"I wish we had dessert!", someone yawns. It's too late for coffee and chocolate. And it's summertime so you happen to have a couple of "past-their-prime" strawberries and raspberries. There is only one or two things you should have remembered before grocery shopping in order to really put the finishing touches on your cleverly whipped-out dinner...
Don't worry, this is painless!
Step 1: Things you oughta have on hand:
2) Some wine. If you use berries (strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blueberries, etc.) then you may want to go with a red. The varietal doesn't really matter, as you're going to overpower all the delicacies with sugar and simmering. If you use other fruit (and I should mention, you ought not to cook watermelon or kiwis, ever), then white wine may be called for. You may find interesting combinations of flavor and color that work for you. I imagine blueberries stewed in a Riesling would have a very delicate blue color, and would probably taste quite nice.
3) Sugar. Your preference, again. Most applications call for plain white sugar, but if you were to do this with say, apples, then brown sugar would be really good. This might work well in the late summer or fall.
4) Some creamy thing to offset the perkiness of the fruit. I went with Breyer's vanilla ice cream, here. We stopped at the local quickie mart to get some beer and a bell went off, so it worked out nicely. Whipped cream and even instant creamy topping (blech!) would probably work well, too.
5) Some bottom layer of puffy tastiness. I admit that what I bought for this particular occasion is not my first choice: grocery store brand "angel food" cups. Hey, they were right next to the handsome strawberries and are cheap and tasty and easy. If you wanted to dazzle a potential love interest, then get you some puff-pastries out of the freezer section. That's another instructable, though. Lastly, in a pinch, you could toast and doctor up some good bread. This works with french bread, cuban bread, brioche, whatever you can lay your hands on. With the simpler, crusty breads, you'd probably need to slather it up with butter after warming it up some - hmm. My 10 minute dessert stretches on, doesn't it?
6) A good knife and cutting board. Always have a good knife. As a cook I have several. If you are reading this and don't cook much, be advised that using a dull knife is dangerous, much more so than having a high quality, very sharp one. It oughta feel good in your hand, like when you pick it up things are well in the world and you are really and truly going to accomplish something. You'll know it when you feel it.
7) Something to cook with and in - an oven and range, and a little pot (lid not necessary). A campfire and clean tin can might work, but those are not logistics I'll address, here. If you do that stuff, you shouldn't be reading this beginner's instructable (but thanks for peeking in, anyways! And have a nice outing).
8) Options - Vanilla. Cinnamon. If you are REALLY trying to impress somebody you are cooking a romantic dinner for, I suggest a sprig of mint. It might not taste very good with berries, but it does add a dashing and sexy finish to tie things all together.
9) Probably some other things that I cannot recall at the moment. These will be in version 2.0 (this is, after all, my first Instructable).