Editor: Andrea, braised meat — especially braised beef — is foolproof, utterly delicious and can be made almost completely ahead of time. If you have a slow-cooker, it doesn't even have to heat up your kitchen. Beef shanks braised in red wine is a favorite in my household. I serve it over polenta:
A more summer-appropriate dish is steamed mussels, another easy and reliably tasty recipe:
The best way to cook confidently is to practice! If guests make you nervous, try to do as much of the work ahead of time as possible and make a recipe several times before cooking it in front of others. Good luck!
Readers, do you have any foolproof recipes to impress a date? Any advice for cooking more confidently in front of guests?
(Image: Emma Christensen)