Friday, August 14, 2015

Hello Fresh (08-05-15)

I've been through quite a few food preparation delivery services, but my heart belongs with Hello Fresh.  It was my first and I loved all of the recipes and fresh ingredients so much, I was tickled to find a special deal on Groupon allowing me to purchase a two-week subscription at a substantially discounted price.

Hello Fresh provides you with three weekly meals (for two or for four), including remarkable recipes crafted by Hello Fresh's chefs, all of the ingredients you need to create these masterful meals (excluding butter, oil, salt or pepper), and they deliver it right to your door.

I mean, my husband and I happily 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 Hello Fresh, you can incorporate gourmet meals into your diet with minimal effort.

I selected three meals from five they offered to me, and Hello Fresh 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 Shrimp and Chorizo Paella with Saffron, Smoked Paprika, and Peas, primarily because the instruction booklet told me to... :-D.  Also, it contains shrimp, and I don't need any shrimp stinking up my fridge! 

I'll start by remarking that this dinner was UN-believable!  I know authentic Spanish food, and this was as close as you'll get making it at home.  And so much fun to make!  There wasn't a moment to rest because there was so much to do.  I like getting a meal done and ready to serve immediately.

I began by dicing the onion and tomato, and mincing the garlic.  I halved the chorizo and sliced it into thin half moons.

In a medium pot, I simmered four cups of water, some chicken stock concentrate (woo, that stuff is strong), and the saffron.  I was super stoked to cook with saffron, being one of the most expensive and delicious spices.

Adding olive oil to a pan, I cooked the onion and garlic and seasoned with salt and pepper.  I incorporated chorizo, tomato and half of the smoked paprika and tossed until the chorizo had rendered its oil.

I poured in the arborio rice and cooked for a couple more minutes.  I added two cups of the chicken saffron stock to my pan and brought to a boil, before reducing to a simmer.  Stirring occasionally, I added more stock as the mixture required.

Right before the rice was finished cooking, I poured in the peas and increased the heat.  At this point they recommended no more stirring as the "soccarat," or crispy crust on the bottom of the pan, is supposedly the best part of the dish.  We'll see.

After just a few minutes on high, I seasoned the shrimp with salt, pepper and the remaining paprika.  I topped the rice with the shrimp, covered the pan and let the shrimp cook through, just about three minutes.  When I finished, I scattered some chopped parsley on top.

Not only was it stunning to look at, it was AH-mazing, DE-licious, WON-derful!  I'm not much on shrimp personally, but I ate a few and it was perfect.  That being said... see that little bowl up there?  That's all I got.  It made at least four servings, and he ate three and a half before I knew it. 

The second recipe I tried was the Reuben Steak with Tangy Braised Cabbage and Russian Dressing Pan Sauce

I will note here that I chose to use the zucchini and mushrooms from my final dish in this recipe.  My husband has decided that he isn't interested in the vegetarian recipes anymore, and so I needed to mix things up a little.  It just made sense to use those veggies in this recipe.

This was so easy to make.  I seasoned the steak with salt, pepper and half the pastrami seasoning and let rest.  Then I set to thinly slicing the onion, carrot, zucchini and mushrooms.

I heated some olive oil and poured all of the veggies in with a cup of water and the chicken stock concentrate.  Then I basically sweated those veggies until all of the liquid evaporated and the vegetables were soft.  I poured in half the white wine vinegar, and seasoned with salt, pepper and the remaining pastrami spice blend.

While the veggies were sweating, I cooked the steak in olive oil over medium high heat and seared about five minutes on both sides.  I rested the meat while I started making the pan sauce.

Using the steak pan, I added the remaining white wine vinegar, scraping up the browned bits from the pan.  Removing from the heat, I incorporated the ketchup and mayonnaise, salt and pepper.

Now, I'm no steak preparer.  I actually have never eaten steak before this.  So when I cut into it, it was very rare.  Even too rare for my husband.  I should have let him cook it, but que sera, sera.  I finished slicing it, placed it over the cabbage, took my pictures, garnished with dill fronds, and put the slices back over heat for a few seconds on each side.  It was an interesting first steak experience for me.  I managed to eat two slices!  But the husband was happy to eat the rest.  And there was so much of the cabbage mixture, I was all too pleased to eat my fill!  I never knew I could like German food so much!

The last recipe was the Layered Enchiladas (formerly with Roasted Mushrooms and Zucchini).  Another recipe that was pretty easy to make.

I diced the onion and minced the garlic.  I chose to mince the jalapeno, keeping the seeds and ribs because we like some spicy Tex-Mex in this house.  In one pan I cooked those in a little olive oil, chipotle chili powder and southwest spice blend, while in another pan, I browned a pound of beef that I bought for our version of this recipe.  I put a little generic taco seasoning on the meat.

As the onion mixture softened, I added the crushed tomatoes and tabasco, slowing the cooking down to a simmer.

Confused at how to proceed with the sour cream since it would have gone into the zucchini and mushrooms, I decided to put it in the replacement beef.

I assembled the casserole in a small baking dish: a little enchilada sauce, two tortillas, meat, more enchilada sauce, cheese, repeat, and repeat again, or something along those lines.  It was pretty self-explanatory.  I baked the casserole for five minutes, just to melt the cheese.

There was a lot of this casserole.  It wasn't my favorite dish, probably because we didn't follow the recipe in order to suit my husband's dietary preferences, but I just didn't care for the tortillas in the middle.  Maybe if I'd toasted them first and they were a little crispier.  But the husband LOVES it!  So it will all get eaten.

Hello Fresh usually runs $69 for three meals for two people delivered weekly.  I got mine super cheap with my Groupon.  I highly recommend Hello Fresh.  And they almost always have deals, so look out for those.

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