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Saturday, April 09, 2016

Blue Apron: Day 2

So, I am getting the hang of this Blue Apron thing. I'm getting more familiar with following their recipes, and the meals are getting more delicious. I am really looking forward to next week's recipes because I am not sure if they can top this week.

The beginnings of meatball ragout
My second meal was Meatball Ragout with Swiss Chard. Today's true confessions are that I've never made a ragout before (it's like a stew), and I can't remember a time that I've used chard. I wasn't sure how the chard would hold up for several days, so I decided to cook it before the chicken dish that I'll be making tomorrow.

So. Much. Prep.
This meal required a lot of prep. There were lots of veggies to cut up, meatballs to roll out (although this was the easiest time I've had making meatballs), and lots of cooking. The meat had to be browned, then the potatoes had to get started before you added the other veggies. And then you had to add the browned meat back in
with the chard and some water. It was very labor intensive, and it didn't take 40 minutes. It took 59. I set a timer to see if I could deliver in under 40 minutes like it promised. I didn't even have to find the corkscrew this time. But even with all the prep and cooking, it was still easier to prepare that if I'd done it myself, and it was delicious. This was, however, a meal that I might try to replicate on my own. It's a perfect stew for a cold, rainy day, so it worked out that I made it yesterday.

Meatballs before
Meatballs after

Meatballs during
While I am not still not sure about the value of Blue Apron and I have concerns about all the waste of
these tiny, individual packages, some of the specialized ingredients in this meal were appreciated. Two tablespoons of tomato paste in a packet is perfect. I waste so much tomato paste in my life. You buy a whole can for one or two tablespoons, and then a few weeks later you throw away a half can of moldy tomato paste. And another one of the "knick knacks" in this recipe was a tablespoon of beef demi-glace. Demi-glace is something that eludes me in my culinary adventures. I was glad that I didn't have to attempt to make it on my own. Add in a tablespoon of corn starch and 1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs, you're adding a lot of convenience if someone likes to cook but doesn't have a very well-stocked pantry.

Cooking the veggies
The meatballs were perfect. I'm not sure I can replicate that spice blend if I decide to make this again later. They were just the right size and cooked perfectly. I loved the tips on that part of the recipe. The chard wasn't hard to work with, and I liked the flavor. All of the veggies worked well with the meat, along with the beefy, tomato-y flavor. And this recipe made a lot of food. I was told when I started that there would be some meals that would probably be more than two servings and this was one of them. I ate it for dinner two nights in a row, and I might have it again for lunch tomorrow. (Or maybe for a snack later tonight, if we're being honest.) But it was filling. I didn't eat a bowl of it and starve later in the evening. It was just so delicious and there's still some in the fridge, and it may just end up in my belly. And it's not bad for you. The only carbs were from veggies and a tablespoon or so of panko bread crumbs, and it came in at 550 calories per serving, assuming you ate half of the pan in one serving.

After adding the chard and meatballs
I am still really enjoying Blue Apron, but even if I had the money right now I would have to take weeks off here and there. The food is good, but I could see it getting to be a bit much. Some nights I still just want to throw a turkey burger on the George Foreman grill. I don't need gourmet meals every night, and this is from someone who likes to cook. For one thing, all of this prep dirties a lot of dishes. So far I've been able to keep everything limited to one cooking pan, but all of the bowls to hold all the various veggies so that you can follow the process can be overwhelming. Thank goodness I have a dishwasher. And, honestly, I am trying to follow the process because I'm reporting on it. If I were just flying by the seat of my pants like usual, I would just throw stuff together to not have so much to clean up.
The finished product

Tomorrow night is something totally different: Nepalese Chicken Tarkari. I have never made any Nepalese food before, and it looks good in the pictures. I am guessing it might be a little spicy.

Stay tuned for a full report.

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