Intro

If I could to speak to myself on the day of my wedding over eight years ago, this is what I would say…

I understand you’re a bit scared. You’re young and you are about to make a decision that will affect the rest of your life. You think it’s the right choice, you think you love him but what really is love? I know that’s what you are thinking because I am you.

For months leading up to the wedding day you’ve been asking everyone who would listen to help you understand what love really is. Sure he gives you butterflies and you can’t imagine not spending every day with this man. You’ve lost countless hours of sleep just clinging to his presence and not wanting to waste a moment with him. But is that really love? Is that enough to sustain a marriage that will survive moves across state lines, financial stress, young children, loss, and much more that we have yet to experience?

In case you do read this you should know that you made the right decision. But you didn’t really know love. The love you felt on the day you stared at him down the aisle, anxiously awaiting that glimmer in his eyes as he saw you for the first time in your wedding dress and the last time you weren’t his wife, that love was just the start.

At the time you thought love was how he made you feel. You questioned love the moment the butterflies didn’t flutter as rapidly as you thought they should. You resented him for shining light on parts of you that were selfish and gross. He didn’t complete you in the way you expected him to and surprisingly he didn’t completely understand you from the moment you both said, “I do.”

Love isn’t simply about how he makes you feel. I know that now. Love is a choice and love is action.

Now you realize that love is him warming up the espresso machine for you in the morning so it’s ready when you wander sleepily down the stairs. Love is how he saves the last scoop of ice cream for you, every time. Love is the way he wrestles with your sons (you have two and I can’t wait for you to meet them) after a long day of work. Love is the way he dances with your daughter (she’ll make you melt with each glance into her big brown eyes).

You slowly start to understand that when your dad told you, “Love is a choice”, he wasn’t being as unromantic as you first thought. You’ll realize that each day you have a choice. You can either choose to love Gabe and allow your feelings and actions reflect that or you can choose to allow the daily difficulties and his imperfections (yes, I know you can’t see it now, but he’s not perfect – and neither are you) to become a disease in the marriage.

Some days are better than others but over time you’ll realize that praying for and encouraging him is more useful than resenting him. You’ll start to see all the things he does for you and your family rather than focusing on what he doesn’t do. And you’ll realize that on the day you married him you really had no idea what love was and that eight years later you love him in way that you never thought possible.

It’s going to be hard. You’ll find out things about yourself that you really wish could have stayed hidden and yet, through it all you slowly become a better person. One that really knows and understands love – at least I hope that’s what happens, I’m not quite there yet.

What I do know is that no matter how tired you are, no matter how much you would just rather curl up on the couch and tune out the noise of the day, every once in awhile you need to put the kids to bed a bit earlier and ask your husband out on a date, even if that date happens at home.

You’ll plan the meal with great excitement and get inspired staring at the vibrant produce at the store while Ivy (that’s your daughter) tries her best to pull everything off the shelves and into the cart. You’ll spend the next 7 hours, on and off, preparing for a meal that you and your husband will devour in 10 minutes. He’ll appreciate every minute of your effort and you’ll love every chop of an onion and knead of the dough. You remind yourself of this moment and how many times before you’ve learned the same lesson – choosing him over your own selfish desires is what love is all about.

Menu
orange and avocado salad with shallot vinaigrette
pulled pork with a fennel, apple and raddicchio slaw on a sesame bun
piment d’espelette roasted new potatoes
caramel walnut tart with whipped creme fraiche

 

Plan
To eat around 8:00 pm the pork should be in by 1:30pm at the latest. So plan to put the rub on the pork that morning or the night before.
The tart and both dressings can be made the day before.
I pulled the pork out of the oven for close to an hour and set it over very low heat on the stove top while I roasted the potatoes and baked the buns.
When the pork was nearly finished we made the orange salad and enjoyed that as our first course. As the pork cooled, I finished up the cole slaw.
All that and it was gone in under 10 minutes but we’ve been eating incredible left overs for days.

Orange Salad with Avocado and Shallot Vinaigrette

 

1 Tbl chopped shallot
3 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspon salt
fresh pepper, to taste
2 large oranges
1 avocado
2 Tbl thinly sliced red onion (optional)
1 Tbl chopped Italian parsley

 

Combine the first five ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk together, taste, and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
Cut the peel away from the orange then slice in ¼” rounds. Arrange on two separate plates, top with sliced avocado and red onion, if using. Spoon a bit of the dressing on each plate. Top with fresh Italian parsley and serve immediately.


Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Fennel, Apple, and Radicchio Slaw

Pork Rub
for a 5-7 pound pork shoulder

3 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ teaspoon cayenne
3 Tbl paprika
3 Tbl kosher salt
1 Tbl brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 Tbl yellow mustard

 

In a morter and pestle or a food processor, mince the garlic then add the spices and salt. Stir in the mustard. Rub this over the pork and let sit for at least 1 hour or overnight in the fridge.

After the pork has bathed in the rub place in a large roasting pan and roast at 300*F for about 6 hours or until falling away from the bone.

Barbeque Sauce

1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbl yellow mustard
½ cup ketchup
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh black pepper
3 garlic cloves
1 small shallot, chopped
a few drops of natural hickory smoke

 

Combine all the ingredients in a medium sauce pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside.

Once pork has finished roasting remove from the pan and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Add ⅔ of the bar-b-que sauce to the juices left in the roasting pan and scrape up any crusted on bits on the bottom of the pan. Simmer gently while the pork rests.
Using two forks and possibly your hands too, pull apart the pork into bite-size shreds.
Add the pulled pork into the sauce. Taste and add more sauce if you think it needs it or reserve remaining bar-b-que sauce to serve with the sandwiches.

On a freshly sliced sesame bun add a good amount of pork then top with the fennel slaw. Enjoy immediately.

Fennel, Apple and Radicchio Slaw

½ cup creme fraiche
2 Tbl mayonnaise
2 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tbl lemon juice
3 green onions, sliced
1 fennel bulb, julienned
1 apple, julienned
1 cup thinly sliced radicchio

 

In a small bowl combine the first six ingredients. Set aside.
In a medium bowl add the fennel, apple, green onions, and radicchio. Toss with about ¼ cup dressing to start. Taste then add more as needed.
Can be made up to an hour in advance. It keeps for a day – perfect for leftovers – but doesn’t look nearly as fresh and starts to droop a bit.
The dressing could be made up to 3 days in advance.

Sesame Seed Buns
makes 9-12 buns
The point of a date night is not to exhaust yourself before the date actually happens, so I realize that after roasting a pork shoulder for 7 hours many may feel that making your own buns is just asking too much. I’m okay with that. I am, however, a bit crazy and can’t get enough of playing in the kitchen, especially when doughs are involved. So I’ve included the recipe for those who are like me or if there comes a day when you do decide to make your own buns.

 

2 teaspoons yeast
1 ⅓ cups warm milk
2 Tbl honey
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 Tbl (1/2 stick) butter, soft
2 Tbl sesame seeds
1 egg, lightly beaten (egg wash)

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the yeast, milk and honey. Let stand for 10 minutes as which point you should see lots of bubbles and some definite growth happening.
Add flour, salt, and egg and mix with the dough hook to combine. While the mixer is running on medium-low add the soft butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape down the bowl then continue to mix for 8-10 minutes.
Cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let double, about two hours.
Roll the dough into tight balls estimating that you will get between 9-12 buns. This is just a bit under ½ cup of dough per bun.
Place on a parchment lined sheet tray (you may need two if you don’t want them to touch at all) then cover with plastic wrap and let double again, about 1 ½ hours.
When the buns are just about doubled, pre-heat the oven to 400*. Brush the buns with the additional egg and top with sesame seeds.
Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, until deep golden on top and bottom.
Let cool on a wire rack to prevent steaming.

Piment d’espelette Roasted Potatoes
It’s worth the online order or visit to a specialty store to gather this ingredient. Similar to paprika without the intense smoke and a stronger, fresh heat in place of it. A dear friend brought this back from France and I can’t help but put it in nearly everything.
If you can’t find it you could use paprika or simply do a perfectly delicious garlic roasted potato.

 

1 ½ – 2 pounds new potatoes, cut in rough ½” pieces
1 ½ Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons piment d’espelette
¾ – 1 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Pre-heat your oven to 400*F. Combine all ingredients and roast on a parchment lined sheet tray making sure the potatoes are not too crowded or piled on top of one another. Roast until interior is tender and the exterior edges are crispy and deep golden in places, about 40-50 minutes.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 

Orange Salad // Pulled Pork Sandwich with Radicchio Slaw // Sesame Seed Buns // Roasted Potatoes

Orange Salad with Avocado and Shallot Vinaigrette

 

1 Tbl chopped shallot
3 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspon salt
fresh pepper, to taste
2 large oranges
1 avocado
2 Tbl thinly sliced red onion (optional)
1 Tbl chopped Italian parsley

 

Combine the first five ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk together, taste, and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
Cut the peel away from the orange then slice in ¼” rounds. Arrange on two separate plates, top with sliced avocado and red onion, if using. Spoon a bit of the dressing on each plate. Top with fresh Italian parsley and serve immediately.

