Recipes

Let’s get Plated!

Let’s get Plated! 5

Share Button

Every time I visit New York, I’m exposed to some new fun product or service that I desperately want to try. Unfortunately, the majority of these “new fangled” indulgences are’t available in Smalltown.

Until now, that is.

On a recent trip to Brooklyn, I was introduced to the concept of a recipe delivery service. Essentially, the vendor delivers a perfectly portioned amount of fresh ingredients, and accompanying instructions for a gourmet meal. It seemed to be the best of both worlds — the convenience of avoiding the grocery store and the comforts of a home cooked dinner. But surely, such a service wouldn’t be available in my rural little corner of Minnesota, right?

A few weeks ago, a Facebook advertisement for Plated caught my eye. They claimed to deliver fresh ingredients to 80% of the Continental U.S. — could Smalltown possibly be part of that 80%?

I hastily entered my zip code, delighted to see that my address was eligible for delivery. I quickly signed up, ordered two different meals, and texted Scott with the exciting news.

His response?

“No. That’s sacrilegious.”

Apparently, this food snob skeptic was going to need some serious convincing in regards to my latest culinary endeavor. I crossed my fingers, hoping the recipes I’d selected would change his mind.

The meals were delivered a few days later, right on schedule.

plated

The packaging was great, and the ingredients (which included fresh seafood) were in tact and perfectly chilled. I placed the goods in the refrigerator, anxious to prepare my first Plated meal with Scott later that evening.

The only problem? Scott was having no part of the prep work. I believe his exact words were, “This was you’re idea–you deal with it.”

My husband–who is practically a self-trained chef–cooks the vast majority of the meals in our household. My lack of experience (and fear of cooking fresh prawns) had me incredibly nervous. But my supper certainly wasn’t going to cook itself. I took a deep breath, turned on the stove, and pulled out my very best skillet. It was go time.

Forty minutes later, I was plating my finished Southwestern Gulf Shrimp with Leeks and Asparagus. The craziest part? It actually looked good.

shrimp

 

The really crazy part? It tasted good, too! Even Scott complimented my efforts. I couldn’t believe it! Surely this was a fluke, and my next recipe would end in disaster.

But it didn’t! I’d say the Soy Glazed Pollock with Pea Shoots and Miso Mashed Potatoes was even tastier than the shrimp.

fish

The moment Scott asked me, “So how much would it cost to do this on a regular basis?”, I knew I’d achieved success. I’ve since ordered two more meals, and can’t wait to give them a taste.

Thinking about trying PlatedHere why I’m loving it:

  • A variety of meals to pick from on the menu each week. There are always meat, seafood and vegetarian options.
  • Nutritional info is clearly posted.
  • The food is tasty.
  • Instructions are clear and easy to follow. I also feel like I’m learning new skills!
  • Portions are great. Scott eats a little more than I do, and the both of us are always satisfied after we’re done. Sometime’s we even have leftovers.
  • Saves SO MUCH TIME since you don’t have to plan and go to the grocery store. All you need from your own pantry is salt, pepper and olive oil. Plated handles the rest.
  • Just the right amount of ingredients. I can’t tell you how many times we buy waaaay too much food and end up wasting it by not using or eating all of it. With Plated, nothing goes wasted or unused.
  • You can pick your delivery date so you know exactly when stuff is coming.
  • The packaging is recyclable and biodegradable.
  • Food is seasonable, locally sourced and sustainable whenever possible. Plated purchases meats from family owned purveyors and partners with Sea to Table to ensure seafood is wild-caught whenever possible.
  • Plated donates all extra ingredients to local food banks.
  • There’s no monthly minimum.
  • It’s a great way to try new foods and recipes.
  • Preparing the food is actually…well…fun.

The only con? Plated is a tad bit pricey…but I honestly believe it’s worth the investment. You can purchase meals a la carte at $15 per plate, or sign up for an affordable monthly or yearly membership and score meals at just $12 a plate. They also have an awesome referral program where you can earn free plates by sharing Plated with others. (Full disclosure– all the links in this post are referral links, so if you order something, I get a little boost of credit.) I believe Scott and I are spending less with Plated due to fewer wasted ingredients, less trips to the supermarket and reduced urges to eat out as “we don’t have any food at home”.

Want to give Plated a whirl? You can learn more about it here.

