After a friend of ours sent us an invite for a free weeks worth of meals through Blue Apron, we decided that there was no reason not to try it so we setup an account and eagerly awaited our first shipment. Blue Apron is a delivery service that specializes in pre-portioned, pre-measured dinners that are delivered directly to your house and all you have to do is cook. They include all of the ingredients that you will need to make the dishes provided except salt, pepper and olive oil. Everything comes neatly packed in a large, ice-packed, box ready to go. We received our first delivery yesterday which contained 3 meals for 2 people. Each week is a different pre-determined set of meals, which you unfortunately cannot pick, although as of this week you can now choose which types of food you don’t want to receive (we didn’t have that luxury when we setup our account). Needles to say, since it was free, I told my wife that I would eat whatever they sent, as-is; no substitutions, no removal of ingredients, everything will be cooked and eaten as intended. I figured since it was free, if I didn’t like something I could always just throw a frozen pizza in the oven and it’d be all good.
When our box arrived yesterday I was actually surprised at how large/heavy it was. It weighed about 15 lbs and, while not overly large, it was a good sized box. The 3 meals for this week were: Chicken Potstickers w/ Baby Tatsoi, Center-cut Pork Chops w/ Caramelized Onions & Blue Cheese Grits, and Kumquat-Lime Tilapia w/ Brussels Sprouts & Almond Freekeh… not what I’d normally choose to eat, well, anywhere. We pulled everything out of the box and decided we were going to dive into the Chicken Potstickers first.
The recipe cards that they give to you are awesome. They have brightly lit pictures for each step, they walk you through exactly what you need to do and how to do it, they were awesome. My only complaint is that I wish they would have told me I could have used an electric chopper to mince the garlic and ginger (I was already almost done before I realized I could have made it a lot easier on myself). The cooking of the dish wasn’t super hard, but it was very time consuming. It’s probably because we don’t normally cook food that is this involved, but it literally took us an hour and a half to make this meal. However, even though it took a while, it was kind of fun. I did have to crack open a beer before the end though cause I was getting antsy. Check out the video below to see the whole process, sped-up, cause I’m not going to explain each step of the way here.
As far as how the food tasted, it was actually pretty good. I don’t know that I’ve actually ever had potstickers (even though my wife is asian), but I’d probably try them again after this experience. The Baby Tatsoi was definitely interesting. The crunch it had was nice to offset the wet, slipperiness of the dumplings, but there was something about the very last one that I ate that didn’t really agree with me and I definitely almost threw up. It was weird though cause the rest of them were fine… oh well, we’ll just chalk it up to a glitch in the matrix. The dumplings themselves were delicious, and the sauce they had you make was awesome. We still didn’t get the point of using the scallion greens as a garnish for the dish, but I’m thinking it was just so you weren’t throwing them away; they added nothing to the flavor. The only thing I would suggest, if you’re going to make this dish, is fold up all of the dumplings first, then boil the first batch, when those are done boiling and you have them in the pan, immediately put the next batch in the boiling water so that the first batch isn’t too cold when you are finally finished with everything. I don’t know if we just didn’t time things right, or what, but the dumplings weren’t that warm when we finally sat down to eat, which made them slightly less appetizing, but still tasty none the less.
So if you’re looking to do a little more fancy cooking at home, but don’t want to spend the time going to the grocery store, or cutting things down the proper portions, Blue Apron is a great alternative. Each meal comes in at about $10 per person, so while it’s not cheaper than actually going to the store and making it at home, it’s definitely cheaper than if you were to order the same food at a restaurant. Plus, half of the fun is actually cooking the food, which I actually found way more enjoyable than I had expected; plus I got to make a little movie out of it. And if you want to see what we’re cooking next or what restaurant we’re eating at, follow me on Twitter and Instagram, I’ll also probably add some more vids to YouTube… at some point.