Every year, I resolve to “cook more.”
Contrary to popular belief, I can cook. I’ve taken cooking classes in New York and Los Angeles. I have fairly good knife skills. I have cookware and kitchen equipment that would make most home cooks jealous.
It all collects dust.
This year, I decided to give the idea of cooking at least a fighting chance. I signed up for a service called “Blue Apron,” which delivers ingredients and recipes to your door for you to cook. They menu plan for you.
My nutritionist was a fan, since I am not good at menu planning, and order a horrifying and expensive amount of restaurant food. Even with the groceries I buy, I wind up with a lot of food waste. I am still, this many years out of treatment, so terrified of grocery stores that effectively, the only way I can shop (unless I’m just picking up an item or two) is online via Fresh Direct.
Blue Apron promised to deliver exactly what I needed for three dinners a week — the only catch was that I had to order for two people. That was fine by me, because it meant that I would have a ton of food, and leftovers to freeze and eat during weekends when I was home.
After some initial hiccups, I received my first order on Thursday. Behold:
They send you literally everything — exactly the right amount of veg; the flour you need to dredge the fish; the tiny amount of mirin, sesame oil, spice, etc. required for each recipe. This is aimed at reducing waste AND just makes life so easy for someone like me.
I was pretty happy. Since I had Strand over for wine and snacks on Thursday night, I decided to undertake “Cod with Israeli Couscous and Yuzu Butter” for Friday night.
The hitch was that I had a big day of meetings on Friday; I woke up in a horrible mood and with a cold that morning. I was in no mood to cook by the time I returned home at the end of the day. After walking the dog, I started watching Magnolia (a film I absolutely adore, and had forgotten I owned). I was about to put in a Seamlessweb order when I remembered I was supposed to cook cod. Ugh.
But, true to my own words, I cooked. I checked the recipe card. The whole thing was supposed to take approx 35 minutes, which is what a Seamless order would take to arrive.
I put on some semi-maudlin music, since the movie had already taken me to that weepy place, but I didn’t feel like connecting to my laptop and downloading my Aimee Mann playlist.
And I started the cooking.
Chopped veg; israeli couscous boiling.
Roasting for a few mins…
In this photo, you see that I have chiffonaded the mint, and now you want me to what? Zest a yuzu? Seriously, you guys. I could have ordered pad thai for the millionth time (somehow, two weeks in Thailand did not dampen my passion for Thai food in the least). Instead, I was weeping over chick music and zesting a yuzu.
At least I knew then that Andrew didn’t take my zester in the divorce. And Bill didn’t steal it when he robbed me blind after he cheated on me and left under cover of night.
I chopped and zested and dredged the fish in flour and then cooked it in the pan with some oil.
Et voila! The finished product!
This is the “leftover” version. The other half of the fish — the one I ate for dinner — sort-of fell apart as I plated it, so I didn’t use that snapshot.
Total time from start to finish: 45 mins;
Total cost per plate: $9.99 ($59.94/week of food);
Total cost of replacing all of my cookware that Bill ruined by putting it in the dishwasher: $172.50 at Sur la Table sale;
Taste of my own cooking: Needed salt, but otherwise, not bad!
Ease of recipe/equipment required: Recipe was Medium-Easy; required one small pot; one small frying pan; cutting board; zester; one knife;
Fear factor of experience: That I took a valium to get me through cooking my own dinner likely indicates that I am a work in progress, but I’m doing this; I did it; I just might make it after all.