[Product Review] One Kitchen, a new meal kit delivery service in the GTA

*Disclosure: I was given the meal kits by One Kitchen to try out and was asked to provide an honest review. The opinions in the post are truly my own. I have used “no follow” links.

I heard so much from friends about these popular meal kit delivery services, but have not tried it myself. Thank you to One Kitchen (OneKitchen.ca) for giving me this opportunity so I can share my experience with you. The timing was perfect as the meals were delivered the day after my week long family vacation.

My meal was delivered by OneKitchen.ca

My meal was delivered by OneKitchen.ca

About One Kitchen:

“We deliver fresh, local ingredients to our customers and provide step-by-step instruction on how to create restaurant-quality meals at home. Our objective is to develop the ultimate cooking experience. With a new menu every week, we ensure our customers are always excited to taste new dishes and challenge their cooking skills.

We have also built relationships with local charities and organizations throughout the GTA and surrounding areas. For every 10 boxes sold, we donate 1 box to each charity. We want to give back to the local community as must as possible” (Source: OneKitchen.ca)

Ingredients and Recipes:

  • 6 to 8 original recipes that change every week
  • Chef inspired and curated for home cooking
  • Wide ranges of difficulty from fast meals to multi layered extravagant dishes
  • Farm fresh ingredients and specialty items handpicked from Canadian farms

Delivery: Across to the GTA (delivery map)

Meal Plans and pricing: There is a 2 person plan for 3 days ($11.49 per serving) or 4 days ($10.99 per serving). There is a family plan for 2 meals ($10.99 per serving) or 4 meals a week ($9.99 per serving). The price includes taxes and delivery.

Customers can “cook like a pro, save time, and discover new flavors”.

My experience:

I went with the 2 person plan for 3 days, and chose the Moroccan Style Chicken, Mushroom and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken and the Pork and Sweet Potato Curry.

My box was personally delivered by Michael C., one of the owners, which was really nice to put a face to a name from our e-mail interactions. The food was kept cold with a box lined with thermal wrap with ice packs at the base. Each bag was labelled with the corresponding meal.

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As the meats were frozen, I waited until the next day to start my first dish. I like my meat to thaw naturally in the fridge rather than putting the meat in a cold water bath or microwave.

In each bag, the ingredients were in containers or in a plastic bag with most items individually labelled, even garlic. There was a picture guide listing the ingredients, difficulty level, spice level, preparation time, as well as instructions with pictures.

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One Kitchen meal instructions

One Kitchen meal instructions

I used the instructions as a guideline but did find shortcuts that worked for me. For example, I used my rice cooker to cook the basmati rice rather than their stove top instructions.

What I liked:

  • I was impressed by One Kitchen’s professional and simple website, with full recipes listed and step-by-step picture instructions.
  • Variety of menu items on their website with vegetarian dish options.
  • The instructions were easy. The picture guide was helpful.
  • I learned new techniques. For the curry dish, I learned to add ingredients like garlic, curry paste, leek and water into a food processor before adding in the coconut milk mixture.
  • It did take 30 minutes to make each meal.
  • I liked that there were fresh herbs in the dish to enhance the flavours and for presentation. The dishes were visually appealing.
  • The dishes were tasty with quality ingredients. I was afraid healthy meant bland.

One Kitchen

Suggestions:

The portions were reasonable per person, but there weren’t leftovers. I made 2 meals on our second night for variety and saved the leftovers for my husband’s work lunch.

I am not sure ingredients like garlic needs to be labelled, but I guess it is better to be consistent and for clarity. Plus, the packaging likely helps to keep it fresh.

For the Moroccan style chicken thighs, the instructions said to “sprinkle the dish with almond flakes” but I did not see it as an ingredient in the instructions or in my kit. Perhaps this should be added as an “optional ingredient” in their picture guide.

