Thursday, September 1, 2016

Meal-kit: Seared Salmon with Caesar Salad

Like I mentioned in my last post, I like to cook. I even have my own sourdough starter in the fridge - but that's another story. What I'm saying is; I know my way around the kitchen. So when I read on the chef's plate recipe card -- Salmon with Ceasar salad - 20 minutes and "easiest" prep (one out of three on their rating scale) -- I couldn't help but time it.

The kit unpacked
Starting at 6:30 PM, I washed and then prepped the produce.  The greens portion was generous and I really liked the addition of some kale in the mix. I was a bit surprised to learn I needed parchment - not everyone has parchment paper just lying around, right?

By 6:45, I had the croutons and onions ready to go into the hot oven.

I was already 15 minutes into the suggested 20 -- so the pressure was on.  Frying the fish for four minutes a side and roasting the croutons for seven minutes meant I had to do some gymnastics with my one kitchen timer. And, then there was the salad - dumping two small containers, squeezing half the lemon, and putting in the fresh garlic and half the cheese - stopping once to flip the fish and once to pull the croutons out of the oven.

I finished the salad just before the salmon was done -- regretting the size of bowl I used because it was too small -- plated the meal and then checked the time - 7:14.  Sigh. 44 minutes, more than twice the 20 minute prep time estimated for this "easiest" rated dish.  
Dinner is served

Our plates were heaped high with salad and seared "Premium Catch" steelhead salmon. And there was still a quarter of the salad left in the bowl.

The verdict - WOW!  Delicious. Even though the fish was previously frozen.  The meal was wonderful.

The portions were so generous; I had leftovers for next day's lunch. So, you can teach an old cook a few new tricks.  I'm definitely going to try making salmon this way again. I'm also hoping to beat the clock on the next kit.  Piri Piri Chicken with Sweet Potato Wedges and Spinach Salad - 35 minutes and "average" rated for prep.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

So I ordered a Meal-kit

I like to cook. And I like to eat fresh and healthy meals. So, I read about food.  A lot. When I read that Canada's battleground is opening up with meal-kit services - my techie-foodie heart pounded. I liked the idea so much, I tried to get a job at HelloFresh - but that's another story.


It's a $5B market in the US.  Traditional grocery stores, catering companies, restaurants, and grocery delivery services are competing with the newest kids on the block.  The meal-kit companies. With all that competition, it's going to be interesting to watch how this plays out.

And so I tried the 50%-off-order-first-order from Chef's Plate. Ordering was easy:
  • Pick your plan - 2-Person plans cost $10.95 per person and Family plans cost $9.75.  Delivery is free for all the plans except the 2-Person 2 meal plan.
  • Pick your meals - I chose 2-Person 4 meal plan. The meal selection showed a photo and a brief description of the meal.  Clicking through, you see time estimate, ease rating, calorie count, and a list of supplies.  And they point out if it's gluten-free and/or dairy-free.
  • Pick your date - delivery is twice weekly in Calgary and varies by delivery area.

It's a subscription: as long as your subscription is active - they'll "... automatically choose meals for you each (week)."

The package arrived by Fedex Express at 12:20 PM today.

Recipe cards and welcome

Four bags, each labeled with the meal inside, were neatly tucked in.
Four bags - one for each meal
A layer, separating the bags from the ice packs had a handy reminder -there's more food under all that packaging.

special liner to help keep things cool

 chicken and fish tucked under ice packs

I repacked the bags and tucked them in the fridge. Tonight, I'll be making Seared Salmon over a Caesar salad with homemade focaccia croutons and asiago cheese.

Two more meals unpacked
Two of the meals unpacked
I'm looking forward to trying four dishes that I'd probably never try making at home. It's kind of fun getting a bag of ingredients individually portioned - like having your own sous chef. On the other hand, I can't get over the amount of packaging.  I'd also like to see labelling on sources for the food (fresh, farmed, previously frozen, country of origin...).

PS - I paused my subscription - the only way I could see how to stop future deliveries - I'm not sure that a subscription would work for me.  Like buying too much produce and having to compost it, I'm not sure I could manage regular delivery.

Sunday, June 14, 2015