Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Blue Apron (06-10-15)

Blue Apron provides you new recipes every week, with pre-portioned, fresh ingredients, delivered free in a refrigerated box right to your door.  The price of the plan I chose was $59.94, 3 meals for two people, so $9.99 a meal.

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 Home Chef, you can incorporate gourmet meals into your diet with minimal effort.

I selected three meals from six that they offered to me, and Blue Apron sent me the recipes and all of the ingredients... vacuum-sealed meats, fresh veggies and herbs, and anything else I should need, including detailed recipe cards

The first meal I chose to create was the Three Cheese Calzones with Lacinato Kale and Tomato Sauce, because they sounded delicious and easy, and momma needed some carbs!

I preheated the oven, and then minced the garlic and chopped the lacinato and green kale.  In a pot, I simmered half the garlic in olive oil and added the spice blend pack and the crushed tomatoes to warm.

I cooked the remaining garlic and kale with olive oil and a bit of water.  After draining the kale, I added the mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan cheeses, and a third of the tomato sauce.

I split the pre-made dough into three pieces and used flour to form quarter inch thick circles.  There was a little too much kale mixture to split between the three as I was instructed, so I filled them as full as I could.  Even so the first two had so much, I could barely close them.  The third I left open so I could use up the filling, as sort of a pizza-type thingy.  I then baked everything for about 18 minutes, and served with the tomato sauce on the side.

Despite my clumsiness assembling the calzones, everything came out absolutely friggin' delicious!  Even my crazy messed up pizza-thingy was amazing.  The cheese was creamy, the kale was the perfect filling, the dough baked up amazing!  I ate on these things for three days and the dough never got soggy or stale.  The tomato sauce was zesty and a great compliment to the dish.

The second recipe I made was Chicken Piccata with Fresh Linguine Pasta & Garlic Chives.  This was the recipe I was most interested in.  We love chicken dishes in our house, and linguine... mmm...

I started by dicing the garlic, cutting the garlic chives into half inch pieces, zesting the lemon, and roughly chopping the parsley and capers.  Then I carefully cooked the fresh pasta to al dente, and reserved 3/4 cup of the water.

I coated the chicken with flour, salt and pepper, and cooked for five minutes on each side in olive oil, adding some butter when I flipped it.  After the chicken was browned on both sides, I introduced the demi-glace, half the parsley, lemon juice from one half, and a 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water.  I cooked that for another three minutes until the sauce thickened.

In olive oil, I sautéed the garlic, garlic chives, lemon zest, salt and pepper for a few minutes.  To that, I added the cooked pasta, parmesan cheese, and the remaining butter and pasta water.  After simmering for a few minutes, I divided the linguine between two bowls, placed a chicken tenderloin on the pasta, and topped it off with the pan drippings and fresh parsley.

Okay, so first of all, the pasta and sauces were DE-licious!  I snarfed down those noodles, they were so rich, buttery and well-seasoned.  However, the chicken was WAY over-cooked.  That's when I realized that chicken tenderloin is nothing like chicken breast, which I make often.  And chicken tenderloin can't be cooked like chicken breast.  Had I known that, I would've only cooked each side for three minutes.  It's was too tough and chewy to even attempt to eat.  The only other thing I can say is that there was a tad too much lemon going on.  Half the recommended amount of zest would have been perfect.

The final recipe I attempted was the Salmon Burgers with Crème Fraiche Sauce, Arugula & Potato Salad.  Boy, oh boy!  Did I ever screw this one up!

I roasted the salmon, skin down for ten minutes.  I peeled the salmon from the skin and flaked it using a fork.  Then I prepared the rest of the ingredients - quartering the potatoes, minced the garlic and shallot, roughly chopped the mint and capers, and zested the lemon.  I put the shallot in a bowl with the juice of the lemon.

As I was boiling the potatoes, in another bowl I assembled the ingredients for the salmon cakes - garlic and lemon zest.  Then I went on to making the crème fraiche sauce.  That's where things got messy.  I put half the crème fraiche sauce in the salmon ingredient bowl rather than the lemon-shallot mixture.  I know, right!  But my kitchen was 150 degrees and I got confused.  I screwed up.  How did I fix it, you ask?  I threw the lemon-shallot mixture and remaining crème fraiche into the bowl and prayed for the best.

To compensate, I added a few dollops of crème fraiche FUBU to the salmon with the bread crumbs and some mint.  I formed the salmon patties and fried them in olive oil for a few minutes on each side.  Then I halved and toasted the buns.  I assembled the burgers on the buns with the arugula and a slice of amazing tomato I had picked up at the Farmer's Market over the weekend.  I did not have any usable crème fraiche to dress them, so they were served as it.

After draining the potatoes, I added the remaining crème fraiche FUBU and capers, and served with the burgers.

So... everything came out tasting fine.  Honestly the pieces of lemon zest in the potato salad was disconcerting, but besides that, I thought everything was pretty good.

Blue Apron's recipes were super fun to create.  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 love it and I know you will too.

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