Each bag with the ingredients took a lot of room in my fridge, so I removed the ingredients from each bag and organized it nicely in my fridge. Plus, ingredients such as tomatoes are best kept outside the fridge. I don’t think that One Kitchen needs to teach customers how to best store the ingredients, but these are my recommendations.

Mushroon and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken with Garlic Lemon Broccoli

Mushroon and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken with Garlic Lemon Broccoli (Please note that I added in sweet potatoes to the broccoli since I had it at home, as well as rice)

Moroccan Style Chicken Thighs with Couscous and Apricot Sauce from One Kitchen

Moroccan Style Chicken Thighs with Couscous and Apricot Sauce from One Kitchen

Pork and Sweet Potato Curry with Basmati Rice from OneKitchen.ca

Pork and Sweet Potato Curry with Basmati Rice from OneKitchen.ca

Verdict:

At this point, I do not have a comparison point with another meal kit delivery service but I liked what I saw and tasted. The price is reasonable given the cost per meal also includes tax and delivery (Less than $12 per person). It saves customers tons of time to grocery shop and to meal plan. The weekly menu changes to keep things fresh. With different difficulty levels for each dish, the meals are also a fun way to learn new techniques and dishes. One Kitchen will definitely top my list when I am looking for a meal kit delivery service.

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[Recipe] Foie Gras Mousse Appetizer with pomegranate syrup

Looking for an impressive but an easy appetizer? Make this!! The duck foie gras mousse will melt in your mouth with a sauce that compliments it. I bought the can at St. Lawrence Market but I’ve seen them sold at Pusateri’s as well.

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Steps:

  1. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle salt on the sliced baguettes. Toast in the oven.
  2. Cut the foie gras mousse and sear quickly in a pan. Do not cook it too long or it will melt.
  3. In a separate pan, add 1/2 cup of pomegranate juice, 5 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and 2 teaspoons of white sugar. Boil and reduce the mixture until it becomes a syrup.
  4. Before serving, add the foie gras mousse on each slice of bread, followed by a drizzle of the syrup. Top with pomegranate seeds and mint.

I apologize for not taking good photos to do this appetizer justice and yes, I could have worked on my plating! This was sooo delicious and an absolute hit at my party!

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Fois Gras Mousse Appetizer

Fois Gras Mousse Appetizer

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[Recipe] Butter poached cod with a carrot horseradish topping

This oven method of poaching fish is easy and quick (only 10 minutes in the oven), enough time for prepare the topping or to grab yourself a glass of wine. I picked up some Icelandic cod from a wonderful fish market on Roncesvalles Ave. in Toronto called De La Mer . You can use Pacific or Atlantic cod, or another meaty fish for this recipe like halibut.

The topping does not need to be cooked and surprisingly isn’t overpowering with the horseradish, and gives the dish a real kick. I served the dish with rice and stir fried vegetables.

Preparing the carrot horseradish topping

Preparing the carrot horseradish topping

[Recipe] Butter poached cod with a carrot horseradish topping
 
Author:
Cuisine: Fish
Ingredients
  • 1.5 pounds of cod, cut into even pieces (about 2 by 3 inches)
  • 1 cup of salted butter
  • Handful of dill
  • Sea salt (optional)
  • ⅓ cup of lemon juice
  • Topping: 1 cup of peeled and grated carrot, 1 tsp of prepared horseradish and 1 tsp of dill
Instructions
  1. In a pan or the microwave, melt the butter.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Place the fish in an oven safe dish and pour the butter, lemon juice, and the dill.
  4. Put the fish in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. The fish should be just cooked.
  5. In a bowl, add the grated carrot, horseradish and dill and mix well.
  6. Remove the fish from the oven, remove from the butter and plate.
  7. Top each fish with a small pinch of sea salt and the carrot topping.
  8. As the fish was cooked in salted butter, you may feel that the salt is not needed on each fish.
Preparing the fish for the oven

Preparing the fish for the oven

Butter poached cod

Butter poached cod

Happy cooking!

