Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Blue Aprons, White Aprons... Who Cares When It's Delicious!

If you're my Facebook  or real life friend, you know that I'm soon going to be writing a blog for the White Apron, a catering company based on the seacoast. I met the owner through my boss, the owner of Madeleine's Daughter. He was looking for a blogger for his company, so she recommended me! I can hardly believe I'll be blogging about food soon!

In preparation for my new role, I decided to write a quick blog post about another "apron" company, the Blue Apron. My good friend Tim gifted me a week of their service and I'm SO glad I redeemed it immediately!

The concept of the Blue Apron is simple: Membership includes a box of food once per week, but not just any old food. The box includes all the necessary ingredients to prepare three delectable recipes, developed by their chefs. When you sign up, you're able to specify your food preferences and any allergies you may have. Since I like pretty much anything and have no food allergies, signing up was a simple process. My free week included the following meals:

Cod over Linguine
Chicken and Mixed Mushroom Forager
5-Spice Pork Buns

I anticipated the Pork Buns being my favorite meal by a long shot, but while it was my favorite of the three, the other two were extremely close seconds.

Speaking of seconds, I thought it would be a drawback of this service that they will send meals for a minimum of two people. I usually hate leftovers. However, every single meal was such a delight, I actually looked forward to eating it again.

But back to the Blue Apron service- when my box arrived, I had gotten home a little late in the afternoon. I have no idea what time the box arrived, but they assure you on their website that the box can sit outside without the food spoiling. They pack so many ice packs around the food, it would have to be a pretty sweltering day to have an impact. And it's a cute box, too.

Upon opening the box, I discovered the beautiful, full-color, easy to read recipe cards, a short description of each meal and every single ingredient needed to make said recipes. At about $60/week, this service initially struck me as expensive. After opening the box and examining the contents, I officially deem it a great value. There are lots of interesting and unique ingredients that are typically very difficult to find in your average grocery store. The time saved alone is worth the price. But even more important is that they only provide you with enough of each ingredient to make the recipe. Instead of having to purchase a whole bunch of cilantro, they send just enough. To make each recipe would actually be pretty expensive if I was shopping at the grocery store and essentially being forced to purchase a lot more of each ingredient than I would actually need for the recipe, you know?

I think the only thing that they forgot to put in my box was an actual Blue Apron. Seriously, that would have been a very cool touch on their part. As it was, I still wasn't disappointed. Check out the contents of this box:

This is everything- fresh produce, herbs, spices, meat, fish, etc. 

I love how clearly everything is labeled. So awesome. 

The recipes and explanation- I love the beautiful recipe cards. I'll probably hole-punch them and put them in a binder. It will be fun to collect them! They're like extra-large foodie trading cards! 

There was a bag of "knick knacks" for each recipe. The ones pictured above were for the chicken recipe. Basically, the little bits of weirdo ingredients needed to complete the recipe. Again, it's SO convenient that there is only enough for the recipe, so you're not left with all sorts of leftovers of one weirdo ingredient. You're not stuck at the end trying to find ten more uses for the leftover thyme. 

Ok, on to the recipes. First, I made the Cod over Linguine. I fully expected this to be a very blah dish. I don't know why. In terms of preparation, it requires the most basic skills. A monkey could make this dish. 

Does that look delicious or what? I wish you could smell it. The fresh herbs and lemon that you add right at the end were the perfect finish. The dish included red pepper flakes and since I like spicy food, I used a lot. The flavor is very bright with the perfect amount of heat and it's a surprisingly light dish overall. In terms of portions, this could have easily fed three adults, especially if you supplement with a side salad. I could not have been more wrong about this. To describe is as "blah" would be foolish. 

Next, I tackled the Chicken and Mixed Mushroom Forager. This dish appealed to me as comfort food. It's a saucy chicken with a side of garlic bread. A HUGE side of garlic bread. I made it on a cold, rainy day and it was perfect! 

I hope I can adequately describe this meal. The chicken was earthy and so flavorful, but the addition of the lemon thyme added an unexpected brightness to the earthy flavors. It is officially my new favorite herb that I will need to grow in order to have it whenever I want. Seriously, if you have not cooked with lemon thyme, do yourself a favor and make this dish. SOOOOO good! The garlic bread was tasty, but not groundbreaking or even particularly special. But that's ok. Fresh garlic on a crunchy baguette is never a bad thing, even if it is a little pedestrian. Again, portion size was extremely generous and this could have easily stretched to three meals if I had any willpower at all. I do not. 

Finally, the 5-Spice Pork Buns. I fully anticipated these to be my favorite by a long shot. However, after making the first two recipes, I was starting to think they might be a disappointment. After all, three-for-three is pretty impressive and I really didn't expect the Blue Apron to deliver so solidly in my very first week! But deliver they did. 

I forgot to snap photos of the recipe card. My bad. 

These Pork Buns are what make the Blue Apron such a good value. With exotic ingredients like hoisin sauce, fresh thai basil, cilantro, Asian steamed buns, and pork belly, I was excited to try these from the moment I signed up for this service! In the end, these buns did NOT disappoint. The red cabbage salad was just ok, but the pork buns were amazing! 

In the end, I was happy to have experienced three completely different, but completely delicious meals. While none of them was particularly healthy (all three were pretty carb-heavy), I do have to admit that they were all incredible and they definitely exceeded my expectations, which is saying quite a lot. 

If you are interested in the Blue Apron, just visit their website for a little more information! If you like the idea of reading about food in addition to fashion, head on over to Facebook and "like" the White Apron. That's how you'll find out about the blog posts I'll be writing for them! And as always, thanks for reading! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

do you guys take requests?

if so send me a pm at Nikaido Bogard Garcia at facebook

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