This episode of Cookbook Crush is especially special, as not only have I purchased this cookbook after my usual pre-reading via the local library, but I made three recipes from it within my first week of purchase. Cha-Ching! As such, it is definitely crush-worthy, and worth a look!
Date Night In is the brainchild of Seattle chef/baker Ashley Rodriguez, author of the popular food blog, Not Without Salt. This cookbook reads as a smattering of heartfelt anecdotes, describing how amidst their hectic lives, both working full-time, and raising three kids, she and her husband Gabe felt the need to reconnect weekly in order to sustain their relationship. However, not being able to afford pricy date nights out every week, they were forced to improvise. Hence, "date night in" was born. They began having date nights every Thursday - meaning dinner for just the two of them - no kids allowed, enjoyed after their children were tucked away in bed.
The cookbook is organized in a series of complete meals portioned for two people, in addition to timelines for prep in the days ahead, handy lists of ingredients needed to complete the meal, and notations relaying the significance of the recipes chosen. Now often, I skip the little blurbs in cookbooks, after all I'm here for the recipes, right? But no, not with this one. Ashley's cookbook reads like a love letter to both her craft and her family, and it's emotion is palpable and inspiring.
So far, I've made maple-coriander carrots, apple radicchio slaw, and strawberry shortcake trifle, with about a dozen other recipes bookmarked for future endeavors. All were superb and I find myself actually excited to read and reread this cookbook again and again, it's truly that good!