10 Deceptively Easy Dishes
Boeuf bourguignon. Coq au vin. Molten chocolate cake. Fancy-sounding dishes for fancy-sounding meals, right? Whether you're impressing a date or an entire dinner party, there are certain items you can serve that will have the room applauding your culinary skills -- and have you taking it easy in the kitchen.
While the items below might sound difficult to make, every single one of them is deceptively simple to assemble, cook or bake. Get ready to wow your next church potluck supper attendees or just cook a fantastic meal for friends. And you don't even have to tell them that you spent more time on your outfit than on dinner.
1. Homemade Salad Dressing:
Whether you're whipping up a quick vinaigrette or some savory blue cheese dressing, homemade salad dressings are really a no-brainer. Why spend extra money on bottled creations that contain preservatives and icky ingredients like high fructose corn syrup when you likely have everything you need on hand to make your own? What's more, they're nearly foolproof to make. Added too much olive oil? Just pour a little bit more red wine vinegar in to compensate. Even better, you can make just as much as you need for a few servings and personalize the salad dressing to the meal. Serving duck a l'orange? Squeeze some of that orange juice into your balsamic vinaigrette, too, for a memorable meal.
You, too, can have homemade bread in a very short amount time, with no kneading required. Mike Morris first discussed his recipe for beer bread here a few months ago, which only takes a few minutes to prepare and 70 minutes to bake, leaving plenty of time for other activities while your house fills up with the magical aroma of freshly baked bread. This recipe works with virtually any good beer and is even better when shredded cheese is added to the batter.
Photo by Quintana Roo
The French like to make you think their cuisine is much more difficult to prepare than it really is. It's not. French recipes have lasted through the ages because they're both delicious and simple. Crepes are no different. The batter takes only five minutes to throw together and -- like your salad dressing -- is composed of items you likely have on hand already. There is a slight trick to turning the crepes in the pan -- and a thick, hot cast iron skillet is definitely recommended here -- but if you can play a Wii or drive while changing radio stations, you likely have the required dexterity to figure it out in no time. Crepes can be either savory or sweet, but always look stunning.
If there is a trick to risotto, it's this and only this: Keep stirring. Seriously. A monkey could do this. Risotto gets its classic creamy texture from the amount of starch that's packed into the tiny, short-grain arborio rice. Stirring the rice constantly while cooking it down in chicken stock (no water, please!) releases the starches and imparts a rich, silky texture to the entire dish.
Photo by esimpraim
5. Puff Pastry:
People who think puff pastry dough is difficult to work with have probably never even tried. Simply roll it out, let it reach room temperature and begin working your magic. To start with something simple, try replacing the top of a chicken pot pie with a cut round of puff pastry. It will look magical after it's finished baking and will taste at least ten times better than regular dough. If that's easy for you (and it should be), try your hand at crafting vol au vents for your next party -- a tad time-consuming, but still as simple as third grade arts and crafts time with construction paper.