Trader Joe’s CHEDDAR CHEESE with Caramelized Onions


Trader Joe’s CHEDDAR CHEESE with Caramelized Onions – “English Farmhouse cheddar blended with sweet caramelized onion, for a sweet and savory balance”

Another excellent cheese from Trader Joe’s, an imported farmhouse cheddar from Dorset, England. In the recent CUSTOMER CHOICE AWARDS, this won #1 for cheeses.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/discover/stories/14th-annual-customer-choice-awards-winners

Trader Joe’s says… “It’s crafted for us on an established estate, idyllically situated between the rolling Dorset Downs and the Jurassic Coast—an international world heritage site, lush with pastures. With more than 40 years of traditional cheese making experience, a famed farm on this estate transforms rich, creamy milk from local grazing herds (within a 30 mile radius) into beautiful, full-bodied farmhouse Cheddar.”

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/english-cheddar-with-caramelized-onions-052381

Some flavored cheeses are overpowered by the additions however there are some very good cheeses with added flavors that are delicious. This is one of those. You don’t see any onion pieces in the cheese; they seem to have been blended in, the cheese becoming a bit darker yellow than a standard cheddar. The flavors of the onions in this case match perfectly with a very good cheddar and its delicious on its own or with fruit (apples, grapes, pear). I loved it on a cracker spread with a bit of the Apricot Jam (try this!) I especially found it great when this was melted. It was really good in a melted cheese sandwich and equally good to make quesadillas. An “Ultimate melted cheese sandwich” might be mixing this cheese with the superb UNEXPECTED CHEDDAR on rye bread with a little Dijon mustard. Its $10 a pound, which is not bad for an imported premium cheddar like this. I would gladly buy this again. I think this would be great on a cheeseboard.

Trader Joe’s SQUIGGLY NOODLES


Here’s a NEW Trader Joe’s item: “Squiggly Knife Cut Style Noodles with Soy and Sesame Sauce”. This package of dried wheat noodles plus sauce looked promising. For one thing, it says a “Product of Taiwan”. First, I made them the way the package state’s: “Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add noodles. Cook 4 minutes. Drain and add sauce packet” (and FYI serving just these noodles & sauce will not make a very tasty dish. You’ll need to add things (protein. veg) to make these into something tasty and filling) When I made them as directed we were disappointed in the noodles. My wife’s comment was the noodles themselves just weren’t a good quality noodle and tasted cheap. Strike one. I however did give them a second chance. This time I decided I would stir fry the noodles, soo first I boiled them – for a bit less (2-3 minutes) – drained them and mixed in a teaspoon of oil so they wouldn’t stick together. Then I tossed them into a wok after sautéing ginger, garlic, sliced veggies and egg, and stir fried it all for a minute or two and adding my own sauce mixture. We both thought they came out way better this way as a stir fried noodle dish, so I recommend trying that. Now about that that Sauce Packet: Ugh. This sauce isn’t very good. Rather than using their (fake tasting) “Soy and Sesame” packet I would suggest doing your own sauce; Add soy sauce, a spill of toasted sesame oil, chopped garlic of course – maybe ginger, and if you have some, a little oyster sauce. Too much work? OK, you can add TJ’s SOYAKI and Chili Onion Crunch. If you insist on using the included fakey sauce packet I’d say use only say half and taste as you go (even if only to reduce sodium). FYI the Sodium listed is 40% which is of course almost half of your daily recommended amount right there (from the sauce obviously not the noodles). Many packaged Asian foods have a fair amount of sodium, so you should read the labels. TJ’s “SQUIGGLY NOODLES” are $4.99 for 4 noodle packs.

Basically I will give this a MEH. If you eat it as-is you will find it very disappointing. However spend a little effort and fix it up, which will improve it greatly and has the potential to be way tastier. Especially stir fried. For example a runny egg on top will improve it 100%. Chopped scallions are a must and some Cilantro if you like it.

