BLUE APRON FOR A MONTH: TOP CHEF STRIP STEAK WITH SWEET CHILI GLAZED VEGETABLES

I've never tried a food subscription service, partly because I'm an avid cook and almost always come up with my own recipes and cook with variety. I also work from home, so there's no real impetus to save time from heading to the grocery [the main draw of Blue Apron and others like it].  But a few factors swayed me to give Blue Apron a try this month.  For the first two months of the year, they're featuring Whole 30 recipes, and since I'm still semi on the Whole30 bandwagon, I was eager to soak up more Whole30 recipes to replicate at home. This particular recipe isn't Whole30, but it was the first one I decided to try for good reason.  I had just been binge watching the latest season of Top Chef, and saw a quickfire challenge where this recipe was developed and was the winner! I fangirl pretty hard over everything Top Chef, so when my first Blue Apron box arrived, I dug straight in for this recipe!

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At first the recipe seemed a bit simple [I cook with these asian ingredients often], but the flavors were so well developed by the time I was done with it!  I followed the well laid out instruction card thoroughly [and the photos really help!], not taking any short cuts or making any adjustments, a challenge for someone like me who loves to improvise and cook with what's on hand. But I wanted to know: if I followed everything down to the most minute of details, would I get a dish I'd be proud of? And the answer was a resounding YES! 

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PRO TIP: The biggest nugget of info I got from this dish was how they cooked the vegetables. The recipe called for the sweet chili glaze to be added to the already hot pan just before the bok choy. It seems like a small step, but I'd normally just steam it or saute it in oil and garlic, keeping it far from anything sticky or sweet until after it came off the heat, for fear it would burn and create a bitter taste to the vegetables. But since the bok choy and glaze only cooked together for 4-5 minutes, the bok choy let off enough water to thin out the glaze. Frequent stirring also prevented any burning.  It then had me turn the heat off and add lime juice, giving the greens that punch and vibrance I tasted later on.  

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The meat was cooked to perfection [and marinated for just long enough to give it flavor and a nice char], and the quick pickled radishes were a nice crunch. The jasmine rice was delicious and helped sop up the delicious glaze and jus from the meat, but honestly, I would have been fine with a doubled up portion of the vegetables if I'd skipped out on the rice. 

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My only grip was there wasn't enough leftover at the end of the meal! I typically cook with the intention of lunch leftovers for the next day, and my experience with Blue Apron so far shows they sometimes provide a bit extra when it comes to vegetables or carbs, but they're pretty strict with the meat portions. I believe we each got 5 ounces, which was just the right amount for dinner, but oh if I could have had just a little bit more! 

Top Chef Seared Grass-fed Steaks

with Sweet Chili-Glazed Vegetables [from Blue Apron] Serves 2

Prepare the ingredients & make the glaze:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Quarter the mushrooms. Peel and thinly slice the shallot. Peel and finely chop the ginger. Cut off and discard the root end of the bok choy; roughly chop. Quarter the lime. Cut off and discard the ends of the radishes; thinly slice into rounds. Place in a bowl and top with the juice of 1 lime wedge and a drizzle of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Stir to coat. In a bowl, combine the ponzu saucesweet chili saucesugar,1/4 cup of water, and as much of the soy marinade as you’d like.

Cook the rice:

In a medium pot, combine the ricea big pinch of salt, and 1 1/2 cups of water; heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook 12 to 14 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat and fluff with a fork. Cover to keep warm.

Cook the steaks:

While the rice cooks, pat the steaks dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned steaks and cook 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare, or until browned and cooked to your desired degree of doneness. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a cutting board and let rest for at least 5 minutes.

Cook the vegetables:

While the steaks rest, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan of reserved fond; heat on medium-high until hot. Add the quartered mushrooms in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned and slightly softened. Add the sliced shallot and chopped ginger; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant.

Glaze the vegetables:

Add the glaze and chopped bok choy to the pan; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until the glaze is slightly thickened and the vegetables have softened. Turn off the heat and stir in the juice of the remaining lime wedges. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Slice the steaks & serve your dish:

Find the lines of muscle (or grain) on the rested steaks; thinly slice crosswise against the grain. Serve the sliced steaks with the cooked rice and glazed vegetables. Garnish with the marinated radishes (draining before adding). Enjoy!