CrateChef Review + Coupon – Einat Admony of “Shuk”
CrateChef is a bi-monthly food subscription box curated by a different chef or food-related celebrity every two months. Each box includes artisanal foods, recipes, and kitchen supplies, as well as a cookbook or recipe cards from the featured chef to help you put your items to use. I always learn something new from these boxes and enjoy trying the different techniques and flavors that they introduce me to.
FYI – CrateChef skipped a delivery between the holiday 2019 box and this one.
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.)
The Subscription Box: CrateChef
The Cost: $49 per box + $8 shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.
COUPON: Use code ADDICTION10 to save 10% off your first order!
The Products: Artisanal foods, recipes, and kitchen tools curated by a different chef each month.
Ships to: The US
CrateChef June 2020 Review, featuring Einat Admony
My favorite CrateChef boxes always feature cookbooks, so I was super excited to peek into the contents of this box! Especially since I have been in quite a cooking rut since March, when my COVID related shelter-in-place stress led to a constant craving for simple comfort food. As soon as I opened this box, I knew I was going to like it.
As usual of subscription boxes, the first things to come out of the box are typically ephemera. CrateChef included quite a few cards in the box this month! There’s the usual info card highlighting this box’s featured Chef, but this time we’ve also got three related recipes, and a note about the sourcing of one of the items in the box.
My mouth is watering already; let’s dig in!
Shuk: From Market to Table, the Heart of Israeli Home Cooking by Einat Admony and Janna Gur – MSRP $35 (Available here for $21.99)
Love a new cookbook, and a signed copy always makes it feel that much more special! I also appreciate that CrateChef also wrapped the book in brown paper and string (see last photo).
Shuk has a healthy mix of big beautiful photos, delicious sounding recipes across the whole spectrum from easy to time-consuming, and a fair amount of inspirational stories and history, too. These are my favorite kinds of cookbooks! I love to read them and just look at them as much as I love to cook from them. I’ve never cooked specifically Israeli cuisine at all before opening this book, but I saw a lot of familiar Mediterranean flavors and foods here, as well as some new ideas. Such as:
Casablanca Market Moroccan Preserved Lemons, 13.05 oz – Retail Value $7.99
Preserved lemons! I’ve heard of these but have never actually used them in my own cooking. I eagerly paged through Shuk to find some ideas for how to use these. We love lemons in our house, and I love funky and salty flavors, so I sat these prominently on my kitchen counter until I had time to cook something a bit more involved than my usual quick dinners.
I found it fascinating that these are made with Beldi lemons, an indigenous lemon grown in Morocco. It makes me wonder how a raw Beldi lemon compares with the standard and Meyer lemons available in stores here.
Semolina Flour from Ardent Mills, 8 oz – Retail Value ~$1.50
This is a brand typically sold to bakeries and restaurants, so I estimated value from a comparable retail brand, this King Arthur semolina.
This petite bag of flour may not look like much, but I will say, flour has been pretty hard to get ahold of here since the whole world started practicing their sourdough baking skills. I was thinking of reserving this to try and make fresh pasta for the first time, which is where I commonly see semolina being used. CrateChef did note that it’s a courser variety typically used in farina, and they also suggested the Apricot Semolina Cake with Almonds recipe from Shuk.
Dried Apricots, 2 oz – Estimated Value $1.24 (Buy a 1 lb bag for $9.99)
Next up was this small bag of dried apricots, apparently dried on the tree. Apricots are one of my go-to dried fruits, and these ones seemed to be good quality and were overall very moist and flavorful. CrateChef suggests the semolina cake recipe for these… but honestly, they will probably be grabbed up as a snack by one of my kids before I have a chance to cook with them.
Shawarma West Seasoning by La Boite, ~1 oz – Retail Value $7.50
This wasn’t marked with a size, but the container looks to be the same as the 1 oz minis available on La Boite’s website.
While I do enjoy new seasonings, I am not the world’s biggest fan of cumin–I typically cut the amount in half when I’m cooking a recipe that includes it, because the smell always puts me off a bit. So I was very pleasantly surprised by how aromatic and delicious this blend smells! Very toasty and warm.
