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by Marisa Olsen

 I was like a little girl on Christmas Eve waiting up for Santa arrive for my first Blue Apron delivery. For those of you who don't know, Blue Apron is a new meal service company, which sends a box of ingredients perfectly packaged for you to cook three meals a week in the comfort of your own home. Deliveries arrive on Tuesdays between 6-10 pm. My first delivery arrived at 9:55 pm (they just made it!) and with great haste, I ripped open the box and jumped in.

It really was like Christmas for a chef. I loved seeing a box full of local ingredients portioned and packaged all ready to go.  This week's meal featured Salmon with Fennel Two Ways and Cauliflower Steak; Turkey Meatloaf with Roasted Potatoes and Spinach; and Gnocchi with Sausage and Savoy Cabbage. 
I decided to make the Salmon for my first meal. I grabbed the recipe, which had the ingredients written clearly on one side and photos with step-by-step instructions on the other. The meal was a piece of cake to make: slice the cauliflower and roast, slice the fennel and mix it with the olives, parsley, lemon, and olive oil, and then rub the fennel rub on the salmon, and sear. The entire meal was ready in less than 20 minutes and the recipe was easy to follow. 

The best part is that it was delicious. The North Atlantic salmon was perfectly seasoned with the ground fennel rub (I loved this rub so much that I found myself scraping up the charred salmon skin bits leftover in the skillet) and I liked how the cauliflower was roasted and charred as I'm always looking for new ways to play with cauliflower.  The the acidity of the fennel salad with the lemon and olives cut the richness of the fatty salmon and salty cauliflower.  I paired the meal with a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. 
On Wednesday I cooked the Turkey Meatloaf with Roasted Potatoes and Spinach. We were due for a Nor'easter so thought it was the perfect comfort food to consume during a storm. Now, I am actually not a meatloaf fan.  In fact, I usually stay away as much as possible. The words "meat" and "loaf" shouldn't go together, even if you were a famous 1980s rock singer, but I digress. I pushed my fears aside and plunged ahead. Lucky for me; I had a nice surprise. The turkey meat was Pat Lafrieda and the "loaf" was filled with herbs de provence, onion, celery, and garlic (and ketchup, of course). I loved having a lighter meat that was so fragrant with the melodic herbs. The spinach and potatoes were lovely complements as well. We paired our dinner with a California Cab and it truly was the perfect comfort meal.
Our last meal was the Gnocchi, which was one of my favorites. I loved the sauteed sweet cabbage and red onions with the hint of acidity from the red wine vinegar. The Pat LaFrieda sausage was so well crafted as well. The dish was  particularly good with shaved Locatelli cheese gently folded onto the pasta. 

I will certainly order Blue Apron again. While you don't get to choose your specific meals (they now offer a vegetarian option), it's a nice plan for those who often get home late and don't feel like going to the grocery store and starting a meal from scratch. Also, the meals are so easy, quick to prepare, and delicious!

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