Anyone else using Plated, or a similar service? Have you had your culinary ego inflated as much as I have?

(Here’s hoping it doesn’t deflate too much when I –gulp–make my first attempt at risotto this week.)

*****

Note: This is not a sponsored post — Plated doesn’t even know I’m writing it. I’ve simply enjoyed their services and wanted to spread the word!

Share Button

Liked this? Then try these:

I’m back…and I look like a drunken lion.

I’m back…and I look like a drunken lion. 1

Share Button

Did you miss me? Wonder if I had stayed in SoCal to become a chubby, mediocre surfer girl? Assume I was dead?

Apologies for taking a longer blogging hiatus than originally planned. San Diego was fabulously exhausting and I just didn’t feel like writing anything when I made it home. Sometimes, you just have to carve out time to sleep, do the laundry, and sleep some more.

The good news is that San Diego was incredible. Scott and I had a blast spending time with my brother and sister, and my CrossFit Level One training was kind of the best thing ever.

cali

The very best part? Eating my way through Ron Burgundy’s hometown, of course. There were fish tacos, margaritas, ice cream, and of course…more fish tacos. Remember the scene in Charlotte’s Web where Templeton the rat eats everything in sight at the fair? It was kind of like that…just with a long blonde ponytail and (thankfully) no trash cans.

Luckily, my SoCal food frenzy didn’t just leave me with some extra plump thighs…I managed to pick up a few nuggets of foodie knowledge along the way. Here’s what four days and approximately twenty-thousand calories taught me.

 

Lesson 1: Put butter in your coffee

Per a suggestion via Instagram, I swung by San Diego chain Better Buzz Coffee for the Best Drink Ever.

Yep, that’s actually the name of the drink.

betterbuzz

I ordered a medium without actually knowing what I was about to slurp down…with a name like that, who needs to ask questions?

(Apparently, I do.)

“What’s actually in this?” I asked the barista after I swiped my credit card.

It was difficult to hear her over the roar of the espresso machine, but I could swear she mumbled something like “vanilla butter”.  Butter in coffee? Well, why the heck not!?

After visiting the Better Buzz website, I learned that I’m losing my hearing as the Best Drink Ever is 100% butter-free. It’s simply an Americano with a touch of sweetness, cream and vanilla. (Still…it was totally the best drink ever.)

I also learned that putting grass-fed butter in one’s coffee is actually a real thing! It allegedly tastes delicious, burns fat and boosts your energy and performance all day long. Normally I’d be skeptical, but I love butter on anything, so I’ll probably end up giving this a try sooner rather than later.

The moral of this first point? If you’re ever in SD, make sure to swing by Better Buzz for the Best Drink Ever, which surprisingly lives up to its name. Secondly…putting butter in your coffee no longer earns you fat kid status, so by all means, toss a dollop (or two) in there!

 

Lesson 2: Don’t dip your French Toast. Soak it.

On our last morning in Cali, Scott and I headed to La Jolla for brunch at the famous Brockton Villa Restaurant. We’d heard several rave reviews of their infamous “Coast Toast”, and I wasn’t about to leave San Diego without trying a bite for myself.

coast-toast

 

It was definitely one of the top 10 brunches of my life. In addition to a breathtaking ocean view (which smelled strongly of sea-lion dung…but who am I to complain?), and the most divine fresh squeezed OJ, the Coast Toast was out of this world. I pride myself in being a French Toast connoisseur, and I’ve got to stay, Brockton Villa’s version was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. I know several of y’all can’t stand the word moist, but you’re just going to have to deal with it because the moistness of this toast was the very thing that made is such a stand out. It was reminiscent of a lightly sweetened bread pudding. I may or may not have yelled “Come to Momma!” three times during the meal.

How did they make it taste so good? What was their secret? Could I bribe the waiter to casually sneak “momma” a copy of the super secret, extra moist recipe?

Imagine my surprise when I noticed a basket of free Coast Toast recipe cards on my way out of the restaurant. They’ve even posted it online!

Apparently, the secret is soaking the bread for at least an hour instead of just dipping it in batter. I suspect the combination of grilling it and then baking it in the oven also has something to do with it.

Long story short, I can’t wait to try to recreate this at home, and pretend I’m in sunny La Jolla as I sit on my balcony overlooking our humble little lake. (It’s not the Pacific…but at least there’s no sea-lion poop to be smelled.)

