Monday, February 01, 2016

Hello Fresh

In our latest attempt to solve the age old question of "What's for dinner?" we have decided to experiment with meal delivery services.  Hello Fresh is one example that sent us 3 vegetarian meals with portions for 2 people.  Backing up a step, in our household, I will eat most foods and don't carefully review the sodium, fat, etc., my wife is a vegetarian who is very conscience of nutritional value, my 8 year old may have a bite of foods she has seen before (but is far from an adventurous eater), and my 6 year old eats chicken nuggets, noodles, bread, strawberries, apples and yogurt.

The boxes arrived well packaged and in a timely manner last Saturday morning.  Day 1, we decided to try the eggplant stew.  This was wonderful.  Unfortunately I kind of screwed up the recipe by using the entire jar of capers (about 4 tablespoons) rather than the 1 tablespoon that was in the ingredients list.  I should have looked more carefully rather than assuming pre-measured.

Unpacking the Eggplant Stew

Eggplant Stew Served

The ingredients were all very fresh and seemed to be carefully selected.  The recipe was easy to follow and did not require any specialty cookware.  It did take me a little over an hour to prepare instead of the estimated 30 minutes, but I enjoyed the process.  I was particularly amazed at how well the couscous turned out just by adding hot water and putting a plate over the bowl.

The next dish we tried was Sweet Potato Risotto.  Given my mix up that resulted in a lot of extra sodium, my wife supervised this effort and made an executive decision to cut the vegetable stock in half.  This dish was a lot more trying.  I have never cooked with pearl barley and really did not appreciate the end stage texture.  Again preparation was about an hour and twenty minutes rather than the suggested 45 minutes.

Risotto Preparation

Risotto Served

I did not like this dish at all.  I did not care for the texture and halving the stock turned out a very bland dish.  I did like the broccolini, but that was a pretty small concession.

Going through the process with two dishes, it is kind of fun.  I enjoy cooking, but don't necessarily enjoy grocery shopping and left to mine own devices, I would eat the same things over and over again.  For a true home cook who starts with great ingredients and then comes up with a dish, this would probably be a let down.  I would like to try omnivore options.  Even with veggie options, I could not see myself doing this once a week.  Once a month would probably be a good cadence.  It is cheaper and healthier than eating out.

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