Trader Joe’s DILL PICKLE MUSTARD


NEW PRODUCT: Trader Joe’s DILL PICKLE MUSTARD. This is one of those Trader Joe’s products which once you try, you say to yourself “This is something I didn’t even know I needed but now that I know how good this is, I want this in my life from now on”. I saw this the other day in the NEW PRODUCTS section. Like so many Trader Joe items, you see it and are instantly curious to try it and see if it’s any good. Well guess what? TJ’s DILL PICKLE MUSTARD is really good. It tastes exactly what the name says it is, mustard with dill pickles. It’s a very good classic American yellow mustard with dill pickles in it and a lot of dill flavor. Hitting two good tastes combinations at the same time. If you like dill pickles you will probably love this as much as I did. I put it on a hot dog and it was so yummy. What if I put this on a cheese sandwich? What about on a melted cheese sandwich? I can even see mixing a little bit of this into mashed potatoes too…?

$1.99 (9 oz bottle) I would buy this again.

Trader Joe’s PINEAPPLE SALSA


Trader Joe’s PINEAPPLE SALSA

I wasn’t sure I was going to like this but I was actually pleasantly surprised at how much I did like it when I tasted it and how good this salsa really was. I think the name put me off. Actually it’s quite good and I think if most people try this, they will like it too. Even though pineapple is in the name and is listed as the second ingredient on the list of ingredients, it doesn’t stand out and taste “pineapple-y” or overly sweet; it is completely blended into the other flavors. It does have a hint of sweetness but it tastes like salsa, not pineapples. I have a feeling this is salsa that even people who don’t like salsa will like! You know the “I don’t like salsa; its too spicy for me” type. As you can see from the “heat scale” on the label this is a fairly mild salsa with only a small amount of spiciness. Now as pork and pineapple are a famous match (eg, tacos al pastor) I would try TJ’s Pineapple Salsa on top of some Carnitas tacos. It would be great also on nachos, rice, shrimp, salmon, eggs, or anything you can think of. You could brush this on at the end of grilling / broiling chicken and it would great. A 12 oz jar is $1.99, so at under two dollars this is one of the cheaper salsas on offer at Trader Joe’s. I would gladly buy this again. Ingredients: Tomato, Pineapple, Onion, Green Pepper, Vinegar, Cane Sugar, Salt, Garlic, Jalapeno, Cilantro, Red Pepper

Trader Joe’s GUAJILLO SALSA


Trader Joe’s GUAJILLO SALSA – “A spicy and flavorful salsa with smokey undertones”

This description on the label is right on the money.

I really liked this new GUAJILLO SALSA offering Trader Joe’s came up with, it’s truly an excellent jarred salsa. In fact this may be among TJ’s best salsas of the many they offer. Trying it for the first time I found it was full of complex flavors, spicy, a bit smokey, a bit acidic… just really interesting and delicious. It will spike up all your taste buds. TJ’s usually puts some kind of heat level indicator graph on the salsa’s, however this jar doesn’t have one. So just a heads up this is not “mild”, it’s got a nice little kick to it, I would say medium spicy, however not blow your head off spicy. So imagine a chile graph of “medium”.

Ingredients in this salsa include: tomatoes in juice, tomato paste, guajillo chile pepper purée, vinegar, salt, crushed red pepper, dried garlic, and both guajillo chile powder and chipotle chile powder. All those nice chiles give this a big authentic flavor. Stir before using or shake well, as this has no thickeners added so it’s a bit loose and chunky in a typical Mexican salsa style (unlike some American made salsa brands that are artificially thickened with starch so they stick on a chip and do not drip easily). Even not being thickend, just dip a chip in a little bit of this and I promise you will get it’s flavor.

Use this anywhere you would use your favorite salsa or hot sauce, and be creative. I drizzled some over some simply grilled chicken. This guajillo salsa added a bunch of terrific flavors that went great with the chicken to jazz it up nicely. Drizzle it over Mexican rice, refried beans, tacos, eggs, you name it. Ground turkey tacos? Boring no more. I also just chopped up some fresh ripe tomatoes and mixed in a few tablespoons of this salsa to them to come up with a “salsa fresca” variation which was very tasty. I really like this salsa and if you are a fan of salsa you will likely too. Its way more interesting than the rather plain Jane TJ Hatch Valley Salsa (however I bet if you mixed the two they might be good blended for some red and green salsa flavors). In sum, TJ’s GUAJILLO SALSA is delicious and well worth trying. A 12 oz jar was $2.69. Would I buy it again? Yes. This is something I now like to have in the fridge at all times.

SHAKE OR STIR BEFORE USING. REFRIGERATE AFTER OPENING.

