Ah, the thrill of the unknown.
Much like my life post August 2016, this dinner is a mystery!
Total number of Korean dinners I’ve cooked (before this one): 0. Big ol’ Bulbul egg.
This was a Blue Apron recipe meant to bring Average Joe Box-a-Roni out of their culinary comfort zone. This is a benefit that Blue Apron offers over competing home-meal delivery services; if you want to branch out and try new ingredients and tastes, Blue Apron is going to have what you’re looking for. If you appreciate planning and have specific dietary preferences, you’ll probably do better with one of the other services.
The Korean Rice Cakes, “tteok”, arrived in a tight vacuum-sealed package along with the other main ingredients: eggplant, summer squash, and long beans. The cooking steps of this recipe made me laugh a bit, because it required each ingredient to cook in the pan separate from one another. Why? I don’t really know for sure. Would it have made a difference to combine the eggplant, squash and beans all in the same pan?
It was interesting to see how each different vegetable cooks. The eggplant absolutely soaked up every last bit of the olive oil, whereas it seemed like the beans repelled them. It might have worked better to steam the beans, as they ended up a bit tough and chewy.
Speaking of chewy, the texture of the rice cakes were a complete surprise. Before being immersed in a boiling pot of water, they had the consistency of a wafer, but after soaking for 3 minutes they came out all jiggly and gelatinous! Pretty neat transformation. Oh, and protip, try not to pour in the desiccant packet from the rice cakes into a pot of boiling water.
Now I’m curious what happens when you put one of those in the microwave…
Anyway, the sauce was a blend of rice vinegar, sesame oil, and a savory soy glaze that had the consistency of shampoo. I was proud of myself for substituting the leftover pot water from the boiled rice cakes by filling the small bottle of glaze to get the rest of the sticky sauce out. Just like when you are down to that last bit of shampoo and you need to make it go as far as possible.
This was pretty good. I liked the flavor of the sauce and when topped with the scallions, thai basil, and cashews, the flavors became complex and interesting. If I could be so bold and figure out a way to improve on this recipe, I would add even more cashews than Blue Apron sent and take away some of the ginger. The children picked at it like little birds. I think they were still full from a large lunch today, so I wasn’t going to force anything on them. The meal itself was very filling, even for two adults.
Another one for the blog history books – blistory books? Only THREE MORE DINNERS TO 40! We’re in the homestretch!
comes complete with a scarf-ey cape-y overlay. Oooooh. What style.
Fuck this fucking shirt straight to the seventh hell
I’ve spent the last half an hour trying to untangle the cape contraption just to get this to hang the right way on the goddamn hanger. It’s like untangling a chain with twenty knots in it. Had I known this was going to be such a pain in the ass, I wouldn’t have haphazardly tossed it in the laundry pile. I would have never gotten this godforsaken complicated shirt in the first place.
Dont ever buy shirts with built-in capes.
It’s time to review another Kiwi Crate! Our second box arrived on Saturday and we’ve had lots of fun with this one so far. This month’s learning theme was all about money: currency, counting, addition and subtraction. Best of all, it came with a cash register. The cash register was an instant obsession.
Something that differed from last month was the two activities in this months box were actually two pieces of one larger game, the lemonade stand game. Kiwi Crate sent the assembly for a paper cash register and currency as one activity and bits to put together for a chalkboard advertisement as the other. There was an additional pamphlet on mini math games to play with the currency and pretend shop items. WE LOVED THIS! Total creativity sparker.
Assembling the cash register was priority numero uno. Once that was up and running (with a real, working calculator!) we got to playing store right away. I’m happy to say buying and selling toys occupied them for at least an hour and the cash register is durable enough for multiple uses.
While the bartering went on, assembly of the chalkboard fell upon myself and a not so helpful assistant. The only actual assembly for this portion of the project was stringing together felt pieces to make a lemon-shaped eraser for the chalkboard. This would have probably been too advanced for my 5.5-year-old anyway, so I didn’t mind taking care of the quick set-up.
I need to establish the back-story for this next photo.
My Mother is an elementary school teacher. She’s always looking out for fun and educational activities to send the girls; some things she gives us are games, books, or activities used in her classroom. About a year ago, she granted us her school’s access to an educational learning lab called BrainPop Junior. It’s a website with a series of videos covering all kinds of subjects that my girls love to watch. Lately they’ve been fascinated with social topics that are presented in a child-friendly matter, like divorce, smoking…and drugs. I don’t know why the drugs video has held their interest as much as it has, but on Saturday when my oldest was coloring a picture, out of the blue she asks, “Mommy, can you write “free drugs” for me?”
“ExCUSE you?? Huuuuuh?”
“Did you know that drugs sometimes can make people do things they don’t normally do? Yeah. And if a stranger offers you free drugs, you should always say no.”
This was what her drawing was about. People doing things they don’t normally do, because they took drugs. Bless your heart, sweet little daughter.
So as a Machiavellian parent, I envisioned a scenario placing each daughter out on the street. One with a sign advertising Lemonade, the other with a sign that says Free Drugs! And in my head, what played out was hilarious.
This was definitely a fun box, more fun than last months. I think for the entertainment and educational value Kiwi Crate boxes provide we will keep subscribing. Now if only there were a subscription service that sent out free drugs…
It’s been 6 months since we all moved back in together. It felt like things were better at first, but now they’re treading the same course as before. I think about going back, but am intimidated by the cost, and the loneliness. I know we’ve turned into one of those ‘stay together for the kids’ couples, which makes sense and works for now. What’s unpredictable is how many years are going to be spent this way.
Anyway, this is all personal dirty laundry stuff to air, but it’s my blog to air it on. So enjoy the stink!
Face it: Zucchini is the basic bitch of the cucurbits. Bold statement, I know. But what is zucchini best known for? Its bread? Zucchini is a watery filler gourd that’s stupid-easy to grow with inferior ovaries. Blue Apron has been sending zucchinis a-plenty in our boxes lately.
So I was a little disappointed to receive yet another zucchini recipe this week; two recipes in the same box! But it’s understandable where Blue Apron is coming from. Zucchinis are cheap to grow and are decently healthy for you. Fortunately, this dinner was balanced out by something far sexier: Medjool Dates. Mmm…so sticky and sweet (also, Red Onion. The sexiest of the onion varieties).
One positive this dinner had going for it was that Blue Apron sent a lot of ground beef. A lot. There’s a big Tupperware of leftovers now sitting in our fridge. The beef + the couscous made for great volume. Since we’re on the 4-person meal plan there is no shortage of food to go around. It provoked a different and interesting reaction from the kiddoes. Good-eater enjoyed the couscous, but not the beef, and Picky-eater liked the beef, but not the couscous. I would have predicted the opposite.
I greatly enjoyed the combination of the spices and the heartiness of the meat and vegetables. The mint and parsley were a nice touch. Coming in at 650 calories per serving, this was healthy enough for my diet plan yet felt filling and didn’t leave me craving more. Too bad this wasn’t especially kid-friendly because I would love to make this again, perhaps omitting the zucchini for something like butternut squash. I also got to serve this in my new Pottery Barn serve-ware bowls. Pottery Barn: The Basic Bitch of Retail. You know you love it.