Plated Subscription Box Review – May 12, 2015
Plated delivers a weekly box of pre-portioned fresh and seasonal ingredients, everything you need to cook their chef-designed recipes at home in your own kitchen. Each week, they offer a different menu, and you can select which dishes you’d like to make, how many plates of each dish you’d like to serve, and when you’d like to receive your delivery.
Three of the dishes offered on every menu are vegetarian. Plated also regularly rotates in vegan and dairy-free options. They’re committed to using sustainably sourced seafood, seasonally fresh produce, and meat raised without antibiotics or added hormones.
Plated also makes it easy to pick recipes that best suit your culinary skill level and lifestyle. Each recipe is tagged with a difficulty level and clearly lists calorie content and prep time.
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The Subscription Box: Plated
The Cost: Recipes begin at $12 per plate. 2 recipes (4 plates)= $48 per week (+ $6 shipping). 3 recipes (6 plates)= $72 per week (with free shipping). 4 recipes (8 total plates)= $96 per week (with free shipping).
The Products: All of the pre-portioned fresh and seasonal ingredients you need to make chef-designed recipes at home in your own kitchen.
Ships to: 95% of the US. (Currently, Plated does not ship to Hawaii and Alaska, and there are also a few cities in Texas, including San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Laredo, and Midland, where they don’t yet ship.)
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Each week, Plated offers a different menu with 7 dishes to choose from. I opted for a Tuesday delivery (05/12) and selected Homemade Chorizo with Paella-Style Rice, Crispy Fish with Coconut Bok Choy, Tatsoi, and Rice, and Roasted Lemon-Shallot Halloumi Cheese with Israeli Couscous. I also decided to try one of their desserts, the Lemon Pots with Graham Cracker Crust. When my box shipped, I received an email letting me know that I would need to have the following “pantry items” on hand: black pepper, kosher salt, olive oil, water, and eggs. The email also clearly listed the difficulty level, cooking time, and calorie information of my selected dishes.
As always, the box was packed with extreme care. Ingredients were bundled by recipe, and each item was in its own container.
The fish, pork, and cheese were vacuum-sealed and packed at the bottom of the box, safely away from the produce and surrounded by cool packs.
Recipe #1- Homemade Chorizo with Paella-Style Rice
Each meal from Plated comes with its own recipe card. I’ve found the recipes to be well written, and I like that they provide pictures for each step.
I began by separating, cleaning, and chopping my ingredients. I was a little disappointed by the size of the onion I received. It was so small that I initially thought it was a shallot! Luckily, I had another small onion on hand that I add in.
To begin, I sautéed the onion and garlic until they were soft. I removed half of the mixture from the pan (to mix into the chorizo later) and then added paprika, rice, and tomato. The rice simmered in a mix of water and chicken stock paste until the water had absorbed.
I added fresh peas and let the rice continue to cook until a crust formed at the bottom of the pan.
While the rice cooked, I made the chorizo by mixing ground pork, vinegar, spices, salt, and pepper with the onions I’d reserved earlier.
I formed this meaty mixture into 6 patties and cooked them in a skillet over medium heat until they were browned on the outside and cooked through.
To plate, I transferred the rice onto plates and topped it with the chorizo patties.
I wasn’t thrilled with this recipe. First of all, I thought the rice lacked flavor and that it would have benefited from the incorporation of some additional spices. Also, the “chorizo” patties tasted more like sliders than sausage. According to the card, this fresh pork recipe is a Mexian-style chorizo (as opposed to the cured Spanish variety I’m used to), so it could be that part of my disappointment with this dish stemmed from my inaccurate expectations. Still, I wasn’t a fan.
Meal #2- Roasted Lemon-Shallot Halloumi Cheese with Jeweled Israeli Couscous
The following day, I made the halloumi dish. I began by prepping my ingredients.
I arranged the halloumi in a pan with sliced lemon, pepper, shallot, and white wine and roasted it at 400 for 20 minutes.
While the halloumi roasted, I sautéed spices until they were fragrant and then added currants, dried apricots, and Israeli couscous. I stirred this mixture and waited for the couscous to turn a nice, medium brown.
