Party for Two (Cookbook) by Bruce Cadle

Monday, April 11, 2011

Title: Party For Two
Author: Bruce Cadle
Genre: Cookbook
Publisher: Self-published, 2011
Source: Received from author

Ooh, my first cookbook review. The premise of the cookbook Party For Two is author Bruce Cadle's desire to spread his recipe (pun intended) for a healthy happy marriage - by incorporating a weekly date night to take stress off the relationship and enjoy time together. He suggests his "fun, fancy & easy romantic recipes" provide a great activity for the weekly date night.

The book is divided into two parts. First, Mr. Cadle talks about his positive experiences with having a date night and what he thinks a date night has to offer. He also describes ways to make a dinner at home seem like a fancy date night, including plating, atmosphere, scheduling, etc. The second part has recipes for sauces, appetizers, salads, entress, pizzas, paninis, vegetables, and desserts.

I really appreciated Mr. Cadle's thoughts on the weekly date night. This is something my husband and I have always planned to do in our (so far short) marriage; it is something our parents did before us. When I was reading a marriage book in preparation for my wedding last summer, I was surprised at the advice given to set aside at least twenty minutes a day for each other. I couldn't believe that twenty minutes was something some couples had trouble finding! Granted, I don't have children yet and am not working full time or anything. Still, spending at least a few minutes each day seems like a pretty basic ingredient for a successful marriage. Anyway, I think a date night is an obvious extension of this. If you want your marriage to be happy, if you want a good relationship, you need to dedicate time together. Mr. Cadle's date night tips are conducive to children, no babysitter, and not being over stressed over a fancy dinner. I think his ideas and tips are relevant and useful.

After reading the introduction and part one, I planned a meal from the different sections of the cookbook and made it for my husband. The original plan was to follow the book's recipe for a perfect date night, but my mom was in town unexpectedly for the weekend, so we ended up having what I made on a Monday night.

The menu:
Chili-Roasted Garbanzo Beans
Arugula Salad with Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette
Chardonnay Chicken with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto
Key Lime White Chocolate Margarita

The results:
Chili-Roasted Garbanzo Beans - These did not turn out well, which disappointed me because they sounded delicious. They were so spicy that I couldn't eat them, and my husband only had a handful or two. We do eat a lot of spicy food in general, which makes me wonder if the proportions were wrong.
Arugula Salad with Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette - This, on the other hand, was fantastic. I am not really a salad eater, but my husband and I both love arugula, and the vinaigrette dressing was also fantastic. I am looking forward to try more of Cadle's salad recipes to encourage myself to eat more salad.
Chardonnay Chicken with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto - I knew this one would be a winner because, as I lived in Paris for a summer and my husband lived in northern Italy for two years, we love stinky cheese and prosciutto and already use them often in our cooking. The Chardonnay was another story - I don't drink (although I'm not opposed to using alcohol in my cooking) so I spent quite a long time trying to find some Chardonnay or any kind of white wine while grocery shopping. Apparently in Utah, you can't sell wine in grocery stores, but my mom brought me a bottle of white wine she had for cooking. It wasn't Chardonnay, but the sauce for the chicken still tasted great, and I'm assuming it was at least in the neighborhood of what was intended for the recipe. One thing I loved about this entree was how easy it was to prepare. It only took about 20 minutes from start to finish to stuff the chicken, make the sauce, and saute them together.
Key Lime White Chocolate Margarita - This was also fantastic, and something we have continued to make. I am going to include the recipe for anyone else who wants to try this one:

1/4 cup key lime juice
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons white chocolate chips (we have tried this with or without... it is fine without although slightly better with the chocolate chips)
4 ginger snap cookies
whipped cream
1 egg (wash the outside before using)

In a small mixing bowl blend the key lime juice, milk, and egg. Break two of the cookies into large pieces. Add the broken cookies and white chocolate chips into the filling and stir.

Divide the filling into two margarita glasses (which we did not have... so we used normal glasses).
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. Top each glass with whipped cream and a ginger snap right before you serve this dessert.

(Attribution: Bruce Cadle is the bestselling author of Party For Two: Fun, Fancy, and Easy Romantic Recipes from the Date Night Chef. His website is

Each of the recipes have little tips and hints, as well as the occasional anecdote. I would have liked to see pictures in the cookbook. The author does mention that more information is available on his website, mentioned above, but having to look up the pictures is inconvenient. Still, overall, I enjoyed this cookbook and am excited to plan more date nights. I especially like the fact that these recipes serve two, instead of the recipes meant to serve whole families.

Overall: 3

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