 

3. Do not have your husband take photos of you eating food. No matter how delicious it is.

You will think you’re being totally cute, but…well…let’s just say the proof is in the pudding.

My friend told me I looked like a drunken lion. I can't say that I disagree.

My friend told me I looked like a drunken lion. I can’t say that I disagree.

 

Visiting San Diego? Here are some of my other fave places:

Share Button

Liked this? Then try these:

A slice of heaven, indeed

A slice of heaven, indeed 4

Share Button

If I had a dime for each time I’ve screwed up a magazine recipe, I’d probably have almost twelve dollars.

Let’s just say my finished product never ends up looking quite as good as the professional photo in the magazine.

But last Saturday, I got close. Really close. I’m proud to present, my first attempt at ‘Green Herb and Goat Cheese Pie with Potato Crust’ from this month’s issue of Shape magazine.

shape

Shape’s version

pie

My version

Not bad, eh?

Although if I’m being perfectly honest, the recipe probably turned out so well because I didn’t actually make it by myself. After noticing the phrase “Goat cheese pie” (ummm…yes, please!) while quickly flipping through pages, I decided to host an impromptu “potbrunch”.

Relax, it’s not a weed smoking brunch.

Think of it as potluck meets baking party. All of my friends from CrossFit were responsible for brining one of the ingredients over to my place after our Saturday morning workout. We all prepped, assembled, and baked the pie together.

I was responsible for making/refilling coffee.

(Like I said, this is probably why the recipe turned out so well.)

Scott — initially skeptical that we were making a “diet recipe from some girlie magazine” enjoyed the meal so much, he’s requested I bake it again this weekend. We’ll see how successful I can be when left to my own devices.

Want to try it out with me? The recipe is simple, healthy, and perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast. Here’s how to do it:

 

Shape’s Green Herb and Goat Cheese Pie with Potato Crust

  • 12 ounces Swiss chard
  • 8 ounces curly kale
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1.5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup heaving whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 ounces  goat cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Melt butter in a 10-inch baking skillet over low heat. (We used a cast iron skillet, and it worked beautifully.) Make sure the bottom and sides of the pan are coated.
  3. Slice the potatoes (with the skins on) into super thin slices. You can use a knife, or do like we did, and bust out the mandolin slicer. (I make someone else do this part as I’m prone to slicing my fingers open.)
  4. Place the potatoes in the pan on top of the melted butter. Overlap them by about half an inch, covering the bottom and sides of your baking dish. This will be your crust.
  5. Remove the stems from the kale and Swiss chard and chop into medium size pieces. Toss the chopped up greens with the thyme and parsley. (I went out and purchased fresh thyme and parsley for this recipe, and then  forgot to add them. FML.)
  6. Press the green mixture firmly into the bottom of the potato crust.
  7. Beat the eggs, salt and heavy cream. Pour on top of the greens.
  8. Sprinkle the top with goat cheese. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
  9. Allow pie to rest for 5 minutes before slicing into 8 wedges.

Nutrition per serving: 241 calories, 14g fat (7.5g saturated), 18g carbs, 13g protein, 3g fiber, 422mg sodium

********

I hope you love this recipe as much as my friends and I did. The buttery potatoes for a crust? Brilliant. And let’s be honest…everything is better with goat cheese.

Also, I highly suggest picking up this month’s issue of Shape if you don’t already have a copy. They had so many amazing looking recipes, especially in the Cinco de Mayo inspired feature. Black bean tostadas and mango guacamole? I can’t wait to whip those up beg Scott to make them for me.

Share Button

Liked this? Then try these:

A recipe even I can’t mess up

A recipe even I can’t mess up 2

Share Button

While I’d like to think I’m a fairly decent cook, from time to time I certainly have my…umm…moments.

(Let me clarify that by “moments” I mean “disasters”.)

Breakfast a few weekends ago is a prime example. Our good friends from college were visiting, and Scott and I had planned a decadent breakfast for them: banana and macadamia nut pancakes topped with the organic coconut syrup we had purchased at this farm in Maui, paired with a heaping serving of Midwestern bacon.

