Plated, & Plated Week 1

So, shmoo and I have started doing Plated as of last week. We are also in a group imessage chat that’s basically being treated like an IRC conversation amongst the group, and it’s been going on for about a year now.

When we mentioned doing Plated in that chat, there were a lot of questions there, and generally everyone that hears about it has questions and hey, so did we, so I decided it would be good blog post fodder since I’m not really a speedy knitter/spinner/crafter person as of late.

First, why we chose Plated over other services out there:

    1. We liked their plan options better. You can sub 2 to 5 meals a week. The other contender only had 3 as the lowest option. We are doing 2 (except for the first week, which was 3) meals a week. You can also pause your subscription with no penalties, which I don’t believe you can with some of the others. This is a great thing for when you are going out off town or whatever, or have holidays or people coming into town, etc.

    2. We knew someone using the service already who liked it. One of shmoo’s co-workers uses the service and has for a while. She gave us the starter coupon so we could try it at no cost.

    3. I have food allergies, and they (Plated, not my allergies) list each of the ingredients clearly for their meals, and the environments where the food is produced/gathered/packed?? so that if I have food concerns I can address them ahead of time or just choose something else.

    4. We liked their different recipe options the most out of the services we looked at.

Other things of note, but not necessarily factors on trying a dinner service, just things we’ve noted this first week:

    1. I already know how to cook. This is not a problem for our household. But I get tired of trying to think of new things and we like ethnic foods quite a bit.
    There’s something very pleasing about the idea getting to try a new recipe or technique I haven’t done before or cook something in a new way without having to research it and gather all the little bits and bobs together to make it and it keeps me from being bored or burnt out cooking dinner every night.

    2. Portion control. Part of the problem with cooking at home is portion sizes. I don’t weigh things when I cook, and I don’t want to. And generally I cook a large enough amount to last a night or two, and maybe some lunches. But that means we don’t always eat an appropriate amount. For me, this is a way to learn more appropriate portion sizes by working with them regulary and seeing the outcome of those smaller portions, i.e. we aren’t hungry, there aren’t tons of leftovers to deal with, we aren’t eating more than we should.

    3. The App is quite nice and possibly better than the website for choosing what you want for the week.

Now the part you’re probably more interested in. What we ate and what we thought about it.

Week 1 Recipes:

Cheesy Black Bean Burritos w/ Pico & Guac

This was good, I would make it again with a few minor tweaks. We were suprised about how much we liked it, especially since it was meatless. While I don’t mind not having meat in a meal, shmoo totally does, but it wasn’t an issue for this one. I did have an issue with the instructions on the amount of diced red onion. It has you dice the onion and “divide” but doesn’t give you any guidance on how it should be divided. Halvsies? Quarters? Should there be some left over when it’s all over? What? It was’t like it was a huge onion or anything, and my dice wasn’t large, so a little confused about them then saying how many tablespoons to use of the divided onion in each side dish didn’t really address that I had divided the onion, nor use all the onion. I just threw it all in the dishes one way or another and ignored the tablespoon directions, and it was fine, but it irked me. We did throw a handful of corn chips each onto our plates to eat all the guac and pico that went with the burrito, because there was no way we were just going to eat that straight.

Seared Steak w/ Italian Street Corn & Basil Pistou

This was good. I would make it again, likely with several tweaks. I thought the portions were going to be an issue, but they weren’t. I thought there wasn’t enough red wine vinegar for the Pistou, but there was. I thought the recipe used too much olive oil for no good reason. It had you cook the steaks, then remove them and wipe the pan. Why woud you wipe all the steak goodness from the pan? That’s just wrong. So I didn’t. But that meant I didn’t need as much olive oil as it called for to cook the corn either. And there was mayonaise for the street corn dish. And it was this fancy stuff. Ugh. No. It did not please me to use it, but I did. I think it would have been better using my standard plain-doesn’t-really-have-a-flavor mayonaise instead. To be fair, my family has used Duke’s mayonaise for 4 generations now, so it’s pretty ingrained, and over all al small thing.

Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Curry

This was OK. This was the first dish we didn’t eat all of. I could see it being really good with a few minor changes however, and will likely try to make it again with those changes. I think adding some chicken, more peanutbutter for thicker sauce, subbing regular coconut milk for the lite stuff, and chicken stock for the veggie stock would be a big improvement. I’d like to see a little more heat spice-wise as well. I think adding in some lentils or chick peas would be nice, and I’d like to add some cumin (not ground) to the rice to go with that cilantro and give it a more peppery scent over all. It wasn’t a bad dish, and we liked the flavors in it, I just think it could come together and be an amazing yet pretty easy dish to create with these minor tweaks.

Overall thoughts on first week:
We liked it enough to keep doing it.
These dishes use more fresh herbs that I am used to and I think I like it.
The only ingredients needed/not provided so far have been salt, pepper, and olive oil. I approve of this, though I did put steak seasoning on the steak and things like that. I have a cabinet full of really nice seasonings and spices and I am going to use them when appropriate.

Next week:
Roasted Shiitake Bibimap w/ Sweet Potato and Pickled Cucumbers (we’ll need to supply 2 eggs for this one)
Steak au Poivre w/ Crispy Fingerling Potatoes