Trader Joe’s ORGANIC FLAXSEED MEAL


TJ’s unfortunately discontinued the Whole Roasted Flax Seeds they used to sell and replaced it with this version with the flax seeds already ground into meal. I preferred the whole flax seeds to this already ground version but if this is the only choice, then I will have to get this. Keep it in the fridge after opening. Its good for Smoothies of course or adding into baked goods or pancakes.

Trader Joe’s “SPICY JOLLOF SEASONED RICE MIX”


Trader Joe’s “SPICY JOLLOF SEASONED RICE MIX” with dried tomatoes, onion and garlic

There was a little controversy when this product first came out as some saw this as a bit of cultural appropriation. What is JOLLOF RICE anyway? It’s a rice dish eaten widely across parts of West Africa, especially Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal. Even in Africa the dish has a little controversy. Is it Nigerian or Ghanaian or Senegalese where it has a different name? It’s considered the national dish of Senegal where it’s known as Thieboudienne / Tchebu D’jen. (The word “Jollof” is an English variation of “Wolof” which is both a language and a people)

In my lifetime, I’ve eaten many many plates of authentic Senegalese Tchebu D’jen in many African restaurants back in the day when there were a dozen African restaurants on 116th Street in Harlem when the street used to be known as Petit Dakar . I love this dish and variations of it. Taste a real version of this dish if you ever have the chance. An authentic “JOLLOF RICE” (aka Party Rice, aka Tchebu Djen) from Nigeria, Ghana, or Senegal is an amazing dish. It’s complicated to make with a number of ingredients, another reason that Trader Joe’s coming out with this “instant” version caused a wee bit of controversy on the internet. The mix was developed by a Nigerian family here I believe.

Here’s my take. Out of the package, this is a far, far cry from an authentic African Joloff Rice. I fixed it up when I made it. It has some potential if you fix it up to make something better, not close to what your Nigerian granny would make but something semi-OK and better than just making this package as is.

Here’s my suggestions on how to fix this up: In a large pot, put a tablespoon olive oil and butter (you probably don’t have Palm Oil which is best) Stir in a huge tablespoon of tomato paste. Cook for 30 seconds and add a chopped up tomato, 1/2 a chopped onion, 4 cloves of garlic minced. Cook 2 minutes, then add your cooking liquid (water, but chicken or veggie broth would be better). 3 cups as the package says is a lot. I reduced to about 2 3/4 cups as the veggies have water. Add a few carrots and a 1/4 cabbage. Boil for 5 minutes. THEN add the package of this “JOLOFF RICE” mix. Add some Smoked Paprika and as much as you like of some spicy mix of PERI-PERI, BOMBA, or ZHOUG . Once it boils lower to a simmer and cook covered for 20 minutes. Turn off heat. Let it sit 5 minutes covered to absorb all liquids. When you are ready, serve rice with vegetables on the side/top, and serve some of those spicy sauces on the side for people to adjust to their tastes.

Tchebu Jen is made with smoky dried stockfish in the broth and served with fresh fish. I ate it with some fish on top (smoked sardines and salmon) Other ideas are serving this with grilled chicken or maybe grilled SHAWARMA chicken.

TJ’s SPICY JOLLOF SEASONED RICE mix is $2.69 for an 8 oz package.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/spicy-jollof-seasoned-rice-mix-070883

“Originating in West Africa as far back as the 14th century, Jollof rice is more than just an esteemed and storied dish, it’s a cultural force of its own. It’s served as the inspiration for countless recipes across the African diaspora, including jambalaya and gumbo. It’s even sparked a friendly (if not, at times, heated) rivalry between a handful of nations regarding who makes the best version. If you’ve ever had the chance to try it, you know exactly why it’s remained such a vital part of African cuisine for over 700 years.”

Trader Joe’s GREEK CHICKPEAS with parsley and cumin


Absolutely great pantry item. For out of a can, this is really tasty. Trader Joe’s describes this as kind of a “deconstructed hummus” as it has many of the same ingredients in it as hummus does. In fact I served it alongside with hummus and even put some of this on top of the hummus which is a typical serving style, to have some whole chickpeas on top. The flavors in this are really good, they have lemon, parsley, cumin, garlic and black pepper and the seasonings have permeated inside the chickpeas so they are way more tasty than if you just poured on sauce. My only small complaint is they used soybean oil instead of olive oil to cut costs. However this is easily fixed with some of your EVOO. I poured off most of the sauce and added a nice glug of good Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which did improve it. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice too while you are at it, which will brighten it up so it tastes like you made it yourself. This would be great for say a picnic too. We ate it as a side dish with some Falafel. Good match. Or add a can on top of salad to add some bean protein.

A can is $1.99. PRODUCT OF GREECE.

