Strawberry Parfaits

Strawberry Parfaits | Blue Apron Blog

In the summer, desserts are both easier and harder to make. Easier, because there’s so much incredible ripe fruit available, from beautiful berries to stone fruits like peaches, and harder, because it’s hard to turn on the oven when the temperature is rising outside.

Strawberry Parfaits | Blue Apron Blog
Strawberry Parfaits | Blue Apron Blog

That’s where these strawberry parfaits come in. The only cooking is melting butter, and that can be done in the microwave. Besides that, grab graham crackers, powdered sugar, heavy cream, lots of strawberries, and let’s go! You won’t need the oven at all.
You’ll need to crumble the graham crackers to make one of the layers of the parfaits. This is most easily done by breaking the crackers up into a sealable sandwich bag. Seal the bag, then use a rolling pin (or a wine bottle!) to turn the pieces into crumbs. Those get mixed with butter and set aside.

Strawberry Parfaits | Blue Apron Blog

Then, simply whip the cream (here’s how), and fold in some macerated berries. 

Into each of six cocktail glasses, pile the strawberries, cream, and graham cracker crumbs. As you scoop up bites, you’ll find the perfect mash-up of crunchy, creamy, bright, and sweet.
It’s a dessert that’s just perfect for the Fourth of July!

Get the whole recipe below.

Continue reading “Strawberry Parfaits”

Cinnamon French Toast

French Toast Ingredients | Blue Apron

You may think of French toast as a delicious, crave-worthy breakfast, and the gooey fried bread definitely does fall on the list of best-ever brunch and breakfast recipes. But French toast also functions as an ingenious waste-not solution for stale bread, much in the same vein as these 8 dinners that breathe new life into old bread.

French Toast Ingredients | Blue Apron

While the French weren’t the only cooks to revitalize leftover slices of good bread in a mix of milk and egg before crisping the slices up in a pan, they did christen this dish pain perduwhich means “lost bread.” In fact, a more accurate name would be “not-lost bread,” since by making French toast, you actually save slices of bread that might otherwise have gone into the trash.

We try our best not to waste food here at Blue Apron, and so we admire French toast’s ability to make the most out of an extra ingredient.  To make our super simple French toast, all you do is whisk together some milk and eggs, with sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon for extra flavor.

Not in the mood for breakfast?  Here’s How to Re-Crisp Your Bread in the Fridge

Leave the bread in this custard mixture for at least 5 minutes or up to 20. Then, get frying. We melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat and let slices cook for about 3 minutes per side, until fully brown.

Blue Apron French Toast | Breakfast Series

Serve with real maple syrup, perhaps some fruit, and plenty of crispy bacon!

Blue Apron French Toast Recipe

Get the whole recipe below.

Blue Apron French Toast Recipe Continue reading “Cinnamon French Toast”

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk Pancakes | Blue Apron

You need to know how to make pancakes. You, with the expertise in meatball formation and molten chocolate cake-baking and summer roll assembly. Pancakes are essential breakfast food, because they’re not so much a food as an expression of love.

Plus, they’re essentially easy, a little batter mixed up and then cooked on the stove. It’s all right there in the name, “pan” and “cake.” To make the batter, you’ll want two bowls, and a couple of items from your fridge and pantry. First, you mix the wet ingredients together (eggs, buttermilk, melted butter).Buttermilk Pancakes | Blue Apron

Which you then combine with the dry (flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda). Stir together, not worrying if you leave a few lumps. Then, cook the batter in a large, flat pan. That’s it, that’s really it. Which means you should put down that pancake mix right this second. You don’t need it.
Buttermilk Pancakes | Blue Apron

One thing…if you can’t find buttermilk, here’s a trick: combine the same amount of milk (regular or 2%) with the juice of half a lemon, some vinegar, or a big dollop of yogurt with live cultures. Let the two sit together, hanging out, for about half an hour, then go ahead with the pancake recipe. You’ll have just created homemade buttermilk!Buttermilk Pancakes | Blue Apron

Here’s one final thing you should know about pancakes: sometimes the first pancake just doesn’t come out right. The pan is too hot or the pan is too cold. You haven’t salted enough. You used too big a scoop of batter. That’s okay. Toss the first one (or eat it yourself–cook’s snack!), and keep on going, adjusting the heat or seasoning or size as needed. The rest of the pancakes will be perfect, or close enough.Buttermilk Pancakes | Blue Apron

Get the whole recipe below!
Continue reading “Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes”

How We Developed a Perfect Eggplant Lasagna: Notes on Recipe Testing

Eggplant lasagnaSo simple and classic, right?

