Cookbook Book Club “Date Night In”


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.



Chocolat Chaud

“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:

Chopped Apple Cake:

Butterscotch  Pudding with Roasted Banana Whipped Cream:

Lemon Cake with Fresh Raspberries:

And because you can no longer buy this cake in cake mix form; the made-from-scratch recipe:  Rainbow Chip Cake:






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