I’m Full Chicago is so big time and it doesn’t even know it. Last weekend, I received an email through my blog from a representative of Relished, a food delivery service in Chicago that essentially brings you the mise en place for weeknight dinners. The rep offered to send me a box of three two-serving meals for free, under the assumption that I would review their services. Again, I am big time now. I might start forgetting the little people soon. Of course, I seized the opportunity and on Wednesday evening I was greeted with a box filled with ingredients and detailed instructions for three meals: pan seared whitefish with roasted vegetables and a lemon butter sauce, chicken marsala with wild mushrooms and a dandelion greens salad with gorgonzola cheese, sunflower seeds and radishes.
Inside the box was also a welcome letter from the Relished team. They suggested cooking the fish first and I did what I was told.
I also decided to make the dandelion salad, as I am not one who considers a salad without protein a meal.
As my devoted readers know, I am typically one who likes to modify recipes when I cook. Because the directions and ingredients were so specific, I felt it would be unfair to review the dinners without following them to a tee. I started with the salad and noticed immediately that there were instructions for slicing cucumbers, but no cucumbers included in the bag. Cucumbers were not in the listed ingredients either, so I presume that if you had a cucumber lying around, you could include it. I did not. The recipe also called for one shallot, which was mostly slimy, so I ended up leaving out about half of the shallot as well. The salad still turned out decent and it was more than enough for two people as a side.
On to the fish and roasted vegetables. What was nice about the recipe was that it was timed out perfectly. The roasted vegetables were finished in perfect conjunction with the fish. I often find that my biggest challenge when I cook is having everything ready at the same time. Unfortunately, the fish did not turn out the way that I expected. I am a salt addict by nature, so I am prepared to take partial credit for the saltiness of the fish, however, the instructions stated to salt the vegetables, fish and butter sauce, without giving any measurements. I guess I was too liberal with my estimates and even for someone who drinks Frito smoothies, the fish was inedible. The roasted vegetables were excellent and with the salad, it ended up being a perfectly satisfying dinner with plenty of leftovers.
I feel so bad writing this, but things did not get better at my next meal. Chicken Marsala was dinner the next night and I was determined to make it better than my fish fiasco. Unfortunately, it just was not. The instructions said to cook the chicken in a pan for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. This was nowhere near enough time for the large chicken breasts to cook, especially when the instructions did not say for the chicken to go back in and cook with the sauce, which I personally would have done. The sauce was runny and thin and although I knew to put the garlic in the pan as the first step to making the sauce, there was no instruction listed for the garlic anywhere in the recipe, other than to chop it up. I tried to cook the chicken a bit more in the sauce, but once I tasted the sauce, I ended up tossing the entire meal.
I think the concept behind delivery food services like Relished is great for families, but for me, it just missed the boat. I typically plan my dinner on a nightly basis and especially given my experience with these two meals, I do not see myself trying it again.