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Hey Gordon Ramsay, I’m a Master Chef! #PeachDishMeal

PeachDish 1

OK, I admit I watch way too many cooking shows. Inside my head, I secretly want to be a Food Network star. Not really the kind that dons an outfit to match the kitchen, not the kind with the perfect make-up, and not the kind with every kitchen appliance/gadget from Cook’s Warehouse. I am the kind that has to constantly step around a little dog, use whatever knife/spoon/(insert your own McGyver-esque tool here) is handy, and wash my own pots and pans.  I’m also the kind that wants to serve my family something beyond pork chops and macaroni – not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I know there’s more out there.  I’ve seen it.  On the Food Network.

I enjoy trying new things, new techniques, new places – it’s what my blog is all about. As soon as I learned that there was a subscription box that would help me cook my own yummy meals – and it’s based in my own backyard of Atlanta – I knew it was the next thing on my list to add to the “nest.” Enter PeachDish.  Just the name conjures up delicious memories of a Southern summer.   PeachDish encourages folks to “value cooking as an experience instead of an obligation” by cooking delicious meals that are “southern-infused and internationally inspired.” OK, I’m intrigued. This is not a “meal delivery service” of pre-packaged, frozen, or shelf-stable meals. All of the ingredients for two restaurant-quality, multi-course meals, along with recipes, are delivered to your door.  Then…you cook them yourself! It’s exciting to get in the kitchen and have fun cooking, without all the hassle of planning and grocery shopping.

First things first. Each sturdy package arrives lined with reflective insulation and contains several ice packs.  Next, you’ll notice the components of each meal are contained in their own beautiful organza bag. It really is like a gift! The box you’ll receive is pretty impressive, and opening it is a lot like digging through your stocking at Christmas.  I understand that PeachDish has recently redesigned its logo and upgraded packaging. All I can say is “bravo!”

PeachDish

Upon further inspection, inside each bag is everything needed to create your meal – except the meat, which is packaged separately.  Little bags of  spices, nuts, fresh herbs, bread, pre-measured grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, flour, cocoa powder, even butter. It is lovely!  The meats are in their own insulated bags with another ice pack and sealed tightly to ensure that they remain cold and to prevent leaking.  Everything in the box is very cold and again, very fresh.  I know I keep saying that, but it’s just that important.

Ingredients out of the box

Meal Number One

The first meal in my box this week was “Spice-Rubbed Flat Iron Steak & Roasted Cauliflower with a Warm Farro Salad.”  Each recipe comes with a well-designed recipe card that shows pictures of the final product, a description, a list of ingredients, and step-by-step instructions. Each ingredient is measured out for you. Occasionally you’ll have to peel and chop, but nothing is difficult. This particular recipe started with a spice rub for the flat iron steak.  These steaks, by the way, were sourced from Halperns’ – an Atlanta-based, award-winning meat purveyor.  The instructions lead me through cleaning, cutting up and roasting the cauliflower with lemon and garlic.  At the same time I prepared the farro salad with dried cranberries and cashews.  Finally, clear instructions enabled me to perfectly cook the steaks. For dessert, large beautiful green apples and a sweet ruby red grapefruit.

Ingredients Flat Iron Steak

We began with the steak – beautifully seared and almost startlingly tender. I’m not usually a meat sear-er, but it truly made a difference and I appreciate the guidance from the PeachDish chefs.  Next, I’m not sure what’s in the steak rub, but I’m going to need the recipe or a big jar full of it and no one gets hurt!  (hint, hint, PeachDish) Delicious!

flat iron steak

Before we even sat down to eat, I knew that getting the cauliflower past my hubby would be a challenge.  He’d been giving it dirty looks and sideways glances the whole time I was preparing it.  Moment of truth…he tastes…he looks at me…he smiles…he declares it good and polishes it off.  This ain’t ya mama’s boiled cauliflower!

Cauliflower

The farro salad was very good, too. I’m a big fan of most ancient grains and the addition of the cranberries and cashews elevated it to a “it’s-so-good-I’d-never-know-it’s-healthy” level.  I did toast the cashews a bit before adding them to the salad.

We finished the meal with sliced, perfectly-ripened apples and grapefruit supremes.  Portions were generous and the meal was yummy and filling.  I really felt like a chef!

