Let the Accessorizing Begin!
I made it past the critical 4-week mark with (a) no sign of ADD-fatigue and (b) continued spousal support (“Hey Rich, you know what tomorrow is?” “Yep, it’s Blue Apron Day!”). So I had no choice but to accessorize.
- After having suffered multiple bloody zesting injuries, I clearly needed a safer tool. OXO to the rescue with a Zester/Garnisher.
- I suck at slicing with a knife, and that suckage was exacerbated when faced with “matchsticking”. Again, OXO to the rescue with a mandoline slicer.
- The pretty pictures on the recipe cards assume I own an endless supply of small glass bowls, just like on the cooking shows. Turns out they have a name, “mise en place” bowls, and now I have them too.
Several friends also suggested No-Cut gloves (perhaps based on my previous zesting injuries), so I went back to Amazon and found them, plus a wide-screen scoop for frying and a magnetic recipe card holder. Go ahead, my cooking-savvy friends, laugh your asses off. It’s all new and fresh to me!
Armed with four weeks of success and a new batch of tools, I really felt ready for this week’s box:
Week 5, Meal 1 (5/20/15)
Flat Iron Steaks with Ramps, Fingerling Potatoes & Shaved Asparagus Salad
I actually sort of know how to cook a steak (that was one of my mother’s staples), so I wasn’t too intimidated by this one. And now that I’m an expert on Ramps (having learned last week that they’re nothing more than wild green onions), and Fingerling Potatoes (also from last week), this one felt like a walk in the park. And it was, except for the part where one of the dogs stole one of the steaks off the counter – I turned around and it was gone.
I have no doubt that Billy was the thief, but I also know that Tippi the puppy is the new alpha bitch in town, and he no doubt conceded it to her when challenged. Sure enough, there she was in her crate with the steak, which I quickly recovered. I was lucky – had he retained possession, it would have been gone in a gulp or two. But she’s a more dainty eater, so it just had a few puncture wounds. I thanked her for the tenderizing effort, washed it off, and proceeded with the meal prep.
Some of you might be grossed out, but I know my dog friends will understand (and probably cheer). This meal, with lots of chopped and diced ingredients, also gave me a perfect opportunity to use my new “mise en place” bowls. So instead of my usual first photo being the raw ingredients from the box, I decided instead to post my prepped results in their individual bowls.
Week 5, Meal 2 (5/22/15)
Rice Flake-Crusted Hake with Sauteed Daikon Radish & Yuzu-Soy Sauce
Setting aside the lack of professional manicure and the skin that I once thought belonged only to my mother, which fingers do not look like the others? I know, the two red ones on the left. Yes, after 4-1/3 weeks of playing with hot oil and avoiding injury, I did it tonight. Other than that, tonight’s meal was spectacular (4.75 on the Rich-o-Meter). And thanks to my new cut-proof gloves, I’m tackling slicing and dicing with new-found confidence.
The injury happened early in the prep (during the placement of the Daikon Radish slices in the frying pan), but I persevered – the show must go on! And I’m the first to admit that it’s hard to ignore the irony of buying fancy gloves to avoid my previous zesting injuries and then burning myself instead.
Week 5, Meal 3 (5/24/15)
Turkey Kibbeh with Cucumber Salad & Mint-Yogurt Sauce
I had mixed expectations for this meal because though we love mediterranean food, Rich isn’t a huge cucumber fan. When I served it, I even gave him an out: “I’ll eat whatever cucumbers are left over” (to which he replied, “of course you will”). So imagine my surprise when despite the presentation challenges described below, (a) there were no cucumbers left on his plate, (b) he rated this 4.25 on the Rich-o-Meter, and (c) he further offered that he liked the cucumber/yogurt sauce so much that it raised the score from a 3.25. Wow!
Thanks to my No-Cut gloves (along with OXO zester and mandoline), I zested the lemon and sliced the cucumber with confidence bordering on reckless abandon!
That said, this one was a bitch, and prompted me to add a “degree of difficulty” rating to our scoring. Tonight I used a combined total of 11 vessels – 1 pot, 1 pan, 2 mixing bowls, 8 prep bowls – not counting the spare plate for the turkey patties. I don’t know what my threshold is, but I know that 11 exceeds it. Plus, my “large” pan wasn’t large enough to properly segregate the patties, which caused them to fail and detrimentally affect the plating/presentation. The result looked more like a Sloppy Joe than 6 Turkey Patties. So this one got 4.5 for degree of difficulty, only outdone by the fried fish fiasco, in which I was presented with the “WTF do I do with all this oil?” conundrum.
Going forward, the degree of difficulty rating will be totally subjective, but will take into consideration the following components: number of things that got dirty; number of times I had to google to understand an instruction; risk of injury (or worse, actual injury); whether or not the resulting mess was bad enough that I resorted to asking Rich to help clean up.
Week 5 Wrap-up
- Committed enough that I bought accessories
- That redness on the index finger turned into a nasty blister – ouch!
- Other than that, no injuries, and new confidence with the No-Cut gloves
- Added a “degree of difficulty” number to our rating
Looking forward to Week 6!