on a lumbar support belt, sat on the floor (the only sitting position I could even mildly tolerate), and simply made some pappardelle with a sauce of fresh tomatoes and torn basil. It was a triumph, and even a turning point, as it was the first moment in that ordeal that made me feel like a human being again. Undoubtedly it was memorable. Such is the power of cooking, eh?
Ahh, that's easy! Beef Wellington... The traditional way w foie gras and duxelles. Serve w grilled asparagus and twice baked potatoes! That is my "go to" Christmas meal!!
Pegeen is a trusted home cook.
I've never forgotten the phrase a boss once told me, after a presentation flopped. It didn't have anything to do with the food industry, but the advice seems to work in any situation: "Know thy audience."
if you'd like to make a memorable meal, find out what would be memorable for the Guests of Honor and the primary audience.
p.s. Sorry... Meant to add to the above post:
For example, for an important birthday, some friends who were planning the party with my siblings decided to cook a few of our childhood dishes (updated, thank god). That meant so much to me. You don't have to stage a CSI episode, but maybe some casual conversations with people close to those for whom you're cooking.
They say only fools give advice and only fools take it, but I don't think that applies to cooking. I would say, NEVER cook anything for an important meal for the first time at the meal when you're serving it. (Well, unless you're a pro cook with Salvage Experience). ALWAYS try out the dish once, ahead of time. (Yes, may hurt your budget, but so worth it.)
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