Meal Number Two

The Challenge:  Hand over all my fabulous ingredients for “Chicken & Wild Rice Soup with Cheesy Ciabatta Bread, and Chocolate Mug Cake” to my hubby to prepare – who self-admittedly has a cooking aptitude deficit. Are the instructions provided by PeachDish clear enough for a novice?

chicken and wild rice soup

Cooking techniques, thankfully, are all pretty simple. In this case, they get about as difficult as dicing veggies and boiling things. Most recipes also seem to take only one or two pots and pans, which is a nice touch.  Uh oh…spoke too soon.  “Step 1: Peel and dice shallot and garlic.”  Husband: “What is shallot?”  (As an FYI – many of the ingredients that come in their own bags are labeled, however the shallot was not one of those.)  I suggested that he have a look at the ingredients in front of him and, by process of elimination, figure it out!  He did and he moved on.  Quite easily.  Without any more questions.  Without complaints.  The house smelled so good and it was all I could do to stay out of the kitchen to peek and taste.

chicken and wild rice soup 1

Finally, dinnertime! We loved Chicken and Wild Rice soup and we were quite impressed.  Lots of flavor, beautiful colors, and the addition of the lime and cilantro at the end really elevated it.  (PeachDish, by the way, includes Springer Mountain Farms Chicken for this one.  I love that not only do they not use steroids/hormones (a USDA and FDA requirement, anyway) but also raise their chicken antibiotic-free, without feeding them animal by-products, and are American Humane Society Certified.)  The Cheesy Ciabatta Bread was fast and easy – basically cut the bread in half, put a slice of pepperjack cheese on top and toast it.  So simple, I’d never think of it on my own.  Again, large portions – we had another bowlful of soup for the next day.

chicken and wild rice soup 2

Dessert – Chocolate Mug Cake.  My husband was actually excited about baking this one, and did so with exaggerated flourishes and lots of happy-yummy sounds.

mug cake

 

After melting the butter, he mixed pre-measured ingredients, poured the batter into mugs and popped them in the microwave.  All told, took about 5 minutes. But wait, there’s more.  He topped the mug cakes with a bit of whipped cream (not included) and served it with a lovely little Mandarin orange (included) that he even peeled!  So.incredibly.good.  No leftovers here… I enjoyed this entire meal made by my husband, all by himself.  I’m proud, but I believe PeachDish wins this challenge.

mug cake 1

Try This One! Easy and Quick.

From the PeachDish website: 

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 c flour, 1/4 c cocoa powder, and 1/4 c sugar. In a separate dish, melt 4 pats butter
(45 sec in microwave should be plenty). Add melted butter and 1 / 3 c water to dry ingredients, mix
well. Stir in about 1/8 c chocolate chips.

Lightly grease two mugs with cooking spray or wipe with butter wrappers. Pour half of batter into each
mug. Microwave each mug, separately, for 1 min on high. Check doneness, add 10 sec increments until done. 

Final Thoughts

I was overwhelmed by the thought and care that went into the packaging for this box. The little things make all the difference. It seems that PeachDish makes every effort to ensure that their treasure box of cuisine arrives in excellent condition with fresh, beautifully packaged ingredients. Although I live in the Atlanta area and received my package the day after it shipped, I am confident that this box would travel well across the country and arrive in the same super-chilled amazing shape on the second day, as well.

This would be a great service for anybody who wants to learn how to cook, or people who are otherwise just too busy to go shopping but still want to eat home-cooked meals – new parents, college students, anyone really. I think making two meals a week at home is doable for most people, even those who love to eat at restaurants.

I love that they give you the recipes and make it available on their website.  Even those from past weeks. If you really love something and want to buy the ingredients yourself and make it again, you totally can! Another great thing is that you only need to supply three things – olive oil, salt and pepper – and limited kitchen equipment.  Nothing fancy. For these recipes, I needed a very basic set of pots and pans, a knife, a vegetable peeler, some aluminum foil, a baking sheet, a wooden spoon, a whisk, and a set of tongs. Again, most people should be able to round those up without a problem.

PeachDish publishes the menus for each shipping week on their website about a week ahead.  You can elect to receive a box every week, but you can also cancel any week you don’t want, based on the menu or your schedule that week or whatever. You choose how many people you want to feed, two or a family. Portions are generous so a family box will feed 4-6 – depending on ages and appetites.  Boxes are priced at $50 for two full meals that feed two people, or $90 for a family box, with free shipping. This seemed expensive to me at first, but you know what? It’s a lot cheaper than going to most restaurants for two meals.  You’re definitely paying a little extra for convenience here –basically somebody will plan the meals, make a grocery list, and go to the store and buy everything. With PeachDish, items are super fresh, and locally sourced. That’s something I’m willing to pay for. Meal kits arrive on Tuesday in the Atlanta area and Wednesday nationally, right to your front door! Now all you have to do is open them and start cooking.

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If you want to cook more at home, learn to cook and make some great new meals, you should give PeachDish a try.  You can go here to subscribe  and – until January 19th – you can receive 50% off your first box using the code “coupon13” when you check out. EXPIRED  (The ordering process takes you through Amazon to pay, so don’t be startled.)  After January 19th, you may use code “ZIWTMFMJ” to receive $10 off your box.  PeachDish is also very customer-friendly and easy to connect with on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.   #PeachDishMeal

Lastly, I declare myself a Master Chef and I think I’ll go embroider my name on an apron (that matches my kitchen, of course.)  Somebody call Gordon Ramsay…

 

 

 Disclosure : PeachDish sent me a meal box for free to use in this review. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. All reviews represent the opinion of Nest Full of New and are based on personal use and results.