Two weeks ago we got another kind of package in the mail; a big box full of three meals to make for two people. I had a referral code for a discount to try Blue Apron, a meal delivery service that provides you with all of the ingredients and the recipes to create three meals at home. So the week before my birthday after work I came home to select from Roasted Hake with Romesco Sauce, Southern Style Burgers with Green Tomato Chow Chow and Roasted Potatoes, and Chicken Katsu with Miso-Roasted Japanese Eggplant and Savoy Cabbage to make for dinner.
First impression of the box was that the products were of really high quality. No vegetable or meat looked at all old or tasteless. They were all packaged very neatly, there was no mess, they were labeled really well, and the box included the three recipe sheets showing which ingredients to use for each recipe.
Per Bryan’s choice, we first tried the Hake and Romesco Sauce. This was the dish with probably the most ingredients to use. I packaged the other two meals up in their own plastic bag and threw them in the fridge. Then I got started prepping the vegetables as directed on the sheet. I chopped a red onion, a red pepper, halved a roma tomato, smashed garlic cloves, prepped green onions, cleaned and prepped two leeks, sliced some fingerling potatoes and chopped some marcona almonds. All of the vegetables except for the leeks and potatoes went on a pan, drizzled with EVOO and salt and pepper and went into a 500 degree oven for 25 minutes to get soft. In the meantime Bryan started sauteing the potatoes and leeks on the stove. After about 10 minutes we added a tad bit of water to steam them a bit and then removed them from the pan once the water was evaporated. When the roasted veggies came out of the oven I gave them a very good chop to meld the flavors and create a sort of sauce. To the sauce I added the sherry vinegar, almonds, smoked paprika and a drizzle of EVOO to really make it lucious. Bryan coated the fish with the rest of the smoked paprika, salt and pepper and seared the fish on one side, flipped it over, added the leeks and potatoes back to the pan and cooked another 4 minutes on the other side. To plate we split the sauce between two plates, topped with a fish fillet and split half of the potatoes and leeks. The dish was beautiful, the fish was good but it was that sauce that was to die for. I would make that sauce again in a heartbeat…and I think I even have all the ingredients needed on hand. It was smoky, sweet, and salty all in one bite. We loved this dish and enjoyed it with a glass of wine.
The second receipe to try was the following night. While Bryan worked late and I started on making the Southern Burgers. This was a dish I don’t think I have really had flavors similar to, and especially not on a burger. So I stuck to the recipe and followed its instructions. I first started with the potato, finely cutting it into 1/4″ fry shapes. I soaked it in water while I prepped the other ingredients (not in the recipe but a tip I keep reading about for crispy fries). The prep was easier for this recipe. I cut out the core and thinly sliced the collard green leaves. These I gave a quick toss with EVOO, salt and pepper to soften. I large diced a green tomato, chopped a red onion, and minced two garlic cloves. I then drained the potatoes and patted them perfectly dry before tossing with EVOO, old bay, salt and pepper and throwing in the oven for 25 minutes at 475 degrees. I then sauteed the onion, garlic, and chow chow mix (will have to look up what is chow chow) until the vegetables were soft. I removed half of the vegetable mix to a bowl. I added the green tomato, the white vinegar, sugar, and a splash of water to the pan and let these vegetables soften up for about 12 minutes. To the reserved vegetables, I added the beef, and formed two good sized patties. I took the patties to the grill and cooked them for about 4 minutes on each side, in the last two minutes of cooking I added pepper jack cheese (not in the recipe) to Bryan’s burger and toasted the buns on the top shelf. The burgers were a perfect medium…luckily. To the burgers I topped them with the tomato chow chow and some of the collard greens. Fries on the side. I was unsure how we would like the flavor and condiments to these burgers but boy were they delicious!! There was a nice heat to the burger and the veggie mix, a nice crunch, a cooling effect from the tomatoes, so yummy. Another winner!
Our last meal to try from our box didn’t come until last night (I froze the chicken). Like the other two I prepped all of the ingredients first, which I am learning is a good idea for whatever you are making…and I really like to use my little prep bowls like a real chef. Again there was garlic to chop, cabbage to core and thinly slice, and now a Japanese eggplant to half lengthwise and score with my knife in the flesh. Then I made the sauce for the eggplant which included mirin (condensed rice wine essentially), miso paste, sesame oil, and a bit of water. This we brushed on the eggplant and popped the eggplant in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes. We then cooked the garlic in a pan with EVOO then added the savoy cabbage until wilted (5 minutes) then removed and added sesame oil and furikake. For the chicken katsu we seasoned the cutlets with salt and pepper then dipped in a combination of dijon mustard and water and then coated in panko breadcrumbs. We then panfried the chicken in the pan 4 minutes a side until nice and brown. We divided the cabbage and eggplant up and then sliced the chicken and added to the plate and topped with the remaining furikake. We had the tonkatsu sauce for dippng the chicken in. Another delicious meal and quite the variety in the three meals which I love!
I really enjoyed trying the Blue Apron box. For $39 I thought the three meals were a pretty good value and definitely convenient. However, at their normal price of $59 it might be a while before I order another box from them. They have all of their recipes online though, so knowing that their recipes are real winners, I will be inclined to buy my own products and try their recipes again. I also have takeaways of things I will make/do again:
- That eggplant. The simplest most delicious thing…I just need to get a few ingredients for it.
- Chow chow, or anything with green tomatoes. I’m going to look for this spice blend because it was good in burgers too.
- The romesco sauce from the hake I’ve actually already kind of replicated it. I could see myself making this quite often!
Obviously these are the pictures from the Blue Apron website but I have to say our actual dishes came out to looking very much like the real deal!