Thursday, February 19, 2015

Orange Beef Lo Mein

Pregnancy + morning sickness throughout the pregnancy = not much cooking. First because the energy required to cook was nonexistent, second because I wasn't much in the mood for eating, third because I didn't want to get sick on it.

Then: baby came out, my appetite returned, and Blue Apron finally had a menu in which all 3 meals looked good. So this week we got Blue Apron again, the first since November. Tonight I made the first meal: Orange Beef Lo Mein. Sounds good, right? Too bad for the husband and I. We've had better. Both when dining out and from my own kitchen. Sigh.

Started by prepping all the ingredients when Doug and Roland were at swim lessons. Asher (the new baby) was happily asleep in his swing so I took the opportunity to spend some time in the kitchen all by myself. Notice the sippy cups drying, the glass of beer (my very own homebrew), and the Nalgene bottle (Mama's gotta stay hydrated). It was quite nice to cut everything up and then put each ingredient it its own place. Finally, some cut and dry order to something (we haven't had that since we brought the new baby home). Plus, it's nice to start with all simple, easily identifiable ingredients and finish with a meal.

There were a few things during cooking that I thought could have been skipped. First - putting oil in the pan to cook the ground beef. Unless this was super lean (the package did not indicate), I really don't see a reason to oil a non-stick pan to cook ground beef. Pretty sure it has enough fat on its own. Second - wiping out the pan that I did put oil in, just to add new oil to cook the veggies. Maybe you're trying to avoid meat fat in favor of plant fat, but all I saw was a paper towel with a bunch of flavor on it. Should have read the directions closer, I definitely would have skipped that step. And third - using salt and pepper to season the finished dish. It was already cooked with soy sauce, why not use more in lieu of salt? Both are salty, but as the dish already contains soy a little more will probably be okay if you want salt. As it is, I rarely cook with extra salt, so I did skip the salt in this case, and we added soy sauce to taste when we sat down to eat.

Some additives might have been good here too: red or yellow bell pepper or thinly sliced carrot would have been an improvement both in flavor and appearance. And neither would have interfered with the flavors already in the dish.

And the finished meal. A little blurry, and boring to look at. Don't worry. It's not just boring because it's blurry. It's actually a boring looking meal. Did I do something wrong? Are my plating skills total junk? Do I need better dishes? Maybe. Or maybe it was a boring dish to look at. All the veggies were green or white. There was an orange when I started, but since only some zest and the juice are used there is no color. But it still smelled decent, we were hungry, and it was what I made for dinner.

Sadly, I won't be making this again. I will be looking for the main seasoning, or attempting to make it myself. It smelled awesome, and could have used more than came in the box. The ground beef was nice. But overall, this isn't something worth making again.