Stuff and Nonsense: subscription box

Showing posts with label subscription box. Show all posts
Showing posts with label subscription box. Show all posts


Plated: Seared Salmon Salad w/ Tomato Sherry Vinaigrette

I came home to my first Plated box last Friday after a long, crazy work week. I was low on energy and pretty much regretting my impulsive subscription ... until I opened the box and saw the recipe card for "Seared Salmon Salad with Tomato Sherry Vinaigrette" peaking out at me. Surely, I thought, I can sear some salmon and toss a salad. I am a capable human being, after all.

How it looks just out of the box.
Salad ingredients, unpacked.
The salad went together easily ... there was just a surprisingly large amount of it considering it was meant to serve two people! And I actually forgot to include the small head of butter lettuce! It was easily salad for three with just the arugula, frisee, and radicchio. Adding the butter lettuce would have made salad for five or six! Not that would have been terrible -- "free" meals -- but there really wasn't enough salmon to go with all that salad. Even I, who love big ass salads, ended up leaving a small pile behind because I was out of salmon and simply couldn't tolerate more bitter radicchio. The Husband, who likes his salads heavy on protein and light on greens, left a lot behind.

The tomato sherry vinaigrette was surprisingly zippy and might have benefited from cutting back on the acids or upping the amount of honey (I thought about whisking in some of my own honey, but decided I should try the recipe as provided). Also, a bigger tomato wouldn't have gone amiss as my shallot and tomato were about the same size and the shallot overwhelmed the tomato when they were mixed into the dressing. (I did think about using one of the tomatoes meant for the "Cheesy Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes," but figured I'd regret trying to stuff a tiny tomato later).

The Husband and I both agreed that the seared salmon was totes delicious and I was very pleased to learn a new method for cooking salmon. Previously, I'd always avoided cooking salmon in a skillet (unless I was poaching it) because I couldn't figure out how to do so without overcooking the fish. Obviously, you cook the salmon flesh-side down.

Would I make this seared salmon salad again? Definitely ... but would definitely dial the bitter greens back a bit! And not forget the butter lettuce!


Plated: My First Box

After flirting with it for months, I signed up for Plated last week. Seriously, every time I think "I am bored with planning meals and shopping for meals and why can't it all just happen for me?" (It's 2014! Where is my replicator?) I end up on a site like Plated's. And then, after fifteen minutes or so of idle crushing, I freak out about the cost and click away ... until the next time I was bored. And this cycle would probably have continued ad infinitum, except I got such a sweet discount I finally couldn't resist signing up.

WTF is Plated? Plated is a weekly meal subscription delivery service. They send you all the ingredients you need to prepare meals of your choosing. There are seven meal choices -- land, sea, and veggie -- and you can only purchase meals in multiples of two, so it might not work for a single household (unless you don't mind the same meal twice) but it's perfect for a couple household like ours. There are two of us, we need to eat, and sometimes I really resent buying ingredients for a recipe that feeds four-to-six people. Especially if it's a recipe I'm not sure will fly with The Husband.

Yes, I could halve or quarter the recipe, but I still can't buy just two tablespoons of red miso paste or a quarter cup of farro. So, even adjusting the recipe, I'm left with ingredients we may not like or ever have a need for again. I figured, with Plated, I get just the ingredients I need to make a recipe and, if we like that recipe, then I can go out and buy a jar of red miso paste or whathaveyou and make it again.

Once you have an account, Plated lets you create a "Taste Profile" where you can tell it about your own personal allergens, taste aversions, and dietary restrictions. For example, I've set mine to say I want anything that includes nuts or peanuts excluded from my weekly Plated suggestions. I can't say I saw much with nuts on last week's selection, anyway, but it's nice to have those plates automatically weeded out.

I had my first box delivered this past Friday because the long holiday weekend seemed the best time to try Plated out. We were scheduled for a few picnics, but there was no reason the plates couldn't be made for lunch -- especially as we tend not to eat before noon on the weekends, anyway.

The food was good. Surprisingly good. And, yes, some of it has to do with my fine cooking skills. But more of it has to do with the clarity of the recipe cards. If you are capable of following simple directions, then you can't really mess these recipes up. I admit the amount of seasoning was lacking in the cheesy quinoa stuffed tomatoes and baked onion rings, but seasoning levels are a very personal thing so I'm hardly surprised.

Cheddar burgers with (disappointing) baked onion rings
About the packaging ... everything came packed in a large cardboard box lined with an insulated bag. The meat and fish were stored in the bottom of the box, underneath two reusable freezer packs. All the other ingredients were bagged and placed on top of the freezer packs. My box was packed with three large bags of ingredients -- one for each variety of plate I'd ordered -- with a fewer smaller bags of single herbs packed between. The large bags were all GreenBags, those breathable storage bags that are supposed to keep (properly stored) produce fresher longer.

Seared salmon with tomato sherry vinaigrette
Initially, I was a little take aback by the amount of packaging, but when I got everything unwrapped I decided I'd probably not created more waste packaging than with a regular grocery shopping trip. Much of it can be repurposed, anyway. The tiny bottles used for holding vinegars and sauces will be perfect filled with salad dressings and packed with my work meals. I was careful opening the GreenBags and plan to reuse them on my own produce ... mostly to see if they really work.

Cheesy quinoa stuffed tomatoes
Scheduling the box for Friday worked really well and I think I'll schedule my next box for Friday, too. Weekends are the time we each worst, because we keep terrible hours and, frankly, treat meals like a dietary free-for-all with an excess of salt, sugar, and fat. (It's Saturday! Let's buy all the cake!). Knowing there are three meals ready to be cooked for brunch, lunch, or supper is a bit of a godsend.