I have always heard that the way to a man’s heart is though his stomach, but the saying really works for anybody, and one surefire way for a man to impress a woman is to prepare and serve her dinner.
Here, I present nine steps to create a romantic evening for the culinary challenged. It may take some thinking out of the box as well as some preparation time, but if your goal is to impress, then this meal certainly fits the bill.
It may look intimidating, but it’s actually easy. You’ll create a great tasting, healthy meal which includes a layered Italian casserole, Greek style salad, roll, and coconut non-dairy frozen dessert topped with fruit.
Step 1 — shop:
A couple items on this list are usually exclusive to health food stores such as Whole Foods or Good Earth:
• 1 pint Coconut Bliss brand coconut milk non-dairy frozen dessert
• 8 ounces So Delicious plain cultured coconut milk yogurt
The rest of these items can be found in health food stores, but they’re also in most grocery stores:
• 2 cans, 18 ounce, artichoke hearts that are either in brine or packed in water
• extra virgin olive oil
• 2 jars pitted Kalamata style olives
• 2 cups shelled sunflower seeds
• 2 red bell peppers
• 7 -8 tomatoes
• 2 cucumbers
• 1 red onion
• 2 lemon
• 1 pint of berries or other fruit
• 1 head green leaf lettuce
• 1 garlic
• fresh dill
• fresh basil
• Himalayan salt
• Italian seasoning
• black pepper
• chocolate sauce
Cut out the list and go shopping a day or two before your date, but not too far in advance. You want the vegetables to be fresh.
Step 2 — soak the sunflower seeds:
At bedtime the night before your date, put one and half cups of sunflower seeds in a bowl and fully immerse them in water.
Cover the bowl and go to bed. Overnight is best, but don’t worry if you forget. Anything over three hours will work.
Step 3 — make the center layer for the layered Italian casserole:
Start this recipe about two hours before the date.
• 18 ounces of artichoke hearts that are either in brine or packed in water
• 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
• Juice from half a lemon
• 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
• 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Open the artichoke hearts and drain. In a bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt, Italian seasoning, black pepper and cayenne.
Separate the leaves, artichoke hearts and mix them gently so that artichokes are well covered in the oil mixture and marinate for an hour.
Step 4 — make the bottom layer for the layered Italian casserole:
While step one is marinating prepare the sunflower and basil mixture.
• 1 cup fresh basil
• 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
• Juice from half a lemon
• Soaked sunflower seeds
• 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Drain the water off the sunflower seeds and rinse them.
Place the basil, olive oil, lemon juice and salt in a food processor and pulse about five times to chop. Add the sunflower seeds, black pepper and cayenne, and blend until everything is combined.
Scrape out the mixture and spread evenly over the bottom of a 13 x 12 x 2 inch casserole dish.
Step 5 — make the top layer for the layered Italian casserole:
Use the same food processor that was used for the sunflower and basil mixture.
• 1 cup pitted Kalamata style olives
• 1 red pepper, diced or chopped
Pulse in food processor until everything is evenly chopped.
Step 6 — assemble the layered Italian casserole:
Using the casserole dish with the basil mixture, layer the marinated artichoke hearts. Slice up four large tomatoes and place those over the artichoke hearts.
Scatter more fresh basil over the tomatoes, and spread the olive mixture evenly over the basil.
The layered casserole is now done. Set it aside and prepare the salad.
Step 7 — make the Greek coconut yogurt style salad dressing:
• 4 ounces of plain coconut yogurt
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• Black pepper to taste
• 1 tablespoon fresh dill, or 2 tsp. dried dill
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• Juice of half a lemon
• Himalayan salt to taste
Place all the ingredients in small bowl and mix well.
Step 8 — make the Greek style salad:
• 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
• 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
• 1 bell pepper, chopped
• 1/4 red onion, chopped
• 8 olives
• 1/4 head of green leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
In a shallow bowl combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and lettuce. Drizzle the Greek coconut yogurt style dressing over the top and garnish with the olives.
Step 9 — make the dessert:
When you’re trying to impress someone, dessert is usually served with dinner. This one is impressive, and couldn’t be any easier.
Place coconut non-dairy frozen dessert in a bowl, and sprinkle fresh berries or fruit over the top. You can even use chocolate sauce if you’d prefer.
One last side note:
To make the meal really impressive, go out of your way to set the table very nicely. Use a cloth table covering and cloth napkins to make the table setting really impressive.
I would love to hear how your date goes. Email me your story at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more tips about living a balanced life, visit Summer Bear at www.summerbear.org.