TJ’s Nori Komi “FURIKAKE” Japanese Multi-Purpose Seasoning Blend


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PRODUCT OF JAPAN

Trader Joe’s FURIKAKE Japanese multi-purpose seasoning

“Furikake” is so typical in Japan you’ll probably find a shaker of it next to the salt and pepper in most any eatery, as well as on most people’s kitchen table at home. So what is FURIKAKE? Furikake is a seasoning made up of finely chopped dried seaweed (Nori) along with sesame seeds and other flavors (even sometimes tiny whole dried fish!) Japanese will sprinkle furikake on rice to to enjoy the combined flavors, and it is really delicious on rice. However one can use it elsewhere too. Besides trying this on rice, sprinkle some furikake over some grilled fish (salmon!), or chicken, meats, on top of eggs, noodles or a bowl of ramen. It’s really versatile and goes with so many foods, all of which is why Trader Joe’s calls its “multi-purpose seasoning”, it really is. This TJ version of Nori Komi Furikake is a basic version containing sesame and seaweed. In Japan they make lots of kinds with different flavors (like dried salmon and other fish, shiso leaf, green tea, wasabi, sour plum, etc) Here is some on Amazon with 8 different kinds (and its crazy expensive, yikes!)

https://amzn.to/3HSE1V6

You know those times when you have “nothing to eat” in the house?? Well say you at least have rice; eggs and this jar of FURIKAKE… Top a bowl of rice with a fried but still runny egg, and sprinkle a liberal amount of Nori Komi Furikake over everything. Mix it all in with a spoon. Voila! EASY. YUMMY. DINNER. This is a great simple, satisfying dish. You should try it, period. (BTW in Japan where you can get can get super fresh eggs, they even crack raw eggs into the hot rice, aka GohanTamago).

Trader Joe’s Nori Komi Furikake contains: white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, nori (seaweed), salt and kelp powder (yup, more seaweed!) Seaweed of course contains glutamates. Glutamates have “Umami”.

Personally I have to have Furikake in our pantry at all times. A jar will last some time (you can keep in the fridge too). You’ll find it in TJ’s spice section and it is really worth checking out. A jar is $2.49. At a Japanese grocery it would be twice that. Want more info and ideas: check this link, even how to make your own!

Trader Joe’s Green & Red HATCH CHILE flakes


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Trader Joe’s introduced a fantastic seasoning, these Dried Green and Red Hatch Chile Flakes. This stuff is terrific. Now from what I understand in New Mexico, “Hatch Chiles”, named after the Hatch Valley where they are grown, are to be found everywhere in both fresh and dried form (with strings of dried ones called “ristras” hanging outside houses). Hatch Chiles are consumed in quantity by all New Mexicans, the only thing being if you are a “green or red” person. Hatch Chiles seem to be something Trader Joe’s has some interest in. They have a Hatch Valley Salsa and have always had those little cans of fire roasted chiles (terrific for the pantry BTW). Last summer I recall seeing bags of fresh Hatch Chiles which really surprised me as in NYC seeing fresh Hatch Chiles is so rare I think one might only find that at a Super Gourmet grocer. Those TJ fresh Hatch Chiles I saw might have been a one-off deal as I haven’t seen them since. I am guessing TJ’s decided it’s more practical to sell Hatch Chiles like this in a dried crushed form.

These HATCH CHILE FLAKES are yet one more great addition to TJ’s excellent line of spices. The bottle of dried flaked chiles contains both red AND green chiles to accommodate all comers. These dried chilies are not very spicy and add a wonderful flavor. HOW TO USE: Add these chile flakes to any ground meat, burgers (beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken) or even Impossible burgers, or to tacos, stews, tomato based dishes, pasta, pizza, cheese dishes… Add to marinades and sauces… use the flakes to marinate chicken or meats (or tofu for that matter) in a marinade. Sprinkle this on eggs or on avocados or Avo-Toast.

The 1.9 oz jar is $3.99. A little expensive for a bottle of spice, but you can use a teaspoon and get a lot of flavor – not to mention you don’t have to go all the way to Santa Fe to get your fix of Hatch Chiles and the flavors of New Mexico. If this sounds interesting I would grab a bottle as who knows if this product will be around forever or it’s a one off like those Trader Joe bags of fresh Hatch chiles I saw once. I am stocking up with a few of these.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/green-and-red-hatch-chile-flakes-070397

TRADER JOE’S says: “It’s hard to overstate the importance of red and green chiles to New Mexican cuisine — there’s an argument to be made that red and green chiles are, in fact, the foundation of New Mexican cuisine. After all, New Mexico’s state question (apparently, there are such things as state questions), “red or green?”, is a direct reference to their ubiquity in restaurant settings. In honor of these chiles’ special place in Southwestern cooking, we’re proudly introducing Trader Joe’s Green & Red Hatch Chile Flakes to our shelves, so that their spicy, singularly New Mexican flavor can be enjoyed at home in dishes of all kinds — no matter which state your home happens to be in.

