Menu: DIY Bistro Dining

Charm your dinner guests with an effortlessly chic bistro-style meal.


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Bistro table
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The Menu

    Set your favorite bistro table and re-create a European-style dining experience with this simply sophisticated meal plan.

    -- Spirits: Sidecar, Cosmopolitan
    -- Starter: Bacon and Cheese-Stuffed Dates
    -- Entree: Mediterranean Lamb Chops
    -- Sides: Classic Risotto with Peas, Caramelized Acorn Squash
    -- Dessert: Cheesecake

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Sidecar

    Consider this stylish sip, originally created in Paris, as your own cocktail maison.

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Cosmopolitan

    Made with triple sec and a sweet cranberry-lime juice mix, this guilty pleasure drink works best in a frosted martini glass.

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Bacon and Cheese-Stuffed Dates

    Trendy bistros offer a pre-dinner amuse-bouche, literally "amuse the mouth," to hint at the alluring meal to come. Try adopting this practice at your dinner party with these plump, flavor-packed bites. Your guests will thank you. The next two slides offer tips for working with dates.

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Step 1: Removing Date Pits

    To remove date pits, use a paring knife to make a lengthwise slit along each date. Remove the pit with the knife tip. The next slide shows how to stuff the dates for the Bacon and Cheese-Stuffed Date recipe.

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Step 2: Stuffing Dates

    After removing the date pits like in Step 1, spoon cheese mixture into dates so they are very full. Place stuffed dates, filling sides up, on a baking sheet.

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Mediterranean Lamb Chops

    This rustic yet refined main course costs a fraction of its bistro price tag when you create it at home.

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Classic Risotto with Peas

    This classic Italian starter is worth all the extra effort. Just keep a watchful eye on the rice after each addition of broth, stir it often, and you're guaranteed fabulous results. The next four slides walk you through some of the recipe's basic steps.

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Step 1: Adding Rice

    After sauteing the onion and garlic until tender, add the uncooked rice. The next slide shows how to cook the rice.

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Step 2: Cooking Rice

    After completing Step 1, use a wooden spoon to stir the rice during cooking until the rice is golden brown. The next slide details the process of adding broth to the rice mixture.

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Step 3: Adding Broth

    After cooking the rice mixture, stir some of the hot broth into the saucepan. Add it carefully since the pan will be very hot and the contents will sizzle. In the next slide, we show you a final step in preparing risotto.

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Step 4: Mixing Risotto

    After adding the last of the broth and the vegetables, stir while cooking until the rice is just tender, but still creamy. Try one of our four risotto variations found in the complete Classic Risotto with Peas recipe.

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Caramelized Acorn Squash

    Apple cider and baking spices add a classic bistro touch to candied squash in this rich side dish.

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Cheesecake

    Show up any restaurant dessert tray with this irresistible homemade cheesecake. The next four slides reveal our secrets to mastering this crowd-pleasing final course.

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Step 1: Creating the Crust

    First, pour the crumb mixture into the springform pan. Firmly press it over the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan. Make sure the crust has an even thickness. Next, Step 2 shows you how to perfect your Cheesecake filling.

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Step 2: Finishing Filling

    Stir the beaten eggs into the filling until it's smooth and looks uniform. Learn to prepare a water bath for the cheesecake, or as the French call it, a "bain-marie."

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Step 3: Preparing the Bath

    A water bath keeps the cheesecake from cracking or curdling. Place the roasting pan on your oven rack before pouring in the water. There's less chance you'll slosh the water. Finally, the next slide shows what you do when you're ready to remove your cake from the oven.

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Step 4: Removing the Cake

    After baking and cooling your cheesecake, run a small thin knife between the crust and the pan to loosen the cake before releasing the sides of the pan. For more tips and must-try cheesecake variations, check out the Cheesecake recipe.

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Anyone Can Cook

    Anyone Can Cook is an innovative cookbook that encourages those new to the kitchen to make simple yet tasty meals, while providing the tools to move on to more complex recipes.

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