Trader Joe’s Green and Red Hatch Chile Flakes


Trader Joe’s has a new seasoning: Dried Green and Red Hatch Chile Flakes.

From what I understand in New Mexico “Hatch Chiles” are everywhere, in both fresh and dried form, and consumed by everyone, the only thing being if you are a “green or red” chile person. Some time back, I recall seeing Trader Joe’s selling bags of fresh Hatch Chiles. I was pretty surprised. I can tell you in NYC, seeing fresh New Mexican Hatch Chile’s is rare. I would think only the most gourmet of gourmet shops would carry them. That must have been a one-off as I haven’t seen the fresh ones again at TJ’s and I assume TJ’s has decided it’s more practical to sell Hatch Chiles in a dried form. So there is yet one more addition to their great line of all kinds of seasonings and spices. The bottle of dried flaked chiles has both red and green chiles and its good! The report is these are not spicy hot but have lots of flavor. Try adding this chile flakes to burgers of ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken, impossible burgers, to tacos, stews, tomato based dishes, pasta, pizza, marinate chicken breasts (or tofu for that matter). Add some to marinades and sauces. Try some on eggs or avocado toast. A 1.9 oz jar is $3.99. It’s a little expensive for a spice but you can add just a teaspoon and get a lot of flavor, plus you don’t have to go all the way to Santa Fe to get a fix of Hatch Chiles now. If this sounds interesting to you, I would grab a bottle if you see it as I don’t know if this will be continued forever.

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.”

TJ’s Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers


RAVE

Trader Joe’s Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers have the delectable flavor of Mexican Street Corn in a crispy snack….chipotle, habanero kick, smoky, spicy, heat…. Melt cheese over them for a punchy nacho, crumble atop scrambled eggs… Guacamole….” (from the package)

These may be the best chips Trader Joe’s sells. So good! Terrific product.

Trader Joe’s Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers are a spiced up version of the also excellent regular plain Trader Joe’s corn chip dippers. For this “Elote” version of the chips they add a lot of spices for a spicy delicious variation that recalls Mexican Street Corn (Elote). These are so flavorful and honestly they are pretty spicy* just eaten on their own. If you don’t eat these with something (say guacamole, dip, cheese….) your mouth will probably feel a bit on fire from the chipotle and habanero pepper seasonings. Still not crazy, a tolerable heat unless you’re really spicy-adverse. Naturally just like the plain versions, the shape of these thicker “dipper” shaped corn chips make them perfect to stand up to any dip of any kind without falling apart.

These match especially well eaten with other things, especially guacamole of course, or even just salsa. I even sometimes enjoy eating these Elote Corn Chips with something plain like cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, which balances the heat level. You can even crumble these up and put them on things (they suggest atop scramble eggs, that should be great) If you just put grated cheese all over these for nachos you wouldn’t need any other spices, so I think these could make super easy nachos And naturally some beers will go great with these chips, to put out the fire in your mouth.

The Elote spice dippers costs a little more than the plain version of TJ’s Organic Corn Dippers (I think gone up to $2.99 now?)

UPDATE: * These don’t seem to be quite as spicy as they were before. I can’t tell if they’ve changed the recipe or maybe just the lot I got… (if anyone has ideas on this, please leave a comment) I have had a lot of experiences with some Trader Joe’s products I first tried getting “toned down” over time.

EASY RECIPE – How To Make Mexican Street Corn (Elote)


If you’ve been in a Trader Joe’s you’ve probably seen the word – ELOTE – a few times. One might even say TJ’s has a bit of an obsession with Elote. Just in case you don’t know what Elote means, “elote corn” is a typical Mexican street food consisting of corn on the cob sprinkled with cheese and lots of spices served carts by street vendors. In Mexico City there are probably as many Elote carts as in NYC we have hot dog carts.

Elote corn is delicious, slathered with mayo, lime juice, dusted with chile powder and sprinkled with Mexican Cotija cheese. MEXICAN STREET CORN is not hard to make yourself, and conveniently, you can get everything you need at TJ’s. I just made some a few days ago with some really fresh corn and it was so yummy I thought I would share how to make it easily. You will need: Fresh corn on the cob, Everything but the ELOTE SEASONING, CHILE LIME seasoning, some mayonnaise, fresh lime, and Cotija cheese (like a Mexican parmesan). As far as mayo, TJ’s Chile Lime Mayo might work great or Suzi’s Organic Mayo.

