30-Day Hatchery Challenge

After my August Hatchery box arrived, I found myself with no less than 18 different Hatchery samples that I hadn’t even opened yet. (Plus a few I’d used and still had some left.) So I decided to undertake a challenge and see how many of these items I could get through before the September box arrived. That box is downstairs waiting for me as we speak, so I suppose it’s time to post this writeup.

Fig Balsamic Vinegar from O Olive Oil (April) – I drizzled this over a plate of heirloom tomatoes and some fresh mozzarella. It wasn’t as concentrated as I had expected – it’s a very light, fruity balsamic, that didn’t overwhelm the tomatoes at all.

Curry Ketchup from Red Duck Foods (August) – I’d received another, smaller, ketchup in a previous box, and had been wanting to make the suggested recipe – Lamb Burgers with Cucumber and Feta – except the sample wasn’t big enough. When I got this sample, I decided it was time to go for it. Handsome picked up some freshly ground lamb at a butcher near his place, and we made this for dinner over Labor Day weekend. It was a very fast, very easy meal that was insanely delicious. There was a bit of ketchup leftover, and so I stirred that into the greek yogurt used as a sauce.The aroma on these burgers was just outstanding. I’m not sure how much of it was the lamb itself or the curry ketchup, but we decided we would have to experiment further to try and find out.

Sunflower Maca Cinnamon Honey Nut Butter from Bella Nut Butters (July) – This is a very interesting nut butter, made from sunflower seeds. We had it with some waffles. It was pretty good but I think it better suited to a use where you can spread it a bit more thinly.

Bulgogi Asian BBQ Sauce from Sweet Heat Gourmet (August) – When I received this, I had the thought that it might work well in fried rice. So, that’s what I used it for, subbing it in for the oyster sauce called for in the recipe I use (from the oddly named Cook’s Illustrated Best Illustrated Recipe). This was fine, but I think not a good use of this product. In retrospect I think I should have tossed it with the baked tofu that I used as my protein, rather than mixing it in as the sauce for the whole thing. Note to self for the future…

I didn’t get through quite as many of these as I’d hoped – I’d set myself a goal of six. Two will be used in cocktails that will happen soon enough, does that count?

Also, here are four things I’d cooked with shortly before undertaking this challenge, but didn’t manage to tell you about in a timely fashion:

Mango Habanero Jam by Diane’s Sweet Heat (June) – We used this to make the recommended recipe, Spicy Vietnamese Red Snapper Noodle Bowls, with tilapia instead of Red Snapper. This was another easy and tasty dinner, very refreshing and light. I can see myself making this again!

Original Recipe BBQ Sauce by Bill’s Best (June) – I used this to make the suggested BBQ Peel & Eat Shrimp as a little snack for Handsome and I one evening. As is my wont, I peeled the shrimp first. I actually wound up using frozen shrimp for this (thawed of course), which worked out fine.

Toasted Coconut White Balsamic Vinegar and Tahitian Lime Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Olivelle (May) – In keeping with the trend, I also wound up using these to make the recommended recipe, Tahitian Lime Gelato with Roasted Pineapple. I have to say, I wasn’t a fan of the roasted pineapple, which is sauteed in brown sugar and the vinegar – I found it really overwhelmed he flavor of the gelato. The gelato recipe calls for more of the olive oil than you have available in the sample, so I topped it off with some lime juice. The gelato had a nice, delicate lime flavor that I really enjoyed. Not sure I would make this particular recipe again, but I did make a mental note that lime gelato is quite tasty.