Chip & Kale Will Deliver Homecooked Meals to Your Door
Pittsburgh’s new healthy-food delivery service answers the question of what's for dinner.
PHOTO COURTESY CHIP & KALE
We all want to eat healthier. Often, with our fast-paced lives, it’s not that easy. Depending on how my schedule is, weekday dinners either can be a simple but freshly made affair or a hastily put together hodgepodge of leftovers and dinner helpers from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or the East End Food Co-Op. I plan meals on the fly as I roam the supermarket aisle mentally making note of what goes in my cart. Fortunately, I have a schedule that I have some control over, and I have had years of forcing myself to (loosely) plan menus. It’s not perfect. For many others, it’s even more difficult. More often than we like, we are forced to resort to dining out and eating fast food. We all know what that does to our health.
But even on the weeks that I have more time to cook, I find myself making the same things. The dreaded rut.
So how can we have healthy meals that are interesting without adding to the stress of our lives?
Chip & Kale, a new meal-delivery service, wants to help us out. For about $5 a meal — less than you would spend at the Whole Foods bar or fast-casual restaurants — Chip & Kale delivers five 100-percent plant-based dinners per week that are prepared from scratch and frozen to maintain freshness without any preservatives. The meals are prepackaged as kits placed in freezer bags with easy-to-follow instructions. All you need are basic pots and pans and some healthy cooking oil in your pantry.
Each regular-sized order comes with five entrées, which serves three to four people and costs $99 plus tax. Chip & Kale announces its menu for the next week on Sundays, and orders must be placed by Thursday for Saturday delivery. Some of the menu items have included basil lasagna in a creamy béchamel sauce; Burmese potato stew with potatoes, peas and Burmese spices in a coconut-milk base; hash-brown casserole; stir-fried winter vegetables with parsnips, cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower in a ginger-sesame sauce; and peanut-butter vegetable soup with crusty bread.
Talk about variety!
Chef Zita Edsall, who earned her hospitality degree in Prague, founded Chip & Kale. She has worked at major European and U.S. hotels and moved to Pittsburgh with her family in June. She noticed that we often seem to be pressed for time, yet we want healthy meals. After reading that the average American eats 12 different dishes over and over, she was further inspired to launch the service.
Edsall says that eating healthy and switching to a plant-based diet was a challenge for her. She’d previously avoided tofu. “I didn’t understand tofu, and it didn’t understand me,” she says. But she finally conquered the ingredient and shares with us the recipe that she says is her “veni, vidi, vici.”
- 1 block extra-firm tofu
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 ½ pounds cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, tamari or Bragg's liquid aminos
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Fresh tarragon leaves
- Black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix spices with breadcrumbs. Set aside.
- Press water out of tofu. Here is a good how-to.
- Mix tomatoes with herbes de provence and pepper and bake in an ovenproof dish for about 15 minutes — until the tomatoes pop and release their juices. Transfer to a medium bowl, and drizzle with tamari. Set aside and turn the oven down to 400 degrees.
- Drain the tofu (do not pat dry). Slice cross-wise to about ½-inch slices. Gently press into breadcrumb mixture and coat both sides. Bake on parchment paper for about 10 minutes or until golden.
- Meanwhile, sauté the shallots with 1 tablespoon of water or olive oil for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.
- Simmer for about a minute or until sauce starts to thicken. Add chopped parsley and tarragon to taste.
- Divide baked tofu in between the plates, top with sauce.