Gathering around the dinner table was not the norm in my family household. Whether I was staying after school participating in the Forensics club or eating finger food while changing out of my soccer uniform on the way to basketball practice, things were always moving at a fast pace. I lived off of fruit, granola bars, subway and leftovers my mom had cooked from the night before. To complicate things further, I was a hard kid to please when it came to diversity on my plate. I would starve before trying things like salmon, onions and definitely brussel sprouts - I was every parent's nightmare. I didn't think I would ever change my ways until I met my husband. He is what I call a "human trash can". He eats anything and everything - minus beets - and forces me to try a bite of whatever he orders. Slowly, but surely, I started to try new things and I am SO glad that I did. I was missing out on what are now some of my favorites: Brussel sprouts, cherries and lobster - which my husband now regrets having me try. Now that I had started trying, and liking, new foods I wanted to learn how to prepare them. This is where I was introduced to Blue Apron.
When my husband, Josh, and I moved into our first apartment together my mom bought us a 3 month subscription to Blue Apron. At this time, it was a relatively new company and all I knew was they delivered fresh ingredients to your door. My mother's wish was that I would become more familiar with ingredients and learn my way around the kitchen. Josh, who does the majority of the cooking, and I were excited for this new challenge.
The first delivery came which included 3 recipes, 2 servings in each. The recipe depicted which ingredients to pull aside and approximately how long it would take to prepare and cook the meal. This particular recipe stated it would take about 45 minutes. We grabbed our cutting board and knife and jumped in. Let's just say things were not going as picturesque as we might have hoped for. Our 45-minute meal took us about an hour and a half to prepare. At this point we were starving and felt defeated by Blue Apron. We didn't speak, mostly because we were stuffing our faces, but I know we shared the same hope that every meal didn't go as badly as this one.
I would love to tell you that our first meal experience was a fluke, that I transformed into a sous-chef overnight and from that point forward prepared nothing but absolute masterpieces in under an hour. However, this was not the case. It was a couple of weeks until we finally prepared a meal within the approximated time. The advice I would give kitchen newbies is to stick with it. Like anything else, cooking is a skill and takes time to get comfortable with. I am grateful we didn't throw in the towel after night one, because it has been about two years and we are still using Blue Apron recipes. We love our delivery service, it saves us money on weekly groceries, is convenient, and makes cooking together fun. Blue Apron isn't the only way to learn how to cook, it just worked for me and my husband.
Recipe for Cilantro Beef Tacos (Pictured)-Blue Apron
Est Time - 20 minutes
10 ounces thinly sliced beef
1/2 C Jasmine Rice
4 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes
1/3 C Cilantro Sauce
1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 ounce sliced pickled jalapeño pepper
1/4 C sour cream or mexican crema
1 Tbsp Mexican spice blend (ancho chile powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, ground cumin, & dried Mexican oregano)
Cook the rice - In medium pot combine the rice, half the spice blend, a big pinch of salt, and 1 C of water. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling reduce heat to low. Cover to cook, without stirring, 12-14 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and rice is tender. turn off heat and fluff with fork.
Make the spicy tomatoes - Wash, dry and halve the tomatoes. Roughly chop pepper. In a medium bowl, combine the halved tomatoes, vinegar and as much of the chopped pepper as you'd like. Drizzle with olive oil and season with S&P.
Cook the beef - Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Season with S&P. In a medium pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned beef in an even layer and cook without sitting 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add cilantro sauce, carefully. Season with S&P. Cook stirring frequently 1-2 minutes, or until beef is coated and just cooked through. Turn off the heat.
Warm the tortillas - If using microwave wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave on high 1 minute. If using over (preheat to 375 ahead of time) wrap the tortillas in foil and place directly onto an oven rack; warm 7-9 minutes. Transfer to work surface and carefully unwrap.
Assemble the tacos and serve your dish! - Fill tortillas with cooked beef, spicy tomatoes (discarding any liquid), and sour cream or cream. Serve the tacos with the cooked rice. Enjoy!