 

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Fennel, Apple, and Radicchio Slaw

Pork Rub
for a 5-7 pound pork shoulder

3 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ teaspoon cayenne
3 Tbl paprika
3 Tbl kosher salt
1 Tbl brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 Tbl yellow mustard

 

In a morter and pestle or a food processor, mince the garlic then add the spices and salt. Stir in the mustard. Rub this over the pork and let sit for at least 1 hour or overnight in the fridge.

After the pork has bathed in the rub place in a large roasting pan and roast at 300*F for about 6 hours or until falling away from the bone.

Barbeque Sauce

1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbl yellow mustard
½ cup ketchup
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh black pepper
3 garlic cloves
1 small shallot, chopped
a few drops of natural hickory smoke

 

Combine all the ingredients in a medium sauce pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside.

Once pork has finished roasting remove from the pan and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Add ⅔ of the bar-b-que sauce to the juices left in the roasting pan and scrape up any crusted on bits on the bottom of the pan. Simmer gently while the pork rests.
Using two forks and possibly your hands too, pull apart the pork into bite-size shreds.
Add the pulled pork into the sauce. Taste and add more sauce if you think it needs it or reserve remaining bar-b-que sauce to serve with the sandwiches.

On a freshly sliced sesame bun add a good amount of pork then top with the fennel slaw. Enjoy immediately.

Fennel, Apple and Radicchio Slaw

½ cup creme fraiche
2 Tbl mayonnaise
2 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tbl lemon juice
3 green onions, sliced
1 fennel bulb, julienned
1 apple, julienned
1 cup thinly sliced radicchio

 

In a small bowl combine the first six ingredients. Set aside.
In a medium bowl add the fennel, apple, green onions, and radicchio. Toss with about ¼ cup dressing to start. Taste then add more as needed.
Can be made up to an hour in advance. It keeps for a day – perfect for leftovers – but doesn’t look nearly as fresh and starts to droop a bit.
The dressing could be made up to 3 days in advance.

Sesame Seed Buns
makes 9-12 buns
The point of a date night is not to exhaust yourself before the date actually happens, so I realize that after roasting a pork shoulder for 7 hours many may feel that making your own buns is just asking too much. I’m okay with that. I am, however, a bit crazy and can’t get enough of playing in the kitchen, especially when doughs are involved. So I’ve included the recipe for those who are like me or if there comes a day when you do decide to make your own buns.

 

2 teaspoons yeast
1 ⅓ cups warm milk
2 Tbl honey
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 Tbl (1/2 stick) butter, soft
2 Tbl sesame seeds
1 egg, lightly beaten (egg wash)

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the yeast, milk and honey. Let stand for 10 minutes as which point you should see lots of bubbles and some definite growth happening.
Add flour, salt, and egg and mix with the dough hook to combine. While the mixer is running on medium-low add the soft butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape down the bowl then continue to mix for 8-10 minutes.
Cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let double, about two hours.
Roll the dough into tight balls estimating that you will get between 9-12 buns. This is just a bit under ½ cup of dough per bun.
Place on a parchment lined sheet tray (you may need two if you don’t want them to touch at all) then cover with plastic wrap and let double again, about 1 ½ hours.
When the buns are just about doubled, pre-heat the oven to 400*. Brush the buns with the additional egg and top with sesame seeds.
Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, until deep golden on top and bottom.
Let cool on a wire rack to prevent steaming.

Piment d’espelette Roasted Potatoes
It’s worth the online order or visit to a specialty store to gather this ingredient. Similar to paprika without the intense smoke and a stronger, fresh heat in place of it. A dear friend brought this back from France and I can’t help but put it in nearly everything.
If you can’t find it you could use paprika or simply do a perfectly delicious garlic roasted potato.

 

1 ½ – 2 pounds new potatoes, cut in rough ½” pieces
1 ½ Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons piment d’espelette
¾ – 1 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Pre-heat your oven to 400*F. Combine all ingredients and roast on a parchment lined sheet tray making sure the potatoes are not too crowded or piled on top of one another. Roast until interior is tender and the exterior edges are crispy and deep golden in places, about 40-50 minutes.

 

 

120 Responses to “Dating My Husband”

  1. MJ

    Amazing…I am a new follower and cannot wait to read more from you. Your love for your husband is apparent, so clear that you truly understand love…

    Reply
  2. Gayle

    Very sincere. Looking down the gun of my second marriage I feel like I know so much more now than I did then, and I know it still won’t be enough. Also, the food looks amazing! We like to do this too, sometimes I can even get Mr. in the kitchen to help which makes it even more fun.

