It’s time to talk about my second (of three) Blue Apron dinners, and what I’ve learned about this business of having meal ingredients shipped to my house. This is a purely personal account of my own experience and should not influence your choice To Blue Apron, or not to Blue Apron, in any significant manner. I don’t know why I suddenly feel the need for a disclaimer, but there you go.
I received my trial box of dinners (three for the week) on Wednesday and immediately made the Nashville-Style Hot Catfish that evening. Score! I really loved that meal and recommend it with great enthusiasm if you like fish as much as I do.
But I found myself dragging my feet about preparing dinner number two: Tandoori-Style Chicken & Rice. As I mentioned in my last post, I haven’t had great luck with Indian cuisine (though I was willing to believe that I’d visited less-than-stellar restaurants where the food did not fairly represent what Indian cooking could be).
The other issue is that I am admittedly lazy, and am pretty much sick of cooking. Period. I’ve been cooking for many years and live alone. So now, with no one to whine about what’s for supper and when I’m serving it, I frequently find myself saying, “Eh, screw it!” and resorting to fast food or microwave popcorn or whatever is around and requiring little or no preparation.
I realize that this is a very unhealthy way to live and thus, a shot at Blue Apron.
But did I rush to cook another meal after the resounding success of the catfish? Um, no. So, I finally forced my lazy-ass self to make the Tandoori chicken for lunch today.
Here’s a very, very important thing I learned: not only is the protein nicely shrink-wrapped in heavy plastic to keep it fresh longer, but each serving also tells you exactly how long it keeps in the fridge before it should be put in the freezer (or tossed). The chicken was good for five days (this is day four) and the pork roast is safe for nine, so I can make that meal on Monday or Tuesday (hey – tomorrow is Mother’s Day! I’m sure as hell not cooking THEN!).
The only ingredient with the pork that may not fare well for nine days is the asparagus and I hate asparagus, anyway. I’ll cook some beans to go along with the pork and fingerling potatoes and take the asparagus to my mother tomorrow. I’m not going to try to pass it off as a Mother’s Day gift – don’t worry.
The other very, very important thing I learned is that I am more likely to be successful with this Blue Apron thing if I cook at lunch time. I’m still pretty energetic and positive-thinking at noon, and since I’m only working part time now, why not, right? Then I can have the leftovers for dinner, if the meal is any good. This is sounding better and better to me.
Just one thing: don’t make me order any more Indian food. I’m not saying the Tandoori chicken was bad, but it just wasn’t my favorite, okay? I liked the rice with stir-fried zucchini, a little lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Did not like the little bits of mint leaves the recipe said to throw in with it. I will keep my mint consumption to Pepperidge Farm Mint Milanos, thank you. Peppermint Patties? Yeah. Not rice.
Speaking of Pepperidge Farm, they were giving away samples of these new thin chocolate chip cookies at Giant Eagle yesterday and that little bite was so tasty, I bought a package. I think Blue Apron should include some with their dinners.
Anyway, so the rice – minus mint – was good. The chicken was spicy and strange. I could smell ginger. Maybe geraniums. Oak. I don’t know what the hell else was in that spice packet, but it was strong. I had to mix the whole packet (maybe half would be better?) with half the Greek yogurt included in the ingredients, then slather it all over the chicken breasts. What I did discover, and like, is that if you have very slim (maybe pounded?) chicken breasts, you can bake them in a 475 degree oven for just 18 minutes and they are PERFECTLY cooked.
Just leave off the yogurt and mystery spices. In my opinion.
By the way, Blue Apron forgot to include the “Persian cucumber” that was supposed to be shredded and combined with the rest of the Greek yogurt to make a cool sauce to accompany the chicken. I’m guessing whoever was packing saw the little green zucchini, mistook it for a cucumber, and passed on by without adding the cuke. The finished sauce probably would have been a lot like tzatziki (which I love with gyros), so that was a little disappointing, but not game-changing.
So here’s where we stand: I have one more dinner to make before I decide if Blue Apron is To Be. For me. However . . . my friend Pat said that her niece and her roommate LOVE Hello Fresh, and that company offers three free meals to try, too!
I hate to break it to you, but not only will there be a To Blue Apron, or not to Blue Apron – Part Four, but if I decide that maybe I’m not too lazy to cook when ingredients show up on my doorstep, there may also be a follow up called something like, To Blue Apron, or to Hello Fresh!
Stay tuned. And happy Mother’s Day to mothers of every stripe.