Blue Apron Experience – Thumbs Up!

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Yakiniku-Glazed Eggplant with leftovers!

After two consecutive weeks of Blue Apron deliveries I have to say that this was fun, challenging, and I learned a few things.  This was actually the last of the three meals in my first delivery, but I’m posting the photo first because it was my favorite meal.  Really delicious.

I ordered the two-person vegetarian box, which means I received three meals designed to serve two people each.  I soloed on this culinary trip, so I actually had 3-4 meals per dish.  Nice!

Also, the ingredients are really superior. The only problem was that some of the fresh items, which I know could last longer if I purchased them myself, arrived spoiled or spoiled before I could use them.  Also, I substituted my own brown jasmine rice for their white.

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Be prepared to use all your prep bowls!  To keep the time down, the instructions have you prepping everything ahead.  I do this myself, but somehow I usually manage to clean as I go. At the end of every cooking session, my kitchen was trashed like the set of the tween-cooking episode of a sitcom.

Mostly, I managed to keep my cooking times to the estimates on the well-orchestrated recipe cards.

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Cherry Tomato & Onion Quiches

I actually made these for breakfast on Saturday and had the leftover one on Sunday.  The crusts were fabulous.  I really wanted to stick to the recipes, so I didn’t doctor this up with herbs like I would have, and I found it a bit bland.  Plus, half the cherry tomatoes had escaped into the shipping box, so it wasn’t as tomato-y as it could have been.  I didn’t make the side dish of zucchini and corn because it’s a lot like something I already make.

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Those are fairy tale eggplants on the upper left. Wow, they are darling, and they cook up nicely.  My second box arrived the next Friday, and I didn’t have time to cook that night, so I made the pizza for Saturday brunch.

The mozzarella was amazing. Pulled apart in milky shreds. I had to sample some before putting it on the pizza.  The zuchinni and tomatoes were for the side dish of blistered tomatoes, zucchini, currents and white wine vinegar.  My least favorite dish, but interesting.  I wished I’d saved the tomatoes for later.  They were delicious on their own.

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Fairy Tale Eggplant and Mozzarella Pizza

I was surprised that the small amount of tomato sauce that adhered to the slices of eggplant made for such a satisfying distribution of flavor.  Fresh basil, how can you go wrong?  This was a four-meal dish.

 

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Chilled Hiyashi Chuka Ramen with Thief

This was another of my favorite dishes, although I omitted the egg when I had the leftovers (twice!).  I am usually a big fan of a hot meal, but this was really good.  I’m glad I had the experience of cooking and chilling the ramen noodles (by simply rinsing in cold water).  Not difficult, I just probably wouldn’t have tried them cold.  The dressing is easily reproducible, but involved two tablespoons of white sugar, so I’ll come up with an alternate for that.

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Summer Vegetable & Red Rice Salad

This recipe prompted some pondering about what exactly makes something a salad. Seems it is pretty much a wide open category.  Doesn’t even have to be chilled.  This salad and German potato salad are good examples.

I liked this dish pretty well, but by the time I got around to making it (Wednesday), the cherry tomatoes were inedible, so I scavenged a few from my ramen leftovers.

The goat cheese was maybe the best I’ve ever had. Creamy and amazing, and it was hard to do as instructed and add white wine vinegar to it to stretch it.  I would do it with a lesser goat cheese, but not with this goat cheese again.

Overall:

I enjoyed being reminded how worthwhile it is to blanch and shock green beans.  I mean, really. Fabulous.  And that eggplant isn’t all that mysterious. And that just cooling my jets while the veggies brown without being stirred is a very good thing.

Also learned how to deal with panko breadcrumbs.  Duh, right?  I could have looked it up online a million times, but I never thought it was worth it.  It was worth it.  Delicious topper to this odd dish.

So, yes, this was a lot of fun. A bit of pressure because of the boxes arriving late on the Friday afternoons of busy weekends.  If you’re a complete novice, I’d say do this, but with a partner.  It’s a lot on your own.  If you’re experienced, it’s nice to be reminded that going the extra distance (like toasting cashews with herbs and lime zest for first eggplant dish) is really worth it for guests.  And maybe for yourself, too!

Sadly, I won’t be sticking with the club on a regular basis because I try to eat whole-food-plant based, which doesn’t include all this oil and dairy.  There was only one egg and dairy free meal out of the six.  I know, that’s a lot to ask!  Tasty as it is…too much cheese.

It’s Friday, and I’m not getting a box of fun things to cook.  But Blue Apron is really nice about it and they will let you start and stop your subscription pretty easily.   You can select meats, fish or veggies and you can opt out of types of meats you don’t want.

I will probably order another veggie box when I have visitors coming, just to up my game!

 

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How Sweet It Is

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JR’s Dairy Sweet in Wolf Lake, IN. Next door to where my father’s service station was until the late 70s.

Kitty and I went to the drive in for dinner on July 20th. Nice to sit outside in the evening.

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You can get carhop service!
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View from the table I shared with Kitty. 
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Yes, I ate deep fried food. Mushrooms and a grilled cheese with tomato and pickles. We split a root beer float and hot fudge sundae. Pig out!
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I really like this shot of the basket of hanging flowers.
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Soft serve rules!

Historic Hall’s

I know, that looks like a grammar problem in the title, but in this case, I’m talking about Hall’s restaurants in Fort Wayne, IN. Kitty and I saw an article in the Journal-Gazette about the Hall family’s 11 restaurants, so when we drove over to the airport to pick up the Kindle I left on the plane Saturday morning, we stopped by the one on Bluffton Road.

Hydra and I and a lot of our theater friends used to hang out at Hall’s Gas House downtown during happy hour and after shows. The one thing Hydra asked me to bring back from Indiana was one of their open-faced prime rib sandwiches.

The Factor was a family favorite for special dinners, and the first place that Hydra, my parents and I shared a meal. We didn’t go to the drive in on Coliseum Boulevard much (we went to Azar’s Big Boy), but it’s nice to see it still there next to the Rollerdome.

Glad to see that they are thriving. The drive-in at 1502 Bluffton Road is the oldest of the bunch. It opened in 1946! Glad to see that they kept the cool interior design intact. It’s fun to sit in the round room.The service was very friendly and flexible (anyone can order from the senior menu with its smaller portions) and the patrons included lots of regulars who stopped by each other’s tables while we were there.