Saturday, March 28, 2015

Blue Apron Box #2 | Review of Meals #4 - #6

I'm a tad behind with my Blue Apron posts, so I decided to do a 3 in 1.  I'll review the entire box in one post instead of splitting it up like I did with my first box.

This box was my least favorite so far.  I've just finished cooking my last meal from the 3rd box and the box that I'm discussing in this post was delivered on March 7th, so I'm a few weeks behind.  

Let me point out that when this box arrived, all of the produce appeared to be intact and nothing was visibly spoiled or wilted.  All of the ingredients were there, so I was good to go!  This week's recipes include: Miso Yuzu-Glazed Cod with Black Rice & Water Spinach, Italian Wedding Soup with Fregola Sarda & Spinach, and Za’atar-Spiced Steaks with Rutabaga-Barberry Tabbouleh & Labneh Cheese.

Blue Apron Meal #4
First up is the Miso Yuzu-Glazed Cod with Black Rice & Water Spinach. This was a very different meal.  With exception of the cod itself, I’ve never cooked with any of these ingredients before. Red Miso paste? Yuzu juice? Black rice? Water spinach? All very different.

I found the that the miso paste and soy sauce made the cod pretty salty.  The yuzu juice was tangy which was an interesting addition to the saltiness.  The flavor of the topping was so strong that the flavor of the mild cod was lost.  I think that there was a little too much ginger. The flavors were decent, but overpowering. While I couldn't taste the fish, the texture was meaty enough for me to feel like the meal was more substantial.

I enjoyed the black rice. The texture was different that white or brown rice, but I enjoyed it, it really beefed up the meal and made it more hearty.  The water spinach was yummy and lightened up the dish so that the starchy carbs were balanced with a vegetable.  We ended up with a lot of rice and spinach left over, but we didn’t eat the rest. Had we had a third piece of fish, it could have made a third meal.

The meal was pretty easy to cook. Cooking the rice freed up time to do all the chopping.  We enjoyed the dish, but it wasn’t one of our favorites.  I would rate this dish 3 forks out of 5.

Blue Apron Meal #5

The second meal of the week was Italian Wedding Soup with Fregola Sarda & Spinach.  I'm sad to report that I found this meal pretty gross. I could barely choke it down.  The raw ground turkey was a consistency I’d never experienced before, it was almost minced, or mashed? Basically it was extremely mushy, which made assembling the balls very difficult because it was extra sticky. It surely wasn't ground and it didn't look anything like the photo on the recipe card. We eat ground turkey in our house frequently and it looks nothing like this did. The consistency was a super sticky brick of raw meat I wish I could have photographed it better.   It had a funny flavor and aftertaste.

A few months ago I took a cooking class featuring soups. One of the recipes was a traditional Italian Wedding Soup and it was soooooo much better than this! With ingredients like ground turkey sausage, escarole, oregano, basil, thyme, etc - it was a thousand times better. Blue Apron's version calls for spinach. Who puts spinach in Italian Wedding? Yuck. Overall it was pretty bland. Even my husband had to give this the thumbs down.

I ended up making 23 meatballs the recipe called for 24 to 28.  The recipe calls for one whole onion I use my brain and knew that would be too much so I ended up using half the onion. The broth was a bland so I ended up adding a little bit of garlic powder and a little more salt and pepper then I would have normally used.  I was really thrown by the spinach. The spinach changed the flavors and not in a good way.  Not only didn't I like the turkey consistency, as I previously mentioned, but as I ate the dish I found that the turkey had an odd flavor to it....gross.

This recipe made two generous servings. We got 3 servings out of it, but nobody wanted to eat the 3rd serving so it got tossed.  This dish looked better than it taste. I would rate this dish 1 forks out of 5.

Blue Apron Meal #6
The third and final meal of the week was Za’atar-Spiced Steaks with Rutabaga-Barberry Tabbouleh & Labneh Cheese.  This was my favorite meal of the week. Even writing about it several weeks later, I'm remembering it. It's an Iranian-inspired meal and I enjoyed it. While he ate it, my husband felt that it was very fruity.  And it was, but I drank a nice red wine which seems to help cut the fruity flavor.

This was another meal where there were tons of ingredients that were new to me.  The seasonings on the steak was perfection. The barberries were tart and melded with the rutabaga and parsley. The rutabaga was hearty and reminded me of turnip-ish root vegetable. You may notice that I have my own garlic in the photograph. If you're wondering why that is, the bulb of garlic that I received was bad and I could only use part of it, so I opted to use my own instead.

The Lebneh cheese was another odd thing.  The cheese was mixed with lemon, garlic, and parsley. It was essentially a sauce served on the side. I didn't love it or hate it. It was something new to try, so I added some to my meal.  I personally felt that the meal was yummy without it.

The meal was very easy to cook, which is always a plus.The house just smelled amazing while cooking this meal.  I would rate this dish 5 forks out of 5.

Overall, this box wasn't our favorite. The first box was a much better selection. With any type of subscription service there are bound to be hits and misses, but I'm still happy with the service and the variety of food I get to cook.  Stay tuned to find out what I thought of our third Blue Apron delivery.

Does Blue Apron look like something you’d like to try out? Here’s your chance. Blue Apron has provided me with a few free meals for me to give to friends! As readers of my blog, you are totally my friends, so I’m going to extend the free meals to the first 3 people who reply with your email address. The only stipulation is that you must be NEW to Blue Apron. The free meal is available for first timers only! You’ll need to claim the free meal offer via email, so leave your address in this format: address at yahoo dot com.  Again the first 3 email address will get the meals! I'll only contact you to get your full name for the offer. Your information will not be shared (other than with Blue Apron).

In full disclosure, I pay for my Blue Apron subscription. Blue Apron is not paying me, and I have not gotten any money or extras for talking about Blue Apron. I like the service, so I talk about it on my blog. I will ALWAYS, be completely up front and honest with my opinions of any product or service that I try out and talk about on my blog.

Subscribe to my blog to keep up with my Blue Apron recipe reviews and to find out when I’m next able to offer free meals! 

Happy eating,

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