Not so fast. There are a lot of potential pitfalls in eggplant lasagna that can turn it from a delicious main to something messy, ugly, insanely time-consuming–or worse. But eggplant lasagna is hardly unique in this. Most dishes that you eat in a restaurant, cook from a cookbook, or make after receiving a Blue Apron box, go through rigorous testing. They may have started as a few notes scrawled on a napkin, but they end in a perfect meal–one that you get to eat.

Still, eggplant lasagna is a good example, so let’s go back to the yummy vegetarian main that some of you may have made last month. Our test kitchen had a big vision: a vegetable lasagna in the Italian-American red sauce tradition, like you’d get in little Italy or on a good eggplant parmesan sandwich. Layers of eggplant, fresh pasta, tomato sauce, ricotta, melted mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. What could go wrong?

Well, not too much in the taste department at least. The first eggplant lasagna, pictured above, featured oven-roasted slices of graffiti eggplant baked up with ricotta and tomato sauce. Ultimately, each bite tasted good, it’s just that the casserole and the slices didn’t look pretty at all. Food should look appetizing–you eat with your eyes as well as your mouth–and that meant that Eggplant Lasagna, version #1, had to go.

In the name of polar opposites, Eggplant Lasagna Version #2, was refined and beautiful. Layers of fried eggplant rounds intermingled with noodle circles and shmears of fresh ricotta cheese. Look above: the resulting dish was gorgeous! Sadly, there were other issues. We had used up way too many bowls: plates for breading the eggplant and pans for frying it, a cooking cutter for shaping the pasta sheets, a lot of bowls and spoons. Our kitchen was a mess, and we didn’t want to make yours messy too. Plus, with the warm parts, the ricotta got really soft and the stack was apt to fall off. Sigh. We’d make this again for a special occasion, but it was just too much for everyday cooking.

And then we hit on the jackpot, the wonderfully creamy and rustic eggplant lasagna we sent out to you.

We prepped more eggplant, plus onions, basil, garlic, and cheese. Then we simmered up our tomato sauce.

The best technique for the eggplant turned out to be pan frying–but without breading. This produced a vegetable that had body and depth but spared us the mess of frying up the slices. We added the bechamel sauce you see below to keep the lasagna both sturdy and pretty. Plus, the combination of bechamel and tomato sauces creates beautiful, complimentary layers: rich and acidic, a great combination.

We kept the fresh spinach pasta sheets whole again this time – as in Version #1. No cookie cutters needed here!

And then, we just layered the ingredients in our casserole pan, making sure to cover the top with plenty of cheese, a move that adds deliciousness and a beautiful golden finish to the victorious Eggplant Lasagna, Version #3.

Are there other recipes you’d like to see how we developed? Check out our cookbook and then let us know in the comments!

Homemade Guacamole & Tortilla Chips

Homemade Guacamole and Chips

Football season is approaching. That means that some people are getting excited about their favorite team, and others are getting excited about their favorite snack foods. At Blue Apron, our thoughts instantly turn our favorite homemade guacamole and tortilla chips. 

Our  game day guacamole recipe skews a little more Tex-Mex than traditional. This version is choc full of tomato chunks, spicy jalapeño, and bright herbs. 

Ripe Avocados for Guacamole Recipe

Not only is homemade guacamole delicious, it’s made entirely from fruits and vegetables (avocados are technically a fruit).  It’s a great way treat yourself to a satisfying snack without that’s much more much more healthful than something like a BBQ Chicken or Seven-Layer Dip. For this version, we also created baked tortilla chips, which keeps this snack even lighter. Just cut corn tortillas into triangles, toss them with oil, and bake until crisp. For bonus fun, check out the playful way we arrange the chips and guacamole for serving.

Start with this recipe, and feel free customize it to suit your taste (more spice! less onion! less cilantro!)

Watch now to see how we do it.


How to Make Homemade Guacamole

  • 3 avocados, peeled and cubed with pits removed
  • 1 cup cubed and stemmed tomatoes
  • 1 cup finely chopped jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 cup cilantro, stems removed 
  • 1 cup small-diced red onion 

Preparation is easy. Just combine all ingredients in a bowl and mash with a fork until the avocado is creamy and everything is combined. Serve with homemade or your favorite store-bought corn chips. 

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You Texans May Not Call It Chili, But a Bowl of This Is Really Good

Texans, turn away! These days, the definition of chili has passed far beyond a cowboy bowl of Texas red. In what many count as the original chili, there are no tomatoes! no beans! and no vegetables! Nope, if you want to impress a Lone Star State native, look no further than dried chilies, chopped meat, and garlic–that’s all that’s necessary for their bowl o’ meat.

