Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Blue Apron: Take Two

I got three meals from Blue Apron. I'm realizing, like I imagined, that I cannot cook all three in one week. That is just way too much cooking for this novice. For someone who has really only used the microwave thus far, all the preparing takes WAY longer than the suggested thirty-five minutes. And that's actually ok. I don't mind. It's just that there are only a day or two out of the week that I have that kind of prep time. I don't know if it gets faster with practice, but damn, it takes a long time to try to mince garlic.

I was going to make the chicken pot stickers with baby tatsoi (whatever that is), but in asking other Blue Apron using friends, I was told they are a lot of work. If I was short on time, I should make the pork chops with caramelized onions over garlic escarole and blue cheese grits. Turns out Blue Apron sent me two ground chicken and no pork chops. As an aside, Blue Apron was great about the mistake. I didn't realize the mistake until the day before I planned to make them. They credited my account. I thought this was very cool considering I am a "free" account so far. Blue Apron gives some freebie weeks to customers to give out to friends who want to try it out. I got a freebie from my friend Adria so I haven't actually PAID for anything yet. Even the shipping is free (unlike It's not like I'm a proven customer.

I went to Shop Rite and bought a package of three boneless pork chops. I figured from the Tilapia meal that I would have some part of the meal as leftover that could be made into another meal - if I had the "meat" of it. I had leftover freekeh that B ate with whatever he had the next night.

Garlic with tail
Ok. So I had to mince again. Tiffany- I believe I found a "chef's knife" like you recommended, but I didn't find it easier. I went back to my little knife. I think I might buy a jar of minced garlic and just use that if I don't have a lot of time. There were less things in this recipe, which was good. But, still multitasking.

I had to make grits first. I have to say- I'm not a fan. Polenta is ok. I kind of like it. But grits are a different animal. To me, it's like cornmeal swimming in thinned rubber cement. And I know I did them the right way. I just don't like them. Sam I am. No, seriously. They didn't take long and were relatively easy. Like making cous cous from a box.

Next was caramelizing onions. Let me say first, B and I both do not like onion. In general. But I use it in brisket and now I had to use it for this. Luckily it was just one onion. I have to wear ski goggles to cut onions normally, like the four for the brisket. My eyes can't take it. This was no different but it was only one. And it was small. Caramelizing onions was not difficult but not quick either. And while it wasn't hard they do burn easily. They seem less burned in the pan than when you leave them out for the little while you're then cooking the pork. They did taste good though, which surprised me. I almost didn't bother with them at all because in my mind I already am onion prejudiced. They turned out to be my favorite part.

I'd never made pork chops on the stove. That was interesting. I ran out of foil and didn't realize the oil would be jumping out of the pan. I had a small-ish square of foil that was big enough to cover the top of the pan loosely like the recipe called for but I can't even tell you the oil mess I made. I cooked all three instead of just two. Good thing because I had TONS of grits left over.

I messed up again with the escarole like I did in the last meal with the Brussels Sprouts. You're supposed to cook the garlic in the pain "until fragrant" and THEN add the leaves. Again, I threw the leaves in the pan first. With Brussels Sprouts, it didn't matter. With escarole, it did. Escarole (makes me think of snails even though I know that's escargot), sort of shrinks. They call it "wilting" but to me it just got a lot smaller. I had to dump the garlic in it and just hope it wasn't too much. But this is a problem when you still sort of have baby teeth sized garlic pieces. It's very garlicky. Especially the way I did it by throwing garlic into the leaves like confetti. I also think I had to much wet in the pan. Olive oil and leftover pork juice. The recipe called for this but it seemed like too much. Someone who had ever seen escarole before would probably know better.

I plated it. First the grits, then the escarole, the pork, the onions, then a sprinkle of thyme and blue cheese. It looked pretty. My husband doesn't really like what he calls, "the meat meals"- he's just not a big meat eater. But he liked this and so did I. I just know that if I was to make escarole again, I'd be careful how wet it got and that the garlic was really minced (super small) and maybe not use as much. I had a lot of grits & blue cheese left over, a little escarole and one chop. So it definitely made another meal.

Again- I started at 6p-ish and finished around 7:30p. And I was sweating. But it was a really good dinner. So I guess you have to weigh the pros and cons.

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