Friday, November 30, 2012

Fresh Direct: Thanksgiving Review ($50 off First Delivery Coupon!)

First off, here's a Fresh Direct $50 Off Coupon!

Last year, the GF and I celebrated our first Thanksgiving together. It was just the two of us - intimate with no frills, other than a massive amount of food of course. Everything was made pretty much from scratch and took about 8 hours to cook, from start to finish.

So when the GF's brother and cousin decided to come visit us from Michigan this Thanksgiving ... what did we decide to do? Get our Thanksgiving dinner semi-catered of course! While they may have thought they weren't worth the effort - we were just hoping to spend more time with them rather than spend extra time in the kitchen (suuuure ... we'll go with that).

On a separate note - for those of you who don't know about Fresh Direct, you're missing out! Delivered groceries that you can order online are the best. This is especially the case when you're smack dab in the middle of Center City with the nearest Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Super Fresh over 10 blocks away - nobody wants to be lugging 8+ bags of groceries. Moreover, it's actually cheaper and easier to shop for deals. And for first time users - Fresh Direct is currently offering $50 off each of your first two orders - feel free to comment on this post with your e-mail address to obtain these codes.

In any case, for Thanksgiving, Fresh Direct was offering Thanksgiving meals that were semi-cooked, packed, and ready to be put in the oven on Thanksgiving day. For the four of us, I opted to get the small Thanksgiving dinner, which consisted of a Turkey (12 to 14 lbs), Cranberry Sauce, 8 Soft Rolls, Turkey Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Baked Macaroni & Gruyere Cheese, Brown Sugar-Glazed Roasted Vegetables, Maple-Roasted Yams with Marshmallows, Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing, and a Pumpkin Pie. All for $159.99 - not too bad! We made some additional sides that are listed below, including extra stuffing (Stove Top variety wut wut) and mashed potatoes (I'm a glutton in case you haven't noticed).

We started off the meal by popping a bottle of one of the GF's favorite wines - one that we were introduced to at Marc Vetri's Amis. True - it's got more of a dessert type flair - but nothing wrong with a little bubbly to start off the evening. The GF prefers dessert over the rest of the meal anyway.

Elio Perrone Bigaro 2010 


This is an Italian Rose which is intense with "notes of ripe raspberry,peaches, and rose petals." It is slightly sweet and sparkling. An effervescent ending to any meal - but in our case an apertif to be paired with the cheese plate we had laid out.

Brillat Savarin, Wisconsin White and Yellow Sharp Cheddar
Garces Trading Company Truffle Honey & Garlic Dulce de Leche 


Luckily I've turned the GF on to all sorts of cheese - stinky, funky, creamy - you name it. Unfortunately, the GF's brother and cousin are newcomers so we stuck with both varieties of sharp cheddar - also sourced from Fresh Direct. They were great and were a nice way to start the meal. The white cheddar paired especially well with both of the GTC accompaniments. The Billat Savarin is one of my favorite cheeses - a triple creme brie. It's relatively difficult to find and pricey, but luckily the Downtown Cheese Shop in Reading Terminal Market had it in stock! Perfectly creamy and reminiscent of a rich cream cheese - it's to die for.

But we're not here for cheese are we? On to the turkey!
 
Fresh Direct Thanksgiving Turkey
 

These birds came pre-cooked and just needed a few more hours in the oven. Fresh Direct clearly laid out the instructions in terms of keeping foil over the entire bird for the first hour and then for an additional amount of time over just the legs (dark meat takes longer to cook). I created a seasoning spice of my own volition and rubbed it on the bird (cayenne, garlic powder, paprika, olive oil). I like to think it created a slightly spicier and crispier bird.



Fresh Direct Turkey Gravy


What more can I say - you put it in a small pot, heat it up - and dress your turkey and mashed potatoes. Definitely got the job done.


Fresh Direct Par-Baked Rolls and Baguette 


Another great thing about Fresh Direct is their par-baked goods. You keep them in the freezer, but when you want to have 'fresh' bread right out of the oven, you stick it in for about 20-30 minutes and it comes out perfect. That fresh-baked smell that everyone craves from just-made bread? It's there. I usually add some sea salt and brush on olive oil to make the bread nice and golden. It just makes it.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip
 

Creamy with sour notes from the artichoke - this worked well with the bread and crackers.

Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing
 

The GF thought this was a bit dry - but I thought it was hearty and delicious. Didn't really notice the sausage - was definitely more cornbread. A little more moisture couldn't have hurt this dish.

Stovetop Stuffing 


Who can say no to a little Stove Top? Brings back those childhood memories.

Fresh Direct Mashed Potatoes


These were perfectly creamy. Benefited from a bit more self-seasoning.

Mashed Potatoes made from scratch by the GF
 

These had a better texture with the occasional lumpy starch nugget. Just as delicious as Fresh Direct's iteration (no bias here!). The next day, I added in roasted garlic and truffle oil to make it even more decadent.

Mac & Gruyere Cheese


One of the highlights of my Thanksgiving meal. Despite the focus of just Gruyere - it was surprisingly not one note. It was creamy and well seasoned. I added some olive oil on top of the bread crumbs to get it even more toasted - it had a delicious crunch.

Roasted Vegetables
 

Squash, brussel sprouts, carrots, and garlic - a delicious melange of roasted vegetables that were practically creamy.

Ba Tampte Half-Sour Pickles


A nice foil to the heaviness of the meal - these crunchy half-sours hit the spot.

Del Monte Corn

Corn from a can - got a problem with that? Golden nuggets of sweetness.

Roasted Asparagus


Nothing beats some roasted asparagus straight out of the oven - seasoned lightly with salt and pepper - simple, delicious, fresh.

Sweet Potatoes & Marshmallows

 

These were perfectly creamy and the sweetness was highlighted by the melted marshmallows. Indulgence right here.

Pumpkin Pie (not pictured)

This was pretty good - nice and creamy. It wasn't as spicy as I normally like my pumpkin pie mixture and the crust was a bit dry in my opinion. But overall - it got the job done - especially topped with Cool Whip. 

Ambrosia Salad


Now what is this concoction? Apparently it's popular in the GF's household and families across America - it contained sour cream (you read that right!), Maraschino cherries, coconut flakes, and pineapple chunks. Even Emeril has his own recipe ... I wasn't the biggest fan - but the GF, her cousin, and brother definitely had more than their share.

Overall, Fresh Direct came through for our Thanksgiving meal. It was relatively painless and resulted in us being in the kitchen for only about 2 hours total. The meal itself was quite good as well and  worth the price point. Definitely wish we hadn't made extra mashed potatoes or stuffing - but heck - it's Thanksgiving, which is all about stuffing ourselves silly and having leftovers for the next few weeks.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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