A couple of weeks ago, the “Cookbook Book Club” joined together again and created a wonderful meal using the cookbook “Date Night In.”
“Date Night In” is a new cookbook/memoir about the home “dates” a young couple in Seattle have, now that 3 children keep them home more often than they go “out” for a date. What a cleaver concept!
Menus are created around memories from their single dating years, current busyness of family and events like birthdays–divided into chapters based on spring, summer, fall and winter cuisine.
I loved this book and tried it out on my husband of almost 30 years. He was a happy eater!
The recipes are not difficult — and the menus are fun in a way that is not typical: In the fall, a dinner is made up of bar-type food.
From the menu called “Renewal,” I made the following:
Butter and Shallot Poached Potatoes
(adapted from Date Night In by Ashley Rodriguez)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium-size shallot, sliced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces small new potatoes
1/2 cup water
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic and salt and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
Add the potatoes and then stir them to coat in the butter. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender when poked with a fork (the time for mine was about 1/2 hour).
Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the liquid reduces and the potatoes are a bit more tender. Give the potatoes a couple of gentle turns to coat them again with the butter. I added the fresh parsley at the end of preparation, just because I had some in my refrigerator.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Salade Verte with Hazelnut Vinaigrette
6 Tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons chopped shallot
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 Tablespoons water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 head butter lettuce, cleaned and well dried
In a food processor or blender, combine 3 Tablespoons toasted hazelnuts, shallot, mustard, sherry vinegar, honey, salt and water until well pureed, about 1 minute. Add the oil and blend for another 15 seconds.
Place the butter lettuce leaves in a large bowl and add enough dressing to coat the leaves. Taste and add more dressing, if desired. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter (or in a bowl) and finish by sprinkling the remain 3 Tablespoons hazelnuts (chop them first).
The dressing can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
“Chaud” means cozy and warm in French. This dessert is that–like thick hot chocolate.
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 cups whole milk
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60%), roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Combine the cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in the chocolate and the cocoa powder mixture. Whisk vigorously to combine. Bring to a boil and gently boil for 30 seconds while continuing to whisk. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.
Pour this through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any small lumps (I did not do this. We were too excited to eat/drink it!)
Serve warm with cold whipped cream, unsweetened.
Some of the other recipes that were made from the book for our party include:
Classic Carbonara: http://notwithoutsalt.com/classic-carbonara/
Chopped Apple Cake: http://notwithoutsalt.com/chopped-apple-cake/
Butterscotch Pudding with Roasted Banana Whipped Cream: http://notwithoutsalt.com/chopped-apple-cake/
Lemon Cake with Fresh Raspberries: http://notwithoutsalt.com/lemon-cake-raspberries/
And because you can no longer buy this cake in cake mix form; the made-from-scratch recipe: Rainbow Chip Cake: http://www.seattleschild.com/Its-date-night-in-with-a-trio-of-recipes-from-Not-Without-Salts-Ashley-Rodriguez/