Sunday, August 16, 2015

Our experience with Blue Apron

Hey gang! Happy Sunday! This weekend was sales-tax-free weekend here in MA, so we celebrated by walking around a mall near our new place that we'd never been to before. I ended up getting some new clothes for school. I had never heard of tax-free weekends before I moved to the East Coast, but I think it's a nice idea!

So this past week we got a free trial of Blue Apron from my parents, who have been using the service for a while. Never heard of Blue Apron? Well, if you cook just for one or two people, you've probably come across this problem before: you find a new recipe you want to try, but it requires some obscure ingredient that you can only buy in large amounts, so you end up with way too much, and it eventually goes bad and you have to throw it out.

Blue Apron gets around that problem by sending you three recipes per week, along with the exact quantity of ingredients that you'll need. And it sends you ALL the ingredients; you only have to supply cooking oil, salt and pepper. They even sent me a pat of butter for one recipe! You can choose between a two-person and a family plan, and let them know your dietary restrictions.

The ingredients come in a refrigerated box via express shipping, so everything was in good shape, including the meat. The produce was all beautiful and perfectly ripe, and it looks like they try to get their products from small, local farms.

Let's check out the meals we got! (Sorry for the lame phone pics.)

Our first night I made North-African style beef meatballs with a squash salad and garlic toast. The meatballs were strongly seasoned and tasty, and made a good contrast with the raw squash, but the inclusion of lemon and mint in both components linked them together nicely. We found the meatballs to be a little too salty, but that was probably my fault, since I was adding seasoning along the way.

Day two was a Thai-style ginger and basil stir-fry with chicken thighs, eggplant and peppers, on top of coconut rice. This was deeeeelicious, sweet and gingery and not too spicy for me. But the star was that coconut rice...I could eat a pound of that stuff.

On day three we had ratatouille over parmesan polenta with cheesy garlic toast. The ratatouille had eggplant, tomato, bell pepper, zucchini and onion and was amazingly simple yet tasty. And polenta is another thing I could eat all day every day. I actually got quite a bit of leftovers from this one!

As far as the cooking goes, the recipes were all very easy; I think the hardest thing I had to do was make rice. Basically, if you know how to saute, you will do fine. Nothing took more than an hour to make.

The major downside to Blue Apron is the price: $60 per week for the two-person plan, or $10 per serving. (Note: you can pick and choose which weeks you receive recipes, so it's not every single week unless you want.) While I think that price point is totally reasonable for what you get, it's a bit beyond our budget at this point. But I'll definitely be keeping Blue Apron on our radar for later on--I think it's a great way to try a variety of food without wasting any produce!

What do you think--would you try this service?

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