But if you want to make a hearty, healthy stew for dinner, perhaps topped by rice or served beside cornbread, then look no further than an updated chili recipe, one that’s filled with nutritious ingredients like ground turkey, white beans and teff, or black beans and green peppers, smothered in tomato sauce and spiced with a generous hand.

May we remind you to garnish your chili with at least a few of the following: chopped avocado, grated cheddar, cilantro sprigs, and lime wedges?

Here are three ways we love to eat chili:

Turkey Chili

A classic rendition of chili con carne, this turkey-based chili features poblano peppers, ground cumin and coriander, and kidney beans.  Why? Well, in addition to the Texas style of chili, there are two other kinds, Springfield, and Cincinnati, and since we love all three versions, we adopted elements from each to make this awesome bowl.

White Bean & Escarole Chili

You were waiting for us to take chili to a crazy level of fusion, and in this hearty vegetarian version, we really did. First off, we added Egyptian teff, a tiny grain high in calcium and protein. Then we went and added plenty of chopped escarole, a green that grows creamy when cooked. And, finally, there are white beans, which are often found in green New Mexico-style chili.

Mushroom Chili

King Trumpet mushrooms, also called King Oyster, are the largest mushroom in the oyster mushroom species, and they’re the unique twist in this saucy vegetarian recipe. They deliver a burst of umami flavor and add heartiness to the chili. To add more flavor to the cornbread we serve beside the stew, we stirred in sautéed jalapeno peppers and cheddar cheese.

Avocado Toast with Goat Cheese

When people ask what we get most excited about, ingredient-wise, we’re tempted to talk their ears off about our favorite pasta shapes, the scent of summer tomatoes, or the irresistible herbiness of za’atar. We love food, all food.

Yet food is about making connections and starting conversations, too. And when we want to bond with the guy across from us, our answer is always avocado.

Avocado is as creamy as butter and as healthful as kale, especially if you’ve picked up a ripe avocado at the store.

In this Avocado Tartine recipe, we pair dark pumpernickel toast with creamy goat cheese, creamier avocado, and a chive garnish. This is the kind of meal we could eat at any time of day–every day. And if you talk to us at a party, you can bet we’ll mention it. Maybe twice.

We’re happy to be participating in Food Network’s Summer Fest, a weekly blog tour of all the incredible produce we’ll be enjoying this summer. This week, the topic is avocados! You can see the other bloggers’ delicious cucumber creations by following the links below.

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Smoked Avocado Tomato Salsa Guacamole
Weelicious: Avocado Honey Dip
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Avocado Green Goddess Dressing
Red or Green: Avocado and Cilantro Pesto with Whole Wheat Penne
Domesticate Me: Summer Salad with Avocado, Corn and Grilled Herb Shrimp
Dishin & Dishes: Creamy Avocado Citrus Dressing, No Cream, No Oil
The Heritage Cook: Summertime Vegetable Stuffed Avocados
And Love It Too: Sugar-Free Avocado Fudgesicles
Haute Apple Pie: Avocado BLT Egg Salad
Daily*Dishin: Colorful Sweet Pepper-Avocado Salsa
Devour: No-Cook Avocado, Shrimp and Mango Salad
Taste With The Eyes: Zucchini “Pappardelle” with Avocado “Cream”
FN Dish: 10 Audacious Guacamole Add-Ins

Barley-Wax Bean Salad with Golden Beets & Heirloom Cucumbers

Cucumber varieties fall into one of three categories. First, there are slicing cucumbers. Next comes pickling cucumbers. And, finally, we’ve got burpless. And tell us – who would choose pickling or slicing when you’ve got a type called burpless? Burpless cucumbers have fewer seeds and a more mild taste than the other varieties. (You might have already tried burpless cucumbers in the form of an English cucumber in our chickpea-cucumber salad or our avocado-cucumber maki.)

These heirloom burpless cucumbers are one of four vegetables that really make this grain salad great. We make and eat a lot of grain salads in the summer, from farro & frisée salad to tabbouleh. With a grain as their base, these salads hit a perfect balance between being light and leaving you totally satisfied.

To make this barley number, we chose four gorgeous vegetables to start: wax beans, healthful yellow beets, a big red onion, and the infamous burpless cucumber. We took those ingredients, prepped and trimmed them, and then threw them into a big mixing bowl with barley–a nutrient-rich, quick-cooking grain that adds chewiness and heft to the salad.

After we dress the salad and arrange the pretty yellow beets on top, we add the final touch: shavings of pecorino cheese. Pecorino Romano adds nuttiness and an extra point of umami to the crunchy, crispy cucumbers and summery wax beans.

