Saturday, May 9, 2015

Plated (05-05-15)

Plated delivers everything you need to create chef-designed recipes, making it simpler and more fun to cook at home.  With Plated, you get a weekly box of fresh and seasonal ingredients, pre-portioned for the recipes you choose, so you can create great food with less effort.

My husband and I love to cook our own homemade meals throughout the week, usually repeats... chili, spaghetti, soups, grilled meats and veggies.  But this enables us to take it a step further and make delicious dinners that we wouldn't think to just make on the fly.  With Plated, you can incorporate gourmet meals into your diet with minimal effort.

I selected three meals from seven they offered to me, and Plated sent me the recipes and all of the ingredients... vacuum-sealed meats, fresh veggies and herbs, and anything else I should need.

The first meal I chose to create was the Cod en Papillote with Herb Butter, Farro, and Lemon Roasted Asparagus.  Cooking in parchment, or "en papillote," is a popular French technique.  This method creates concentrated steam inside sealed parcels while they roast in the oven.

I started preparing the meal by zesting the lemon and slicing half of it in thin strips, chopping the parsley and chives, and cutting the asparagus into bite-sized portions.  I cooked the farro and rice in boiling water, and while that was going, I made the lemon butter.  I put the cod on the parchment paper, topped it with the butter, white wine and lemon slices, and tucked it all in so I could bake it.  Then I tossed the asparagus with lemon juice and olive oil and put them in the oven to roast.  About that time, the farro and rice were done, so I strained those and tossed with olive oil in a large glass dish.  When the cod and asparagus were done, I topped the farro and rice with them.

I chose to serve this family style rather than dishing it out with the cod and rice mixture separated on two plates because... well, it's embarrassing but we had a big cookout and the dishwasher (aka my husband) hasn't done the dishes yet.

The cod was delicious!  It was flaky, and the herbs and lemon and white wine were perfect compliments to the fish.  I also really liked the asparagus.  I left it just slightly crunchy, great texture.

The farro and rice, however, were... disconcerting.  I don't know if I didn't cook it long enough or cooked it too long.  I don't know.  It was kind of chewy, a difficult texture.  I would do this dish again, but probably just use long-grain rice in the future.

The second recipe I made was Tarragon Chicken with Spring Vegetable and Goat Cheese Gratin.  This was a very FUN recipe to create.  As one thing was happening, something else needed to be done.  So there were no gaps in cooking.

I prepared the herbs and veggies.  Chopping the tarragon and pea shoots, then slicing the shallots and mushrooms.  I cooked the mushrooms, peas and pea shoots in olive oil, and sat aside.  Then I simmered the chicken skin-side down to brown and render the fat.  While that was browning, I mixed the milk and goat cheese, and after seasoning, added to the veggie mixture with panko and pecorino, and put in the oven to finish.  In the meantime, I turned the chicken.  And once that finished, I wrapped the chicken in foil, while retaining the fat in the pan.  I cooked the shallots until opaque, added white wine, and then the tarragon.  When finished, I pulled from the heat and put in the butter.  I put the chicken back in the shallot-tarragon mixture.  After taking out the gratin, I plated both meals, making sure to pour all of the pan gravy over the chicken.

I LOVED this recipe.  The gratin was perfecto.  My husband doesn't even like peas in large amounts, but he was totally into this.  He adored the chicken and ate it as is, but I'm a little funny about my meat, so I cut the meat from the skin and fat.  Absolutely delicious.  The sweetness from the shallots and tarragon flavoring mixed so well with the pea and mushroom gratin.  The hubby was so complimentary!  The chicken seasoning was incredibly tasty.  We both very much enjoyed this recipe and I definitely plan to make this dish again... maybe with potatoes and/or onions in the gratin in place of the peas (for the hubby's sake), although he wasn't complaining!

The last recipe I made was Pastaless White Lasagna with Spring Vegetables and Pesto.  This was so easy to make! 

After cutting the veggies into manageable pieces, I roasted them with olive oil for fifteen minutes.  Meanwhile, I mixed Greek yogurt, ricotta, grated pecorino cheese, peas, pesto, lemon zest and egg.  Super easy.  Then I arranged the vegetables between layers of the creamy cheese mixture, and baked for ten minutes.

I knew picking a vegetarian dish would be risky for my meat and potato loving husband.  So I wasn't too upset with his reaction.  He liked it.  Thought it had great flavor.  But he would have preferred it as a side to a nice piece of protein.

I, on the other hand, was happy, happy, happy to eat his portion.  And this made a lot of food.  Minimum four LARGE servings.  The vegetables were fresh and crisp, and the sauce was just delicious.  I could eat ricotta plain with a spoon though, so yum.  I will be cooking this again... maybe with some tarragon chicken... hmm...

Plated usually runs $72 for three meals for two people delivered weekly.  I got super lucky and got four meals free and only paid $24 for two.  While this promotion may or may not still be available, they always have some great deal on your first box.

I love the convenience of getting perfectly portioned, fresh ingredients delivered right to my door.  I will order from them again, and will be ravenously watching their site for recipes I can't resist.  I highly recommend Plated.  I love it and I know you will too.

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