SHOPPING LIST: fresh corn, Everything But The ELOTE SEASONING blend, Mexican Cotija cheese (or Parmesan), Lime, Mayonnaise (Chile Lime Mayo?), optional, CHILE LIME seasoning

RECIPE – ELOTE / MEXICAN STREET CORN

If you can grill the corn, great, but steamed corn is fine. Cook corn. When done, hold it with tongs (or spear on a chopstick) or just put it on some foil. Slather some mayo all over with a spatula (mayo is authentic but if mayo turns you off, just use butter). Next sprinkle on a generous amount of Everything But The ELOTE Seasoning. Next sprinkle a good amount of grated COTIJA cheese (or Parm or Asiago). Squeeze some fresh lime juice on it. OPTIONALLY; if you want even more spice add TJ’s CHILE LIME Seasoning blend and/or a little hot sauce of your choosing. Now enjoy!

Now just in case you are a lazy bones and this sounds too complicated for you here’s a simpler version I do when I’m in a rush. Make your regular fresh buttered corn and just sprinkle a good amount of the EVERYTHING BUT ELOTE seasoning all over it. Easy enough?

Do you think Trader Joe’s has an ELOTE obsession?

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/discover/entertaining/we-like-it-elote

https://traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/059063

Watch how fast this Elote vendor is !

   

TJ’s Organic Corn Chip Dippers


GLUTEN FREE. ORGANIC.

We know Trader Joe’s carries a ton of all kinds of chips. These are one of my favorites out of all of them. So why are these corn chips are so good? I think a big reason is they only have 3 ingredients! They list : organic yellow corn, organic sunflower oil, sea salt. That’s it. They must be using the best organic corn they can find, these chips have a super tasty corn flavor. These chips are both thick and a bit curved. They’re thick enough to stand up to any dip you put them in, such as guacamole, salsa or what have you. Even on their own with nothing on them, they still taste fantastic. They have been $1.99 (forever) but I bought them last week and I got yet another case of TJ inflation sticker shock to see TJ raised the price of these. They’re now $2.29.

Match the plain corn chips with CHIPOTLE BLACK BEAN DIP – an excellent combo

Beside this plain version, TJ has a spicy variation, the delicious “Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers” (Elote aka Mexican street corn flavor) which is an amazing chip, those are loaded and I do mean loaded, with spices; these cost a little more than the plain version, Elote chips are now $2.69 (also up 20 cents). The Elote chips are excellent and pretty spicy. Personally I love them with, among other things, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, in other words something plain as they bring plenty of spices on their own.

You can’t go wrong with either variety. Here’s what TJ has to say about them: https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/092482

RAVE

Need a recipe for GUACAMOLE?

TJ’s CHIPOTLE BLACK BEAN DIP


“A zesty dip with hearty black beans and the smokey kick of chipotle peppers”

Trader Joe’s CHIPOTLE BLACK BEAN DIP is delicious. I think this could even be one of their best products. It’s one of my favorites, and I try to always have a jar in the panty… It’s that good. It matches especially well with tortillas, or any of TJ’s excellent chips especially corn. It matches perfectly with TJ’s Organic Corn Chip Dippers. The Chipotle Bean Dip gets a spicy back beat from two kinds of chiles, chipotle and ancho chiles, which give this a slightly spicy heat level plus a tomato-y undercurrent. This dip is terrific as-is on its own but it’s also good as an ingredient. When I make quesadillas or tacos, I sometimes spread a little of this on the tortilla before cooking them or just serve some on top or on the side when I plate them. Naturally this is way healthier dip to put out for people compared to dips which have loads of calories / fat like a sour cream or cheese based dip. You can even mix a jar of this with a half can of the refried black beans which will make a nice side dish or a less spicy but still tasty dip, depending on the ratio. If you find this dip too thick, just mix in a teaspoon or so of lime juice, vinegar or water and thin it out to your liking. A jar of the BLACK BEAN DIP is $1.99 for 12 oz.

