Let’s Stay In: Pre-Order Giveaways!

“Soft dough rippling under my fingers, the scent of honey and yeast, make me eager for the piece of warm baked bread to come (slathered with a good bit of salted butter, of course). Sharp vinegar tames finely minced shallot as I toss it with blushing cherry tomatoes still warm from the garden. A hefty pour of grassy olive oil unites them and a few flakes of vanilla salt insist you stand up and take notice. Flour and water slowly evolve with a bit of hearty kneading (which I’ll consider my workout for the day) from a shaggy heap into a soft dough that easily yields under my palms to form long, irregularly shaped noodles. After a quick bath in rolling water salted to mimic the sea, they are tossed with caramelized cremini mushrooms and a few ladles of the starchy pasta water until the sauce submits to a cohesive creaminess.

The only thing that comes close to the enjoyment I receive from cooking and eating is talking (or writing) about cooking and eating. I don’t overly fuss with either.The food I enjoy the most is simple and comforting and yet you can tell there’s a passionate cook behind the dish. There’s no question that I derive great pleasure from the kitchen, and since you are reading this, I’ll assume the same of you.

While writing my first book, Date Night In, I thought often of this book, the one you now hold in your hands. I knew even then that I wanted to tell the story of how food happens in our home: our everyday food. The food in Date Night In is special, as it should be: it is date night, after all. Our typical food, however, rarely takes more than forty-five minutes from idea to table, is very reliant on our pantry, and leans heavily on vegetables and comfort. For the last few years I’ve kept a running journal of some favorites, the dishes that get requested most and the ones I turn to again and again. This book tells that story and shares those recipes.”

I’m sitting at my computer this morning slowly meandering through the massive file that is my second cookbook, Let’s Stay In. Tears stream down my face as I read about my Grandmother’s pie crust. I wrote it long before she passed and it’s what I read at her memorial service. I’m so thankful that such a stunning part of her will now be a part of your kitchen. I’m nodding in agreement at my own words as I lament the dinner routine while at the same time find joy in preparing a recipe that takes days to create (I’m looking at you, Beef Wellington). The paragraphs above open the book and although the release is still a couple months away I couldn’t wait any longer to share them with you.

I wrote this book with you all in mind. The questions that fill my inbox, the comments on the blog and on Instagram kept ringing through my head as I wrote. While Date Night In told the story about our relationship and how I used food as a way of reconnecting with my partner, Let’s Stay In, is you and I at the table talking honestly about how to get dinner on the table when the kids are “starving”. It’s about how a passionate home cook stays inspired when the passion feels more like something to check off on the to-do list than a joy. And it’s about celebrating life through food. Spending hours in the kitchen on a meal that will be gone in minutes because through cooking we can truly understand that life really is about the journey and not the destination. Let’s Stay In is about  life lived at the table.

I can’t believe it’s almost time! I’ve been working on this cookbook for over two years, but really I started it even before I jumped into writing Date Night In.  And now it’s ALMOST TIME!

“Our kitchen and our table, like yours, I’m sure, are the center of our home. So often it’s a far cry from the picturesque Norman Rockwell paintings, but I don’t expect perfection: I long for relationship. Food brings us to the table and my goal in life is to spend as much time there as possible.And that’s my goal for all of you as well because, for me, nothing in life is more beautiful, healing, and life-giving than time spent at the table.”

– Let’s Stay In

Pre-Order Bonus!

Now let’s get down to the real exciting news; Let’s Stay In is available for pre-order! Pre-ordering is a huge deal for the author as it boosts sales right from the get-go and makes bookstores stand up and take notice. For you guys it means you will be among the first to get your hands on the book AND as a thank you for pre-ordering we have some super fun things in store.

If you pre-order the book you will be sent a link to a downloadable PDF of one of my absolute favorite recipes from the book. I’ve teased this recipe for years in a matter of a couple of minutes it could be yours!

It’s the Blue Ribbon Tomato Tart. Tomatoes are just coming into their prime and I want you to have this tart rather than wait an entire year to make it. It’s a stunningly savory Parmesan crust with a simple herb laced whipped creamy chevre filling. On top a thick layer of heirloom and cherry tomatoes. To finish a flurry of flakey vanilla salt (or regular flake salt) that crunches as you bite. You guys, this recipe won a blue ribbon at our Farmers Market here in Seattle but more than that you all have been asking for it for years and NOW it is time.

First Giveaway!

Barebones Living is one of my most favorite brands. They are the best in outdoor living gear. Their cast iron pans are sturdy, beautifully designed and lighter than most on the market. They are giving away my favorite set; the 10’ inch Dutch Oven Classic Kit:

“Our Dutch Oven Classic Kit features a cast iron skillet with an ergonomic, heat dispersing handle, a triple sanded smooth interior, dual pour spouts, and side handles for easy carrying. Our pre-seasoned cast iron dutch oven classic includes a venting lid, and heat dispensing coil handles. Wide feet at the bottom allow for a sturdy cooking base, and the wood trivet protects your table from the heat.”

