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Pork Chops and Fruit, Home Chef Version

Well, for now, I think I’m a bit burnt out on the politics (to those who’ve been following the last couple weeks of posts). I’ll look for more opportunities to poke fun of the ridiculous in the lead up to the election to come.

I thought I’d do an old-fasioned food post for once, and while I have dozens of backlogged pics of various meals over the last few months, here’s last night. Just a typical Wednesday evening, or any other.

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As I wrote some time ago, I’ve been—and very enthusiastically continue to be—a big fan of the chef-it-yourself weekly boxes.


I began with Plated long ago, then added Blue Apron. Both are excellent and the business model all seem to have adopted is that it’s not really a subscription, per se. That is, theres a default, but you can modify the hell out of it. Modification entails choosing different meals than those they chose for you, selecting a different delivery day, or skipping the delivery altogether.

The last option is where the power is, because you can sign up with multiple services, decide which menu you like best that particular week, and skip the others. Long story short…I went months where Plated never won a single time, and Blue Apron won only once. I’m solidly with Home Chef now and have gone so far as to cancel the other two. Way more and better options, way better vibe in terms of substance over needless complexity.

Last night was a particular delight. Box arrived 5pm, same Fedex driver as always, same time. I chose the Caramelized Apple Chutney Pork Chop over the Spicy Lettuce Wraps, or the Salmon dish.

I have done pork and fruit before, going all the way back to 2008 (see here, here, here, and here). All of those were my own off-cuff, in-home recipes. This one came in a box with everything I needed, nothing I didn’t.

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I did go off plan on the menu card, as I always do. The card is designed to allow you to prepare in a 30-45 minute timeframe. I never have that constraint, so I do it as it ought to be done instead.

The green beans were easy. Boil for 4-5, drain, add the almonds you toasted in a dry pan for 2-3, along with an OO drizzle and a pinch of S&P. Cover, and set next to a flame.

The chutney was fucking fun and complex and delicious. It’s a green apple, half cup of chopped yellow onion, a little OO; then cinnamon and brown sugar, and then finally, fresh parsley, apple cider vinegar, and dried cranberries. Set it aside next to the same flame, uncovered, so the vinegar wafts away.

Instead of pan frying the chops, I got my fucking awesome 40k BTU Char-Griller up to 800 degrees and slapped those S&P seasoned puppies on for 2 one side, 1 for the other—then flash finished them in hot browned butter in a pan.

Fucking insane. Bea and I gnawed at those bones until all dogs were crushed and devastated.

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I can do lots more food posts. Who wants that?

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

15 Comments

  1. Michael Tew on August 4, 2016 at 15:13

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m a couple steps behind you it seems, following your lead on having multiple subscriptions. Like you, I’ve found HomeChef winning almost every week, but have yet to cancel the other services. Your review of HomeChef vs. the others is exactly what I’ve found as well.

  2. Ron on August 4, 2016 at 15:38

    Thank you Richard for giving politics a break , as I am burned out too on that. More food posts please! And just an idea, tell us what are you doing lately for fitness. Thanks again for the break from the drivel that is American politics.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 4, 2016 at 15:45

      Isn’t food a natural way to move on (from anything, really) for a bit? I’m psyched about doing that for a while. Jesus, I have dozens and dozens of meals with good pics I can blog about, all within the last 2 months.



    • Ron on August 4, 2016 at 16:53

      Bring them on Richard, sounds much more appetizing than looking at Hilary in a pants suit.



    • Tim Steele on August 5, 2016 at 10:53

      I think the only thing missing from the Minnesota Starvation Experiment was meat and vegetable protein in any meaningful amount. The people wasted away, not due to lack of “calories” but lack of protein.



  3. Tim Steele on August 4, 2016 at 22:22

    Out of curiosity, do they provide, or have you made, a calorie count of a meal as pictured? I have never really been interested in “calories” but have been reading about the Minnesota Starvation Experiment where the participants turned into holocaust-survivor-looking skeletons after 26 weeks on 1500kcal per day.

    I have seen the daily menus, ie. morning meal: bowl of cream of wheat, toast, potatoes, milk, jelly, 750kcal. Just makes me wonder what the pork chop meal rates, can’t be much more than 750kcal. I cannot imagine “starving” on 2 meals like that per day.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 5, 2016 at 00:28

      Good guess. Most of the meals come in at an average 800. My portions are slightly larger, Bea’s slightly less, so I’m probably averaging 900-1k on these, three time per week. Our other eating is quite simpler.



  4. kayumochi on August 5, 2016 at 05:15

    Never thought about it before but these sort of meal services existed in Japan before the internet. I was married in 1995 and my wife signed up for one. I don’t recall having the internet then. The food was excellent, fresh ingredients delivered, but a little pricey as I recall.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 5, 2016 at 07:34

      That’s the thing, Kayumochi, the price is fantastic. Three meals for two (six meals total) for $60 total delivered to my door and the ice packs inside are still always half frozen or more.

      No way I could achieve that shopping at the market, plus there would be waste because no way you can buy only exactly what you need per dish and no more.



  5. Todd on August 5, 2016 at 06:32

    Food posts are always good. I need to spend more time with reductions and sauces. There’s a lot of variety that can be achieved right there without changing anything else.

    I’d also like to nail thin, crispy steak frites.

  6. Texasleah on August 5, 2016 at 09:18

    As someone who was already pretty decent in the kitchen, I have become an even better cook by subscribing to a meal-kit delivery service. I’ve only tried Blue Apron, but plan on adding Home Chef in the rotation. I admire your food posts, but I enjoy the hell out of the political posts.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 5, 2016 at 10:55

      Very good point. My wife is not a cook, has never pretended to be. She doesn’t really like it.

      But a couple or three times, she actually wanted to do the whole meal herself, and she did. All came out fine. So, whether Plated, Blue Apron, Home Chef or any of the others, it’s truly “Gormet Cooking for Dummies.”

      My one critique would be to add suggestions to do it a bit better if not time constrained, because some of the order in instructions are just aweful if you don’t need to get the dish done in 40 minutes or less.

      The other thing is that they should have a disclaimer:

      “We always advise you to grossly overcook your proteins, most especially poultry, pork, and fish, because of lawyers.”



    • Tim Steele on August 5, 2016 at 15:31

      Or: “Food supplied for novelty purposes only. Eat at your own risk.”

      I get food delivered to my door occasionally, but in the form of a moose eating the flowers on my front porch, lol.



    • king of the one eyed people on August 5, 2016 at 16:00

      It’s awful not aweful btw. I should not have to correct simple spelling mistakes such as this.



  7. king of the one eyed people on August 5, 2016 at 15:56

    I am for more food posts but only if Home Chef gives you a fair cut for the promotional value of your posts. I will not have your ass pummelled by a corporation.

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