Blue Apron- Brown Butter Gnocchi with Summer Squash, Almonds, & Soft-Boiled Eggs.
I’m not a guy who cooks much at all. I’m not a guy who owns much in the way of cooking implements, either. I’ve got one big sharp knife I use for everything- it slices my bagels, it cuts up whatever vegetables I actually wind up cutting (I mostly buy frozen stuff). I’ve got a couple of medium sized pots, one big pot, a couple of frying pans, a colander (I had to look up how to spell that. Strainer? Drainer?)
So I signed up for Blue Apron. I don’t like eating out all the time and the limited number of things I cook needs to be expanded. But I’ve never cooked seriously before, and I have no idea where to start. This seemed like a reasonable thing to do.
Anyway, the box came today, Saturday. The thing is huge. It’s heavier than you’d think. There’s enough stuff for three meals inside, but even considering that I didn’t expect it to be so heavy. I opened it up, and the first thing I said (my friend was there for moral support and audience) was: “Wow, that’s a lot of packaging.”
Why is the thing so heavy? There are little cardboard holders for just two eggs. Little paper sacks that contain “knick knacks” for each meal. In the paper sacks are tiny plastic bags with stuff like the exact right amount of parmesan cheese for the Gnocchi and a little plastic ramekin with the exact right amount of butter that you’re supposed to brown. It comes with two huge reusable ice packs. (I play roller derby so these are actually going to come in handy.) On the packaging it says it’s made from recycled and recyclable material, but how many people are actually going to recycle this stuff?
Okay, so I started cooking it. Here I go, following the directions:
Step 1 and 2-
As a guy who really doesn’t chop things, ever, I couldn’t do step 1 and 2 at the same time and be okay on time. If I were to do this again, I’d chop the things ahead of time because I’m slow at it. Also, what does “medium dice” mean? I cut the squash up, but they weren’t perfect cubes or anything. It didn’t seem to matter at the end. Roughly chopping almonds was both harder and easier than I imagined. Little pieces got everywhere on my tiny plastic cutting board, but my big dumb knife was able to actually chop through the things.
Actually, after cutting the squash – the first thing I chopped up- I realized I didn’t have anything to put chopped stuff in. You go over to someone’s house and they have all of these little glass bowls and things in their cupboards, right? I’d always think, “What the hell are all these little dishes for? Why would you need something other than just plates and bowls?” Turns out little glass bowls are good for putting chopped up things in.
All my bowls were in the dishwasher, and besides I didn’t have any regular bowls big enough to hold all the chopped up squash, so I had to throw it into my big pot. It’s like a big chili cooking pot. I rested it on the dish dryer because I have no counter space.
Meanwhile, my two eggs were cooking. I got them out at the appropriate time, used that colander I mentioned before to hold the eggs while I ran cold water over them, and then carried on with cooking the rest of the meal while the eggs just sat there. I eventually moved them out of the colander when I needed to use it for the gnocchi. (More on the eggs later.)
Anyway, the rest of step one and two was pretty easy. On to step 3.
Step 3 –
Browning butter. I don’t think I have ever purposefully done this in my life. I think I did it right this time? I was iffy on the whole thing. They said be careful not to burn the butter, so I definitely didn’t do that, but I think when I was eating it, it tasted way too slick and buttery.
This was straight-forward. Add squash and almonds. Squeeze the lemons in. Okay, that’s easy enough. Stir for a couple of minutes, sure. I got that. I like that Blue Apron gives you the time and some other cues like “until the almonds are fragrant”. That cue is great, but how do I know what a fragrant almond is? I just relied on the time.
Step 5 –
The gnocchi(s) weren’t (wasn’t?) floating at the end of 3 minutes, so I left them in there until they started floating. Thanks for telling me about the floating thing, Blue Apron. I’ve never boiled gnocchi before so I had no idea what I was doing. When I got around to eating the meal they seemed doughy, but not awful I guess.
So the combining of things was actually pretty easy with the exception of (and here we have to go back to step 1) peeling soft boiled eggs. Guess what, it’s not easy. I mean, you can get the shell off if you want to, but I found that big chunks of the egg whites were coming off with it. My egg came out all misshapen.
Here’s the end result of my meal:
It doesn’t look so bad, but go ahead and compare it to their pic:
The whole thing tasted okay. The gnocchi was kinda doughy, but I guess that’s how it’s supposed to be. And it was pretty damn buttery. I’m a guy who likes to eat buttery food and I feel like this was a little over the top for me. I think maybe I should’ve added some oregano, also. It needed some type of extra seasoning.
What’s good about it: I think the convenience lies in the fact that all the stuff is portioned out for you and you don’t have to make a decision as to what to cook that week. Also the easy to follow steps are written so that a person like me who’s never cooked that much at all before can follow it.
What they don’t tell you: you might need more than one knife. You’ll need a big cutting board and things to hold the chopped up food in. Also, you’ll have a bunch of random things in your fridge. There’s a ton of random packets with names of the other meals in there. I had to also put some left overs in the fridge and find ways to do things that I never do, like store small amounts of chopped parsley. And don’t forget: a HUGE box. Seriously, if people freak out about k-cups, this is going to quickly get out of hand.
This meal was okay. I’ll see if the other ones are any good.