A few paragraphs into Ashley Rodriguez's new book, Date Night In...
I knew I had my hands on something special. More than a cookbook, Ashley has brought us a love story. And not just a love story, but a "how-to" love story. In it, she draws on her ten years of marriage to share wise insights into nourishing a relationship with time, intention and delicious food.
Ashley talks about how her relationship evolved over the years, from the early, starry-eyed days to the exhausted-with-three-young-children days, and how she and her husband began the ritual of weekly "date nights in" to sustain a strong connection in their marriage.
As an exhausted mother of a young child myself, it really struck a cord with me - it's all too easy to take for granted your most important person, your partner, and intentionally reconnecting weekly is exactly what I want to do. I love the idea of weekly date nights at home - starting with a cocktail, preparing a simple-but-special meal, and sitting down to really talk and connect as a couple.
And the recipes! Oh boy. They're organized by season, and laid out as full menus with timelines and shopping lists. I love her cooking style - I couldn't find a single menu I didn't want in my belly right. now.
Take, for example, her first menu in Spring:
Spring Green Salad with Creamy Shallot Vinaigrette
Herb-Butter Roasted Chicken with Tarragon Aioli
Maple Coriander Roasted Carrots
Strawberry Shortcake Trifle
Beautiful and comforting. Nothing in there is difficult or complicated, but is intentionally a bit more special than a typical weekday meal.
Anyway, I just wanted to share - I think Date Night In would make the most perfect Valentine's Day gift. It's so much more than a cookbook, it's wonderful inspiration and encouragement to prioritize your love and nourish your relationship over wonderful food. I'm making my husband read it, too! You might find it's exactly what you need.
I'm sharing her TO-DIE-FOR salted chocolate chip cookies in a separate post - stay tuned.