We had an issue. There were too many tasty meals on Plated.com this week, so we had a midweek delivery! Not common for us.
There were a lot of vegetables to cut up. The potatoes were fairly small and didn’t take long, but those bell peppers were HUGE! The potatoes were boiled first, then stir-fried with the other vegetables, which was interesting-I’ve never stir-fried potatoes before. The quantity of vegetables was such that it barely fit (heaping) in my largest skillet. If I were going to do this again (and I will), I’d start the bell pepper before the rest, as it took long enough to cook that the onions were limp by the time the peppers were tender.
Mistakes in the Kitchen
I had two issues with the dessert. First, it required AN EGG, and we were completely out of eggs. Oops. After my roommate graciously ummm…
volunteered was voluntold to pick up some eggs, I started to prep the pudding. The instructions clearly stated to add an egg YOLK to the milk. Perhaps I should have read the instructions because I added the whole egg and whisked it in before I realized my error. Of course, although I now had more eggs, I did not have more milk. This dessert was doomed. I did substitute my Mexican vanilla, which was great in this recipe, and I’d do it again. When I added the flour and other dry ingredients though, I was not able to get a smooth texture despite continuous (and vigorous) whisking. It also thickened significantly faster than the directions suggested, which might have been because of the egg whites <ahem>.
The Peruvian Steak dish was really good! It had a more subtle and well-blended flavor than we expected, but needed a touch more pepper. I hadn’t added any because I wasn’t sure how spicy that aji amarillo paste was going to be. The textures were interesting, but again, I would have added ingredients in a different order so that the onions could have been less limp. The potatoes, too, ended up a bit more soggy/soft than I would have liked. The cilantro was actually fantastic in this dish: it gave it a bright, fresh note that helped a more stew-like dish transition to spring. I might actually consider a dash of lime juice in the future. Overall, we all rated this a solid four stars out of five.
The Mexican Hot Chocolate pudding did not have a great texture, to be honest. I would compare the lumpiness to tapioca pudding. The flavor, however, was a subtly spicy rich milk chocolate that we all loved! The blend of cinnamon and chili powder didn’t make it spicy-hot, but it added depth and complexity. This led to a lengthy discussion of the merits of instant pudding mixes. This might have been the first non-mix pudding that I’ve made (I don’t count flan/custard as pudding per se). It was quite easy to prepare and I really look forward to trying this again (without the egg white)!
This recipe was strikingly simple, especially since it had so few ingredients. Despite that, it took the full 30-40 minutes described to finish the dish. Here’s why: boiling a pot of water takes forever. Cooking the pasta, only 10 minutes. Adding the pasta water to the dish to create a sauce–the instructions said 1 Tbsp at a time. Since I had a double batch, that meant adding 32 Tbsp, which takes quite a while. In all honesty, I gave up and started splashing in small amounts after a few additions.
This was SO good, and SO easy, we will definitely be doing it again. Rave reviews all the way around!
The Intermediate WHOOPS
We decided to put off making this from our normal Sunday until Wednesday night. That way, we didn’t have to deal with what’s for dinner before Thanksgiving, and we didn’t have to do takeout. Unfortunately, the ciabatta didn’t last that long; they had moldy spots by Wednesday night:
I actually wasn’t too upset. I posted this online and asked whether I should make more from scratch, or brave the store and buy more. Then I chose option C: have roommate brave the store and buy more en route home from work! $5 fix. Easy peasy (for me, not for poor roommate).
These sausage burgers were HUGE. They didn’t’ shrink with cooking much if at all, and they were so filling that halfway through you felt like you ate a brick. A very, very tasty brick. Completely stuffed. I finished mine only because I’d only had a bagel that morning… and I still thought I might explode! The broccoli rabe was interesting. I’d never had it before. Next time I’d trim the ends a bit so that it’s more tender, and I might season it differently (more). It has a slightly bitter flavor that was bright and refreshing next to the sweet Italian sausage, but I think I’m the only one who liked it. LEFTOVERS!
This last week we did our Plated meal rather late. We spotted this meal on Plated.com and we all drooled. I mean, QUAIL! Come on! But the weekend it came was right after I had surgery and I wasn’t up to cooking, so we stored it and waited until the next weekend. In addition, one of our household was traveling and wasn’t home for Sunday night dinner, so we postponed to Monday night.
It’s quail. It was delicious, of course! In al seriousness, though, the mustard and rosemary on the quail actually overpowered the flavor of the little birds somewhat. I’ve only tried working with quince one other time and I didn’t like it then. These had about the consistency of apples, but after cooking in the balsamic vinegar, they were surprisingly sweet. I really enjoyed this particular side dish and would definitely do it again. The smashed potatoes weren’t really stellar either–they were just plain-tasting potatoes (but I did like them with the rosemary mustard, so that kind of got redistributed quickly as I ate). Overall, this meal had a huge amount of promise but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I’d order it again in a heartbeat though (quail!), and just modify the cooking a bit. Yum!