When it had nicely toasted, I added water and let the couscous cook. When the water had absorbed, I stirred in chopped pistachios and adjusted the seasoning.
When the couscous was ready, I set it to the side and finished the halloumi. After the halloumi was warmed through and had started to brown, I turned on the broiler and allowed it to cook under direct heat until a bubbly brown crust formed on top.
I loved this dish! I thought the dried fruit and nuts were a great addition to the couscous, and the grilled halloumi was fantastic with the lemon and shallot. Admittedly, we ate a lot of cheese in this meal, but I thought the lemon and white wine added a nice acidity that kept the dish from feeling too heavy. If I were to make this again, though, I think I would add a vegetable. Maybe some grilled asparagus? I think a salad with arugula & pomegranate would go really well, too. I’d feel a little bit better about eating a plate of cheese and pasta if it was paired with something green.
Meal #3- Crispy Fish with Coconut Bok Choy, Tatsoi, and Rice
My last meal from this box was a fish dish. With Plated, I usually try and make any fish dishes first to ensure I use the fish when it’s freshest, but, honestly, I just wasn’t in the mood for fish this week. Happily, the fish was still very fresh on the fifth day after receiving my box. (All of the fish I’ve received from Plated has been shipped frozen, and I think that helps prolong its refrigerator lifespan.) The prep for this dish was simple. I cleaned and chopped my greens, sliced the shallot and garlic, and halved a lemon.
I cooked the rice while I sautéed the onion and shallot in another pan. When the onion was translucent, I added the bok choy and Swiss chard and let them wilt. To make the sauce, I added in coconut milk, water, soy sauce, and lemon juice and simmered until the liquid had reduced. I then stirred in the tatsoi and set the greens aside. (I’d never cooked with tatsoi before! For anyone unfamiliar with it, like I was, it’s an asian green with a subtle flavor that looks a lot like spinach.)
The tilapia was quick to prepare. I seasoned both sides of the fillets, doused them in cornmeal, and then pan-fried them until they were golden brown of both sides.
I plated the rice and greens and topped them with the fish fillets.
This dish was pretty good. I really liked the greens, and I thought the lemon/soy/coconut milk sauce was unusual and surprisingly delicious. The only problem was that the ratios seemed a little off; I would have been happier with more greens and less rice. Still, I enjoyed the flavors, and I thought the components of the dish worked well together.
Dessert- Lemon Pots with Graham Cracker Crust
When I found out that Plated also offers dessert, I had to try it! Like with their meals, they provide all of the ingredients needed to make their desserts. This recipe even came with tin ramekins!
First, I made the crust. I bashed the graham crackers into crumbs with the bottom of a pan and then rubbed in softened butter and a tablespoon of sugar. I divided the mixture between the ramekins and pressed it into the bottoms.
Next, I made the lemon curd.
Now, in the spirit of full-disclosure, I want to mention that I’m a professional baker, and I make lemon curd very frequently at my shop. I make it similarly to how Plated instructed, which is to whisk all of the ingredients together over medium heat in a pot until the curd thickens. If I’d written this recipe, though, I’d probably have recommended cooking the curd over a double boil to help make it a little more foolproof. This method takes longer, but it doesn’t require the same frantic whisking you need over direct heat to ensure the eggs don’t scramble. (FYI- if your eggs do scramble, try straining your curd. That will sometimes salvage it.) I worry that Plated’s instructions might lead to problems for some.
Anyway, once my curd was ready, I filled the ramekins and allowed the curd to set in the fridge for 20 minutes.
I really enjoyed these little Lemon Pots, and I thought they were very tasty. While I didn’t have any problems making the curd, I do have some concerns about the way the recipe was written. I think for anyone who hasn’t made curd before, there are potential pitfalls. Have any other subscribers tried Plated desserts? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.
Verdict: For me, this shipment from Plated was okay. Plated has a number of different chefs who write their recipes, and I’m starting to notice that I like certain chef’s dishes more than others. I might have to start paying more attention that that when I pick out my dishes for the week. Still, I really love the convenience Plated offers, and I’m consistently impressed with the quality of their ingredients. While this week’s dishes weren’t a homerun, I still enjoyed most of the dishes I received.
What do you think about Plated?