This is one of the companies that ships you a whole bunch of fresh ingredients and a recipe so that you can make the meal yourself (based on their ads, this often results in dancing in the kitchen prior to dinner). We got our first box Wednesday and opened it up after Christopher got home from work.
We got the "three meals for two" plan for two weeks, and this is what we saw when we opened the box:
It's pretty ingenious, really. Everything was nicely packed up, with the recipes on top and even a note that they'd done an herb substitution because the other herbs "weren't up to par" when they were packing things up.
We opted to start with the "Roasted Pork with Balsamic Fig Sauce, Green Beans, and Rosemary Potatoes" (leaving two other meals we'll talk about in later posts). Prep time was listed at 10 minutes, total time estimated at 30 minutes for this "level 1" (aka "easy") meal.
Okay. I admit that I didn't read the recipe all the way through, first - which is something you're always supposed to do when working with a new recipe. But I did inventory all the foods and make sure we had everything we needed. (The only things not included were salt, pepper, and various "drizzles" of olive oil.) And I did follow all of the steps as prescribed.
We prepped, stripped, chopped, and cut. (Eventually using three cutting boards - though we probably could have used prep bowls and done a full mise en place.)
|Yes, we have a cutting board that has all of the measurements on it. And, yes, I did use the half-inch markers when cutting the potatoes.|
We roasted, seasoned, and tossed. (And ended up using both our toaster oven and main oven, because I hadn't paid attention to what pans needed to go where.)
We simmered and seasoned. (Finding out that they should have given us a specific amount of shallot to add, since using the full shallot they sent ended up with WAY too much in the pan.)
|The one on the top had a bunch of the shallots strained out of the sauce. The bottom one is how the sauce came out of the pan.|
How did it go?
Well, the food was really good. We enjoyed the pork and the balsamic fig sauce, the potatoes were nicely flavored and roasted, and the beans even met with household approval.
But the recipe was kind of... inconsistent. It simply lists "add the fig jam" but then says "2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar." So I added the full tiny jar of fig jam (using the back end of a spoon, because nothing else would fit in the jar), but measured out the vinegar (just to find that the tiny bottle only held 2 Tablespoons).
I also think some beginning cooks might have issues with the fact that most steps are pretty explicit, but you do have to know basic cooking terms (like what it means to simmer a sauce). You're also supposed to take the sauce off the heat before you take the pork out of the oven - even though you're instructed to also let the pork rest "a few minutes" before slicing and plating.
Would we do it again? Well... We've got 5 more meals to go through over the next fortnight, so we'll definitely be doing it. And at about $10.50 per person per meal (at full price), it's a decent amount of food - if you're someone who is too busy to shop but wants to cook at home. As someone who likes to grocery shop and does fairly well in the kitchen it probably isn't worth the cost for us to continue it at full price. Though it has introduced us to a new recipe that might be fun to work with in future.
The biggest drawback for me? Most of our weeknight dinners are one- or two-pot dinners with minimal cleanup. Here's what this one left us with: