Blue Apron Meal #12: Flank Steak au Jus with Roasted Cauliflower, Pickled Baby Turnips & Watercress

Hi Folks! I made my third and last meal from this week’s Blue Apron delivery and it did not disappoint! For those of you who have followed along, you know that I was in search of an easy (and affordable) was to get out of my recipe rut and a friend of mine suggested Blue Apron. This is not a sponsored post – I am simply sharing my kitchen adventures (and their yummy recipes) with you for giggles in the hopes you find them helpful. And because I need a hobby other than wine.

On the menu: Flank Steak au Jus with Roasted Dijon Cauliflower, Pickled Baby Turnips & Watercress

Let’s see how it went! I preheated the oven to roast the cauliflower and got to prepping. I peeled and quartered the turnips, peeled and minced the garlic, chopped the tarragon leaves, quartered the lemon and cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets.

Blue Apron Flank Steak

Next I pickled the turnips by boiling the smashed garlic, sugar and a cup of water with some pepper and a big pinch of kosher salt. I placed the quartered turnips in a bowl with the red wine vinegar and then poured the pickling liquid over them and set it aside.

Blue Apron Flank Steak - Turnips

I got the cauliflower ready for roasting by drizzling with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper and then popped it in the oven. Meanwhile I made the sauce for the roasted cauliflower by whisking together the Dijon mustard, tarragon, juice of two lemon wedges, salt and pepper and olive oil. Once the cauliflower was nice and roasted, I let it cool for a few minutes and then coated it with the sauce. Yum!

Blue Apron Flank Steak - Cauliflower

Next I seared the steak and made the jus. These steps weren’t all that pretty so I failed to take pics. It was super easy though and smelled yummy. Finally, I made a quick watercress salad and mixed in some of the pickled turnips, sliced up some steak once it had rested for a bit, topped with the Jus and dinner was on!

Blue Apron Flank Steak

I will say that the steak was a little pinker than I would normally make it, but it was heavenly and actually just right. It would have been tough if I had cooked it any longer. All of the flavors worked together beautifully – the peppery watercress with the pickled turnips were nice and fresh, the roasted cauliflower with the tang of the dijon was fantastic, and the steak au Jus. Yum. Just yum.

Portion wise, this meal was a steal – resulting in 4 generous servings at only $5 each! Well done once again Blue Apron! Well done.

I am not sure what fun and exciting recipes will be in my next Blue Apron delivery, which should arrive on Thursday. I do know it will be 3 of these 6 possibilities! I am hoping for the steak tacos, chicken sliders and corn & pea fritters but they all look yummy! Stay tuned and I will let you know how it goes.

Cheers!

Gwen

Blue Apron Meal #11: Chicken Spring Ramen

Hey everybody! I reached the end of week 4 in my Blue Apron experiment and this week’s recipes did not disappoint!

Overall, I am still super happy with the service and have no plans to stop receiving shipments! I did change my schedule to every-other-week for a bit, just to give myself a break from cooking and maybe eat a frozen pizza. Don’t judge.

On the menu today: Chicken Tsukune Spring Ramen

I must say, I was really excited to make this one. Nothing like the comfort of a yummy noodle bowl! The ingredients were nice and fresh and pretty, prep was super easy. I minced the garlic and the ginger, cleaned and quartered the spinach, sliced the scallions, zested and quartered the lemon and cleaned and sliced up the mushrooms.

Next, I added the panko breadcrumbs, salt and pepper to the ground chicken and made the meatballs. Tip on this step – keep the chicken nice and cold just up until you are ready to make the meatballs, then make them quickly with wet hands to avoid a gooey, chickeny mess.

I heated a few teaspoons of oil in a large pot and sautéed the meatballs.

Blue Apron Spring Ramen

Once the meatballs browned I transferred them to a warm plate while I made the broth. I added ginger, garlic and white parts of the scallions to the pot with the chicken drippings and cooked them until soft and fragrant.

Next I added in the chicken demi-glace, soy sauce, lemon zest, juice of three lemon wedges and the mushrooms and quickly followed with 4 cups of water to make the broth. I added in about a teaspoon of sesame oil to add a little more flavor. As the broth boiled and then simmered, I cooked the fresh ramen noodles in a small pot of salted water.

I tossed the spinach with the juice from remaining lemon wedges with some salt and pepper in a medium bowl, then it was time to serve it up! I added some drained noodles to the bowl, then covered them in broth, meatballs, some of the dressed spinach, sesame seeds and the green parts of the scallions.

Blue Apron Spring Ramen

So pretty! And so yummy! This dish was phenomenal – so light and fresh, yet so full of flavor. And I must say that it was even better as leftovers on day two!  I will definitely be making this again.

College ramen all grown up! This was another success and a recipe I wouldn’t have likely tried on my own. Thank you Blue Apron!

Next up on the menu: Flank Steak au Jus with Roasted Cauliflower, Pickled Baby Turnips and Watercress

Stay tuned. I will let you know how it goes! And just a reminder, I am in no way sponsored by or affiliated with Blue Apron. I am just a fan of their service and want to share my kitchen adventures (good or otherwise) with you all. Thanks for joining me!

Cheers!

Gwen

 

Stitch Fix – June 2014

Well folks, I got my second Stitch Fix this week! I was so excited when I arrived home from another long day in corporate zombieland to see that lovely little box on my doorstep!

If you don’t know what Stitch Fix is, it is an online personal shopping service. You complete your style Profile, link to any Pinterest Style Boards you may have, and their personal stylists handpick a monthly “Fix” of five items based on your tastes and budget. You can buy what you like and return the things you don’t. If you buy at least one item, they waive the $20 styling fee and if you buy all five items you get 25% off the entire Fix!

I got my first Fix last month, and I liked it enough to see what month two would bring. As you dear readers may know, I am in the process of finding my new life rhythm – new recipes, new projects, new ideas, new styles – and hopefully a little new self-esteem boosting along the way. And as long as we’re being honest here folks, a few monthly subscription boxes are a heck of a lot cheaper than therapy! Just sayin.

Opening the pretty box is almost as fun as seeing what’s inside!

 

Here’s what I got in this month’s Fix: Stitch Fix June 2014

  1. Danya Beaded Stretch Bracelet in Navy by Jill Michael
  2. Tony Cotton Cargo Skinny Pant in Black by Sanctuary
  3. Suzie Stripe & Dot Knit Shirt in Navy by Kensie
  4. Ace Swiss Dot & Floral Tie-Waist Blouse by Daniel Rainn
  5. Palermo Knit Tank in Cobalt by Sanctuary

So how did it all turn out? Grab your vino and let’s find out!

The bracelet.

Jill Michael Danya Bracelet

Well folks, I need more bracelets as much as I need more wine, scarves or cardigan sweaters. But I also know and embrace my weaknesses. I didn’t need this, but once I tried it on I had to have it. The stones are a beautiful deep navy blue, are a nice weight and high quality, and really pop with the dainty links of sterling silver. It is great alone or stacked with my go-to Alex & Ani bangles. I had never heard of Jill Michael Jewelry, but her work is beautiful and I think I may just have to add this little number to my collection next. Status = KEPT.

The cargo pants.

I was excited and nervous about the pants – as any woman is about trying on pants in general. I was in need of some good summer casual pants, but you just never know how pants will (or won’t) fit. I was simply amazed that these fit perfectly and are actually kinda flattering for cargo pants! They are nice and light, super soft and will be great dressed up or down. The price was a little higher than I would have liked at $88, but when a girl finds pants that fit and flatter… Status = KEPT.

The knit top.

I so wanted to love this one! The material was so soft and I just loved the stripe and tiny dot print. It was really comfy, but just so-so and a little sloppy in its fit. I just couldn’t justify the $38 price tag. Status = SENT BACK.

The dot and floral blouse.

I really wanted to love this one as well. The fabric and the pattern were just too pretty. Sadly, the top arrived missing a button (which I did find hiding in the box). while it was kinda cute and I could have sewn the button back on, I would have had to layer it with another tank underneath because of the spacing of the buttons. I was on the fence, but in the end couldn’t justify the $68 price. Status = SENT BACK.

The knit tank.

I’ll be honest here folks, I pretty much knew that this was going to be a no-go when I took it out of the box. The color was amazing, but the weave of the knit… um, welcome back 1988? Tank meets friendship bracelet? Bleh. And then there was the fit (and the reason there is no picture of me in this top). It was just not right. Status = SENT BACK FAST.

So, overall my second Fix wasn’t as great as I would have liked, but it was still worth it. I ended up with new pants and a new bracelet – one item I needed and the other that I just wanted! Not to shabby. I cannot wait to see what I get next month. Stay tuned and I will let you know how it goes!

And if you have wondered about Stitch Fix, you should at least give it a try – I think you will like it. I am in no way sponsored to share my opinions and you are by no means obligated to follow the referral links in this post. But if you do I will be incredibly grateful for the credit and will send you virtual thanks and hugs!

Cheers!

Gwen

 

Blue Apron Meal #10: Mixed Mushroom Toasts with Lemon-Basil Mayo & Tomato Salad

Hey there folks! So I am now in week 4 of my Blue Apron Experiment and am absolutely loving it!

The quality of the ingredients has been excellent overall (and in the case of the pork-gone-bad, their customer service refunded the cost of the entire meal immediately), the recipes have been simple and easy to follow and the value of the meals has been great with most making 3-4 portions versus only 2 as they claim.

There has not been a recipe I haven’t liked, and most I have absolutely loved.  The Pan-Fried Orange Shrimp from Meal #1 started this whole adventure with a bang and the potatoes in Meal #2 were just heavenly. The Fresh Beet Pasta is still my favorite so far, followed by the delicious summery comfort of the Fresh Gnocchi with Baby Zucchini and Brown Butter Sauce. The most adventurous recipe so far, Mushroom Steam Buns with Miso Butter & Japanese Purple Sweet Potato Salad, turned out to be absolutely wonderful!

Friday’s meal was no exception! After another painful week in corporate zombie-land (this one was particularly painful and zombie-like with the news of my company being acquired – eek), I was in need of some serious unwinding and some yummy comfort food. Deep sigh. Cue vino.

On the menu: Mixed Mushroom Toasts with Lemon-Basil Mayo & Bibb Lettuce and Tomato Salad

I was so excited to try this out. The prep was simple, bright and colorful! I chopped up all the pretty mushrooms, diced the shallot, picked the basil and thyme of their stems and chopped them up, separated the lettuce leaves, zested the lemon and quartered it, cut the gorgeous fresh tomato into wedges and sliced a piece of bread from the soft pullman loaf.

Blue Apron Mixed Mushroom Toasts

I got the tomatoes marinating in the red wine vinegar, half the shallot, some olive oil and salt and pepper.  I made the lemon-basil mayo with the garlic paste, lemon zest, basil, juice of two lemons and some salt and pepper. I sautéed the mushrooms with the thyme and remaining shallot then set them aside to toast the slice of bread in all the yummy goodness that was left over from the mushrooms.

My Friday zombie brain resulted in my forgetting to take pics of the middle steps. Oops.

I plated up a nice simple salad with a few bibb lettuce leaves and some of the marinated tomatoes. I took the perfectly toasted slice of bread, layered on the yummy lemon-basil and garlic mayo and then on went the gorgeous mushrooms!

Friday night comfort was served!

Blue Apron Mixed Mushroom Toasts

I must say, this meal was superb! So simple, yet so yummy and full of big flavors. Well done Blue Apron! You continue to surprise me and keep me out of my recipe rut! This recipe resulted in at least 4 generous portions (and a perfect Saturday brunch meal) with more still in the fridge calling to me! So overall a super deal at $5 a meal!

I cannot wait to finish all the yummy leftovers so I can try out the next recipes on this week’s menu:

Stay tuned to see how it goes!

Cheers!

 

Blue Apron Meal #9: Shaved Fennel & Pecorino Salad with Lollo Rosso & Farro

Hey folks! Week 3 of my Blue Apron experiment continues with a nice summer salad.

I know I have told you this in the past, but I want to remind you dear readers that I am in no way sponsored to review my Blue Apron experiences, I am doing so solely to share in my recipe adventures and to expand my hobbies beyond wine. Pinky-swear promise.

On Thursday night’s menu: Shaved Fennel & Pecorino Salad with Lollo Rosso, Farro & Lemon Vinaigrette.

How beautiful are these ingredients?

Blue Apron Shaved Fennel & Pecorino Salad

Prep was super easy and pretty. I started by cooking up the farro in a medium pot of salted water. I rough chopped the Lollo Rosso (a gorgeous Italian lettuce that I sure hope I can find locally) and the watercress. I quartered the lemon and thinly sliced up the fennel and put it in a little bath of ice water with some lemon juice to keep it from browning. I chopped up the parsley and diced the shallot and halved the gorgeous heirloom cherry tomatoes.

Blue Apron Shaved Fennel & Pecorino Salad

Once the farro was all cooked, I drained it and put it in the fridge to cool. I toasted the yummy sunflower seeds and set them aside.

Next I made the simple (but absolutely lovely) vinaigrette by combining the honey, shallot and juice of three lemon wedges. I whisked in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and had a taste. While it was yummy as-is, I decided to deviate from the recipe slightly and add in a few tablespoons of champagne vinegar. Yum! I set the dressing aside and lightly toasted the sunflower seeds.

Blue Apron Shaved Fennel & Pecorino Salad

It was time to assemble the salad. I drained the fennel and mixed it along with the greens, the parsley, tomatoes, sunflower seeds and farro (note that I only used half of the cooked farro in the salad to lighten it up a little), then I tossed it all in the yummy vinaigrette with a little salt and pepper. Easy peasy. And so pretty.

Blue Apron Shaved Fennel & Pecorino Salad

I topped my salad with some gorgeous shaved ribbons of pecorino romano and dinner was served!

Blue Apron Shaved Fennel & Pecorino Salad

This salad was really tasty and surprisingly hearty with a robust mix of flavors. The Lollo Rosso was slightly bitter, balanced by the earthy farro and complimented by the lovely crisp fennel, peppery watercress, sweet and juicy cherry tomatoes, tangy vinaigrette and the perfect nutty saltiness of the sunflower seeds and silky ribbons of pecorino romano. This recipe made 4 generous portions and actually kept really well – I enjoyed leftovers for lunch in zombie-land two days in a row!

Well done Blue Apron, well done! You continue to surprise me!

Next up on the menu:

Looks yummy! Stay tuned to find out how it goes!

Cheers!

 

 

Blue Apron Meal #8: Mushroom Steam Buns with Miso Butter & Japanese Purple Sweet Potato Salad

Howdy folks! Week 3 of my Blue Apron experiment continued with a very different and exciting recipe! I must say, I am loving all the new foods and techniques I am trying thanks to this service – not to mention all the yummy leftovers!

On the menu: King Trumpet Mushroom Steam Buns with Miso Butter & Japanese Purple Sweet Potato Salad

Let’s see how it went! Or not.

Well dear readers, turns out I was so excited to try this new recipe that I completely forgot to take pics while it was in the works. Oops. I did snap one at the end, so you do get to see how it all turned out, but I will only be able to tell you how things went down. You can check out professional step-by-step pictures here. Whew, thanks for saving me Blue Apron!

Prepping was super easy. I peeled and chopped the gorgeous purple sweet potato (sure hope I can find these locally), diced the mushrooms, sliced the scallions, chopped up the thai basil, then zested and quartered the lime.  I am bummed I don’t have pictures to share – it was all so colorful and pretty.

I cooked the potatoes and then let them hang out in the fridge to cool. Next I made the miso butter, which was a simple combo of butter, miso paste, lime zest and a little water.