Pre-order the book and email me a copy of your receipt and you will be entered into this giveaway and more of our pre-order giveaways to follow between now and October. 


Win a trip to Seattle for two and tickets to a dinner at the SHOP!

I can’t believe this is real life. You guys, Alaska Airlines has offered two main cabin round-trip flight vouchers to Seattle from anywhere in the U.S that Alaska Airlines flies. Why am I sending you to Seattle? Well, because I want you and a guest to sit at my table in the Not Without Salt Shop for dinner October 2 to celebrate the official launch day of Let’s Stay In. I can think of no better way to honor this book then inviting you to the table.

For the rest of your stay in Seattle I’ll help create a curated itinerary so you’ll be sure to hit all my favorite spots.

To enter this giveaway pre-order the book then be sure you are following @ashrod and @alaskaair on Instagram. Unfortunately employees/immediate family members of employees are not eligible. Also, it must be said (for legal reasons and such) this contest is in no way sponsored by Instagram.

How to Pre-Order:

Let’s fill the world with Blue Ribbon Tomato Tarts! Here’s how to pre-order, get your recipe and enter into our upcoming giveaways.

1. Pre-order at your local bookstore (some other options: Book Larder here in Seattle, Powell’s in Portland, Indiebound, Target or Amazon).

2. Email me a copy of your receipt that shows where you purchased the book.

3. Once you’ve pre-ordered enter your name and email below to get the Blue Ribbon Tomato Tart recipe delivered to your inbox.

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Mac and Cheese “Carbonara style” with Blistered Snap Peas

*This post is created in partnership with Cabot Creamery. They are a cooperative owned by 1,000 farm families throughout New York & New England and remarkably they get to boast the incredible title of the World’s Best Cheddar. How do we know? Well, they have won every major award for taste. All I know is that I can’t stop eating it and it makes this pasta dish I have for you today irresistible.

I recently got the chance to eat cheese and drink wine with them in Napa and while we were there we created three recipes that I think you all will love. Make sure you follow them to get all those recipes and more. Now let’s talk cheesy pasta.

Even with the sun pouring through the windows, the house well-heated as a result, I still get the occasional craving for a abundant bowl of cheesy pasta. Sometimes I have the appetite of a child but really, when doesn’t cheese and pasta sound good?

I’m pretty excited to share this technique with you all. It’s a sort of macaroni and cheese/ carbonara hybrid. It has the craveable cheesiness of macaroni and cheese with the simple technique of carbonara. It’s incredible pantry-friendly and highly adaptable. Don’t have bacon or pancetta? No problem, it’d be fine without. Have a glut of zucchini (so often the case this time of year)? Roast or caramelize in a pan then use that in lieu of the snap peas. Fresh cherry tomatoes or blistered corn would also be lovely if those happen to be lingering. And never hesitate to toss in fresh herbs by the handfuls.

In order to get that creamy sauce that coats the pasta in that unmistakable carbonara-like way – you know what I mean, right? It’s slick but not greasy, covers the pasta but isn’t thick and gluey. In order to get that consistency we whip eggs with the finely grated cheddar cheese and add the hot pasta directly to the eggs. The starchy pasta water holds the secret key to the magic is its heat helps to further melt the cheese while the starch creates a cohesive sauce coating the nooks and crannies of each individual noodle.

The sugar snap peas are quickly sautéed just after the pancetta crisps. Their pleasant bite brings to the dish virtue and a delightful crunch that sets off the creaminess brilliantly. If pea vines are still available I recommend crowning the pasta or arugula will fill in nicely.

Sit down with a bowl along with a chilled glass of crisp Chardonnay.

To see the technique in action watch the video on my Instagram or Facebook.

Mac and Cheese "Carbonara style" with Blistered Snap Peas Serves 4 to 6


6 ounces/170 g pancetta or bacon cut into 1/2 -inch strips

1 pound fresh snap peas

1 pound/ 450 g short pasta (macaroni, gemelli, or orecchiette) 

Sea salt

6 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) grated Cabot Alpine Cheddar cheese

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to finish

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus more to finish

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 ounces pea vines (optional)

Olive oil and flake salt to finish


Add enough water to fill a large dutch oven or stock pot up halfway then stir in enough salt to make the water taste of the sea. Bring this to a boil.

While the water comes to a boil, crisp up the pancetta in a large skillet, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add  the sugar snap peas and cook just until their color brightens and exterior blackens in parts, 2 to 3 minutes.

Cook the pasta until al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes.

In a large bowl stir together the cheddar cheese and eggs until thoroughly combined.

Add the hot noodles directly to the egg mixture and stir well and quickly so as not to cook the eggs. Add a bit of the pasta water as needed to create a creamy sauce.

To the pasta add the pancetta and sugar snap peas then stir in the lemon zest and juice.

Transfer the pasta to a serving platter then top with the pea vines and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and add flake salt to finish.

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