Every Wednesday morning, the dogs go crazy and when I open the door to see why, I find a big box from Blue Apron which contains all the foods I will prepare for the following week. I usually make a Blue Apron meal every other day (since we only get 3 meals a week). Some of them leave us with leftovers that I serve to Walt the next night.
I am loving these meals for many reasons. For one thing, we are eating better. I am not good about fixing something green when I prepare a meal, and each of these Blue Apron meals come with veggies. They are also each 700 calories or less. Since my meals tend to go heavy on the starches, this is significantly better than we normally have.
I am also eating things I have never eaten before. Several meals come with kale, which I swore I hated, but mixed in with the meals I am preparing I don't mind it. I also cooked faro for the first time the other day. I had just heard of this grain alternative the week before on the Food Network and generally am not adventurous to try something like that, but it was good in the Italian meatball soup that I prepared.
I have many strong childhood food memories, two of them unpleasant. The first was one Christmas when I was in bed with some sort of intestinal bug...I don't know if we knew it was intestinal at the time, or if we didn't find out until later. My mother had made a sort of Waldorf salad for dinner and brought me a bowl of it. Apples, celery, grapes, walnuts and some sort of binder (mayonnaise? marshmallow cream?). I ate it and in short order lost it. For years, possibly decades after that night, the sight of a similar salad gave me a headache. I can eat it again now, finally.
But the other unpleasant memory is celeriac, the root of the celery plant. I'm not a big celery eater to begin with (unless it's loaded with peanut butter, which kind of negates the low cal properties of a stalk of celery!)
I remember one family dinner at my grandmother. She had found some recipe--I think it was for a salad--that featured celeriac and decided to try it. I hated it so much that it has burned an experience into my memory banks. I can picture where I was sitting at the table, who was sitting across from me, and what the salad looked like on the plate. I was probably in high school at the time.
But celeriac seems to be a popular ingredient in Blue Angel boxes. One of the first meals I made contained a big bulb of celeriac that I boiled and mashed, like potatoes. The box even came with an information page about celeriac, which says it can be roasted, sauteed, blanched, mashed or pureed. It says that cooking "brings out celeriac's sweetness" and I found that having it mashed wasn't half bad.
Another recipe had it cut into chunks and cooked into a delicious chutney. Of course that was the night I forgot to serve the chutney, so I didn't get to taste it the way it was supposed to taste.
Another hated vegetable of my childhood was collard greens, which I remember as being gritty and not nearly as tasty as the spinach they were supposed to resemble, but with the vinegar/maple syrup glaze over roast chicken it was delicious.
I've eaten jicama, which I did not think I liked, and a variety of mushrooms--and I'm a rather timid persons when it comes to unusual mushrooms (never ate oyster mushrooms before)
We've also had a plethora of oddly named spices, all of which are told to "add as much of the spice mix as you'd like, depending on how spicy you want it." I generally add half. Once I added the whole packet to a soup mix and it was even too spicy for Walt, who loves spicy food. Blue Angel chefs tend to like their food spicy, I've learned.
The spices that we have had delivered to us include Gochugaru (Korean chile flakes), "meatball soup spice blend," "Mexican soup spice blend" (10 spices, including ground coffee--this one was the killer), "Pork Chop spice blend" (0nly 4 spices, but two of them were chiles), Sambal Oelek, Ponzu Sauce, Togarashi spice blend (only 4 spices, but one was togarashi and that must translate into "very spicy"), Golden Mountain Sauce, tamarind concentrate, harissa paste and a few milder spices that contain nothing hot.
They come in the cutest little containers or bottles that you've ever seen--looks like something from a doll's kitchen. I wish I could think of a use for them because I have this compulsion to save them, but have managed to subdue that compulsion. The only thing Blue Apron does not supply is olive oil--and I have gone through a small bottle of it since we started this adventure.
So I'm having fun with Blue Apron and am broadening my nutritional horizons. I am even learning to cook better. I cooked lamb chops yesterday (not Blue Apron) and it was the first chop that I cooked which satisfied me in...well, maybe forever. I have learned exactly HOW to cook the perfect chop.
But the boxes do pile up. Walt finally had to make a special trip to the dump yesterday because he was running out of places to store them. They'd make great boxes to pack books in but when the time comes to pack up books we will be able to get all the boxes we want!