Of course, these aren’t just any chiles: these are dried Hatch Chiles, from New Mexico’s renowned Hatch Valley. Widely praised for their unique, savory taste (some detect notes of onion or garlic in their flavor profile), these Green & Red Hatch Chiles are especially great for adding heat and depth to taco meat, enchilada sauces, chilis, or stews. And since each jar contains both Red and Green Flakes, you get the benefits of each: both the round, slightly sweeter flavor of the more ripened Red, and the sharper, more vegetal flavor of the younger Green. Try folding them into your next burger for a nice, peppery kick.”

Bavarian Bratwurst with Sauerkraut Combo


The combination of TJ’s Uncured Bratwurst with their natural Sauerkraut is pretty much a no-brainer.

Maybe the only question is whether you warm up the sauerkraut with your bratwurst – or just serve it on the side, cool, so its crunchier. You can make an easy and terrific lunch or dinner if you team up these made for each other items with a few more TJ items…. put the Bratwurst on some bread (BRIOCHE?) or TJ’s Brioche Hot Dog Buns. The mustard of your choice (Dijon with mustard seeds or Spicy Brown?).

Here I went with sautéed potatoes cooked up with the Bratwurst and sauerkraut on the side. These all made for a super dinner combo.

RECIPE: Sauteed Pan fried Potatoes – Cut up a few Yukon Golds into cubes and par-boil them 5 minutes or so in salted water. Add the drained potatoes to a nonstick pan with oil and butter and toss in a sliced onion. Cook for 15-20 minutes on medium heat stirring occasionally until the potatoes are done and golden brown. Make room in the pan, and add your bratwurst around the 10 minute mark and cook on both sides until browned. You can put shallow slashes to score them before cooking which will open up as they cook. Garnish with chopped parsley or arugula for color. Serve with sauerkraut and mustard. Serving Options: beer and bread (brioche hot dog buns or chewy sourdough)

TJ’s Sweet & Spicy Pickle Chips & Onions


Thin slices of pickles and onions in a sweet and spicy brine. Emphasis on spicy. You have to try these, they are just terrific.

Now when Trader Joe’s calls these “spicy” on the label, in this case they are not kidding! They are quite hot and seriously SPICY! Containing “capsicum oleoresin”. However they are Spicy Delicious. With a hamburger these were particularly terrific. For me these pickles are just one more amazing TJ Wow Product, something that’s unique and special. I’m even a bit addicted and once I start eating them I keep going back for more. While they are Seriously Spicy if you just eat them their own, when you add them as as ingredient and eat them say on top of a hamburger or tucked into a sandwich, you will get a moderated amount of the heat. These are about $2.70 a jar.

Trader Joe’s ground fermented BLACK GARLIC


“Use like garlic. Delicious on avocado toast, in butter and sauces, on vegetables and proteins, or any time you want extra depth of flavor”

This is a pretty interesting Trader Joe’s product, a bit of an unusual find. Now a few years ago, they sold something in the produce section labeled “Black Garlic”. It was from Japan. It basically looked like a whole head of garlic you had forgotten about in the pantry that had shriveled up and turned completely black! Wild looking! I tried it. Inside shriveled shells were cloves of black garlic inside were softish and absolutely delicious, chock full of UMAMI. I found it to be a kind of amazing, and pretty unusual product for Trader Joe’s to carry. This stuff eventually vanished or was discontinued, anyway I stopped seeing it. Now a year or two later, I noticeed this small jar in the spices section. “Ground Fermented Black Garlic…Made In South Africa”. The black garlic has been dried and ground up into little tiny black bits that can be sprinkled onto things. It tastes garlicky but different from fresh garlic or garlic powder for one thing this was fermented. It’s full of Umami, adding extra depth of flavor to whatever you put it on. I did think it’s a little on the pricey side at $2.99 for a tiny 1 oz jar but I have found it does last a bit. It’s terrific added to sauces and as they mention vegetables. I am trying this on so many things. Avocado anything especially. I am thinking this is a hidden gem that many will look at and bypass and it may vanish in the future. So as we don’t know how long this product will last, if this sounds interesting, grab one to try.

WHAT IS BLACK GARLIC

https://www.thespruceeats.com/black-garlic-4165384

A little search and you find that it’s super healthy to boot! https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-black-garlic#1

https://www.mashed.com/325207/trader-joes-fans-are-so-excited-about-this-new-fermented-black-garlic/

TJ’s Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Green Chiles


We start with vine ripened tomatoes, then we fire roast them to a subtle smokiness before adding organic green chiles… They’re ready to use in salsas, sauces, soups and stews….”

