Let Peasy Make Your Nights Easy
Local meal kits are delicious and nutritious
By Jessi Cape,
2:04PM, Wed. Sep. 4, 2013
Though certainly ready and willing to embrace the "meals made easy" concept, when I first heard about Austin's newest weeknight meal hero, I was pretty skeptical. So far I have been less than impressed with any commercial meal kit, but Peasy was a lovely surprise.
Stroll down any grocery freezer section and you'll find approximately 9 trillion "quick" solutions aimed at improving the weeknight meal for busy families. Yes, cooking at home is great for affordable nutrition and better flavor. But thanks to the internet, more dinner ideas than even the best time manager could eat in a lifetime mean the "easy" part is lost in translation. Very few of the pre-made meals are worth their salt, and the processed globs work their way into mealtimes too often. Peasy's mission is to alleviate these issues, one local meal kit at a time.
Megan Clark, inspired by Michael Pollan and her own week night time crunch, brainstormed her own remedy for boring, quick fix meals, and opened Peasy. This service aims to assist home cooks boost nutrition and enjoyment and still save time by gathering and prepping all the ingredients for a "foodie-worthy" meal to be prepared in 30 minutes or less. The kits use many local and seasonal ingredients, are prepared in a professional kitchen, and are available by pre-order to be picked up at a food trailer parked at Rosedale Market.
A few weeks ago I tried the Roast Pork Pizzaiola dinner kit, and from opening the bag of ingredients to serving the results, I was impressed. The dish - designed by Jesse DeLeon, the sous chef of Vespaio who creates most of Peasy's weekly recipe calendar – featured fresh corn polenta, and a pizzaiola featuring burgundy pasture pork shoulder, Creminelli Calabrese Salumi from Antonelli's Cheese Shop, and Italian dried herbs from Savory Spice Shop.
To accompany just a few standard issue pantry items (e.g. extra virgin olive oil) needed to cook, the kit consisted of separate containers with pre-cut fresh peppers, onions, tomatoes, and corn; two wrapped parcels contained the amply portioned and tender pork shoulder and an accent portion of salumi. Each container corresponds with a number on the instructions, and I followed along to the letter. The recipe is well-written and a breeze to execute (though perhaps adding a suggestion to cook the dishes simultaneously would benefit nervous novices). In fact, I had allotted more than enough time and therefore had plenty of time to drink wine.
The portions were plentiful in the small kit (2-3 servings; a larger size is available), and the entire kitchen mess included only a few recyclables, two wooden spoons, and two skillets. The sweet and creamy corn polenta was lovely paired with the robust and herby pizziaola; the roast pork was tender and the diced calabrese salumi added a zesty, meaty hint. The entire concoction took just under 30 minutes, as promised, skillet to plate. Stuffed with fresh veggies, free of preservatives, and allowing a controllable amount of salt means Peasy is definitely a healthy alternative to more commercial kits, and the wonderful flavor might just inspire a new crowd of home cooks. Plus, at $23.99, or $8 per serving, the high quality ingredients - on par with a nice restaurant – make the meal cost effective too.
Perfect for any weeknight meal, but special enough for a date night or a gift to new parents, Peasy won me over. This week's calendar features Morrocan Chicken Tangine with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Almonds as well as Chicken Chilaquiles Verdes with Smashed Black Beans.