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Gayle, I have so much more to learn. It’s a hard process, always learning and growing and being refined but the end result is always so much more lovely and wiser than what you started with.

      Reply
  3. Carly

    Thank you. This post spoke to me in a way I didn’t think a post on a food blog could ever. I’m not married, and I may never be, but I can relate to the type of love you describe here. My partner and I are very independent and have had our struggles and will have many more, but it is the little things that keep us together. We have admitted to each other recently that we sometimes think it’s just not worth it, but to be apart from each other is an even harder concept to grasp. Thank you for these lovely posts. I am going to give my partner an extra warm squeeze when I see him because of what this evoked in me.

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Carly, Thank you so much for your honesty and vulnerability with your comment. There are times when it seems like quitting is the best option but in a committed relationship you choose to fight through those seasons and I find that the biggest joys are right around those corners. I love that this evoked an extra warm squeeze. Thank you.

      Reply
  4. yoon

    I guess I never know which ‘yeast’ to purchase in a store when a recipe calls for them, do you have any suggestions? preferably something convenient to pick up at a regular grocery store like Target, since I live in the suburbs!

    Reply
  5. Brenda

    You have a lot of good ones Ashley, but for me this was your best post yet. Well, it’s a tie between this one and the ones that involve your children, cause I love me some kids.

    Beautiful post, just what I needed to hear.

    Reply
  6. April

    What a lovely post! Your thoughts and feelings on marriage are heart warming especially in this idealistic world where the divorce rate is now over 50%. I have been married 21 years so your post certainly rings true for me. Not every moment is cherished but it probably should be, because every second of your life with someone else ends up coming together and making the sometimes hard work of marriage so incredibly worth it.

    Your slaw and sandwich look amazing! I bet your husband feels very blessed! :)

    Reply
  7. Ash

    Your writing is beautiful, this post is beautiful, your whole blog is really just beautiful. Thank you for writing such an honest post on love- what real love is. I wish I could express my thoughts and observations on life as well as you.

    Reply
  8. Laura Wright

    Just like you, I have been married 8 years and just like you, it has taken me till now to really understand what love is and begin to actually live it. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not boast and is not arrogant. Its a hard call to answer but loving someone is a choice – thank you for sharing your choice, it is a great encouragement to me.

    Reply
  9. Azurae

    Preach sister! Gorgeous as always. Loved the most recent collaboration – carmel walnut tart – and that it served as dessert! Proud of you both!

    Reply
  10. Maria

    Ashley, thank you so much for these beautiful, wise words! God bless you and your marriage.

    Reply
  11. Jasper @ crunchylittlebites

    oh my word. how in the WORLD do you manage to style the food, shoot the photos and not eat up all of your delicious looking food! the food is probably tastier than the photos if that’s possible – the photography is AWESOME!

    Reply
  12. Amy

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have been married for one month, and I am learning what you wrote is very true. Thanks for inspiring me to be unselfish and a better wife, I am just learning how.

    Reply
  13. AmyDishes

    Ashley, I love this post. I read it a couple of nights ago and am still thinking about it. It’s full of truth and beauty and love. The part about Gabe turning on the espresso machine for you made me weepy – Nate does the same for me, and it is such a simple yet telling sign of love. I only hope I can do the same little things each day for him. Thank you for sharing this!

    Reply
  14. Quelcy Kogel

    I’m a sucker for love lessons and romances from the heart, so I appreciate this post. I’m also really fascinated by the associations we make with food throughout life. I once made an elaborate pulled pork meal for a love I had hoped would last forever. It didn’t, but that’s part of the journey, a journey which has led me to someone else truly special. These images and your sincere post have inspired me to create a new version and a new association, for I am very much in the butterfly stages, and those butterflies deserve something memorable too!

    http://withthegrains.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/bittersweet-bourbon-heritage-month/

    Reply
  15. Maureen

    This should be required reading for every married person.

    I would kill for a pulled pork sandwich right now. I probably shouldn’t admit that.

    Reply
  16. Lindsey

    This post made me tear up. Food looks amazing, but the advice to your younger self was endearing. I will take these words to heart. Thank you :o)

    Reply
  17. Janet

    I couldn’t agree more. This is exactly what I’ve been contemplating this past little while… And I must say that your words have encouraged me greatly! Thank you!

    Reply
  18. Leanna

    You put into words what I needed to realize most about my marriage, & I think you might have helped save it for me. I can’t thank you enough.

    Reply
  19. Messy Jess C.

    I just read your post and it is one of the sweetest things I have ever read. My husband and I just got married six months ago and I will definitely keep all of your thoughts in mind every day. Thank you for such a beautiful post.

