Home Chef – Week 2

Since it was comparable in price to Blue Apron, I ended up getting two weeks of Home Chef.  If anything, the second week was even better than the first.

Dish 1: Black Bean Tortilla Soup with avocado, lime, and homemade tortilla strips

Black Bean Tortilla Soup with avocado, lime, and homemade tortilla strips

Thursday, March 3 – My second Home Chef box arrived on Wednesday, and I cooked this for lunch today. It’s Black Bean Tortilla Soup with avocado, lime, and homemade tortilla strips. The soup was delicious and easy to make. It took about 40 minutes, but a lot of that time was passive time as the soup simmered. The dish was vegan and extremely filling. I got three meals out of it. The tortilla strips softened almost instantly when they hit the soup, which was ok, because they were like noodles.

The only issue I had was with mashing the beans. The recipe asked for half of the beans to be mashed into a paste, but I somehow misplaced the business part of my masher a few years ago. I bought a replacement that works great for potatoes, but not so good for mashing anything else. I could have gotten out the immersion blender, but that would have required effort. Still, the soup was delicious, if a bit thinner than the recipe called for. It was nicely spicy. I could definitely see myself making this again.

Dish 2: Teriyaki Ginger-Glazed Salmon with stir-fried bok choy and carrots

Teriyaki Ginger-Glazed Salmon with stir-fried bok choy and carrots.

Friday, March 3 – This is the second meal from this week’s Home Chef box: Teriyaki Ginger-Glazed Salmon with stir-fried bok choy and carrots, and holy crap was it good. The teriyaki sauce wasn’t too sweet, but it was flavorful. The fish was good quality and super flavorful. The only thing I thought it needed was a little bit of sesame seed.

I did run into some troubles making the dish. When I followed the timing for the recipe, the salmon was finished before the vegetables were. Since I was using my stove for cooking and countertop for cutting, I didn’t have anywhere to put the fish when the timer went off. I turned off and opened the oven, and just let the fish rest there for a little bit until the vegetables were done. I was worried that it would dry out, but luckily, it didn’t. The fish was tender and juicy.

My hands also started shaking a few minutes into cooking, so my spring onion ribbons aren’t as dainty as they were in the picture with the recipe. I kind of like my chunky ribbons though.

Thus far, Home Chef has not failed to impress. This was probably my favorite meal since I started this experiment a month ago.  I also just noticed that this recipe is a customer favorite.  I can see why.

Dish 3: Penne Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream

Penne Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream
Monday, March 6, 2017 – This is my final meal (for now) from Home Chef: Penne Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream. The dish was really delightful and super easy to make. I find that too much sun-dried tomato can be a little overwhelming, but this dish was very well balanced. I only used half of the cream that was called for in the recipe which I think lightened up the dish quite a bit.  Mixed with the pasta is sautéed mushrooms and wilted spinach. There wasn’t quite enough garlic, but the shallot helped to compensate. I was also a little too conservative with the amount of red pepper. I should have used the whole packet.
The thing I liked most about the meal, aside from the delicious taste, is that it was a one-pot wonder. The mushrooms, shallots, and garlic were sautéed in a large pan. They were then removed, and the pasta, three cups of water, and the ingredients for the sauce were added to the pan. I didn’t even have to drain the pasta, so I didn’t have to wash a colander when I was done. This might not seem like a big deal, but I’ve be a huge slacker when it comes to washing dishes. The fewer pans I use, the fewer I have to wash, the more time I have to work on my dissertation. It’s a win-win-win.
Overall, this dish was great. It didn’t take a lot of time or effort, and I was able to wash my cutting board and knife while the pasta was cooking, so I didn’t have a lot of mess to clean up when I was done. It was, unfortunately, a bit carby, so I don’t think the dish is going to end up in my regular rotation of dishes.
Tomorrow, my box from Martha and Marley arrives. This service is curated by Martha Stewart, so I have high expectations.

Home Chef Week 2 Summary

Ease/clarity of recipes: 10/10
Taste: 9/10
Variety: 10/10

How many recipes would I make again? 2.5/3

Verdict: I loved the meals this week.  I wish they had sent another salad, but the fish came with a ton of vegetables, and there were mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes in the pasta, so I can’t complain too much.  There’s not a dish from this week that I wouldn’t happily make again; although, I might not make the pasta again for a while since it was a little too carby for me.  Home Chef gets a blue ribbon.

Overall Rating: A


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