@TheGiantChef inspired Date Night Meal for Two

I started this blog a year ago to help big men discover and cultivate one thing: confidence. To me confidence is the single most important characteristic one can possess because it feeds and improves every aspect of our lives.  I launched this blog to help big guys find confidence through how they dress, live, travel, work, cook, groom, carry themselves and the like.  Sadly, COVID-19 hit at the same time I launched this site and I was not able to do everything that I wanted to do with the blog.  Bah humbug! I’m excited that the shift starts today!!!!!!!! 

A few weeks ago while scrolling through the gram I saw an amazing picture of delicious looking crab cakes from one of my favorite online food-gramers @TheGiantChef.  I stared at the picture for what seemed like forever until I finally reached out to his tall handsome self and asked for the recipe.  After reviewing it I was eager to try it for myself. Eventually, I thought it would be dope to share my cooking and entertaining knowledge with you all and offer some ideas about hosting the perfect date night for two around the recipe. But first… meet the chef who inspired this post!

Reginald aka Reggie has been cooking since he was 13 years old. He has always had a passion for cooking and comforting people through his food. He was born and raised in Washington, DC where he competed in culinary competitions throughout high school, eventually landing a scholarship to Johnson & Wales University. After graduating he then worked various jobs from hotel kitchens and catering kitchens to private and personal chef jobs for some of LA’s finest. Not everything has been roses for Reggie, he struggles just as others do but The Giant Chef continues to push forward for greatness and promotes mental health awareness and self-love.  Follow him on Instagram @TheGiantChef“*

*(Bio Provided by The Giant Chef)

The Menu:

Dinner

Crab Cakes from @TheGiantChef

Air Fried Asparagus with onions and peppers

Tossed Spinach Salad with Whipped Feta

Drinks:

Chardonnay (I served J. Lohr Riverstone 2013)

Mint Berry Splash (with or without Rum)

Dessert:

Peach Cobbler with Brown Sugar Bourbon Sauce à la mode

The Mood

I was going for a comfortable and sophisticated vibe that was elegant and yet not too ostentatious.  To accomplish this I went to Target.  Repeat aloud… “Target is my friend!”  I am like an old aunty/granny who collects vintage dinnerware, glasses, dishes, and the like.  I have several sets from my great-grandmother and grandmother and I have purchased others since having my own home.  If you do not have such a collection please purchase some matching plates for your date.  I decided that I wanted a simpler set for the vibe of this moment so I picked up new pieces.  The stoneware dinner plates that I used for this post were only $6 each at Target and the matching salad plates were only $5. The glass bowls that I served my peach cobbler in were vintage from a thrift shop. I also picked up some brown placemats by the same brand as my plates for $3 at Target as well.  If you don’t have matching knives and forks pick them up too.  You don’t need a full set if you don’t plan to host larger parties—just get a set for two or four.  If these prices are a little pricy for you go to your local thrift store or estate sale and pick out something that is heavy and high end for just a few dollars (just make sure it matches). Also, please use cloth napkins! Not only are they better for the environment, they are also just better!!! Everything pictured here is available in-store or online at Target:

Once the table is set, I suggest you turn the lights off or down (make sure you can see each other and the food- not just kinda but well!), light a bunch of candles (or use battery operated ones), and play some music to set the mood (make sure it’s not too loud or distracting).

The Recipes

Crab Cakes from @TheGiantChef (please note that this is not a cheap entrée but it doesn’t matter because they really are the best crab cakes I have ever had— that lemony goodness just takes them to a whole other level.  The ones that The Giant Chef made look way prettier than mine (after all he’s the professional) but I will try to make mine more beautiful next time.  Also, make sure that you purchase the best crab that you can afford.  Unrefrigerated canned crab on the supermarket shelf in the tuna aisle is not ideal; the cakes will lack the flavor you need.  If you must use canned crab get them from the refrigerated section of the store seafood department.  I went to a fresh fish mart and spent about $35 on a pound of fresh crabmeat.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 LB JUMBO LUMP CRABMEAT
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp Franks Red Hot
  • 1/2 cup Mayo
  • 2 tsp Old Bay
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Chives (I had to use finely chopped green onions)
  • 1-1/4 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp of Olive oil

