Farm to People July 2014 Box: Smoke and Spice

I went on an adventure today on a borrowed scooter. I was chased by wild dogs, no big deal, don’t worry about it. I’m exhausted now and starving. When I got home after driving through a scary park, ogling silkworm nests and eating coconut cream pie, I got an awesome box in the mail. I’ve been getting into subscription boxes lately, and when Farm to People offered to send me a box, I was keen to try their selection. I’ve got to admit, I was a little nervous- with all the specialty foods I’ve tried, I figured there would be some repeats, if not most of them. Somehow, perfection and snacks aligned– not only were there items from new companies I hadn’t heard of, but there were things I’d been ogling for months.DSC_9147-2Farm to People sends New York-based foods and goodies in their subscription box. This month was based off spice and summer barbecue. I’ll admit, I was extremely impressed to see that this box didn’t have barbecue sauce. DSC_9144-2It was wonderfully curated, featuring honey sesame cashews from Nuts + Nuts, Rick’s Picks smoked okra, or smokra, brined pepita seeds, Sir Kensington’s spicy brown mustard, Greenpoint Trading Co. coffee rub, Antidote Chocolate’s mango and juniper chocolate bar, and an adorable bar of beer soap from Meow Meow Tweet, which reminds me of Meow Meow Beanz and makes me want to binge on Community.DSC_9150-2Instead of reviewing each of these individually, I decided to incorporate all of them into a recipe. I marinated thinly-sliced ribeye in the juices of the smokra and chopped up a few pieces to mix with crème fraiche and Sir Kensington’s for a hipster Thousand Island spread. You’ve probably never been there. While it rested with some smoked salt and the coffee rub, I chopped more smokra and set my pan on high. When the pan was smoking, I slid the meat on to sear. I smeared a few slices of bread with the dressing and topped the sandwich with the chopped smokra and pepitas for crunch. I served the burger sandwich alongside the nuts and ate the chocolate for dessert.DSC_9151-2I loved all the items- the mustard was delicious, nice and spicy, although I miss the old Sir Kensington’s logo. The pepitas got lost in the bolder flavors, but still provided some nice crunch, and the rub soaked into the meat and gave the meat a blackened effect, like Cajun blackening spices. The coffee notes were subtle but present. The smokra was undoubtedly my favorite, though- better than pickles with the same crunch and vibrant acidity. I ate half the jar on its own.DSC_9148-2The bread wasn’t great, but the rest of the components were awesome- really summery and smoky from the vegetables and nuts. I ended up eating the meat and sauce on its own alongside the nuts. The flavors were all congruent and versatile and easy to use. I loved how each ingredient went well with the others and made it easy to use without feeling like the box was randomized. It felt very curated. The material with the box included blurbs about each company and a sneak peak of the next box to come. The theme is clever and feels heartfelt, with an eye on the pulse of new trends and items. DSC_9152-2I’m curious to try more of their boxes and see what they come up with- it would be fun to try more recipes utilizing each item. For now, I’m enjoying the spice and smoke in this box, and the sauce on the ribs- no need to worry about messy fingers with my beer soap. Success. This box was like a miniature version of Blue Apron or Plated, and the best part is that all the samples were full-sized, so I have plenty to use for my next endeavor.

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