Baby's sister-in-law recently introduced us to Blue Apron, a wonderful, purposeful, hands-on food delivery service. First person to comment in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org will receive a week's selection of three meals
for two--free! This does of course depend on whether they deliver or not to your area--but I do believe they are slowly taking over the country. Check out blueapron.com to find out more about them and where they deliver.
Here's what's great about Blue Apron:
Three meals for two are about $60 and there are usually leftovers--and you don't have to think about what to make for dinner every night because colorful recipe cards arrive in a box filled with fresh, insulated, refrigerated measured-out produce such as snap peas, shrimp, ground lamb and beef mixtures, chicken thighs and herbs such as tarragon, cilantro or parsley to suit the recipes. There is also a charming bag of Knick Knacks included with perhaps two tablespoons of sesame oil, soy sauce or butter for example, or a 1/4 cup of flour depending on the week's recipes. I love this because you don't have to try to locate a bottle of oyster sauce and then stare at it wondering what to do with the rest--or deal with the tedium of measuring out everything.
The way the recipe cards are configured, it also teaches a good method of cooking, such as preparing your ingredients first in ramekins, to set up your mise en place and have the chopped goods at the ready for more efficient cooking. The recipes take less than an hour from preparation to table.
If you can't attend to Blue Apron's weekly visits right away, throw the meat and fish in the freezer! Put the produce in the crisper and try to use within the week! Improvise! You don't need to follow the recipes exactly and you will have staples on hand for other uses.
A calorie count is listed (this shrimp and soba recipe is about 560 calories per serving) and you may cancel from week to week by going online or calling them about six days in advance before your next delivery.
Prepare your ingredients:
Heat a large pot of water to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Chop the Chinese broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Slice the scallions. Peel and mince the garlic and ginger. Cut off the ends of the lemongrass stalks, then peel away the fibrous outer layers until you reach the white, pliable cores. Mince the lemongrass cores.
Cook the soba noodles:
Add the soba noodles to the boiling water. Cook about 6 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly.
Cook the shrimp:
While the soba noodles cook, heat some oil in a large pan on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic, lemongrass, ginger, shrimp, and half the scallions. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring until the shrimp are pink.
Add the Chinese broccoli:
Cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until bright green. Remove from the heat.
Add the soba noodles:
Add the drained soba noodles, oyster sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, and the juice of half the lime. Stir about 1 minute to coat everything in the sauce.
Plate your dish:
Divide the noodles with shrimp and vegetables between 2 bowls. Garnish each with the remaining scallions. Serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!
SHORT ORDER: The straightforward, consistent Restaurant
Row joint is a New York classic
that is pretty hard to beat.
PETER’S PICKS: Joe Allen! Meeting Joan Rivers!
PETER’S PANS: The “flop wall” featuring posters of
panned Broadway shows that suffered at the hand of theater critics and
Joe Allen, the fabulous, storied,
classic New York joint on
Restaurant Row has been a favorite for me ever since I first experienced it
over 20 years ago. With all that goes on in this ever-changing borough, Joe
Allen is a constant, and we sat comfortably with a soothing soundtrack in the
background by Ella, Billie and Bing. We pretty much had the place to ourselves,
as the 7pm theatergoers had already
left, and were excited to learn that we were seated at Joan Rivers’ favorite
table. Later, much to our jaw-dropping surprise, she actually walked into the
restaurant! Since we were lingering over cocktails, having already finished
dinner, we gladly offered her our table, but the grand lady graciously declined
after talking to us for a while and sat instead at her “second favorite table”
with entourage in tow—and yes, she looked gorgeous.
When it comes to cocktails, I can’t think of anything else
to order at Joe Allen but a brisk martini, and Belvedere vodka made the grade
this time. My fella conservatively slugged back some sparkling water. For
starters, a huge portion of aromatic steak tartare was buttery, flavored with
strong mustard; sharp, pungent onions and tangy capers plated with a glistening
arugula side salad. Toast points provided a fine conveyance. Escargots were
tender and not chewy at all, as they so often are. This dish was done right,
with fresh herbs, garlic and simmering oil. A small, fantastic Caesar salad was
certainly enough for two to share and was exactly what it should have
been—fresh, crunchy romaine perfectly coated with a creamy dressing, composed
of pert lemon and pungent garlic. It’s a simple preparation that so many
restaurants mess up all the time.
About here we stepped up to an Austrian Grüner Veltliner,
which was crisp like a lively autumn day with creamy, resonant green and floral
notes. I do find the Joe Allen hamburger to be one of the best in the city (for
years it was never even listed on the menu), but we turned our thoughts
elsewhere and ordered the shrimp and grits as a sort of pasta course. We loved
it, just like a country breakfast with andouille sausage and jumbo shrimp in a
lobster consommé with a fried egg on top and a peppery finish.
Thinly sliced sautéed calf’s liver served medium rare was a
rapture with grilled onions, a delicious torrent of whipped potatoes and
wondrous, diaphanous slivers of bacon love notes. The moist, bone-in pork
chop had a great sear, served with Jersey peach
chutney. It was surely sent courtesy of Henry VIII—it was a huge, gluttonous
piece of meat that we could only eat half of! Accompanying roasted Brussels
sprouts were wonderful and further fit the bill.
The chocolate pudding cake with vanilla ice cream and hot
fudge has always been a delight, but having been alerted to Ms. Rivers’
favorite, we ordered the banana cream pie instead, such a light, elegant finish
to an extraordinary evening!
Prices: Appetizers: $7-$17; Entrées:
$13-$33; Alcohol: wine, beer, full bar, specialty cocktails
After a career as a theatrical agent for Broadway, film, and television, Mr. Sherwood left his stable of actors from the stage and screen and went on to pursue his literary aspirations. He is currenly the senior editor for Carnsmedia, was web editor for Interior Design and the dining editor for Next magazine (nextmagazine.com) where he wrote a weekly restaurant review column which also featured Manhattan's best food and drink recipes from the finest chefs and bartenders on the island. He has written for New York magazine, Travel & Leisure and Woman’s Day, among others, and his recipe for Wicked Good Clam Chowdah from this blog was published by Andrews McMeel in Foodista’s Best of Food Blogs Cookbook.
A proud graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Mr. Sherwood also studied voice and theater abroad at Regent’s College, in London’s historic Regent’s Park, and at the Royal Academy of Music. He spent a year at Hunter College in Manhattan.
Mr. Sherwood's books are available on Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and iUniverse.com.
Twitter/tweet/twat him @kaleidabox