Dinner on the doorstep

We tend to ignore coupons that come in the mail, but back in December we decided to experiment with a $30 coupon for Blue Apron, a food delivery service we had just barely heard of. Life had been frazzled, and the notion of fun food with easy directions landing once a week on our doorstep was appealing. We opted for the vegetarian menu, and waited for our first box to show up.

Our first meal was a spicy lentil stew with sweet and sour cauliflower, basically Indian in character. We loved it! The idea of adding coconut milk to the lentils was new to us and delicious.The overall quality of ingredients was good, but we were less enthusiastic about the other 2 meals. This first delivery established what we now see as a pattern in the weekly trio of vegetarian meals: something novel, a pasta dish, and something (Asian, or perhaps a warm salad) with a fried or soft boiled egg. We hate runny egg yolks, and some meals, especially the pasta, seem terribly low in protein, but we’ve continued, skipping a week occasionally, for the convenience and novelty. When we both came down with the flu, having a box of groceries land on the front step was a treat. The more novel meals have been interesting, and we’re pretty good at finding alternative uses for some of the ingredients.¬†We’ve added protein where inclined–canned beans of various kinds to the pasta, broiled firm tofu to the Asian dishes, and sometimes Field Roast vegan sausage. We’ve substituted quinoa for pasta at times. And we find other uses for the eggs.

Here are some things we’ve learned so far:

  • Almost any vegetable can be roasted in a fairly short time. For this reason, many recipes begin “Heat the over to 450 (or 475) degrees”.
  • Roasted cabbage enchiladas are good!
  • Garnishes are worth the fuss
  • The microplane zester that seemed like a bit of a splurge a couple of years ago is a fabulous tool.
  • We don’t much like gnocchi.
  • Almost any pasta dish needs more vegetables.
  • Just a little mascarpone can make a difference.
  • One good can of tomatoes can make a sauce.
  • Sometimes creatively combining 2 recipes can result in a tasty cook once, eat twice opportunity.