PREPARATION

  1. Drain crabmeat, place in large bowl and set aside.
  2. In large bowl whisk together Mayo, hot sauce, egg, chives, lemon juice, lemon zest & Old Bay. When mixed completely add panko and mix lightly.
  3. Pour Mayo mixture over crabmeat and toss lightly, careful not to overwork crabmeat, the mixture should be somewhat loose. Cover and set in fridge for 1 hour.
  4. Pull out Crab cakes & shape into patties about 2 in thick. In a non-stick skillet heat up olive oil on medium heat. After about 5 min place cakes in pan and cook until golden brown after 5 min flip over and repeat on other side.
  5. Garnish with micro greens & serve with tartar sauce on side.

Air Fryer Asparagus w/ Onions & Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of asparagus
  • 1 Sweet Yellow Onion
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Trim the ends of the asparagus (1-1.5 inches off the bottom).
  2. Chop onion and bell pepper (I cut the onion much smaller than pepper). 
  3. Toss asparagus, pepper, onion and other ingredients in olive oil until everything is coated. 
  4. Place them in the air fryer (depending on your type you may need to use foil). Cook for 7 minutes at 430 degrees. (Cooking them a few minutes longer will make them crispy and if you like crispy you will LOVE THEM). 

Tossed Spinach Salad with Whipped Feta

Ingredients:

  • Two Handfuls of Baby Spinach
  • ½ Bell Pepper
  • 3 Campari Tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp of Ginger Miso Orange Dressing (Target Brand)
  • 1 Tbsp of Share: Cheesebar Whipped Feta

PREPARATION

  1. Wash and dry spinach.
  2. Dice bell peppers to your desired salad size.
  3. Toss spinach and bell peppers in the miso orange dressing.
  4. Plate ½ of the spinach mix on each salad plate (that you will serve on).
  5. Arrange 3 tomato halves on each plate of dressed spinach-pepper mix and spoon ½ Tbsp of Whipped Feta (feta from Share: Cheesebar is so amazingly flavored with lemony goodness and herbs that I don’t need salt and pepper but depending on what you are able to find you can add it to taste).

Mint Berry Splash Drink

Here is the recipe that I used (for the most part) to make my mocktail.  You should know that I am not a big drinker (like 1-2 drinks a year or every other year) but you can easily add 1.25 ounces of rum or vodka to each serving of this if you prefer alcohol in your beverage.  Additionally, this recipe only makes one serving but I multiplied it to make about 40 ounces so that I could fill my swing soda bottle for the table and have 8oz in two glasses on the table. Make sure that you run the mixture through a strainer to catch all the seeds and fruit clumps before trying to pour it in the bottle).  I should also add that this beverage is much better if you let it sit in the bottle over night. Click here for the recipe.

Peach Cobbler

So I love you all to life but I just can’t share my famous homemade peach cobbler with bourbon sauce recipe; however, I have found a few recipes that may help you out:

Click here for a Peach Cobbler Recipe

Click here for a Bourbon Caramel Sauce Recipe

In conclusion…

The meal was amazing!  Thank you GIANT CHEF!!!! Now dear reader, you too can wine and dine your boo or potential boo by following some of the pointers in this post.  Make sure that you dress comfortably yet nicely for this occasion.  If you need to wear sweats while you cook PLEASE shower and change into your fresh date wear before they arrive.  Also, be aware of food temperatures and CLEAN YOUR SPACE—any space that they may  see (especially the powder room and kitchen).  Even if this date night is with someone you have been with for a long time go above and beyond to make it extra special.

Check out the pictures and please be inspired to do something special for your boo and please let me know—comment on this post or email me: iAintSkinny.blog@outlook.com

Also make sure you check out the video version of this post!

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