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[Event] St. Lawrence Market Summer Series – Season One

On August 4th, 2016, the outside of the St. Lawrence Market was transformed into a huge patio with tons of food and drink vendors, live entertainment and graffiti artists.

Season one of the St. Lawrence Market #Summerseries in partnership with The Food Dudes was a success! Sponsors included Amsterdam Brewery, Tromba Tequila, Solepower Productions and Chair-man Mills.

General admission tickets were $30 (plus taxes and fees) and included two food tickets. Although my ticket was complimentary, I would return again and think the price was worth it. Food tickets were $10 each and with 2 food tickets included in the price, guests can get pretty full, especially if they got the burgers! Grab a friend or a group and head to season two of the Summer Series. Check out http://www.stlawrencemarket.com/ for updates.

Summer Series Summer Staycation DIGITAL TSA St Lawrence Market final

I went with my husband and we stuffed out faces (we both eat a lot!). This is what we tried:

Market Burger with fried halloumi, bacon, onion jam, gochujang aioli, pickles, arugula and pomme frites-  From Olympic Cheese, Brown Brothers Meats and Food Dudes. The juicy burger was delicious and I had one all to myself.

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Halibut Fish Tacos with guacamole, pickled red cabbage, smoked sour cream, hot sauce, scallions, and tomatoes- From Domenic’s Fish Market and Food Dudes. They didn’t skimp on the amount of fish in the taco. This was my perfect bite with a great balance of fresh ingredients.

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Steak tacos with Korean BBQ sauce, FC cheese sauce, kimchi style spicy slaw, cilantro, mint, and taro crisps- From De Liso’s and Food Dudes. This was a little too saucy for me as it made the taco shells soggy but the meat was tender.

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Brussels Sprouts with General Tao sauce, toasted sesame seeds, pickled chilies, fried onions, cilantro sprouts- From Urban Fresh Produce and Food Dudes. Deep fried Brussels sprouts is the way to go; not sure if I can have it any other way now.

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Peameal Bacon Sandwich dish served on a fresh country bun paired with an authentic Portuguese custard tart -From Carousel Bakery. I have had this many times and it’s a must-have dish when I visit the St. Lawrence Market. It’s “Toronto’s official signature sandwich”.

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Jamalaya Balls with tasso mayo and shrimp powder- From Rube’s Rice and Bulk Foods and Food Dudes. A creative take on arancinis.

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Glacier Bay Oysters from Mike’s Fish Market. I love oysters and can have this every day!

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Chopped Chicken Salad with chicken, seasonal vegetables, quinoa, jalapeno feta, harissa chickpeas and sumac -From Olympic Cheese and The Food Dudes. Loved the crunchy chickpeas.

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Chicken dumplings, charred scallions, ginger, gochujang, soy glaze, herb salad and crispy leeks. Great combination and tasty fillings.

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Street corn with jerk brown butter, cilantro crema, jerk sauce, lime queso from Urban Fresh Produce and Food Dudes. Who doesn’t like corn in the summer? This one is all dressed up.

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Empanadas with a hibiscus drink from Manota’s. My favourite was the beans and rice.

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I was too full to try the other food items (I think I tried 90% of the dishes) or have seconds! My favourite dishes of the evening was the burger, Brussels sprouts, fish taco and the Jamalaya balls.

Of course, there was lots of drinks to wash down all the food. On the extremely hot and humid evening, water was my friend. Water dispensers were available at the bar and free for all guests.

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Aside from the food, I loved the live entertainment. You must check out Liz Loughrey http://www.lizloughrey.com/! I heard her over the speakers, not realizing she was performing live. Her voice reminded me a mix between Tori Kelly and Ariana Grande. She gained a new fan!

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Loved the artwork as well. Big props to the graffiti artists!

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Hope to see you at the next event!

*Disclosure: The admission and food was complimentary but the opinions in the post are my own.