Last week, I posted the unboxing video for this meal. I won’t re-post that; you can check it out if you missed it. I held onto the plantains because they generally keep fairly well (we kept them away from our other produce). By Friday, I finally felt up to cooking again and the plantains definitely needed to be used.
It was a strange experience for me to pour that much oil into a pan and fry something, mash it flat, and then fry it again. I suppose since I’m from the South I should love that, but I didn’t grow up with a lot of fried foods. However, I absolutely love, love, LOVE fried plantains.
As you can see, my tostones are somewhat overcooked. Burnt. I did say I’m not used to frying things in that much oil! Also, I have an electric stove. The instructions said to heat the oil over medium-high heat, so I set the burner to a 7/10. I was supposed to cook the slices for about a minute per side. After the first side, I reduced the heat to about a 6 and cooked them maybe 40 seconds per side, with a lot less burning.
The spiced beans and rice were quite tasty and I may have leftovers tonight. Yes, it’s Sunday, which means I should have a new meal–and I will be cooking one–but I don’t know which yet! The new post(s) are coming soon!
And yes, I love my Halloween dinnerware. It’s supposed to glow in the dark (it doesn’t anymore though).
This week from the Plated.com kitchen:
Preparing the cauliflower mash was probably the most labor intensive part of the dinner prep. I’ve learned from previous experience to boil the heck out of cauliflower and turnips if you plan to make them into mash, so I did. The veggies and a little butter were all that went into that initially. If I do this again, I’ll leave the minced chives as just a garnish I think, and I would try to drain the veggies better (the mash was more runny than I prefer but that’s fairly easy to fix). Honestly, this was the best cauliflower mash I’ve had, and I think it’s a reasonable substitute for mashed potatoes! Way to get more veggies in!
The steaks were coated with porcini mushroom powder and pan-fried. Two were much thinner and cooked faster, so I ended up with two well-dine (oops) and one medium-rare. They tasted good, but they weren’t our favorite steaks to date.
I also made dinner rolls to go with.
The dessert however looks much more promising than last week’s. I love bread pudding. Chocolate bread pudding sounded really good! The addition of the pumpkin pie spice is seasonal and smelled amazing when it was cooking… to serve, I topped it with a light dusting of confectioners sugar. I really need to invest in a set of basic ramekins. For a more “adult” twist… drizzle on some Kahlua for extra YUM!
We’ve continued ordering Plated.com meals since my first post about Plated. In fact, I’ve put up unboxing videos on my YouTube channel for all of the meals (feel free to catch up if you really want to).
This week, we opted to try something really different. We’ve had fish, chicken, and steak aplenty from Plated, but we hadn’t seen duck before! I wondered if this would taste like Peking duck did when I was young. It was also our first dessert order from Plated.
The result? Oh, yes, it tasted absolutely DIVINE. The pickled cucumber side dish was an interesting complement, but the duck completely stole the show. I will have dreams about this meal. It was not difficult to prepare; the duck breast was seasoned with salt and pepper and Chinese five-spice blend (which I would not have thought to use on meat), pan-seared and then roasted through. Absolutely, utterly delicious. Completely worth the burns I got from grabbing the fresh-from-the-oven handle of my pan without a mitt.
The apple crisp, on the other hand, was something of a disappointment. There wasn’t really enough cinnamon-sugar seasoning to suit us (easy to remedy) and the topping was more mush than crisp. I tried to improve that slightly by switching to broil for a few minutes, and ended up with burnt. I did like the spiced pecans, which were tossed with chili powder and then oven roasted for a few minutes. The chili powder didn’t stick well, so maybe toss with a bit of butter or oil AND the chili powder, but great flavor on that part. The vanilla ice cream was an attempt to rescue the burnt, and was not very successful.
I’d rather have had more duck.
I’m doing something totally new to me for dinner. I am roasting a whole chicken, and I even stuffed it. I’m scared to death to eat the stuffing, of course, but I figure at least once in my life I should try it. I can cook it thoroughly; I have an appropriate meat thermometer and everything. I made the stuffing with homemade (stale) bread cubes (I baked a whole loaf just for that), onion, leeks, garlic, EVOO, and a garlic-herb-red pepper mix. Rather forgot the paprika at the last second, may stir that in after it comes out of the oven. Pinned the cavity closed and the wings in and started the roasting. I will, of course, post a picture when it’s done!
Um, yeah. Okay. So the cooking time in the bird said 3 to 3.5 hours, but after about 2 the meat thermometers indicated doneness. However, when carved, the chicken was most obviously NOT done; the juices were NOT clear. And I lost my temper. It’s pretty short already right now, and given the injurious nature of this experiment, it became much shorter much faster. Sigh. I did get a lovely picture before I carved. Did you know that it’s rather difficult to reassemble a carved chicken?