Two fool-proof recipes to make guests think you are a fabulous cook:
At the store:
2 lbs. salmon (this can be fresh or frozen, but thaw before you start)
4 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. shallots (yeah, diced onion works, too)
3/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbs. lemon juice
Rinse the salmon and pat it dry. Mix the rest of the ingredients (a small wire whisk works magic with the oil). Pour in a shallow baking dish. Roll the salmon in it and leave it to marinate in the fridge 1-2 hours. Grill 10-12 minutes per inches of thickness on oiled foil, or just broil it in the oven for about 10 minutes. Trust me; it's always amazing and your friends won't know how you did it.
Another crowd-pleaser I got from my very good friend Joanna Straub:
Chocolate Chess pies
Preheat oven to 400. Blend:
1 cup evaporated milk (a 5 oz. can works)
6 Tbs. cocoa
1/2 cup melted butter
2 1/2 cups white sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
Pour the mixture into two pre-made 9" shallow pie crusts (the frozen kind are great) and bake at 400 for ten minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until set in the middle (sometimes it takes up to 30 minutes). Word of wisdom: DON'T try to get creative with this one. You have to do the ingredients just so, and put both pies in at once. Somehow the chemistry just doesn't work otherwise. The pies are good served cold or warm, just know that it gets runny when it's warm.
Hope you enjoy. Let me know how it turned out if you try either of these.