I sautéed the diced mushrooms and then added in the white parts of the scallions and a sauce of cornstarch, soy sauce and water.

Then I made the MOST DELICIOUS POTATO SALAD I have ever eaten. Seriously folks, you have to try this at home. It was simply amazing! Once the gorgeous purple potatoes were nice and cool, I added in the sesame oil, mayo, rice vinegar, green parts of the scallions and the juice from two lime wedges. I seasoned it with some salt and pepper and tried not to gobble it all down immediately.

Finally I steamed up some of the most deliciously sweet and yummy chinese buns and dinner was served!

Blue Apron Mushroom Steam Buns

This meal was simply amazing. It was something I never would have made on my own, was super easy, but had the most remarkable combination of flavors and textures. The steam buns were light but super rich and sweet. The miso butter was just heavenly for dipping. And that potato salad. Yum. Like I said, make it now! You will not be disappointed.

The recipe made 3+ really generous portions so for $20 total the meal was a steal. This is now my third favorite Blue Apron experiment, surpassed only by the incredible fresh beet pasta and the sinfully delicious fresh gnocchi with brown butter sauce.

Next up on the menu, a nice summery salad:

Stay tuned! I will let you know how it goes.

Cheers!

Blue Apron Meal #7: Seared Pork Medallions with Rhubarb Chutney & Sauteed Freekah

Hey folks! Hope you have all had a good week. Sunday here and time to get you caught up on week 3 of my Blue Apron experiment. So far, each week has been an adventure in new recipes and ingredients and the service has been great. This week was of only one exception (which I will tell ya about shortly) but in the end I am still really happy with my Blue Apron experience!

On the menu: Seared Pork Medallions with Rhubarb Chutney & Sauteed Freekah. And drumroll… we finally get to learn what the heck freekah is! Let’s see how it went…

Six meals into my experiment with Blue Apron deliveries and this was the first quality issue I encountered. Boo. As I started to open the pork tenderloin medallions I noticed that the color of the meat was funky and found there were itty bitty holes in the packaging. But fear not, folks, the meal continued!

And bravo to Blue Apron for excellent customer service! I sent a message about the pork and they responded almost immediately, crediting me $20 for the entire meal!

So, after a quick trip to the shop to pick up some center-cut chops (no tenderloin to be found). I was back at it in the kitchen.

Vino was poured. Duh.

Blue Apron Seared Pork Medallions

Prep was quick and colorful. I started by cooking the freekah, which dear readers turns out to be a middle-eastern super grain from roasted green wheat. It cooks up just like quinoa. Next, I started the rhubarb chutney with the ginger, honey, lemon zest and some lemon juice. It smelled fabulous!

Blue Apron Seared Pork Medallions

And while it started out pretty… the chutney was a fail. The flavor was great, but the texture not so much. Lesson learned – I should have peeled the tough strings off the rhubarb before cooking. Fortunately, I had some applesauce in the pantry to I added some lemon juice and a little ginger to it and it did the trick!

Next, I seared up the pork chops. I forgot to take a pic of them cooking, so just go with me here folks. Pork chops, pan, a little olive oil and some salt & pepper. Easy peasy.

Next, I toasted up the chopped almonds in the reserved pork drippings, added in the asparagus and sautéed them for a few minutes, then added in the currants, cooked freekah and thyme. Note that I only used half of the thyme called for in the recipe since it is a potent little herb, and it was still a little more than I would have liked.

Blue Apron Seared Pork Medallions

Dinner was served! And I must say, it was pretty yum! Pork and chutney hiccups aside, the flavors were great and the meal was super-duper easy to make. Since I got a full credit from Blue Apron, the meal resulted in 3 good-sized portions for the price of a few pork chops. Not bad!

Blue Apron Seared Pork Medallions

So, another yummy meal thanks to Blue Apron. This one wasn’t as exciting as some of the recent recipes, but will be a good go-to when I get a hankering for pork chops.

Next up from this week’s menu:

And in the next box:

I must say I am pretty excited about this week’s recipes! Stay tuned to see how it goes.

Cheers!