Allez Cuisine!

The Challenge


So, about a week ago, my friend Meredith and I decided that it would be fun for her and her SweetHeart Paul, to have a date night with me and my SweetHeart.  What to do?  We ran through the usual, “Dinner/movie/music” ideas and then it hit both of us around the same time.  We all like to cook so why not have a Chopped-type challenge?  Sharpen your knives, Sistah, game is ON!

So here are the rules.  Each couple prepares a basket for the other with anywhere from 4-10 ingredients in it.  Meredith took Entrée and I took Appetizer, Side Dish and Salad.  Once we swapped baskets, we could then go to the grocery store to pick up any additional ingredients we needed to make the dish.  All ingredients must be used somehow.

She and I gleefully smacktalked all week, threatening to include exotic ingredients like screwpine leaves  or guava.  Thankfully, our respective Sweethearts reminded us that ‘Hey, remember, we’re gonna have to eat this stuff!’ so we reined it in and prepared our basket to give the others the best options we could while still making it a challenge.


The Reveal


Friday night comes and we manage to control our curiosity and excitement long enough to crack open a bottle of prosecco and toast our cooking skills.  Finally, it was time to open our baskets!  I was nervous, what if I couldn’t think of anything to make?  What if I didn’t give Meredith enough to work with?

No worries.  Here are the ingredients.


Appetizer/Salad/Side Dish basket:  (Meredith and Paul gave to us)

  • Orecchiette pasta
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • Fresh basil
  • Dried cherries
  • Loaf of French bread
  • 1 bunch carrots

Whew!  I was so relieved we didn’t get something I couldn’t pronounce!

Entrée Basket (We gave to Meredith and Paul)

  • Fresh ginger root
  • Fresh figs from my backyard
  • Small jar grained mustard
  • Potato chips
  • Mushrooms

After some intense consultation between teams this is the menu we came up with—which was a surprise to the other until it was served.

Appetizer: Bruschetta with heirloom tomato, chopped basil, kalamata olives and buffalo mozzarella

Salad:  Grated carrot and beet salad, with chopped cherries and a lemon mayo dressing

Side Dish:  pasta with chiffonaded spinach, sautéed garlic in butter, sundried tomatoes, spiced pecans and grated romano cheese

Entrée: Grilled butterflied pork chops stuffed with a fig and mushroom reduction, sautéed with celery and onion and dusted with potato chips.












Most Creative Ingredient Use went to Meredith and Paul for soaking the string  that tied the pork chops together in ginger water.  Although we did get Random Creativity Points for using beets along with carrots in the salad.


The Winner


Who won?  We all did.  We learned things about each other that we didn’t know before, and I have a warm appreciation for how well our Sweethearts helped us and each other.

Friendships need to be nourished just like romantic relationships do.  Doing something like this together not only makes for a good time but provides a bit of a creative stretch.  It’s easy when life gets busy to not always take the time to nurture our friendships.  And that’s Love Applied.

What are your favorite couples date activities?


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