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CrateChef Molly Yeh Box Review + Coupon – April 2018

CrateChef Subscription Box

CrateChef is a bi-monthly subscription box curated by top-name chefs. They send artisan foods, recipes, and kitchen supplies in each box, typically with a cookbook or recipe cards from the featured chef so you can put your items to use!

CrateChef Unboxing

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

CrateChef April 2018 Box curated by Molly Yeh

About This Cooking & Baking Subscription Box

The Subscription Box: CrateChef

The Cost: $45 a box (plus $6 shipping per box) or $44 a box when you choose a 3-month subscription. You may also purchase a one-time gift box for $49 a box (plus $6 shipping). 

COUPON: Use code ADDICTION10 to save 10% off your first box!
The Products: Artisan foods, recipes, and kitchen tools, curated by a different chef each month– usually from the Southern region of the US.

Ships to: U.S. 

CrateChef April Review: Food Blogger Molly Yeh

Interview with Molly Yeh

Each CrateChef box starts off with a quick letter from the curator, which for this box is food blogger Molly Yeh of my name is yeh. This is the second month the letter has been interview-style instead of just a letter from the personality curating the box, and I really love this format!

Interview with Molly Yeh continued

I recognized Molly’s name but hadn’t read her blog regularly, so this was a nice excuse to get to know a new website to follow. I loved this interview, which asked about the usual foodie things but also questions about how Molly studied percussion at Julliard and why she does not use capital letters in her blog writing. 😉

The box also includes a separate card detailing all the items included, with some tips on recipes and more:

Molly Yeh Info Card

Information about all the items in the box

This month’s box includes 8 items and feels super full, even though a few items are on the small side this month.

Yogurt by Molly Yeh Short Stack Cookbook

Yogurt by Molly Yeh, Short Stack Volume 32 – Retail Price $14

I am so enamored with this little chapbook-style cookbook! Short Stack Editions publishes these with new releases monthly, and I am loving the retro patterned covers and small scale. I am sad they don’t seem to be taking new subscribers at the moment but am seriously considering picking up a few other past editions.

Yogurt by Molly Yeh Table of Contents

The pages of this little paperback book are a quirky bright neon pink, which definitely makes it stand out among my other cookbooks. This is also a new release, just available to buy in March.

Yogurt by Molly Yeh: Buying Yogurt

Molly’s book is focused on different uses for yogurt, both savory and sweet. I am a yogurt fanatic and just starting making it myself in my Instant Pot, so this is quite possibly perfect timing to receive this petite book!

Soft Yogurt Cookies with Raspberry Glaze

Currently dying over this raspberry cookie illustration. The book is filled with these little drawings and again, I love it. (This one is probably the silliest of them all!)

Yogurt & Saffron Wild Rice Soup

Harissa-Braised Chickpeas with Feta, Grilled Lemon, and Yogurt is very high on my to-cook list at the moment. Yum! And how good does Yogurt & Saffron Wild Rice Soup sound? My favorite chicken soup is actually made with lemon and feta, so this sounds like a new variation on that theme that I just need to try.

Back Cover

PS: My birthday is in  June if you’re looking for gift ideas I will happily accept the full back catalog of Short Stack’s books.

india Tree Carnival Mix Sprinkles

India Tree Carnival Mix Sprinkles – Estimated Price $8? (5.75 oz available on sale here for $9.76)

This is one of those items where I feel like I could not find a reliable price online; Amazon’s price of $11.41 seems way too high to me for 2.7 ounces, so I’m 100% guessing I might be able to find this in stores for around $8. (I even tried creating an Instacart account so I could see if I could find a price for Whole Foods online, but no dice.)

I actually laughed a bit when I pulled this out, because we have these exact sprinkles in the office kitchen already, leftover from Galentine’s Day! Molly Yeh well known for sprinkles and cakes, so this item makes a lot of sense– although in her extensive testing to find out which variety of sprinkles is best for funfetti cake, the artificially colored ones actually fared better.

india Tree Carnival Mix Sprinkles

Meanwhile, these are naturally colored so the colors are a bit more muted than what you normally see with sprinkles. I’ll admit that when I bake, I hate adding anything too artificial, but my regular grocery store doesn’t carry stuff like this. Looking forward to using them on a fun mother-son baking project soon!

india Tree Carnival Mix Sprinkles

As you can see here, the coloring comes from ingredients like turmeric, beet juice, and other vegetable juices.

Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract

Neilsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract, 2 fl oz – Retail Price $15.95

Real vanilla is something I always need to have on hand; the fake stuff just does NOT taste good to me anymore. It’s definitely more expensive than the artificial stuff, but the flavor makes it totally worth it.

Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract

Although vanilla extract contains alcohol, the “Bourbon” here actually refers to the Bourbon Islands, the region where these vanilla beans are grown. According to their website, this product is a general purpose vanilla that is suitable for a wide range of recipes and applications. Nielsen Massey also offers Mexican and Tahitian varieties, as well as an organic and fair-trade version of this same extract.

Nielsen Massy Postcard

There’s also a postcard with more info on Nielsen-Massey included, with a recipe on the back:

Postcard reverse

I don’t own a donut pan, but I really want to try making homemade donuts now!

Alphabet Cookie Cutters

Alphabet Cutter Set – Retail Value $9.99

These are kind of on the small side to use as cookie cutters– they’re only 1″ tall each! I think they are better suited to cutting out fondant to use for cake decoration. CrateChef also recommends using them with pie crust to make unique pies, which is a cool idea and something I’ve never tried myself.

Alphabet Cookie Cutters

My set seems to be missing the V and Y letters, which means I won’t be spelling my full name anytime soon. Thankfully Y is easy to fake by cutting one arm off the X or K shape!

(FYI: We received this box for free to review, so I did not ask CrateChef for a replacement. Their FAQ states that if you report any damage issues within 7 days they will replace the product.)

Alphabet Cookie Cutters

The only issue I’ve had with similar cutters is that sometimes the dough sticks inside, so having a wooden skewer on hand to help push the stuck bits out is a good idea! I’ve also heard that greasing your cutters up before use can help, has anyone here tried that?

Maldon Sea Salt

Maldon Sea Salt “Pinch Tins”, Regular & Smoked – Estimated Value $4.68? ($6.24 to $7.79 for 3 available here: regular and smoked)

These little pocket sized tins are so cute! Apparently, these are made so that you can take your own salt along with you when you go out? I am not that pretentious about my salt, but I do think these are perfect for bringing out for grilling and picnicking outside this summer.

Maldon Sea Salt: Regular & Smoked

I’ve actually never had Maldon brand salt before and it’s been awhile since I’ve had sea salt flakes at all; I usually buy sea salt crystals to put into a grinder at home and use regular iodized salt in my salt cellar for cooking. This stuff really does make a difference when you use it as a topping! I sampled them this week on roasted asparagus and on some avocado toast, and it felt like a total luxury. The flake shape makes the salt seem “saltier” somehow so you need less of it than regular salt.

Maldon Sea Salt

The smoked variety is subtle, but I liked it for something different. I’d totally consider picking up these little tins again in the future to include with gifts or for camping and other outdoor adventures.

Seed & Mill Organic Tahini

Seed & Mill Organic Tahini, 11.6 oz – Retail Price $9.99

We just bought a new fridge and I threw out the remainder of an ancient jar of tahini in the process, so this was also perfect timing! The interview mentions that Molly uses tahini in a number of her recipes, so I’m on the lookout for some new ways to try this now.

Seed & Mill Organic Tahini

Tahini is so versatile and we use it a lot in the summer for quick salad dressings, for making hummus, and as a topping for homemade falafel. This brand seemed really fresh! It had a good consistency that was thick but still liquid enough that it wasn’t hard to handle or incorporate into other dishes. (I also love this cute packaging.)

Seed & Mill Postcard Postcard reverse

Seed & Mill included a postcard with some more info about their brand and products as well.

NY Shuk Signature Harissa

New York Shuk Signature Harissa, 10 oz – Retail Value $12.95

My eyes lit up when I pulled this out of the box. I don’t think I’ve actually had harissa in my pantry before! This is a chili pepper and spice

NY Shuk Signature Harissa

I expected it to be really hot, but it wasn’t to my taste buds. It reminded me of a really good chili powder blend but with more brightness from the lemon, vinegar, and garlic. I love that it’s a paste form, too, which makes it super easy to mix into things like mayo (for topping burgers), or tomato sauce (because yum), or used for that braised chickpea recipe above… it’s the kind of ingredient that is both new and unfamiliar and lends well to experimentation in the kitchen!

Better Than Bouillon

Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base, 3.5 oz – Found at our local grocery store for $2.49

This item seemed super familiar to me because my mom has been using this brand in her kitchen seemingly forever.

Better Than Bouillon

If you’re not familiar, this is a concentrated paste that can be used to replace bouillon cubes or liquid stock/broth in recipes that call for it. I do cook a lot of soup, even in the spring, so having this in the pantry is a lifesaver.

