Friday, January 2, 2015

Blue Apron Review (AKA Two Terrible Cooks Make Pasta e Fagioli)

About a month ago, I approached my husband with the idea of trying some of these meal services. As you can see from my ever-growing list, I am generally up for trying anything once, especially if it is something of a surprise! So when I came across Blue Apron, and I saw their three meal choices for this week, I had to dive in! We pay for this subscription.

To be clear, I am not a cook. I can barely make a grilled cheese (okay, I admit I actually can't even make one at all). My husband likes cooking, but he's always really busy and he doesn't have the same adventurous tastebuds, so mealtime in our house is very dull and redundant. On the other hand, when we travel, we love trying new things and every time we're in New York, especially at one of the amazing V-Note or Blossom restaurants, we insist we will try to eat better and cook more at home.

What better time to try this than starting out the new year, right?

We are vegetarians, so the first three meals we received are all vegetarian, but Blue Apron does do meat-based meals as well. We received Pasta e Fagioli, Warm Farro Salad, and Roasted Acorn Squash. Figuring soup couldn't be very complicated, we decided to start with Pasta e Fagioli.

Blue Apron delivers your ingredients individually proportioned and packaged. What we didn't count on was how complicated dicing produce would be for us! With an estimated cook time of 25-35 minutes, we definitely failed. It took us about two hours. You need to be aware, though, that I didn't even know what fennel really was until tonight!

Ingredients for Pasta e Fagioli

We started the pasta while we tried to figure out dicing vegetables. We have a very large kitchen, but not much counter space, so it was fun but required some creative movements on our part. We also have two cats and half the ingredients are fatal to pets - yet that wasn't stopping the cats from trying to eat the garlic chips!! The recipe cards are large and detailed and I like that they give you an idea what your food should look like, as well as what each step should look like (and how small "diced small" really is).

It was quite the complicated process, but it was also a lot of fun and it gave my husband and I something like a date night, helping each other navigate the recipe. I also liked that we were experimenting together, so no one was really to blame if we screwed up and ended up ordering takeout! :)

Blue Apron's meals are prepared for two people - you get three meals for two, so six servings, at $60 a week and you can skip weeks when the food doesn't interest you or you don't feel like cooking anything creative - but we ended up with at least four full servings. We both have giant appetites and the resulting soup could have fed a small family and still had leftovers! The food was all fresh and hearty and the recipe was clear enough that we didn't screw it up at all.

As you can see, ours doesn't look exactly like the card, but it also isn't a disaster (this is one serving of many). It tasted awesome! Unfortunately, we discovered as we were cooking that my husband hadn't known what Pasta e Fagioli was - and he doesn't like soup - so it wasn't his favorite meal, but I loved it. He also felt like it came out fresh and tasty, even if it isn't his thing, and we're both very excited to try the other two meals (which I will post here this week).

At one point, I was trying to core a fennel bulb with a cheese knife, so you can understand how inept I am in the kitchen. The whole experience not only resulted in a tasty meal, but it was a fun date and we had a good time making it. Clearly we are not really able to do this every week, but I'm sure we can only get better with time! I felt like this was a great success, for the experience, the quality, and the adventure and I strongly recommend this service - even if you only use it once in a while.

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