    Reply
  20. dee

    Wow, I loved this post! It actually made a lot of sense because as you continue to grow together, you find more reasons why you said “I do” :)
    Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  21. Jeanne

    Wow, thank you thank you for posting this! I’m getting married in 7 months, and this spoke to my sense of love and my insecurities. What a beautiful perspective. I’ll read it again, and I can’t wait to try those sliders!

    Reply
  22. Jo

    Ashley, every time I come back to your blog, I read something that touches my soul. Your honesty here resonates with me. I’m not married (anymore) but every insight you shared, I completely understand. God bless you, your husband and family. Happy travels to the Netherlands!

    Reply
  23. Chelsey

    I’m sure i’m saying what everyone above me has already said but, beautiful. Well said, and so thoughtful. I will remember that when i get married. No selfishness, just love. Thank you.

    Reply
  24. Rachel

    Thank you so much for sharing your gift, Ashley. I can’t help but think of you and Gabe when I remember my own wedding day almost 5 yrs ago, because you were both there–as our talented photographers! I’ve been following your blog ever since (yeah, way back in the Artisan Sweets days). This post resonates with me so deeply and I could never have put it so eloquently or beautifully. What a reminder of how God intended it to be. What a cool kind of love. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Rachel – Wow! Thanks so much for this comment and for being such a devoted reader. You’ve seen me through some rough photos and odd posts – thanks for sticking with me. :)

      Reply
  25. allie

    beautiful post! as a hopeless romantic i love hearing about these things :)

    cant wait to make those sandwiches this weekend! they look amazing!

    Reply
  26. Talia

    This post is incredible; it really confirms for me so many thoughts and emotions that I had been tossing around in my head. Thank you :)

    Reply
  27. Lilly

    Ashley!! I love coming by for inspiration! I read your post and couldn’t stop thinking about making those buns. I finally baked them last night and loved them. Just a quick question, do you know how I can make them fluffier? They were great but just wondering if they can be even better.
    Regarding your views on love, I totally agree with you, love is a verb, you have to act, it is no use to love deep inside if you don’t work on it. Here you are choosing to work on your date nights!. Congratulations!!!

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Lilly – You may want to try a recipe that contains more egg and butter. That will give a fluffier, slightly more cake-like texture. The other thing to be aware of is making sure you are allowing enough time for them to rise. If they are risen fully then they will bake tight. Thanks for such a lovely comment. I love hearing people use the recipes.

      Reply
  28. Lilly

    Thanks Ashley! I was so proud of my buns because they looked just like yours! But the truth is you are great at giving recipes. I look forward at reading more o fyour posts

    Reply
  29. Rachel

    Oh, not at all! Your posts and photos have *always* been gorgeous and a pleasure to read. You just keep getting better. :)

    Reply
  30. Lindsay Wormser

    Incredibly beautiful and inspiring to someone who has only been married now for 8 months. It so resonates with my heart and is so encouraging to hear that after 8 years and experiencing more of the truth of what love truly is, you love him in a way you could barely have fathomed on your big day. My husband and I say, loving one another is really about the 1,000 little choices that each of us makes each day. It’s in taking out the trash, emptying the dishwasher, leaving a note on the bathroom mirror, etc.

    Reply
  31. Sarah from 20something cupcakes

    Your dad was 100% right. It is a choice. People will always think, at some point, the grass is greener somewhere else. Which is why our divorce rate is so high. But all of that’s fleeting. It’s about making the choice to know and understand that up front, that you are choosing to be with this one person. Forever. Beautiful post.

    Reply
  32. Ashlae | oh, ladycakes

    I had (err, have?) the same ideas about love. And to be honest, it was so refreshing to see my thoughts proven otherwise. The older I get, the more I’m starting to realize that just as you choose to be happy, you choose to love your partner. And that’s what I need to do.

    Thank you for this. I needed it. And if I could kiss you through the computer screen, I would.

    Reply
  33. Boni

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. I’ve been married for 5 years and yes, it’s hard. I’m not enjoying the parts discovering that I and my husband are so very different yet love each other so much. I’ve focused a lot lately on the differences, and the unintentional pain he causes me from his selfish actions. I too am selfish at times but 99% of our relationship is happy and he does those thoughtful things that you mention in your post. We have a beautiful daughter that he adores and he is there for us 100%. I need to take your advice and realize that accepting his imperfections are part of the love we’re building. I need to be thankful for the love we have and his attributes which I love. This gives me food for thought, no pun intended. Thank you for writing this.

    Reply

Post a Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>