Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hello Fresh (08-19-15)

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.  This is the review of the second delivery I received with my Groupon.

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.

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.

Usually they let me select three meals from five they offer, but this time I got the box without the choosing.  That's okay.  Takes me out of my comfort zone a little bit.  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 Lemony Shrimp Linguine with Roasted Red Pepper, Garlic and Chili, 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 began by mincing the garlic and shallot.  Through Hello Fresh, I've come to believe that shallots are far superior to onions.  So aromatic and tastier.  I then zested the lemon, and cored and thinly sliced the red pepper.

I heated some olive oil in a pan and cooked the red pepper.  I also added the linguine to a pot of boiling water, until al dente, retaining a quarter cup of the pasta water.  When the peppers were slightly caramelized, I set them aside and added more olive oil to the pan.  Then I cooked the shallot, garlic, chili flakes, and lemon zest.  Just before finishing, I added the shrimp, cooking a few minutes until opaque.

I incorporated back into the pan the pasta water, roasted peppers, juice from the lemon I zested, and a tablespoon of butter, and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Sprinkling chopped parsley on top, I served on two plates.

This meal was DIVINE!  I am not a shrimp fan, but it came out perfectly if I say so myself.  The linguine was unbelievably flavorful with the lemon, and the butter, and the chili flakes... just the right amount of spicy.  And the peppers were a light, fresh touch.  Definitely out of my comfort zone, yet so delicious.

The second recipe I tried was the Chicken & Nectarine Panzanella with Mint, Zucchini and Fresh Mozzarella

I won't lie.  I strayed wildly with this dish.  First, neither my husband nor I like fruit in our meals.  I will say, I ate the nectarine while I prepared the meal and it was delectable.  Also, we don't care for raw zucchini or shallot, as the recipe called for, so I had to work around that.  Finally, we don't like mint, unless it's ice cream or candy.

I cubed the beautiful demi baguette and toasted in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  I minced the shallot and cut the zucchini in half.  Then I carefully sliced it into ribbons.  At this point, I put a little olive oil in a pan and sweated the zucchini and shallot till they were soft but still a little crisp. 

I tossed the vegetables in a bowl with the bread cubes, and set about preparing the chicken.  I seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked for about six minutes on each side with a little olive oil.   When finished, I cooled and then cubed the chicken, adding it to the bowl. 

Since I wasn't making a vinaigrette with uncooked shallots, and there was already enough olive oil from the veggies, bread crumbs, and chicken, I mixed in the white wine vinegar.

The recipe called for me to cube fresh mozzarella, but I wasn't given fresh mozzarella.  I got a small bag of shredded mozzarella instead.  Too bad... I am a fiend for fresh mozzarella.  Mmm... a nice caprese salad... can't be beat.  Anyway, I tossed that in with everything else.

Even though I didn't follow the instructions, this was a fantastic meal.  It was light, fresh and DE-licious.  Something I never would've thought of myself and I will make it again.

The last recipe was the Seared Steak & Creamy Chipotle Pan Sauce with Poblano, Corn and Crispy Potato Hash

I halved the onion and thinly sliced one half, while mincing the other.  I cored and thinly sliced the poblano pepper.  I cubed the potato and cut the corn from the cob.  Then I minced one chipotle pepper that came in adobo sauce.  That's spicy stuff.  Make sure you're washing your hands good after playing with those.

I roasted the potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper for 25 minutes.  I heated a pan with olive oil and cooked the sliced onion and poblano until soft, added the corn and sweated for a few more minutes.  Setting that to the side, I added more oil, seasoned the steak, and seared 3-4 minutes on each side.  I placed the steak on the baking sheet with the potatoes and continued to cook.

I began the chipotle pan sauce by once again adding more olive oil to the pan I cooked the steak in.  I put in the minced onion and chipotle.  Once the onion was opaque, I stirred in a half cup of water and beef concentrate, simmering until thickened and reduced.  I removed from the heat and incorporated the sour cream.

I mixed the potatoes, corn, poblanos and onion in a bowl.

As I started cutting the steak, I realized... I REALLY SUCK AT COOKING STEAK!  This was my second attempt at sucking at it.  I don't eat steak so I haven't cooked it before, and I now know that just because it looks well done on the outside, doesn't mean it's not bloody on the inside.  What am I doing wrong?!?!?!  My husband says I'm not allowed to touch red meat ever again!  Anyway, I proceeded to cut it and then placed the slices in a small pan to cook through a little better.  I placed the sad steak on the hash and covered in the pan sauce.

This dish was super spicy.  I'm very familiar with poblanos and chipotles in adobo sauce, so this was expected.  I'm in love with the pan sauce.  Spicy and creamy... yum!  Of course the veggies were delicious.  I ate a small piece of the steak and didn't think it was too bad.  Despite his declarations of me murdering the steak, my husband gobbled it up.

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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