04 January 2016

Yet Another Purple Carrot/Meal Kit Delivery Update

We are still pretty big fans of the Purple Carrot though we continue to be troubled by all the packaging materials and the fact that the stuff is being sent to us from halfway across the country. The quality of the recipes is just excellent, and almost every recipe includes a new (to us) ingredient or technique, making our membership feel like a cooking class.

For example, we had not cooked much before with tofu products, and never with seitan, so it's nice to have excellent recipes that highlight really tasty uses for these products. A technique that surprised and then excited us was searing portabella mushrooms in a pan alongside a cut lemon.  The lemon's juice makes its way into the mushrooms without your squeezing it; you end up with a beautiful charred lemon for garnish and a remarkably delicious pan-grilled portabella mushroom.

There has been a lot of variety in the recipes so far, which has makes cooking (and eating) more exciting.  A lot of international influences (from Japan to Morocco to New Orleans) are evident, as is a bias toward seasonal ingredients (such as root vegetables and winter squash in December).  And it is a great convenience that hard-to-find ingredients not stocked at the local grocery store (such as fresh curry leaves) are included in the box.

Still, even with a somewhat relaxed holiday schedule, we fell behind, so I have put the delivery service on hold to give ourselves a chance to catch up. There are two meal kits in the fridge right now, and I have plans to make a meat-based dish (the traditional Eastern European Jewish cassoulet called cholent) tonight since the temperature has dropped so much lately.

Because of our travel schedule, we will probably keep The Purple Carrot suspended till the second part of February, at which point we may finally check out Lighter, A review I found online made it sound somewhat more personalized than Purple Carrot--you can tell them what you already have at home (for example, a can of pinto beans, or ground turmeric) so they don't send you unnecessary stuff.

I had researched other services such as Meez and Blue Apron, but these don't interest me as much, both because the vegan offerings are not as attractive and (at least in Meez' case) they use prepared sauces.  That makes me feel like I'm not doing the cooking. While I understand it's a convenience intended to make my own cooking go quicker, I'd rather take more time and cook it all myself.

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