I would buy this again.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/greek-chickpeas-with-cumin-and-parsley-060205

Trader Joe’s SEEDS & WHOLE GRAINS CRISPBREAD Norwegian Crackers


These are really seedy, really crunch savory flats, made for us in Norway using the bakeriets proprietary process. The crispbreads make a wonderful snack on their own or are perfect with cheese and soup.”

INGREDIENTS: Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, wholemeal rye flour, oat bran, oatmeal, flaxseed, spelt bran, wheat bran, water, sea salt, oregano, thyme

I would put this on a Trader Joe’s Best Items list.

I love these crispbreads which are super crunchy Scandinavian crispbreads / crackers. These are good for breakfast, for lunch or for an appetizer/dinner. I buy these all the time, I have to have them in the house. They are super healthy crackers, absolutely loaded with seeds and whole grains. When I say these are “crunchy” I am not kidding, they’re stupendously, can’t hear yourself talk, crunchy. They make a good match with your favorite hummus or any dip or spread. They are great for those Scandinavian open faced sandwiches of course. You could load this up with some Lightly Smoked Salmon with a little cream cheese or mayo (see below) and you will be in Heaven (or Valhalla as the case may be). You can break them in half carefully to make a smaller size base if you want.

PRODUCT OF NORWAY. 8 oz package is $2.99. I would buy them again.

https://www.veggirlrd.com/a-very-versatile-cracker-trader-joes-whole-grain-crispbread/

Get your Viking on! You can not get more Norwegian than these.

Trader Joe’s DARK CHOCOLATE COVERED PRETZELS


“Mini Pretzels” with a thick coating of good dark chocolate. Sweet and a little salty. A match made in heaven folks. Love Them! A 12 oz bag is about $3.29. I would buy them again. There is also a milk chocolate version too (no thanks i’ll stick with the dark)

Trader Joe’s ROASTED GARLIC HUMMUS


Of all the different kinds of hummus Trader Joe’s sells, I wanted to try this one for awhile. When I finally tasted it, I was very pleasantly surprised at how good it is. In fact the ROASTED GARLIC HUMMUS just became my new favorite of all the hummus I tried. It just has that little extra something from the roasted garlic which makes this a standout for me. It’s delicious and has just the right amount of the mellow roasted garlic flavor that blends perfectly with but does not overpower the overall flavor of the hummus. It was $1.99 for years but has gone up to $2.29 (8 oz) Yes, all of TJ’s hummus has gone up, sigh! Try this with TJ’s PITA CHIPS which are go great with hummus or eat the hummus with your favorite chip, crackers, or warm naan or pita bread.

NEED SOME SERVING IDEAS….?

Trader Joe’s COLUMBIA SUPREMO COFFEE


RAVE

Columbian coffee is historically one of the most famous producers in the world.

Trader Joe’s carries so many coffees. If you want one of the best all-around coffee’s that Trader Joe’s carries, I would say this is the one to buy. Trader Joe’s COLUMBIA SUPREMO coffee just hits all the right notes of everything most people love, plus is one of the most reasonable coffee buys there to boot. This coffee is very well balanced, robust with a mild acidity and just the most lovely aroma when you grind it up. Not too mention those two colorful, beautiful TOUCANS on the label on the can! TJ’s Columbian Supremo comes as whole beans in a medium roast, and is perfectly roasted for almost all types of brewing methods: filter pour over, moka pot, drip, french press, V60, espresso makers. The huge 28 oz (which used to be 32!) container may seem a bit pricey at $14.99 however when you price it out, this coffee comes out to around $8 a pound which is quite reasonable for a quality coffee like this. Since the can is so huge what I do to keep the beans as fresh as possible, is pour the beans into a few zip lock bags, get as much air out as possible and freeze them. Then I take them out of the freezer as I need them. Of course, grinding the beans just before brewing is ideal for maximum flavor and aroma and I recommend that if possible. Trader Joe’s 100% Arabica COLUMBIA SUPREMO Medium Roast Whole Bean Coffee, $14.99 for 28 oz.

Trader Joe’s LIGHTLY SMOKED SALMON (in a tin)


THIS IS A TERRIFIC NEW ITEM – “Boneless, skinless salmon that has been gently smoked with Applewood”

(One portion contains a whopping 21 grams of protein!)

RAVE

Trader Joe’s recently came out with this item they call “Lightly Smoked Salmon“. You will find it with the cans of tuna, sardines, and at least two other types of canned salmon they sell. I was a bit intrigued when I first saw it plus a bit confused by the name. Huh? Smoked salmon? In a can!? Having tried it, all I can say is it’s terrific and I think Trader Joe’s has a major hit with this, however the name is a bit off for me. Tasting it I didn’t think “lightly smoked salmon” at all and this is nothing like “smoked salmon”. What I thought was simply, “this must be the best canned salmon I’ve ever tasted”. GOURMET STUFF! In fact it made me think of those deluxe gourmet tins of fish like high end canned tuna from Spain (Ortiz for example) which can sell for $15.

TJ’s Lightly Smoked Salmon basically is “salmon poached in extra virgin olive oil” (You know, like lobster poached in butter?) When you open the can you find a very appetizing hunk of salmon without skin or bones (zero waste) swimming in orangish olive oil (the color came from the salmon). This salmon is so moist and flaky with a delicious flavor and texture from being cooked in decent quality extra virgin olive oil. As far as the Applewood smoke flavor, well I would say that is so “light” as to be just at most an under-note? Frankly I barely taste that. First and foremost I taste really tasty salmon. It was so tasty frankly I couldn’t stop trying it. I kept saying, “let me just try one more little bite” and shortly noticed the can was nearly empty. It’s that good people. That golden yellow Extra Virgin Olive Oil it’s packed in? I want to tell you, do not get rid of this golden juice, the way one gets rid of the oil in tuna packed in olive oil. Here the juices and EVOO make for a delicious yummy sauce. Its decent Extra Virgin Olive Oil imbued with salmon flavor as it was the poaching liquid. I just spooned it over the fish with a squeeze of lemon and voila, a delicious sauce for this perfect salmon.

You can use this salmon exactly like a piece of poached salmon. You could just open up the can and put the salmon on a plate or on top of a salad or greens, or to top a protein bowl, or into an avocado or what have you – and have a lovely, delicious (and healthy) dinner or lunch with almost no effort. This salmon is wonderful as-is right out of the can. Try it on a toasted bagel, on toast, or on crackers. Or on CRISPBREAD for a Scandinavian open faced sandwich (very good match).

Mix a bit of mayo and lemon juice into the salmon and have great salmon salad in a minute. This salmon is perfect, especially for summer and/or whenever you don’t feel like cooking. The other night I didn’t feel like cooking anything but I found I had a nice ripe avocado I needed to use. I mixed a can of this salmon with a little mayo, lemon juice and some Peri-Peri sauce …. voila! I ate this lovely avocado stuffed with salmon salad for dinner, which took me less than 5 minutes.

One serving contains 190 calories plus you get a whopping 21 grams of protein. Product of Chile. The 5 oz can has about 3.5 oz of drained salmon and sells for $3.69. This is a great pantry item. I would gladly buy it again.

RECIPE IDEA – Japanese Salmon Rice Bowl: Put warm fresh rice in a bowl. Top with this salmon flaked up. Sprinkle on a nice amount of Furikake seaweed blend and chopped scallion. Optional: a sprinkle of Soy Sauce with a sprinkle of Toasted Sesame Oil. Mix gently. YUM.

One might even get extra cans of this salmon and put it away for a year or two to improve with age like wine*….

*Spain and Portugal have places which specialize serving tinned fish and seafood, aged for a year or two or three… Believe it or not the canned fish actually improves as it ages just like wine. Here’s a video of the late great Tony Bourdain visiting one of these bodegas in Spain, eating from cans of seafood and loving every bite…. EL ESPINALER

Trader Joe’s ROLLED OATS (recipe: overnight oats)


All Natural. WHOLE GRAIN. GLUTEN FREE. Loaded with fiber. What’s not to like?

Trader Joe’s ROLLED OATS are good. Among other uses, I use these to make OVERNIGHT OATS which make a terrific breakfast. Need a no-recipe recipe? Here you go: Put some rolled oats into a container and cover them with your favorite ‘milk’ (I use TJ’s Oat Milk) and add some Kefir or yogurt. Stir, cover and leave the the container in the fridge overnight. Options? Maybe add a hint of a little natural sugar, some dried fruits: raisins or cranberries. The next morning you will have yummy but not mushy Overnight Oats ready and waiting for breakfast. These DIY ones are better (and way cheaper) than the prepared overnight oats TJ sells already made in the refrigerator, which for me are way too mushy from having sit “overnight” for a few weeks (!) To Serve: top your Overnight Oats with some fruit, sliced bananas perhaps, and maybe something crunchy, like cereal or Granola. Maybe some chia seeds too! I tried TJ’s “toasted rolled oats” but I didn’t taste any toasted notes any different from these oats (those say organic and cost more of course. So I stick with buying the bag of these rolled oats. This large bag of Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats is $3.99 (for 2 lbs, or $2 per pound). Of course you can cook these oats up for hot oatmeal. Personally I do prefer the texture of TJ’s Steel Cut oats for oatmeal and buy those as well. Use these oats for baking, and cooking too. I mix these into meatloaf for the binder.

GLUTEN FREE of course.

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.

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