Better Than Bouillon

After checking out the ingredient list, I realized why I don’t regularly buy it: it contains corn syrup solids, and I do generally try to avoid products with added corn syrup. I have mixed feelings about this product though because it is SUCH a lifesaver to keep in your pantry for those moments when you realize you’re out of stock. Plus, it tastes like nostalgia, for me anyway!

I do wish CrateChef had given some more context on why this item was included, as I didn’t immediately spot it in any of Molly’s included recipes. I’m sure I will still use it but it seems like an outlier for this box.

Better than Bouillon Postcard Card reverse

They did include a postcard with a recipe, too.

Although I loved the yogurt cookbook this month, I was anxious to try out the tahini and harissa together and was craving vegetables. As I was roasting some cauliflower, sweet potatoes, peppers and onions to serve with pasta last night, I googled “harissa and tahini” on a whim and found this sauce recipe that sounded like a perfect pairing!

Harissa and Tahini Sauce Pasta

The sauce came together quickly with harissa, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and a bit of water and other seasonings. I combined penne pasta with my roasted veggies and drizzled the sauce on top, then mixed the whole thing up:

Pasta Mixed

I think this is honestly going to be a go-to summer meal! The harissa and tahini sauce is surprisingly creamy despite being vegan and was pleasantly peppery without being hot. It was, for me, as comforting as mac and cheese but didn’t leave me feeling like a stick of butter. Plus it was quick, made a ton of leftovers, and can be eaten cold too. If you’re not into pasta, this sauce would also be delicious on a salad. I have soooo many new ideas for using these two products now!

Verdict: CrateChef put together another fun assortment of products to try this month. Compared to the last box, this one was weighted more heavily toward new ingredients to try vs tools, which I’m fine with. The box didn’t seem 100% themed around the Yogurt book to me at first, but I realized that the variety of including both sweet and savory ingredients did reflect on all of the different types of recipes shared in the book.

If I have any criticism this month, it’s just that some of the items weren’t really explained as far as why they were included! Usually, they are really good about saying “try this ingredient with this recipe” but that seemed like a miss for some of the ingredients this month, specifically the chicken stock base and the salt. I’ll still use everything, though, so this is a minor hiccup to me.

Value Breakdown: We received $78.05 worth of product in this box, which is a really good value for a foodie type of subscription in my experience. (And the value would be more if those sprinkles turn out to actually be $11 at the store!) For the $51 price point of this box, including shipping, here’s what you’re paying for each item:

  • Yogurt Cookbook – $9.15
  • Vanilla Extract – $10.42
  • Natural Sprinkles – $5.22?
  • Maldon Salt Pinch Tins – $3.05?
  • Better Than Bouillon – $1.63
  • Organic Tahini – $6.53
  • Harissa – $8.46
  • Alphabet Cutters $6.53

If I sign up today, will I get this box? Yes, if you choose! When you join CrateChef, you can select which box you receive first. The Molly Yeh box is currently available as of publication.

CrateChef is bi-monthly, so their next box will be released in June.

COUPON– Use code ADDICTION10 to save 10% off your first box!

Check out all of our CrateChef reviews lots of food-related boxes in the Food Subscription Box Directory!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

What do you think of this month’s CrateChef? Any other inspired harissa and tahini recipes for me to try? Let us know in the comments!

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Written by Lacey Volk

Lacey Volk

Lacey’s introduction to the world of subscription boxes was Julep Maven, but she quickly moved on once she discovered there were subscriptions for cooking, coffee, and art supplies. Current favorites include Crate Chef and Ecocentric Mom, and she’s looking forward to trying more.

Posted in CrateChef Reviews, Food & Drink Subscription Boxes, Subscription Box Reviews| Tags: cratechef | 7 comments

Comments (7)

    • Ooh thanks for the info! I’m glad my estimate is within a reasonable range, I’m definitely on the lookout for these next time I’m at a natural food store so I can compare.

  1. This box looks amazing! Maldon sea salt is the best finishing salt, hands down. Yum.

  2. It’s frustrating to see a “natural” bottle of sprinkles using palm oil.

    I’m also not a huge fan of the cook book included this month. Cook books need pictures! This one isn’t my favorite, which is a shame because this is usually a great box.

    • Is palm oil not a natural product?

      • Palm Oil production is devastating to the rain forest, among other issues. Give it a google, you will find a lot of information.

    • So funny, some of my favorite cookbooks have no pictures, like Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything series! I like having a mix of both since cookbooks without pictures make me more likely to pick recipes by using the index to find specific ingredients vs browsing for something that my eyes think look yummy 😉

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