Ingredients: Organic fire roasted tomatoes, organic tomato juice, organic green chili peppers, organic vinegar, sea salt, citric acid, calcium chloride”

These excellent organic diced tomatoes are a great pantry item, and in fact I always keep a few cans in mine as they are such a useful ingredient. They are indeed “fire roasted”, you can even see little bits of char and smell a little smokiness. You can use this as-is on tacos and quesadillas as a simple salsa, or make a slightly improved one quickly in seconds just by just adding a few things (ie, chopped onions, garlic, cilantro). Use this as an ingredient in sauces, stews or soup as you would any canned tomatoes, but these will be tastier than plain ones. These make the base of terrific rices dishes, say cooking some Mexican rice or what have you, mixed in for some of the stock or water. And its great for lots of other cuisines too… I made a delicious Italian Ariabiatta / Puttanesca style pasta with a can of this, olive oil, a spoon of tomato paste, lots of garlic, capers, olives, a spoon of Bomba and some grated Pecorino over the finished pasta (or try this with Gnocchi). It only took about 5 minutes to come together and the finished pasta dish with Gnocchi was delicious. We devoured it.

$1.69 for a 14.5 oz can. There is a plain only tomato version too for $1.49 if you don’t want any green chiles.

GREAT PANTRY ITEM

TJ’s PERI-PERI SAUCE


Trader Joe’s PERI-PERI SAUCE with fermented and dried chilies

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This is as the label says: “A CONDIMENT WITH RICH, COMPLEX HEAT”. Peri-peri sauce is one of those Trader Joe’s products that currently seems to be all over the Internet. So naturally I decided I better check it out. First thing to let you know, is that this Peri-Peri sauce is HOT! I’m talking hot, people with a capital H as in this is the spiciest product I have ever tasted from Trader Joe’s. It reminded me of the first time I tasted TJ’s (original formula, and sadly discontinued) Organic SRIRACHA RANCH dressing (sigh!). I opened the bottle of this Peri-peri sauce and just tasted a wee bit on a teaspoon all by itself. OMG. My mouth lit up, taste buds on fire. I’m not a chili-head but I enjoy “spicy” and can tolerate most levels of heat. However this Peri-peri was way up there. It took a while for my mouth to calm down and I thought, this sauce is too spicy. However I found the “secret” to using Peri-peri, is to just use it really sparingly. Use it in small even tiny amounts and you will get it’s flavor. Note, it’s quite liquid-y so be careful pouring it lest you get way more than you want. I usually put some on a spoon to gently dole it out in little dots of sauce. Once I realized about using in sparingly I started to really love this stuff. It’s very flavorful and complex with a ton of umami going on in addition to being spicy. The orginal bottle which I expected would last me a few months is already 2/3 gone in just a few weeks! So Peri-Peri may even be addictive. This label says Product of South Africa. Peri-Peri sauce is popular in South Africa, though it’s origins are from elsewhere in Africa, Mozambique or going even back going back to Portugal.

https://www.nandosperiperi.com/what-is-peri-peri

Peri-peri recipes traditionally call for tiny birds eye chilies which are super spicy. The label does not specify exactly what chilies are in it but it does say “fermented” as well as dried chilies. As TJ’s BOMBA SAUCE also uses fermented chilies, from which you get a lot more complex flavors than just “hot”. It also lists garlic,salt, dried chilies and xanthan gum (it’s a thickener). It’s a lovely orange color. The first ingredient listed on the label interestingly enough is LEMON JUICE. So there is a citrus-y background level behind the spiciness which I find works perfectly.

What is PERI-PERI SAYCE good on? Perhaps a better question is what haven’t I tried this on. I’ve tried it on almost everything. For one, a simple thing, I love this sauce on something as simple as cottage cheese (on toast or a bagel or crackers…) Again I just need a few dots of sauce here and there. It’s simply magnificent with chicken, which is what it was created for (Peri-peri chicken). I will next try it on chicken breasts marinated in the sauce. So marinate some white or dark meat chicken in Peri-Peri sauce. You’ll find its just stunning. Use oil in the marinade too of course and go easy on the peri-peri till you learn its heat level, though cooking will of course mellow the heat out. I’ve mixed a little of the peri-peri even into ketchup – that spicy ketchup combo is fantastic with hamburgers. A bit on grilled shrimp or fish? Yes, yes, yes. If you experiment with this (and go cautiously) you will come up with great combinations this sauce is good on. Oh and you can of course mix it with something, say mayonnaise or greek yogurt in whatever ratio you like and come up with a fantastic sauce in seconds. Trader Joe’s PERI-PERI sauce comes in a glass bottle of about 7 ounces for $3.29. I think this is really worth checking out. And check out this recipe for grilled Peri-Peri Chicken below which you could whip up using this I think.

https://www.chilipeppermadness.com/recipes/peri-peri-chicken/

Want to learn about the peri-peri (piri-piri) chili ?

https://hotsaucefever.com/hot-peppers/piri-piri/

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