Gourmet Meals in a Box: Blue Apron, Week 1

Last week I received my first shipment from Blue Apron, another of the ingredients-and-recipes-delivered-to-your-home services. It was easy to sign up and choose which delivery day worked best for me, and I can start/stop deliveries at any time–there is no contract or commitment. The box was delivered a day earlier than scheduled, and luckily, this turned out fine. However, if I had been travelling (like the week before) and not been home, all of that food could have spoiled. But I was home, and the spoils were mine!

In the box were the ingredients to prepare three recipes, each recipe providing two servings (dinner for two). I should have measured the box from Plated, because it looks to me that the Blue Apron box is smaller, which I like. Reduce, reuse, recycle! The packing material seems less voluminous, too. Here’s what it looked like inside the box.

Open cardboard box with foil bubble wrap inside
It looks spacey…in a non-ditzy way. Ha!
Inside the cardboard box are fresh vegetables, spices, and meats
All the fresh goodness inside the box!

Beneath the fresh veggies and spices were the three packages of meat set atop two frozen gel packs. As with the first service, I signed up for three recipes per week, and the eats they sent me were:

Dukkah-Spiced Salmon with Spring Vegetable & Oyster Mushroom Ragout

The recipe card said 35-45 minutes. When I read through the recipe, the actual cooking time was about 25 minutes, so Blue Apron was estimating a quick 10 to 20 minute prep. Apparently, they estimated that I also have a kitchen staff, or at the very least a sous chef, because I finally got to enjoy the meal 1.5 hours later. Sheesh! I am a little slow with the slicing and dicing action, but an extra 45 minutes is borderline ridiculous. Especially when I’m hungry sliding into hangry. Good thing the finished product was quite tasty! There was a whole lot of fennel involved, which you would think could be overpowering, but it wasn’t. There were enough other flavors that it all came together perfectly.

Blue Apron Dukkah-Spiced Salmon with Spring Vegetable & Oyster Mushroom Ragout
The Salmon was flavorful!

Laotian Larb Gai with Sticky Rice, Peanuts & Mint

This recipe had a cooking time listed of 15-25 minutes. Again, my feeble kitchen skills mocked me, but not nearly as badly as with the first recipe. This dish was so incredibly delicious that I ate until I didn’t feel well. Yep, the old self-inflicted yucky tummy syndrome. I’ll never learn. The ingredients included lime juice and zest, red onion, mint, chile pepper, and “Golden Mountain Sauce.” Nutrition labeling would be super helpful to know exactly what said product is, and for me, how much sugar it contains.

Blue Apron Laotian Larb Gai with Sticky Rice, Peanuts & Mint
I ate too much of this the first night. I couldn’t stop!

Sirloin Tip Steaks with New Potato, Asparagus & Radish Hash

Lastly, beef. Mmmm BEEF! This recipe included one ingredient that surprised me–radishes. I love radishes…they remind me of my childhood. Dad and Mom always grew them in our garden, but we only ate them on salads or as a snack, always raw. I never thought to cook a radish, nor did I realize how mild a radish becomes when you do cook it. The dish was hearty and flavorful enough, but then it was topped with a pesto sauce made with capers that was delicious! I had some beef left over and made steak and eggs for dinner one night and threw a dollop of the pesto on that too. Yum!

Blue Apron Sirloin Tip Steaks with New Potato, Asparagus & Radish Hash
The pesto was the perfect complement.

On the 1 to 5 scale, here’s how I scored the first week of Blue Apron:

Delivery and Packaging – 4

While I like the fact that Blue Apron uses smaller packaging, fewer plastic bottles, and a thinner insulating material, they delivered a day early which could have been disastrous. Anything else in the world I order online can be delivered a day early and I will be elated, but when it is perishable food, unless Blue Apron knows my personal schedule (which they do not), the box needs to be delivered on the day agreed upon. It seems wrong to knock a point off for being early, but there it is.

Quality of Ingredients – 4

Everything seemed to be of good quality and was certainly flavorful. As I mentioned with the previous service, nutrition labeling on the ingredients which are not fresh fruits or vegetables would be very helpful. It is important for me to know the sugar content of anything and everything.

Ease of Preparation – 4

There wasn’t anything terribly difficult about these recipes, however, the time involved was more than I prefer. The first recipe had me slicing and dicing 10 ingredients. 10! It was 8:30 by the time I got home from work, walked and fed the dog, went to yoga, and made one phone call. I was eating dinner at 10:02 p.m. That’s too late for me.

Taste – 5

Each of the three recipes were delicious, and they were dishes that I never would have thought I could prepare before I started trying these home delivery services. It’s pretty impressive what a simple girl with a small kitchen can do when everything is delivered to her doorstep!

Value/Price – 4

The cost of this box is $60, and that is for three recipes, each providing dinner for two. That comes to $10 per plate, and I pretty much got two servings from each recipe (aside from the one extra serving of beef), so the $10 per plate is accurate. This is quality food that tastes great, and it was delivered to my door. In my world, this is a deal.

There’s my review of the second meals-in-a-box service I tried. Let me know if you have any questions–I’ll be happy to answer what I can! Until next week, when I review my second box of Blue Apron…