You have to try this dip with TJ’s terrific Organic CORN CHIP DIPPERS (or the Elote cousins) as the thick corn chips with this is a super combination. And AVOCADO of course! TIP – Gussy this up with cheese? Sure. Heat this up and top with grated cheese so it melts. Yum!

INGREDIENTS include: Water, black beans, bean flakes, onion, tomato paste, sugar, sea salt, chipotle chile pepper, ancho chiles, garlic, malic and citric acid, vinegar, spices, smoke flavor ….

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 CHILE LIME CHICKEN BURGERS


I buy Trader Joe’s ground chicken in the fresh meats section pretty regularly, however I came across these Chile Lime Chicken burgers (in the frozen section) which I had not seen before and thought I would get them to see if they were any good. I saw on the internet these are a bit popular. Ingredients are: “ground chicken, onions, bell peppers, garlic, cilantro, natural flavor, salt, lime juice concentrate and red pepper flakes”. Well that sounds OK, right? Inside you find four burgers (1/4 lb each) so they are not very thick, quarter pounder size. I took two out and left them to defrost overnight in the fridge. As they are pretty thin I think they probably just need a few hours to defrost in the fridge so one could probably even take them out in the morning and have them ready for dinner.

I put them into a hot cast iron pan with a spoon of EVOO to grill them up, and cooked them for 3-4 minutes a side. To serve them, I put them on toasted buns spread with a nice amount of TJ’s CHILE LIME MAYO (its really tasty) which was perfect for these as they’re not as juicy as beef burgers of course. So these chicken burger were actually pretty tasty served this way on a bun with lettuce and tomato, that chile lime MAYO and a few extras. If you make them like the picture on the box, with a bit of guacamole, I am sure that would be great.

Would I buy them again? Well to be honest I prefer the softer texture of TJ’s fresh ground chicken that I make into burgers over these pre-made ones. These were just a little tough texture wise and frankly I can easily add a few ingredients to ground chicken myself, even simply sprinkling it with AJIKA or CUBAN SPICE, and form a bit thicker patty of maybe a 1/3 lb. Therefore I probably would not buy these again. However you might like the obvious convenience of having these in your freezer.

These cost $3.49 for the package (16 oz containing 4 burgers). They are no doubt lower in fat than beef burgers having only 6g fat each.

news update: there was a recall on this product (nov 2021)

TJ’s HABANERO LIME FLOUR TORTILLAS


Trader Joe’s HABANERO LIME FLOUR TORTILLAS ($2.69, 17 oz package of 10)

There are some traditional regional food divides in some countries. Traditionally in Mexico in the North they lean towards using flour tortillas (Tortillas de Harina) while Southern Mexico traditionally prefers tortillas made from corn (Tortillas de maiz). I generally prefer corn tortillas as they’re more flavorful and have a chewier texture when cooked. However sometimes I do buy flour tortillas as they have certain qualities that make them useful for some things. For one thing, flour tortillas are softer and more pliable so easier to fold. They are usually bigger too so can hold more ingredients inside. They can be used for Quesadillas and Burritos. They can also be used for “wrap type” sandwiches, etc. If you want flour tortillas, I think the Trader Joe’s HABANERO LIME FLOUR TORTILLAS are an interesting choice as they bring a bit of flavor to the party. These tortillas have a little bit of heat in them from habanero chiles, plus a bit of lime flavor. They have a lovely color, tinted reddish orange from anatto seed (a natural food coloring). Package says “MEDIUM HOT” but remember when you add fillings that moderates the spicy level.

Last night, I made Quesadillas (vegetarian actually) for dinner with these Habanero/Lime tortillas. Filling was: Pepper Jack Cheese, Soy Chorizo and TJ’s Refried Salsa Pinto Beans (which I gussied up*). Topping of avocado, tomato, more cheese and Green Dragon SauceMore Refritos on the side…. They were really tasty!

Need a recipe for Quesadillas? Here’s one…

  • TIP – Out of the can, TJ’s Salsa Pinto Refried Beans are really boring. They need a little work if you want them to have some taste. I add olive oil, oregano, cumin, chile powder and a little Green Dragon or Zhoug. Cuban Style Spice Blend works great with these or any beans. Warm frijole refritos over low heat, stirring often so the bottom doesnt burn. Some cheese on top is nice!