If you really want to make this into something you might try doing Aaron of Aaron and Claires’s Garlic Chili Noodles (see video) or at least get some tips making noodles like this

Here’s what Trader Joe’s themselves have to say: https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/squiggly-knife-cut-style-noodles-074472

INGREDIENTS: NOODLES (WHEAT FLOUR, WATER, SALT), SAUCE PACKET (SOY SAUCE [WATER, GLUCOSE, DEFATTED SOY FLOUR, INVERT SUGAR SYRUP, WHEAT,SALT, CARAMEL COLOR, YEAST EXTRACT POWDER, MALIC ACID], SHALLOT SEASONING SAUCE(CANOLA OIL, SOY SAUCE (WATER, SOYBEANS, WHEAT, SALT), WATER, SHALLOT POWDER, SUGAR, SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SALT, CHILI SAUCE (CHILI PEPPER, SALT), GARLIC POWDER, YEAST EXTRACT POWDER, NATURAL FLAVOR, GLUCONO-DELTA-LAC-TONE, BLACK PEPPER, PAPRIKA EXTRACT, ALPHA TOCOPHEROL ACETATE (TO PRESERVE), SESAME OIL).CONTAINS SOY, SESAME, WHEAT.

Trader Joe’s SLICED KOREAN RICE CAKES


Here’s another new Korean/Asian item from Trader Joe’s. These are flat oval shaped disks made from sticky rice, so are very chewy and soft. These kind of rice cakes are a typical ingredient in Chinese, Korean and other Asian cuisines. In Chinese cooking they are known as “nian gao”. If you fry them they get a little crispy, which is how I like them best and the way you should use these. The bag has just the rice cakes (no sauce) to make however you like, typically made into a stir fried dish with vegetables and a protein. There is a basic stir fry recipe on the bag for Stir Fried Rice Cakes with Vegetables. which you could expand upon with adding a protein (say chicken, shrimp, pork or baked tofu.) Tip: add garlic which this recipe omits( !) You could come up with a Korean stir fry variation by adding some Kimchi and pork or chicken. The rice cakes are $3.29 a one pound and are in the frozen section. They are a “Product of Korea”. VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE

Here’s another recipe for Chinese Stir Fried Rice Cakes.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/sliced-korean-rice-cakes-074566

Trader Joe’s KOREAN SWEET PANCAKES (Hotteok)


“A chewy-flaky dough filled with a lusciously gooey cinnamon filling”

Here’s one more Korean item Trader Joe’s added in 2022; “SWEET CINNAMON FILLED KOREAN PANCAKES” known in Korean as “HOTTEOK“. In Seoul, they’re a common snack sold from stalls in the street. People really enjoy eating them on a cold winter day. Trader Joe’s has come up with a frozen version which all you need to to do is heat up in a pan and enjoy. I cooked them as recommended in a pan on the stove with no added oil, until they were golden brown and delicious. They look really good as you can see. I found them to be quite tasty. They were flaky and had a nice filling with cinnamon and brown sugar. I thought there might be some red bean paste in there but but reading the package I can see theres some sweet potato in the filling. So while I enjoyed these I’ve never tasted a real one and my wife (who’s Korean) on the other hand told me they were just so-so and not at all as good as ones you would get at some street stall in Seoul made by the Hotteok lady vendors. I don’t doubt that but at $4.50 for a package (of 4 pancakes) these are at least a lot easier and cheaper than booking a flight to Seoul. These might even make you want to go get some real ones some day in person. I know I would watching the lady make them in video below.

Trader Joe’s and folks on the internet suggest putting ice cream inside them. I didn’t try it but imagine it would be good. Again my wife, poo-poo’ed this saying that’s not authentic. I say try these yourself and decide. They make a slightly unusual and interesting dessert or snack. And if you’re ambitious enough to want to try to make them yourself, here’s a recipe…. and a TIP: eat them carefully, the inside is lava HOT so let them cool slightly!

Trader Joe’s site has a “Limited” sign on the picture so I expect these may not last forever. If you want to try them, do sooner rather than later.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/sweet-cinnamon-filled-korean-pancakes-069665

“When strolling through the streets of Seoul on a still, chilly morning, among the many sights to see, you may encounter the scent of fresh hotteok being served straight from the grills and fry pans of street vendors….”

They are interesting to watch getting made…. I bet they are really good. They are huge too.

Trader Joe’s GINGER DRINK MIX


I make GINGER TEA (just boil ginger in water) and really like that. This tastes pretty much exactly like that. So while cheaper to make it yourself of course, my wife really liked this Ginger Drink Mix both for the convenience and taste, so she’s buying this regularly now. It’s $2.99 (7 packets). Dissolve with 12 oz water hot or cold. Product Of Thailand.

