I love to cook. It’s a hobby that is both methodical and creative, satisfying and soulful. Whether it’s the precision of mincing or the spontaneity of improvising, there’s a yin and yang that has always left me coming back for seconds.
But that’s where the love letter to Bon Appetit ends, because I don’t love all the things that go along with cooking—midweek meal concepting, grocery shopping for obscure ingredients, and of course, dishes.
Enter Blue Apron, a meal subscription service that delivers fresh ingredients for three recipes of your choice to your door. Before I tried Blue Apron, I was skeptical because, ya know, I was someone who actually knew how to cook. I did not need instructions on how to peel a carrot.
But when a friend gifted me three free meals to try it out, I figured why not? For $59 a week it might be a great way to involve Julie in the cooking process and take some pressure off myself. Plus since we both travel so often, I was relieved how easy it was to skip weeks and manage your menu.
First Shipment: Our first Blue Apron arrived on our scheduled day of the week and was conveniently left on the stoop like any other package (no silly “sign for it” shit). The ingredients were prettily presented, with ice packs surrounding the perishable items. Three recipe cards paired ingredients with meals and had simple step-by-step instructions on the back. I had to admit, I was pretty excited!
Meal One: North African Shrimp and Couscous
The first meal we tried was really tasty and fun to make. Julie and I both prepped the veggies and even learned a new easier way to de-stem kale. It took about 15 minutes to prep and 25 minutes to cook. The ingredients were fresh, the portions were plenty and the flavors were tasty. I have to admit it was odd for me not to taste and improvise along the way, but I wanted to try the recipe just the way Blue Apron intended.
Meal Two: Barley and Carmelized Leek Miso Ramen
The second meal we tried wasn’t quite as successful as the first, but it was still good. The recipe oddly called for squash which didn’t match my flavor expectations for miso, and I wanted more broth. The recipe title also made me think it would have actual barley in it, but rather it was just a barley miso paste I added near the end. For $10 a serving, my local ramen shop definitely could have made a better meal.
Meal Three: Browned Butter Mushroom Cavatelli
Our last meal was a really simple yet delicious preparation of mushroom and kale with fresh cavatelli pasta. The key is not to be afraid to add S&P along the way and taste you go, as you would with a normal recipe. The meal also called for a soft-boiled egg, but seeing that I’m not much of an egg eater, we passed on that. Again, it would be helpful if the recipe title included all the main ingredients, as the egg was a bit of an unwelcomed surprise. But all in all, it was another good meal.
With Thanksgiving around the corner and travel the following week, we’re skipping the next two Blue Apron deliveries. But we love the concept and hope it continues to get more meals right than wrong. If so, we’ll welcome Blue Apron in our bitchin’ kitchen!
And thankfully Julie is still happy to do the dishes.