All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015
To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.
First of all- CONGRATULATIONS to the LGBT community! The Supreme Court upheld gay marriage so – now – we can finally just say MARRIAGE, for everyone. That Jesus meme, above, really reduces the objections to gay marriage for the farcical horseshit that they are. So – bravo to the LGBT community for a win over bigotry!
Now – on to this gnocchi. My good friend, Jackie O, VERY GENEROUSLY gifted me three meals from Blue Apron. Thanks, Jackie O! You gifted me a food adventure! AND – at least three blog posts that require no thought or inventiveness from me. Whew!
They have a meat or vegetarian option so, obviously, I chose the vegetarian. Here is what showed up at my door yesterday:
Organized! Pretty! Exciting!!
I decided to make the Spring Pea Gnocchi. There were lots of fresh ingredients portioned perfectly to make this dish for two. They gnocchi were fluffy & soft & I wanted to eat them at their freshest – hence my selecting that recipe first. I had never heard of or seen garlic scapes – which are, basically, scallions that taste like garlic. I assembled & prepared the produce as instructed.
I boiled the gnocchi & drained it & made the sauce. My first issue was the suggestion of two tablespoons of olive oil to saute the scallions & scapes. That seemed high to me so I used only 1 TBS. When it came time to add the grated Parmesan – the portion they provided also seemed high – and I am a gal trying to drop a few LBs – so I cut that cheese in half, too. I did not, however, think to cut the water by half so the sauce was pretty thin & I could never get the Parmesan to fully melt & incorporate…maybe my fault for tweaking the ingredients/directions.
Another direction I ignored was the suggestion to use a non-stick skillet to brown the gnocchi. I like my chrome-looking pan more & it photographs well – so I used that, instead. Mistake. Before the veggies could soften – I was burning the fuck out of the gnocchi & at risk of mashing them into a mashed potato thing.
So – I transferred it all to a non-stick pan & completed the cooking process. I plated a single serving (because each recipe is for two) and did my best to photograph it on my stove top. I was starving & taking photos was the last thing I wanted to do but – if you wanna blog you gotta photograph. It is a curse.
It tasted pretty good – I will admit – but it has a pretty high calorie count at 560 per serving and, I must say, the cooking process was no simpler than any other recipe I might make – except that the portions are pre-measured. It took about an hour before I was eating & then a good twenty minutes of clean-up, afterward – and that burned pan is still soaking.
So – is it easy – easier than just making your own recipes? Only if measuring things makes you want to shoot yourself in the face. I guess you get to skip the shopping for things – which is nice – and you have no leftover portions of stuff to leave until they rot in your fridge. But – on the down side – the vegetarian version offers no options or opportunity to customize the selections – so your menu is set & inflexible. Plus – vegetarian meals often cost less that the $10 per person you pay for each meal on this plan. HERE is the menu I will be getting next week – Black Bean & Red Quinoa Enchiladas, Fried Green Tomato Burgers & Mozzarella & Barley Stuffed Zucchini. I am pretty sure I could make all those things at home for less than $20 a meal. Another issue for me is that I live alone. Which means I eat each meal 2x – meaning my dinners are booked 6 nights a week. As a blogger – a food blogger – that shit ain’t gonna cut it.
So – while it might work for you – Blue Apron is not a fit for me. I mean – my other menu items THIS week are a Grilled Brie Sandwich & Szechuan Tofu & Long Beans. One – I am not a huge tofu fan – despite the success of my awesome Vegan Tofu Chilaquiles with 5-Minute Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce – seen below.
And two – I would never eat so many heavy meals in a week & I pretty much never eat bread – which brings me to the nail in Blue Apron’s coffin: they delivered 4 – count’em FOUR – loaves of bread. Airy, chewy & totally unyummy bread. The kind that has absolutely no crispiness or flavor. Look at it.
It is exactly as lame as it looks. Not even worthy of being made into garlic bread. Yet, after I cleaned up from the gnocchi – it was like 9:30p – shockingly late for me to be doing my post-dinner settling in – and my brain began quietly flashing the word BRIE in my head. Brie….brie. SHUT UP – I told my brain. Brie. Brie. STOP IT. BRIE. BRIE. Fuck off! BRIEBRIEBRIEBRIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then- I realized. The brie was not calling from my head. It was calling from INSIDE THE HOUSE! There was brie – IN MY FRIDGE! Brie for the Goddamn Grilled Brie Sandwiches I was supposed to eat two times in the next few days.
That cunting brie in the fridge was calling. BRIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Coaxing. Taunting. Demanding to be acknowledged. To be heard. To be EATEN!
And I am weak. I would never be foolish enough to stock my house with things like bread & cheese – especially after my admitted obsession with tortilla cheese pizzas. I never buy junk food because red wine, a weak will & junk food under the same roof are a calamity waiting to happen. I know. I have seen the carnage. Carnage like the roof of my mouth seared by Family-Size Bag Dorito-induced chemical burns or hanging in shreds from an orgy of reduced-fat chips & shitty powdered onion dip (made with yogurt to save calories). Yes – of course – the champagne involved typically dulls my sense of shame in the immediate aftermath of these blood baths but my scale is always there in the morning to bear witness to my gluttony & chide me for my shallowness of character.
So – yeah. Fuck it. Fuck you. I got up & got that brie out of the fridge and without even the decency to let it warm to room temperature – I placed it on the table & sat down in front of it. I tried to rip off a chunk of the uncrustiest bread ever but it moved in my hands like a Stretch Armstrong – rubbery & flexible. But it was no match for me. I had low-end, hard & cold brie in front of me & I was going to eat it. Just SOME of it – settle the fuck down. I dug a nail into a loaf to create a perforation in the defiant bread & ripped like a strongman tearing a phone book in two. The bread was no mach for my brie-frenzy. It gave in – and tore – jagged & ugly – revealing just how much of the loaf was just a honeycomb of air & thready dough – but with the resiliency of a particularly stubborn cobweb. My mouth was already hanging open in anticipation – and my fatty Memphis was table-side to catch any errant orts that might fall his way. The brie – like a jaded hooker on the job too long – was too cheap to even pretend to want to spread & the bread was too flaccid to gain any leverage to use against the brie – so I just placed a hard slice atop the porous carbs and crammed them into my pie hole. There may have been unsavory sounds, groans or slurps, as I ingested the stuff – I can’t rightly say – but I can say the bread & cheese combo was underwhelming to the extreme – as if it had come from 7-11. Even the plastic container I was eating the cheese from (because who had time to bust out a plate?) – screamed 7-11. It was just awful. Absolutely just the worst sort of emotionally-unsatisfying, empty calories.
So, as you likely could predict, I ate the rest of it. All of it. Well – almost all of it. Out of decency & for appearances – I left that little bit there – which actually looks bigger than it was. I say was – because I promptly ate it – in one tiny bite – early this AM. But know that it was no larger than one from a standard pair of dice.
So, yeah, Blue Apron. You can suck it. I worked all evening to prepare a calorie-dense gnocchi, I still have a charred pan still soaking in my sink and I am cramping up at work from a belly-full of what was meant to be two more meals. What did I eat last night? 2000 calories?
So – I will go home tonight & make the Szechuan Tofu & Long Beans – and I might report on them in the near future. Also – I canceled too late – so I will get the menu for next week, too, and likely share the results but – the bottom line is that Blue Apron it not safe for a single old lady with no willpower & who is happy eating tortilla pizzas & curling up with a bottle of red every night. It is just NOT SAFE! You have been warned.