Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Food, Delicious Food

So, recently my husband discovered Blue Apron. He's been following the Alice Isn't Dead serial fiction podcast (by the same team behind Welcome to Night Vale) and one of the episodes was sponsored by Blue Apron. Now, I'd been poking at them for a while, wanting to try them and not sure if my husband would agree, but then one day he brought it up because there was a link offering pretty much half off. And thus we signed up. I like that they send you exactly what you need for every recipe, down to the exact measurement. And, from what I've heard, there should be no meal repeats over the course of a year. I thought I would share my thoughts on Blue Apron and the first six meals I've made so far.

Now, I've read complaints from people that it creates too many dishes. While that is true, I had already gotten into the habit of having everything pre-measured, sliced, diced, etc. so that when I'm cooking, I can just add it in when need be. Honestly, it's less stressful that way, especially if you're juggling three pans at once, trying to get dinner made before you husband leaves for a nightshift. As such, I do not care that I have to wash a few extra dishes. Another complaint I read was that there was not enough food, which led me to wonder just how much food were those other reviewers eating? There was more than enough for my husband and me. We even shared a bit with some friends who stopped by. And to those who complained about too much garlic, you must be vampires because there can never be too much garlic!

I must say that when the first box arrived, I felt like I was a kid tearing open a gift! Delivered straight to our doorstep, the box was pretty big. Inside, all the food was in an insulated bag with two ice packs. So, as long as you didn't let it sit outside an entire day, it would be more than fine for a few hours or more until you could bring it inside. 
The ice packs are down under, with the meat between them.
Everything thing you need for three meals with detailed instructions.
Pretty neat, isn't it? My husband was laughing at me as I unpacked it all, giddier than a kid discovering Santa gifts. It was pretty awesome to see everything that would eventually become three of our meals that week. Blue Apron is also getting me to try things I'd never had before. Not just recipes, but ingredients as well. Until now, I'd never had chickpeas, radishes, swiss chard, or even garlic aioli.

The first meal I made was the Spanish-Style Potato and Chickpea Stew with Swiss Chard and Garlic Aioli. Wow. Talk about tasty. It didn't look like much when I pulled everything out to begin prepping, but it was incredibly filling. And, had my husband and I not shared a bit with our friends, we would have actually had a bit left over. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the finished meal, as people were over and the thought never occurred to me. I really want to remake this recipe, if I can ever figure out the spice measurements and get my hands on some more Swiss chard. It smelled so wonderful while it cooked.
Doesn't this just look filling?
Our second meal was Spaghetti Bolognese with Butter Lettuce Salad and Creamy Italian Dressing. This was a half hit-half miss with us. We both liked the bolognese. It was simple, but flavorful. As for the salad, we both found it to be rather bland. I also discovered I do not like radishes. 
The third meal I made was the Za'atar-Spiced Chicken with Pink Lemon Pan Sauce and Pearl Coucous. This was my absolute favorite of the first three meals. I must figure out the spice blend measurements so I can remake this again. We both polished our plates clean of this one. And my husband, who has never truly liked brussels sprouts, actually ate all of his!
Now we approach our second Blue Apron box. It's not quite as impressive as the first, but don't deceived by looks. There is still plenty of food here.
For our fourth meal, I made the Taiwanese-Style Chicken with Jasmine Rice, Crispy Shallots, and Cilantro. This was a truly colorful, lovely dish with an interesting combinations of flavor. I loved it. It was different and good. My husband, who pretty much hates cilantro to begin with, thought it tasted weird and only ate half of his portion (to which I happily finished the rest).
Doesn't look like much, does it? Don't be fooled...
Beautiful, colorful, and very good.
For the firth meal, I made the Spiced Beef Pitas and Garlic Labneh with Arugula and Date Salad. Sadly, the arugula did not survive well in our fridge with half of it wilting in only two days. We've always had problems keeping certain lettuces fresh in our fridge and unfortunately, arugula appears to be another for the list. Regardless, I picked out the good bits and made the salad anyway. I enjoyed the salad and my husband said it was okay. We both loved the spiced beef pitas. They were so good. this was also the quickest of all six meals I've made.
And now for the sixth and final meal (we skips weeks when there isn't enough on the menu we both want to try). Tonight's dinner was Spicy Tomato and Olive Pasta with Lemon Ricotta and Roasted Broccoli. Overall, this dinner was good, but not exceptional. My husband and I both agreed that we definitely like our broccoli steamed as opposed to roasted, where it tends to dry out. The pasta was pretty good. Being that I hate olives, I was worried their taste would stand out, but I hardly even noticed them.
My overall thoughts on Blue Apron after these six meals? I like them and would like to keep getting meals here and there, but not on an every week basis due to my husbands work schedule. At first I thought the price was a bit high, but factoring how much fresh produce I usually end up throwing away because it just doesn't last in the fridge, I genuinely think it saves us a bit of money.  I look forward to making more Blue Apron recipes in the future.

And, in case you are interested at all in trying them yourself, here is a link to their meal plan prices: https://www.blueapron.com/pages/pricing