May 8th, 2017

piranha - chomp.

Blue Apron - Day One

After dithering and debating for months, Seanie and I finally decided to break down and try Blue Apron. For those who have avoided the ubiquitous ads on social media and every podcast to which I am subscribed, Blue Apron is a subscription service that delivers fresh ingredients to your home, with recipe cards, so that you can retain the joy of cooking while eliminating the stress of grocery shopping.

Or, if you are me and Seanie, you learn how to cook adult recipes instead of our half-assed dinners that consist of one nutritionally unbalanced dish like pasta or curry and rice. For example, tonight's meal - our first one - was Seared Salmon served with a creme fraiche sauce and Roasted Potato Salad with Pickled Mustard Seeds. If we attempted to produce this meal on our own, we would prepare either the salad or the fish - it wouldn't occur to us to attempt both. We would stick to very basic things - no fancy sauce, just salmon filet. Potato salad? You're lucky if we boil some potatoes and pop some shredded cheese on top.

Each recipe comes with prepacked ingredients. You have to provide your own olive oil, salt, and pepper - everything else is in the box. I don't just mean the basic meat and vegetables, either. Mustard seeds? Got it. Cider vinegar? There's a tiny bottle included. It's super handy. If I start noticing that I use an ingredient over and over, I'll invest in a full-sized bottle, but while we're experimenting I don't have to commit to an entire spice rack.

While I was walking home from the bookstore, Seanie prepped the vegetables by cleaning and chopping them. Then we cooked them together. Our kitchen is so small that it's a bit of a tight squeeze to have two chefs at the same time, but we found a rhythm that worked for us. We were able to get everything cooked in under half an hour, and we ended up with two reasonable-looking plates of food.

I was very sad to realize my plate had a tiny chip on its edge.

I really liked both components of the dish. The salmon turned out pretty well - maybe a trifle overcooked, but it had a nice flavor. I was iffy on the sauce, but it paired really nicely with the fish, even toning down the "fishiness" a bit. But the real star was the salad. The lightly pickled shallot and mustard seeds really complimented the kale, and you can't go wrong with roasted potatoes. They're always awesome. There was this great combination of textures, with the crunch of kale and ground pistachio nuts and the soft sweet pickled onions and solid, hearty potatoes. It wasn't difficult to make so I could easily replicate the recipe in the future.

Due to the cost, we don't plan to use Blue Apron every week.  Maybe once a month or so.  Our plan lets us choose three recipes each week, from a total of six, but the choices are somewhat limited.  If I pick one dish with chicken, for example, I might not be able to choose that week's fish entree.   There are some weeks we are skipping because even though we wanted to try 3 or 4 of the dishes, we couldn't toggle the recipes into a combination that excluded a "yucky" recipe.

Our other entrees this week will be Spicy Pepper & Ricotta Calzones with Cucumber Salad and Chicken and Creamy Couscous.  I will report back on the results.