Thursday, April 16, 2015


Look! The peas are sprouting!

I recently checked out Date Night In from the library. It's about a couple who, upon realizing they needed a weekly date night but couldn't afford to pay for a babysitter and dinner out, decided to have their date night in. Each chapter is a menu for a date night, usually a cocktail, dinner and dessert. I loved it right away. The photos are gorgeous, the recipes interesting but still approachable, and the writing is really personable. I really love cookbooks that have stories in them. I always want to learn more about the recipe and/or author and this book delivers both. Last week, after seeing rhubarb pop up in the grocery store, I decided to make the rhubarb syrup from the book. It was so easy and delicious, and the resulting Rhubarb Sour is so good. Really, really, really good. It's like spring in a glass that gets you a little tipsy. I've already bought another pound of rhubarb to make another batch of syrup. I've also already made the braised green beans twice. Dean can't stop eating them. Aside from the delicious recipes, I really like the sentiment of the book. We've started doing our own weekly date night in after the kids go to bed, although it is a truncated version of just drinks and dessert. I can't imagine waiting until after my kids are in bed to eat dinner. Last week we had champagne and banana cream pie.

This passage from the book really sums up how I feel about cooking. Her husband had requested a cake made from cake mix for his birthday: "The truth is that I felt I wasn't loving my husband well enough by just adding eggs and oil. I wanted to spend hours constructing a perfectly balanced cake with many components that each, in their own way, say, 'You are loved.' Because, whether he realizes it or not, it's through my food that I love him most honestly. I am terrible at kissing him in public, and I get a weird and red in the face when trying to use words to tell him how I feel. But creaming butter and sugar together until they're the color of marshmallows and folding in flour so that the cake has enough structure and tenderness? Now that's how I say, 'I love you.' "

Needless to say, I bought the book. It has earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf.

A week and a half ago Vincent borrowed a friend's rototiller and two hours later we had a garden! We sowed snap and shelling peas that afternoon and now they're coming up. I'll be sure to be put building trellises on our weekend to do list. We originally thought this would be a temporary garden, with plans to level out and terrace the backyard. Now we've decided that keeping the garden section sloped is good for drainage, so suddenly my temporary garden has become permanent! It's actually good that it turned out this way. I'll have a spring and summer to see how the garden behaves with the sun, etc before putting in permanent plants, such as asparagus, artichokes, and rhubarb. More immediately I'm trying to figure out where to plant the herb garden. I impulse bought these herbs this morning. I'm such a sucker for good package design. The backyard continues to put on a beautiful show for us. I'm not sure what the pink flowers are (with the bee) but they sure are delicate and pretty. I wonder what new flower will appear next week or month!


  1. I believe I've said this to you before, but Portland looks absolutely amazing in the Spring! Your herbs look really nice and healthy. I picked up a few myself last weekend... now I just need to plant them! Date Night In looks like a cookbook I would love. I will look for it the next time we visit the library. Hope you are having a lovely weekend!

  2. Thanks Julia! I hope you're having a great weekend too! I think you would really like this book, since you appreciate good food.

  3. I love the sound of this book. It's nice that you can eat as a family every night. John often doesn't get in till 6 or 7, which is too late for the kids to eat, so I tend to cook them something around 5 and then we eat around 8 when they're in bed. The plus side is we can eat much spicier, more adventurous food that way and please ourselves, the downside is the extra cooking. But I still like the idea of a dedicated date night, with cocktails and dessert. That sounds fun. x