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[Recipe] Bean salad with a cumin ketchup dressing

Looking through the Caribbean Central and South American Cookbook by Jenni Fleetwood and Marina Filippelli (available at Amazon.ca), the bean salad recipe caught my eye since the dressing used ketchup. The tomato flavour is very subtle but it provides a sweetness. It works and it’s tasty! 

Feel free to use whatever beans you have handy and canned beans will definitely speed it up. If you do use canned, I would use about 425 g (1 can)  of the kidney and chickpeas, as the recipe below is based on dried beans. The onions are placed in icy cold water which takes the “bite” out of the raw onions.

I have changed up the beans and vegetables in my recipe compared to the book. This makes a large bowl to serve a party!

[Recipe] Bean salad with a cumin ketchup dressing
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups of dried kidney beans-soaked
  • 1½ cups of dried chickpeas-soaked
  • 1 cup of dried green lentils-soaked
  • ½ cup of onions-sliced thinly
  • 1 cup of red peppers-sliced
  • Dressing:
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 10 tsps of ketchup
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • Pinch of salt and pepper (more depending on your taste)
  • 3 cloves of garlic-minced
  • Green onions and coriander (garnish)
Instructions
  1. Slice the vegetables. Place the onions in a bowl of cold water with some ice cubes for about 20 minutes, remove and set aside.
  2. Cook the beans in separate pots and take out when they are just cooked. I used the Instant Pot pressure cooker, and under high pressure, it took 25 minutes for the kidney beans, 20 minutes for the chickpeas and 9 minutes for the green lentils.
  3. In a bowl, add all the ingredients in the dressing and mix well.
  4. Pour the dressing over the beans and mix. Garnish and serve.

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[Review] Le Baratin French Cuisine

Website: http://www.lebaratin.ca/bienvenue-lebaratin-toronto/
Location: 1600 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON
When I visited: June and July 2016, Dinner
Rating: 4, $$

Mary’s Happy Belly was at the media preview in the spring to try out the paté, housemade gravlax and other hor d’oeuvres. With great first impressions after an intimate and well organized event, I was drawn to try out the dishes at Le Baratin.

The restaurant is owned by Chef Jean Regis Raynaud, a Chef from France who landed in Toronto 7 years ago with a passion to follow his dreams (read about Chef Regis’ story). Having met the humble Chef during my visit, he informed me that he wanted to make quality honest food, which he has succeeded.

The restaurant has a welcoming atmosphere with an open kitchen with local jams and coffees for sale, with French rap playing in the background. Chef Regis can be seen behind the counter plating the dishes carefully, and also walking around speaking to customers.

Le Baratin

Le Baratin

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At first glance at the one page menu, I was not excited as it showcased dishes I have seen many times at other French restaurants like duck confit and steak frites. However, once the dishes came out, it was a different story.

What my husband and I ate (drinks excluded):

Gravlax ($9)- I loved the peppery finish on the housemade gravlax. The fish was mild and not overly salty, served with toast and radishes.

Gravlax

Gravlax

Assiette De Charcutaille (Charcuterie plate) with duck rillettes, paté, proscuitto and “Rosette” salami ($11). It was the first time I had duck rillettes. I enjoyed that it was spreadable like paté, but had a thicker texture with the shredded duck meat.

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Mange De La Betterave ($8)- Beautiful roasted beetroot salad with pickled red onions, cracked goat cheese and a cumin dressing. Great combination.

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Our server was friendly but the speed of being served our dishes could be a bit quicker. Good thing I was not in a rush as it took a span of 2.5 hours from the time I ordered the dishes to getting the bill. With a laid back atmosphere, it makes for a great date night option.

Overall:

Le Baratin has a no fuss menu or fusion dishes; they serve classic French dishes done well. Chef Chef Regis’ passion for French cooking can be tasted in the dishes, with sauces, patés, and gravlax all done in-house. Great prices and large portions. Looking forward to seeing more daily specials and seeing the menu expand.
Le Baratin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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