Drive Less and Cook More
Despite my love for food, it's difficult to find enough time on the weekdays to cook something other than spaghetti and marinara. From feeling exhausted after a day at the office to the serious effort needed to plan a meal a day or two ahead, it's not always easy to make yourself a delicious meal. I forget to defrost the meat or go to the grocery store for a specific item. Good thing there are services like Giant's Peapod, but a new service has come to town that is sure to appeal to us concerned about from where our food comes.
RelayFoods.com is a new online food marketplace serving the Mid-Atlantic area, and it has just made its debut in Washington, DC. Their mission is to make eating quality, healthy, and sustainable food simple. On their website, they offer local produce, specialty foods, and regular grocery store selections. The pricing isn't particularly expensive, and you know that most of your money spent is going back to the farmers from their network of 130 local producers. The best part of Relay Foods? For this month, all home deliveries are free as the company plans easy pickup locations for the future.
So it sounds pretty good, right? Recently, Pink Line Project tested out Relay Foods with the handy assistance of Chef Craig Harnden, the head chef at the British Embassy. For dinner, Chef Craig and PLP ordered lots of fresh produce including: an ear of Meadow Run sweet corn, Country Fresh rack of lamb, Harvest Hill eggplants, and Potomac Produce fingerling potatoes, and so much more.
Chef Craig started off the meal with a little amuse-bouche, savory macarons. I haven't had macarons since I tried to make them myself when I returned from study abroad in Paris. That was a disaster. The meringue cookies were deflated and cracked, and my chocolate filling was too syrupy instead of light and fluffy. Needless to say, I have great respect for anyone who can make a macaron, and Chef Craig's were superior. The little savory meringue's were filled with an airy pâté. How whimsical to begin dinner with a "dessert"!
Next, the chef prepared chilled sweet corn soup with smoked bacon and a roasted scallop. Everything came from Relay Foods, and the corn was roasted so that the sugars broke down and each bite released the kernel's sweetness. Adding bacon is a no-brainer. Bacon makes everything better. The Food Network tells us this all the time. And the roasted scallop added a touch of luxury to the soup. Watching Chef Craig prepare dinner, I kept thinking to myself that maybe I can do this in my kitchen one day...until I realized the vast amounts of prep work that had already been done prior to my arrival. The main course definitely involves more preparation than I'll ever have time for on a weeknight, unfortunately.
For the main, Chef Craig broiled a rack of lamb with a green olive crust. The lamb was nicely seared on the outside, and the inside was a beautiful pink. My piece was incredibly tender, and my green conscience also felt fulfilled knowing that the meat had come locally from a butcher in Richmond, Virginia. The chef also whipped up a mean baba ganoush using roasted eggplants to give it a smoky flavor. Put some fried polenta, sautéed arugula, and stewed tomatoes, and you've got an applause-worthy main course. Who said British cuisine was boring? What an outdated stereotype!
No dinner would be complete without dessert, and this dessert really danced on the palette. Think steamed ginger pudding with braised pineapple, cilantro, and vanilla ice cream. It's a crazy combination of flavors that I would never have thought to put together, but it worked well. The ginger adds a bite and cuts the oozing sweetness of the pineapple. The cilantro adds a vibrant pop of green, and no one can deny themselves vanilla ice cream.
It's amazing what you can make from the food ordered from an online marketplace. Relay Foods offers so many products and ingredients that it should not be hard to find what you're looking for. Then again, many credits must be given to the chef. Craig Harnden combined foods in ways that I would have never done. He did it so expertly, too. Pink Line's verdict on RelayFoods.com? A wholehearted "yes"!
So drive less and cook more. I'll see you at the next Relay Foods pickup. Use the promo code "PINK25" at checkout to receive $25 off your first two orders.
[Editor's note: Chef requested white plates for the dessert but I forgot to pull them out and he was too polite to say anything about it. It's my fault the desserts do not look as artful as he had intended. Sorry Chef!]
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