We’re happy to be participating in Food Network’s Summer Fest, a weekly blog tour of all the incredible produce we’ll be enjoying this summer. This week, the topic is cucumbers. You can see the other bloggers’ delicious cucumber creations by following the links below.

The Lemon Bowl: Japanese Quick Pickled Cucumbers
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Burmese Cucumber Watermelon Composed Salad
Domesticate Me: California Salad with Roasted Chicken and Avocado Dressing
Taste With The Eyes: Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi with Shrimp and Minari
Devour: Cucumber and Mint Lemonade 
Haute Apple Pie: Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Spicy Cucumber, Carrot and Onion Refrigerator Pickles
Red or Green: Spicy Cucumber Gazpacho
Virtually Homemade: Cucumber Tomato Bruschetta
Food for 7 Stages of Life: Neer Mor — Zested South Indian Buttermilk with Cucumber
Weelicious: Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwiches
Blue Apron Blog: Barley Salad with Heirloom Cucumbers & Golden Beets
The Sensitive Epicure: Pimm’s Cups and Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
FN Dish: Pickles Past the Jar

Sweet Corn & Pea Fritters with Pea Tendril Salad

Cooking traditional Southern corn fritters is one of the best ways to use two of the season’s sweetest vegetables: fresh peas and corn.

To gild the lily? We scored pea tendrils–the pretty green curlicues from the climbing vine of the pea plant. (Think of them like the branches of a tree, as opposed to the shoot, which is like a baby pea or a big sprout.) In this recipe, we toss the tendrils with a little bit of lemon and olive oil, and their sweetness complements the crunchy fritters.

Fritters are a perfect vessel for conveying the season’s vegetables to your mouth. The idea is to create a light batter to hold together all the season’s best vegetables. Lightly fried in a bit of oil, the fritters are an incredible, filling, and eminently presentable way to serve corn and peas in this recipe.

In this recipe, we use a batter of cornmeal, milk, flour, and chives to coat the fresh corn and fresh peas, allowing you to take advantage of these terrific ingredients in every bite. We couldn’t help but decide on a condiment, remoulade sauce, the famous creamy sauce of Louisiana Cajun and Creole cooking, as the perfect pairing for anything pan-fried, to top these sweet and savory pancake-like fritters.

You can get the full recipe over on our recipe card here.

We’re happy to be participating in Food Network’s Summer Fest, a weekly blog tour of all the incredible produce we’ll be enjoying this summer. This week, the topic is fresh peas. You can see the other bloggers’ delicious sweet pea creations by following the links below.

Dishin & Dishes: Smashed Pea Bruschetta with Mint
Taste With the Eyes: Peas and Pasta with a Garlicky Yogurt Sauce and Smoky Walnuts
Weelicious: Peas and Pasta
Devour: Quick Salad with Peas
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pasta with Spring Peas, Mushrooms and Greens
Red or Green?: Szechuan Spring Peas, Asparagus, Pine Nuts and Brown Rice Salad
Blue Apron Blog: Sweet Corn & Pea Fritters with Pea Tendril Salad
Pinch My Salt: Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole
Domesticate Me: Clean Out Fridge Frittata
Virtually Homemade: Summer Lasagna with Skinny Alfredo Sauce
The Sensitive Epicure: Pea Puree with Roasted Salmon and Chives
Daily*Dishin: Marinated Spring Pea Salad
The Heritage Cook: Pea, Potato and Bacon Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
FN Dish: Favorite Shelled Pea Sides
Feed Me Phoebe: Sweet Pea and Green Onion Soup

Thai Chicken Burgers with Hoisin Mayo and Potato Wedges

For as long as we can remember, burgers for dinner meant ground beef, American cheese, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, and a grill. But these days we mix up our all-American sandwich with inspiration from across the globe.

In the case of this mouth-watering Chicken Burger, we start our renovation with the meat, using lighter ground chicken instead of the beef and move up through the flavorings – lemongrass! ginger! – finishing in the condiment department with hoisin-sriracha mayonnaise and sprigs of fresh cilantro.

Here’s how we do it. First, you take the lemon grass, an essential ingredient in Thai cooking. It’s sometimes a little bit hard to find at a regular supermarket, but you’ll probably recognize the scent as soon as you cut into it and are transported to a Bangkok market – or at least your local Thai restaurant.

Then peel off the tough outer part of the lemongrass as if it’s a scallion and dice the pliable inside core. Chop up the garlic and ginger too.

The potato wedges are going to be the side dish on this one. What would a burger be without fries? Those we didn’t mess with much, don’t worry.

They get a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves, a glug of olive oil, and some salt and pepper before heading into a 500°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, where they’ll cook and crisp up.Continue reading “Thai Chicken Burgers with Hoisin Mayo and Potato Wedges”