Things I Ate In General

This is a food blog that isn't always totally about food.

There is a subscription box craze happening. If you need any proof, this should suffice. You can get anything delivered to you in a box on a regular basis. Makeup, dog toys, Japanese candy, underwear. Anything.

A few companies will even send you an entire meal. One of them is Plated. I had a chance to try the Plated service a few months ago and their recipe for pork chops with apple salsa and tostones has since become a regular part of my repertoire.

The general idea is this: the nice people at Plated FedEx you a box full of ingredients (also, ice packs) and a recipe card. They change up their menu of recipes every week and most everything on it is looks and sounds delicious. Also, they now ship to 80% of the continental United States. My box included: a pork loin, an apple, an onion, an orange, a plantain, salt, chili powder, and a little bottle of agave syrup. The resulting dish was great. The tostones were especially great.

It’s possible that there’s some way to do the math so that making a few Plated meals each week is budget friendly, but I haven’t done that particular math. Each “plate” is priced at $15 (or $12 if you opt to pay the monthly membership fee), with a mandatory minimum order of 2 plates per recipe. Meaning that the ingredients in my pictures would have cost $30 (or $24) had I not been trying Plated as part of a free promotion. I would guess that you could buy everything you need for these pork chops for less than $20 at the grocery store (unless you’re buying really fancy pork). The markup is the price of not having to grocery shop, of not having to even think about grocery shopping, and of having everything delivered right to your doorstep, in perfect little portions, in a box with a cute logo.

And that’s the other thing. The box. Or not so much the box as the idea of the box. Who has a life that allows them to be home to accept deliveries of boxes full of perishable food? Not I. That said, I can think of lots of people for whom Plated would be perfect. Namely, my mother circa 1993 - 2003 (the bulk of my childhood). If you have a lifestyle that Plated might suit, I recommend you give it a try. It’s a fun change from the normal cooking routine. I’ll be living through you vicariously, until my life settles down.

Laurie Colwin: A Confidante in the Kitchen

I love it when Laurie Colwin pops up in my life, and this NYT piece from last week really captured the spirit of her (often prescient) food writing. It also includes a few of her recipes. The creamed spinach with jalapeños (previously written about here) is wonderful, one of my favorite casseroles. Read this and then buy Home Cooking and More Home Cooking.

Butternut squash/sugar pumpkin soup topped with Greek yogurt and roasted pumpkin seeds. Made almost entirely with produce from Sawyer Farm! View high resolution

Butternut squash/sugar pumpkin soup topped with Greek yogurt and roasted pumpkin seeds. Made almost entirely with produce from Sawyer Farm!

Bacon cheeseburger from Plan B Burger Bar in West Hartford, CT. I had seen Plan B on some Best Burgers list in some food magazine and insisted on stopping there while driving back to Baltimore from Sawyer Farm. The green half-sour pickles are just as perfect as the juicy burgers. View high resolution

Bacon cheeseburger from Plan B Burger Bar in West Hartford, CT. I had seen Plan B on some Best Burgers list in some food magazine and insisted on stopping there while driving back to Baltimore from Sawyer Farm. The green half-sour pickles are just as perfect as the juicy burgers.

Korean food eaten at a strip mall in a suburb of Minneapolis. (Dong Yang in Columbia Heights, specifically.) 

Cheeseburger sliders from Sidetrack Bar & Grill in Ypsilanti, Michigan. In 2005 GQ magazine rated the burgers at this place as among the 20 best in the nation. I have special, special feelings about “best burgers” since I like my burgers cooked extremely rare. But these were pretty good, and the beer battered deep fried pickles were great.
I’ll spare you the backstory of why I was in Michigan in the first place, except to say that I had the pleasure of seeing Notre Dame lose not one but two games in person this season. View high resolution

Cheeseburger sliders from Sidetrack Bar & Grill in Ypsilanti, Michigan. In 2005 GQ magazine rated the burgers at this place as among the 20 best in the nation. I have special, special feelings about “best burgers” since I like my burgers cooked extremely rare. But these were pretty good, and the beer battered deep fried pickles were great.

I’ll spare you the backstory of why I was in Michigan in the first place, except to say that I had the pleasure of seeing Notre Dame lose not one but two games in person this season.

Lunch at Sweet Lake, Labor Day Weekend 2013. Grilled tuna with pineapple-corn-tomato salsa, red cabbage slaw, grilled eggplant, and baguette with roasted red pepper hummus. Meals like this are why people are less depressed in the summer. View high resolution

Lunch at Sweet Lake, Labor Day Weekend 2013. Grilled tuna with pineapple-corn-tomato salsa, red cabbage slaw, grilled eggplant, and baguette with roasted red pepper hummus. Meals like this are why people are less depressed in the summer.

Minnesota in (whole-wheat buttermilk cheddar) biscuit form. Here’s the recipe.*

*Minnesota shaped cookie cutter not included. I bought mine at The Bibelot, but you can order one for less than $2.00 right here.