I wouldn’t have paid $20 for 4 oz of Ibérico cold cuts if it wasn’t my birthday. But it was, so when I saw this tapas sampler at Cost Plus I threw caution to the wind and put it in my cart. I’m glad I did. While ridiculously expensive (but, Ibérico ham is ridiculously expensive in Spain too – though a sampler like this would cost about half to a third as much), it was absolutely delicious. As good as any pork product I’ve had in Spain, at stores or restaurants. Even as good as the Ibérico ham my friend’s mother – a butcher – would send from Extremadura to her house in Madrid.
The sampler comes with one ounce (28g) each of jamón ibérico, ibérico pork loin, ibérico salchichón and ibérico chorizo. I had meant to eat these with bread or crackers, but I ended up eating them all on their own. The paper thin slices of each were so good that I couldn’t bear to add other flavors to it. I really can’t say which was my favorite,
“Finca Helechal” is a brand of Ibérico pork products producer “Embutidos Fermín“, a small family company based on La Alberca, Salamanca. They have different levels of products, the top ones made from pigs fed acorns. These ones are made from grain-fed free range pigs that are only 50% Iberian. Unless you are tasting the two products side by side, I don’t think you’ll notice.
I’ll definitely buy this again. And maybe next time, I’ll share it.
All the ingredients came fresh and stayed that way, even though I cooked the meal four days after it arrived. The pork wasn’t dry and the seasoning was spot on. However, they listed the amount of kosher salt to add, but they neither included it in the kit or listed kosher salt as a needed ingredient. I didn’t have kosher salt around, so I used a smaller amount of table salt. The original recipe called for breading the pork in a plastic bag, but I used a bowl as I didn’t have a gallon ziplock bag around and I’m already using too much plastic by getting these meal kits. A bowl worked just as well.
I very much enjoyed the salad. Mine came with mixed greens – though I see HelloFresh also offers it with just arugula – and a yellow apple (golden delicious?). The dressing was olive oil and lemon juice – I’ve not been fond of this combination in other salads, but it worked here. The star of the show were the sunflower seeds, however, which added crunch and a faint sweetness to the whole thing.
I’m not giving this kit a perfect 10, however, because Hello Fresh did not include the butter needed to make the garlic bread and I didn’t have any at home. I suppose I could have looked at the list of ingredients that I needed to have at hand for this recipe before I chose it, but the whole point of meal kits is to not have to go shopping for the ingredients. Particularly in the case of this meal, where all the ingredients are so easily available, if I’m going shopping for butter, I might as well pick up the rest and cook the meal for a fraction of the cost. I understand that Hello Fresh is trying to save money by not providing the butter, but it’s still not cool.
In any case, I think oven-baked garlic bread is not a good choice for this meal. Both the pork and the salad can be put together rather quickly, but making the garlic bread requires preheating the oven, which is both a waste of energy for such a small meal, and a waste of time. Instead, they could have suggested toasting the bread in the same pan where the pork was cooked.
I’m also dinging the recipe because I was still hungry when I finished – even though I ate a lot of salad (there was plenty of it). Perhaps that’s due to not being able to make & eat the garlic bread.
After the discount, I paid $14 for this kit or $7 per serving (regular price would have been $20/kit or $10/serving).
BREADED PORK CUTLETS
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
4 pork cutlets
2 Tbsp sour cream
vegetable oil for frying
1/2 lemon, cut into 2 wedges
In a medium bowl, combine breadcrumbs, salt and spices. In a different bowl or plate, coat pork cutlets with sour cream (you may need to use your fingers to spread it). Transfer the cutlets to the bowl with the breadcrumbs and coat well.
Heat a 1/4″ layer of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, transfer cutlets into the skillet and fry on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to absorb extra oil. Serve with lemon wedges on the side to squeeze on the cutlets.
APPLE AND SUNFLOWER SEED SALAD
1 celery stalk
2 oz spring mix
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 oz sunflower seeds
Core the apple and slice into thin slices. Thinly slice the celery.
Put apple, celery and spring mix into a medium bowl. Dress with olive oil. Squeeze the lemon half on it and mix. Add the sunflower seeds and mix again.
Sometimes a meal kit fails you, and sometimes you fail a meal kit. This time I think both of us failed each other. I think this could have been a pretty good meal kit if I’d had all of the ingredients, and if I had been more careful while putting it together. As things were, my husband got a decent sandwich – but not really a sloppy joe – and I got to eat the remaining filling with a spoon. At least it was pretty tasty.
This EveryPlate kit consists of ground pork which is supposed to be cooked with BBQ sauce and ketchup, potato buns, an onion to quickly pickle and sweet potatoes to bake. One of the two packets of BBQ sauce my kit came with was open, so I had to toss it away. Unfortunately, when I went to make the pork, I realized I didn’t have any more BBQ sauce at home. Even worse, the kit called for using my own ketchup – and I was also out of it. At the end, I was only able to cook the ground pork in a the single packet of BBQ sauce. Amazingly, this still gave a very nice flavor to the pork.
I didn’t try the pickled onions, but my husband raved about them. I’m thus including the recipe below.
As for the buns, I burnt my first two when I put them in the toaster – and then dropped them (thus my lack of a sandwich myself). I also managed to burn the sweet potatoes. Indeed, one of the things that did not work with this kit is that the sweet potatoes require that you preheat the oven (something which takes at least 15-20 minutes) and then you cook them for 20-25 minutes. The rest of the meal takes a very short time to make. So we were ready to eat far before the sweet potatoes were ready – which is why I forgot about them.
I got this kit for free, with a special one-time code that someone gave me. The regular cost for the two serving kit is $13, including shipping. Use this link to get $20 off your first box.
Quick Pickled Onions
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 tsp sugar
juice from one lime
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let to pickle for at least 10 minutes.
drizzle of oil
1 red onion, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground pork
1/3 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup Ketchup
1/3 cup water
1 tsp lime juice
Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season with salt & pepper, and fry, stirring frequently, until soft – 4-5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the ground pork and cook, stirring and separating, until browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add the bbq sauce, ketchup, water and lime juice. Cook, stirring frequently, until it thickens. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve in burger buns topped with the pickled onions.
I forgot to take a photo of the whole pork shoulder, this was just the piece that was left.
I do a lot of my grocery shopping online, and Safeway is not particularly attentive to what they send me. I had ordered pork belly, but I got pork shoulder instead. It most definitely didn’t work for my recipe, so I looked for something online so the meat would not go to waste. The recipe below was just perfect. It was super easy to make and the “crust” was just delicious.
3 Tbsps. olive oil
3 Tbsps. minced garlic
Salt and black pepper to taste
4 lbs pork shoulder
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Mix together the olive oil, garlic and salt & pepper in a small bowl. Brush it all over the pork shoulder.
Place the pork shoulder on a roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325°F and roast for four hours. Remove from oven and let sit for 20 minutes before slicing.