Want to make it yourself for way less ? Here’s my ginger tea “recipe”. Take about 1″ or so of fresh ginger. Slice it up and put in a pot with about 2 cups of water. Boil for 10 minutes or so. Add sugar if desired. Enjoy!

Trader Joe’s ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP


NEW ITEM “Italian-Style Wedding Soup. Meatballs, Vegetables and Acini de Pepe pasta in a Rich Chicken Broth“. Sounded interesting to me (though I can’t recall the last time I went to an Italian wedding!) In reality this sounds better than it tastes. A hint may be that Trader Joe’s seems to be hedging by saying “ItalianStyle Wedding Soup” instead of just “Italian Wedding Soup”. It had a good amount of things in it. Pasta, veggies, and little meatballs which are tiny and cute however they had barely any flavor. The soup had lots of nice veggies including greens – kale – in large pieces which I especially liked. My main issue however with this soup is the broth. On the label, they advertise this as a “rich chicken broth” but I’m afraid that is far from the truth. The broth is in reality pretty weak and watery. If this actually had a strong rich golden chicken bone broth this might actually be pretty good. But alas, it’s not rich, it’s poor. I even tried fixing this up by adding things to help it, like a slug of good olive oil, a handful of grated Parmigiano, and fresh garlic all of which did improve the flavor and made it taste OK and way less boring. If you get this, definitely add those. Still what it really needs yet lacks is a strong rich chicken broth so perhaps if you mixed this with a good strong chicken broth (preferably homemade) plus the other things I mentioned you will get something like a Wedding Soup. Naturally if you go to the trouble to make an Italian Wedding Soup yourself one day you will get something really tasty. A recipe is below.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/13024/italian-wedding-soup-i/

I give this a Meh. I would probably not buy this again.

Here’s what TJ’s has to say about it (hmm, this also says “not available” might have been a one off ) :

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/italian-style-wedding-soup-075001

Trader Joe’s ROASTED TOMATILLO SALSA VERDE


You will find Trader Joe’s FRESH SALSA VERDE in the refrigerated section, and it’s quite good. If you are just used to tomato based (red) salsas and you want to try something a little bit different for your Mexican dishes, a Salsa Verde like this is a great variation to try out. This salsa is made primarily from roasted tomatillos. Tomatillo based green salsas are very typical in Mexico, and frequently one will find both a red and green salsa next to each other for the diner to choose from. Though they slightly resemble a green tomato, in fact tomatillos are at best distant cousins to tomatoes. The tomatillo is a unique green fruit native to Mexico which were around for a thousand years or more way before the tomato was even brought by the Spanish Conquistadors (after 1500). Tomatillos are covered with papery skins, which is also pretty unique.

This Salsa Verde also has jalapenos, green chili pureé, roasted red onion, cilantro and cumin in it for a an authentic Mexican flavor.. I liked this salsa. Its not very spicy. I find it somewhere around “Medium” in the heat department so may be good for those who don’t like Really Spicy Stuff but want some great flavors. I tried it on some pork carnitas tacos and it was great with them, bringing out the pork and enhancing it perfectly. Its was also great on eggs, either on top of a fried egg or an omelet or scrambled eggs. This is great on fish, shrimp, beef, pork or chicken. I had some leftover roasted chicken which was a little dry. We just put some of this salsa over the chicken and and Voila, it made the chicken worth eating again. I have a feeling it would even be good with some grilled Tofu or just on top of rice or a protein bowl. This salsa verde goes for $2.99 for a 12 oz tub. I would buy this again.

PS – one reader likes using this to make an easy version of Green Pozole, which sounds great.

Trader Joe’s ORGANIC APRICOT PRESERVES


RAVE

“Made with organic apricots! Sweet-tart, golden orange deliciousness that’s great on toast” – Trader Joe’s

An absolutely delicious apricot preserve made in Canada from organic apricots. If you are a fan of apricots and apricot jam as I am, you too will probably love this stuff as much as I do as it has the most intense apricot taste. I put some of this preserve on a slice of TJ’s rye bread toasted with butter. So yummy. Ditto, on an English Muffin. How about with peanut butter? Great combo. I put a pinch on a cracker with goat cheese. Yum. It’s wonderful with many cheeses. I am really in love with TJ’s apricot preserves, so good on practically anything it’s almost dangerous. I confess my jar became half empty pretty quickly! TJ’s Organic Apricot Preserve is a wee bit more expensive than some other jams TJ’s sells. This one goes for $4.29 for a 17.5 oz jar, however it is Organic and super premium. My only (minor) complaint is it doesn’t have enough little chunks of apricots; there are some but its mostly smooth (its very thick) but this is the tiniest complaint as I like chunky preserves. Taste-wise this stuff is wonderful. So if you like apricots, you will love this. I would buy this again, with pleasure. I am on my second jar already.

Seen at Trader Joe’s: Xmas GRUMP TREE


TJ’s has these little Grump trees for sale again right now for Xmas. They are cute and a pretty good deal for just $9.99. These can make a funny gift…. But wait, why”Grump” Tree? I’m guessing it’s for copyright reasons. TJ’s doesn’t want to say Grinch less they get sued by the Dr. Seuss estate. However they can get away with saying Grump and we all get the reference to The Grinch by it’s design (a clever idea just wrapping the tree to a point). If you don’t feel like laying out a ton of money for a Christmas tree ($50-150?) maybe you could get away with a little Grump tree and dress it up really nice with a lot of decorations… And it will last. If you take care of it, it will grow and grow and maybe you can use it for a few years. “Will eventually grow into a large tree. Keep well watered.”

Trader Joe’s “THAI WHEAT NOODLES”


NEW PRODUCT

I was so happy to see these packages of vacuum packed fresh noodles in Trader Joe’s NEW ITEMS area recently. I think sometime in the past Trader Joe’s sold some kind of fresh Asian noodle (rice noodles?) but none I can recall for a few years. Trader Joe’s “Thai Wheat Noodles” are a pretty typical Asian style noodle. Think Udon maybe? As far as these being “Thai” these are as much Chinese or Japanese as they are Thai. They do say Product of Thailand hence the name. These can be used for any kind of Asian dish. A 21 oz package is $2.99. They’re basically cooked and ready to use and come in 3 individual bags of about 1 portion each, ready to use in a recipe. Each bag has about 7 ounces of noodles. To me frankly that makes a skimpy portion of noodles for one and I wish these had just a bit more in a pack, say 8 ounces each for a more decent portion. I found one bag will make a portion for one for a finished noodle dish factoring in other added stuff. So I definitely suggest you “beef it up” with stuff: veggies, proteins, etc. For my dish (pictured below) I had a a few pieces of cooked chicken tenderloins in my fridge so I topped it with this chicken plus a lot of scallions and slivered cucumbers. I basically used the recipe they have on the box for “Sesame Scallion Noodles”. TIP: Right out of the package these noodles are really stuck together into an almost impenetrable noodle brick. To get them unstuck and loose I really had to work at them using chopsticks and tongs to get them loosened when I added the liquid sauce ingredients. It was not easy to get them loosened up. So I experimented the next time I made them with hot/boiling water first. You can use very hot or boiled water, rinsing them in a bowl / colander. I used my fingers/chopsticks/tongs to get them as unstuck as possible. Then rinsed them in cold water and drained them. That worked better to prep them before adding them to your dish so suggest you try this.

You can of course also use these noodles in any stir fried dish of your own choosing. Some other ideas for toppings would be some grilled pork (Cha Siu?), grilled shrimp, or even just a fried egg on top with some Gojujang. I would say these wheat noodles are basically the same as Japanese “Udon” – so you could use them in Japanese cooking, say you could make “YAKIUDON“. I did a kind of YAKI UDON with these and it worked. The recipe on the box for “SESAME SCALLION NOODLES” worked fairly well when I made it. Another tip: The recipe on the box is for just one package so double or triple the recipe if you are making more than one otherwise you will not have enough sauce. The recipe on the box is a basic recipe that you can modify as you wish. I added a heaping tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter to it, to make it more “Thai”. I also used a little Bomba to spice it up. These noodles are handy and not bad at about a buck a portion, even if they don’t match up to fresh noodles you would find at an Asian grocery. One more thing I just thought of, you could say add these to Trader Joe’s GINGER MISO soup and come up with a noodle version of that! I hope TJ’s keeps these around so check them out so they see they are selling!

I would buy these again.

VEGAN

My finished noodle dish with slivers of cucumber and scallions and topped with some slices of chicken. Very tasty!
Turn on Subtitles (English)

Previous Older Entries