Friday, July 1, 2016

B123: I cooked - Don't laugh!

Have you seen those fresh organic delivery services and been a little curious about them? Yeah, me too. So I decided to give it a try and thought I'd share my first day's experience with you.

Now, if you know me, you might find this a little funny. A good friend called this morning and asked what I was doing today, and when I said "cooking," she laughed and said in all the years she's known me, she doesn't remember me ever saying that. I'm not a cook. I generally buy foods from the frozen section, or ready made salads, and boil them in a pot of water or microwave them, or I pick up take-out. It's not that I can't cook - just that I've never been interested. It takes too long, and just for me it made no sense. So I say all of that so you'll know this is not your typical cooking show blog!

There are several similar delivery services. I happened to choose Green Chef, because I noted that there was no commitment and that I was completely in control of which weeks I wanted delivery and which weeks I wanted to skip, even if all. (I plan to do about one week a month.) Plus the first week was at an introductory price, a total of $26.98 after shipping added. (Later weeks will be about $81 all inclusive. Other diet options have slightly different prices). Every ingredient is included except cooking oil, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Here's how it works: I chose Fridays as my delivery day (All choices can be changed at any time on their website), and I chose the omnivore diet (Other choices included vegetarian, vegan, paleo, carnivore). Then I chose which meats could be included in my meals (I left out game, lamb, and shellfish). The box is delivered by FedEx, so the date is known but not the exact time. The box is refrigerated though so you don't have to be there at the moment it arrives.

Each delivery includes all the pre-measured ingredients needed for three meals for two people (six meals total, although the portions are larger than what I normally eat, so mine will be more like ten meals). All is fresh and organic. Oh, and the box includes large recipe cards with pictures and clear step by step instructions for each of the three meals.

OK, so here goes today. My box arrived at noon. It was a huge 15 lb. box, packed with layers of food ingredients alternated with layered ice packs. I unpacked it to the table (because, you know, I had to take a picture for Facebook . . .), and then I put everything in the fridge.

3:30 I decided to go with the Cumin-Grilled Chicken (with corn, green bean & bacon succotash, and cornbread) for tonight's dinner, and, although the plan calls this meal a 35-minute one (for prep and cook time), I knew I would need to double or triple that since it involved more than my usual freezer to microwave prep. For those of you who actually cook, I do think 35 minutes is a good estimate.

It took me 30 minutes just to locate the ingredients for this particular meal, wash the produce,and get out all the pans, utensils, tools, etc. I would be using. (The amazing part is that I had them at all, or at least something that would suffice, although some of them hadn't been used in 30 years.)

4:00 I began preparing the food - chopping, cutting, mixing . . . chicken first so it could cook while I prepared the rest. The succotash was the most work, the most fun to cook, and, not surprisingly, since I'm not a big meat or bread eater, my favorite part of the meal.

5:15 Yeah, so it took me an hour and 45 minutes, but finally - dinner time!  And it was delicious, with plenty left for later.

5:45 Also not surprisingly, this meal left the kitchen in a bigger mess than my usual frozen dinner entrees.

6:00 But a mere two and a half hours after starting to make dinner, the leftovers were put away, the dishwasher was running, and the kitchen looked like I had had my usual microwave dinner.

Sound like fun? Come join me this weekend for Muhammara Flatbread with eggplant & feta, lentil, and arugula and date salad; and/or a Steak Bistro Sandwich with horseradish aioli, garlic fries and cucumber salad; or tonight's leftovers! We'll make a fun mess!

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