So the first date went well, and you managed to score a second — good for you. For your next rendezvous, instead of following in the tracks of most and trying to impress your new special someone with a fancy restaurant, follow your own road and cook a hot meal.
Though, some find cooking to be a relaxing hobby, a way of sharing a part of themselves with family and friends. To others it’s a daunting, bothersome task, nothing but time-wasting foolishness.
Maybe you’re one of many who swear by the Ramen noodle, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the talent or the time to cook up a decent meal for your next date. And remember, decent does not include EasyMac.
While pasta may be tossed off as typical date fare, it’s a food most everyone likes, the ideal reason for serving wine with dinner, and it’s pretty easy for anyone to make a not-so-typical sauce.
Try pasta with tomatoes and spinach.
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a small pot and add the garlic. Cook for almost 1 minute, then add basil, wine (if using), and some juice from the tomatoes. Cook uncovered on high heat until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add tomatoes and remaining juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
Continue cooking on high heat. When most of the juice has evaporated, stir in the spinach and one tablespoon of olive oil. Heat for an additional 30 seconds, cover, and turn off the fire.
Let the sauce sit while you boil the water and cook the pasta. It should take 7-10 minutes to cook, depending on the type of pasta. Taste often to make sure it doesn’t overcook. Mix pasta with the sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese.
In the realm of student-priced wines, I’m a big fan of Concha y Toro merlot, a full-bodied Chilean wine that sells for $10. If merlot isn’t your thing, at least stick with a red wine and you should be OK.
See that? No sautéing, no slicing, searing, pan-frying, or any of that business. With two pots, 25 minutes, and ingredients found in any supermarket, you’ll have a meal on the table and a sweetheart swooning over your efforts.
If you’re feeling really ambitious and ready to tackle dessert, this one is definitely worth the five minutes it takes to prepare.
Try rum bananas.
Melt the butter in a small pan and add sugar, cinnamon and rum. Cook for 2 minutes. Add bananas and cook until soft, about 2 minutes more. Spoon over ice cream.
Now go forth, to the store and into the kitchen, knowing that when all is said and done, the impression your efforts make will be a lasting one.