CrateChef suggests Shawarma-Spiced Grilled Chicken Wings for this one, also from Shuk. I’ve got that recipe bookmarked for the next couple of weeks since we’re in prime grilling season.
Falafel Scoop – Retail Value $6.87
This industrial looking gadget is apparently what professional chefs around the world use when making falafel, which does explain why I can never get that flat-yet-circular shape when I made it at home. Easy to hold and seemingly easy to operate, too. I haven’t actually gone out to get supplies for falafel since getting this box, but I’m looking forward to testing this thing out! I’m currently obsessed with Aldi’s greek yogurt tzatziki dips, which would be a perfect pairing with a falafel wrap.
Mad Hungry Acacia Spurtle – Retail Value $12
Another unique kitchen tool this month! This is a cross between a spatula and a spoon, and the gently curving shape reminded of a boat’s paddle or maybe a cricket bat. This seems like the perfect tool for stirring a big batch of chili! I’m not convinced it will replace my favorite thin metal spatula (a family hand-me-down), but it does seem like it will come in handy and is quite a bit nicer than my current wooden spoon.
Want to see what I’ve cooked up so far?
I had a rare afternoon this weekend when my husband and preschooler left the house, and our toddler was napping… you bet I jumped right into making this preserved lemon paste! I used all three lemons that were in the jar included with the box, and followed the recipe from Shuk exactly. Mine turned out more like a smoothie than a paste, so I think if I make this again, I will lessen the amount of fresh lemon juice.
Those preserved lemons smelled pretty strongly at first, more like a cleaning product than a food! But whipped up with turmeric and fresh lemon juice and honey, and this “paste” was surprisingly delicious. I’ve been drinking a lot of salty sour beers this summer (looking at you, Dogfish Head SeaQuench Ale) so this flavor profile is RIGHT up my alley. I hope to experiment with some cocktails using this in the near future, but I also think it would be delicious with lentils or maybe even added to hummus.
I immediately put the lemon paste to good use with another recipe from the book: Egg Salad with Caramelized Onions, Zucchini, and Preserved Lemon. I know this sounds strange and looks like a bit of a mess, but ya’ll: it was so good. I made a half batch (serves 2-3) and had to restrain myself from eating it all in one sitting!
There’s a fascinating little intro on this recipe about its origins as a substitute for liver and onions during early 1950s rationing. While I’ve never had liver, I can say for sure this recipe fit my current mood pretty much perfectly. It was comforting and mellow, thanks to the caramelized onions. It was filling, thanks to the eggs (my protein of choice, frankly). It used up ingredients I already had in my fridge and pantry (exception granted for the preserved lemons, which just arrived with this box). And it was just a little bit different, a little brighter and maybe a bit summery thanks to the preserved lemon paste sauce. 10/10 would make again, maybe next time served on some freshly toasted crostini.
Verdict: Easily one of my favorite CrateChef boxes! This cookbook is really great, the recipes so far have been delicious, and I love that the included ingredients and tools perfectly relate back to the book. This was definitely a timely box that helped jolt me out of my pandemic-food rut and gave me some new ideas to play with, too. I can’t wait to try adding that preserved lemon paste to pretty much everything!
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes, if you choose! When you join CrateChef, you can select which box you receive first. This box is currently available along with some other past favorites. (Check out our past reviews to see what’s inside those boxes, too!)
COUPON: Use code ADDICTION10 to save 10% off your first order!
Value Breakdown: I always say that retail values for food boxes tend to be really close to the price of the boxes and are a lot more about curation than value. This box’s items totaled up to an estimated retail value of $60.36. CrateChef bi-monthly subscriptions cost $57 per box ($49 + $8 US shipping). While some CrateChef boxes have a higher value in the $75 range, this generally the value that I expect from this box–and I personally think it’s worthwhile for the curation and inspiration! I wish every cookbook purchase came with ingredients and tools, frankly. (I should also note that you can get CrateChef for as low as $45/box + shipping with an annual 6-box subscription, which does improve the value a bit!)
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of the latest CrateChef? Have you ever cooked with preserved lemons?