Scott kept busy prepping his from-scratch pancake batter, while I piled strip after strip of organic, nitrate free bacon onto parchment paper. My husband insisted I cook the bacon in the oven as it “heats more evenly”. {Eye roll.}

Scott had cooked the first few pancakes, but was burning the outside of them on our scalding stove top griddle. And then there was the brisket he had been smoking outside for the past fifteen hours that kept distracting him. Yep. The man insisted on making homemade pastrami for our guests.

{Second eye roll.}

“You worry about the brisket,” I told him, “I can take over flipping the pancakes.”

He hesitated briefly before nodding in agreement and darting outside to tend to the smoker.

I reduced the heat on the griddle, and started manning the pancake situation. I must admit that flipping hotcakes doesn’t come naturally to me. Still, while my finished products were far from symmetrical — a few could even be described as grossly misshapen — they were perfectly fluffy and golden.

It wasn’t until I set the giant platter of banana pancakes on our dining table that I remembered there was $36 worth of Whole Foods bacon cooking away in the oven. I rushed to retrieve the pan from the heat, but it was too late. The strips were so burnt, even Jolie turned her nose up at them.

Still…I placed them on the table. (Throwing $36 of burnt designer bacon in the compost without even trying to choke some of it down goes against every single one of my principles.)

At least the Hawaiian pancakes will be good, I thought to myself.

Thirty seconds later, I learned the hard way that you should never judge a book flapjack by its cover. Despite their buttery gold exterior that appeared grilled to perfection, my hotcakes were completely raw in the middle.

But at least the coconut syrup was good…?

*******

You can see why I’m often hesitant to try new recipes. Yet when Scott requested brownies, I couldn’t help but feel obligated to redeem myself from the breakfast disaster.

“Fine,” I conceded, “But I’ll have to run to the store to pick up brownie mix.”

“No you won’t.” he informed me. “You can just make them from scratch. We need to use up all that cocoa powder you bought in South America, anyway.”

Brownies that aren’t from a box? Surely, Scott jests!

“C’mon, Katrina,” he encouraged me, “Just follow the instructions this time.”

I knew he was right. The hour of culinary redemption was upon me, and I simply could not fail. I took a deep breath, dug my Ecuadorian cocoa powder out of the pantry, and pulled this recipe from Inspired Taste up on my iPad.

Fudgy Brownies that even Katrina can’t mess up:

  • 10 tablespoons (145 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 g) granulated sugar (I used a 1 1/2 cups, as a few commenters noted these brownies weren’t super sweet.)
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (65 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
  • 1/4 rounded teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) all-purpose flour (we use Gold Medal unbleached all-purpose flour)
  • 2/3 cup (75 g) chopped walnuts or pecans (optional — I didn’t use any.)
Directions
  1. Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat to 325 degrees F (163 C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch (20cm) square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. (This helps when removing the baked brownies from the pan, once cooled).
  2. Add enough water to a medium saucepan so that it is 1 to 2 inches deep. Heat water until barely simmering. Combine butter, sugar, cocoa powder and the salt in a medium heat-safe bowl. Rest bowl over simmering water (if the bottom of the bowl touches the water, remove a little water).
  3. Stir mixture occasionally until the butter has melted and mixture is quite warm. Don’t worry if it looks gritty, it will become smooth once you add the eggs and flour.
  4. Remove the bowl from heat and set aside for 3 to 5 minutes until it is only warm, not hot.
  5. Stir in vanilla with a wooden spoon or spatula. Then, add eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.
  6. When the batter looks thick, shiny and well blended, add the flour and stir until fully incorporated, then beat with the wooden spoon or spatula for 40 to 50 strokes. (The batter will be quite thick). Stir in nuts, if using. Spread evenly in lined pan.
  7. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted into the center and come out almost clean (you want it to be a little moist with batter). Note: Some have found they need to bake an extra 10 minutes, so keep an eye on the doneness of the brownies and use the toothpick test as your guide.
  8. Cool completely then remove from pan. For the cleanest lines when cutting, place into freezer for 20 to 30 minutes to firm up. Cut into 16 squares.

******

Holy cocoa powder, these brownies were good! Baking them was so much simpler than I had anticipated, and the finished product was more than enough to get me out of the doghouse for ruining all that pricey bacon. I can honestly say I will never make brownies from the box ever again.

Now if only it was appropriate to serve these for breakfast.

Share Button

Liked this? Then try these: