This week was my first delivery from Blue Apron, the meal delivery service. The idea behind this service, and a few others like it, is to send a box with the raw ingredients for several meals and the recipes for the meal and the customer can keep the ingredients and cook the meals fresh when they want them. Basically its the food equivalent of the fashion worlds personal stylist and services like Trunk Space. Instead of going grocery shopping for yourself every week your groceries are picked out by experts and delivered to your door.
While this service is pretty convenient if one is unable to shop often for fresh food, or is looking to expand their culinary abilities beyond microwaving TV dinners; I signed up mostly to use it a a way to be introduced to new foods. I have always been a picky eater and have shied away from a lot of foods, especially if they are green and leafy. While I still don’t have a admiration for vegetables I think its about time I give them another chance, and instead of experimenting on my own I’ve trusted Blue Apron chefs to send me tasty meals all of which I am committed to making and trying in an attempt to expand my pallet.
The first meal this week is Spring Gemelli Pasta with Garlic Sugar Snap Peas, Crispy Capers & Soft-Boiled Eggs:
Everything came individually packaged inside a great big cardboard box, cooled with ice packs. I am getting 3 meals for 2 people a week, so each box is a lot of food. Pictured above I have separated out the ingredients for the first of the recipes I decided to try. I found the packaging of the ingredients is the best/worst part of this service.
It would seem a little crazy with today’s Mega-Marts to think of shopping with such small portions. Go to Costco and try and buy only two eggs, they will look at you like you are mad. Being use to buying bulk food and food items that have not been packaged to survive a rough delivery the wasted packaging seems a little excessive. Almost everything has its own packaging or container and for very small amounts of ingredients it seems silly.
As someone who has lived alone I can also say the the packaging size is comforting. Feeding one person doesn’t take much food and it one tries to have a varied diet there can be significant food waste. Not much in supermarkets is sized for a single person for a single meal or rarely even a meal for two, the supermarket is ruled by the family sized fun packs. Buying those as a person with a single mouth to feed means sometimes you can’t reasonably use all the food before it expires. This is where I like the packaging of Blue Apron meals, its the exact amount of food for a meal for two, you don’t have to worry about wrapping anything up and putting back in the fridge.
The dish, Spring Gemelli pasta, looked pretty good. The thing that scared me were the peas, and not because they came with a hitchhiker. The peas were the ‘green thing’ in the dish, which make it look visually exciting, but were a new food to me and I didn’t know if it would ruin the dish for me.
As for preparing the dish it took me a little more than half an hour, though it would have been less if I had managed time better. The direction were very straight forward. Its very easy to follow a recipe witch has a picture of what the dish should look like at the end as well as pictures of what each incremental step should look like. Since “cook at high heat until peas turn bright green” could mean anything. In the end my finished dish came out looking almost exactly like the one pictured on the recipe and the website, that’s an encouraging sign.
But how did it taste? In two words, not bad. Really it was delicious except for one pesky criminal spoiling the dish. I expected the spring peas to be the thing that I didn’t like in the dish and they weren’t. The peas were really very good, like little pieces of candy in the starchy sauce. The problem with the dish was the pea-pods. I don’t understand how one could eat them on a mechanical or a culinary level. The peas stayed in their pods for the most part during cooking, but a soon as I tried to fork one all the peas quickly evacuated. Once I finally got one intact I found that the evacuation was for the better as the pod of the pea was tough and sinewy unlike the peas inside. Picking around the pea pods and squeezing out the peas made the dish quite tastier.
From this dish there are a few things I’ve learned, about cooking and about myself: one, saving some of the starch water from pasta and adding it back in can create a creamy sauce without the use of cream; two, capers are tasty; three, peas are goods eats; four, their pods are not.