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 MARBLE RYE BREAD


I just checked out a new product at Trader Joe’s, thier Marble Rye bread.

Opening the bag, you get that slightly sour wonderful smell that rye bread has. Now as a native New Yawk’r (and a member of the tribe) I know what a good rye bread tastes like. So I can’t tell you this TJ’s rye ranks high up with top NYC Jewish bakery rye breads. However the TJ Marble Rye is pretty good. It’s not at all like that supermarket rye bread (think “Levy’s crummy rye bread). This is way way better and good and when you toast this rye bread, which really improves this, you will know what it really tastes like. Toasted, this rye bread is delicious –in fact I would basically suggest you always toast this at least a little, as toasting it makes this rye bread be all it can be. Toasting it really improves the flavor and texture. The dark part as you can see in the picture is just a bit darker than the lighter part, unlike “real” marble rye breads from a NYC bakery which typically have very dark parts (black/pumpernickel) mixed with lighter rye. This bread is $3.49 for a 20 oz loaf. A bakery rye bread here in NYC is really expensive now, likely $6-7 a loaf -so this is a decent deal for a decent rye bread.

I would buy this again. Check it out if you like rye bread.

Trader Joe’s ORGANIC BUCATINI PASTA


Trader Joe’s Organic Bucatini Pasta

Trader Joe’s new imported Organic BUCATINI has pretty much become my favorite pasta that Trader Joe’s has. This is a high quality organic artisanal pasta in a shape called bucatini, which is a long pasta like spaghetti but with a little hole (buca) in the middle.

The hole really helps this pasta to absorb sauce way more than spaghetti does (twice as much). Bucatini can be really a good match also with hearty sauces such as a Bolognese sauce or ragu. This pasta is excellent obviously for most Italian pasta dishes, and a few even specify this shape, (recipe idea links below).

In the picture is a simple pasta dish I made with this bucatini pasta and just a basic marinara tomato sauce. Even with just marinara and cheese it made a delicious pasta.

Cooking tip: This says cook for 8-10 minutes. I would suggest pulling it from the water under al dente – say around the 7 minute mark THEN FINISHING it in a pan with sauce for a minute or two so it can absorb the sauce and flavor a bit. So pull the slightly undercooked pasta, toss it into a pan with maybe 1/2 the sauce you are serving it with, and finish cooking the pasta with the sauce adding 1-2 tablespoons of the cooking water as needed. (watch Vincenzo do this in the video below) Always save a 1/2 cup of your pasta cooking water. Starchy pasta cooking water is the magic “secret” ingredient to cooking pasta the way Italians do. Finish cooking the pasta for a minute or two until it’s al dente or to your desired degree of done-ness. Plate it up and serve with a bit of extra sauce on top. Garnish with a little grated cheese and chopped parsley. The Bucantini swells up a bit with the sauce giving it a delicious texture and taste. You can even try this Bucantini pasta to make Asian noodle dishes! No really. It works pretty well as an Asian noodle in a pinch.

TJ’s Organic Bucatini pasta is selling for $1.49 for a 1 lb. package. Ingredients: Organic Durum Semolina. PRODUCT OF ITALY. Here’s a few recipe ideas for bucatini too….

https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a34922698/bucatini-pasta-recipe/

https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/bucatini-pecorino-and-coarse-pepper

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/bucatini-best-long-pasta

Trader Joe’s “Azmari BUUNNI Coffee”


This blend combines Ethiopian delicacy with Latin verve…Notes of chocolate, nougat, cherry”

The lovely and striking graphic design of this bag of Buunii AZMARI coffee really caught my eye when I saw it recently in Trader Joe’s NEW PRODUCTS section. Strong colors and stylized images that say “farm”. The coffee inside is as good as the outside – this is an excellent coffee in a whole bean medium roast. In this case, an actual light-medium roast as sometimes people complain Trader Joe’s medium roasts are a shade darker. The coffee is from a smallish coffee outfit, BUUNNI COFFEE which I am glad to learn is being sold under it’s own brand at Trader Joe’s locations in the North East. The packaging for Trader Joe’s looks different from their other packaging so likely it was specially made for TJ’s – and this design really works as It instantly caught my eye!

Opening the convenient air-tight zip closure on the bag (more good design) Wheb I ground some coffee, the aroma smelled wonderful, and kind of had as they said “notes of chocolate, nougat, cherry…”. This coffee has a perfect mix of the best of “African” and “South American” coffee styles, for good reason, as that is exactly what this blend is composed of: two Ethiopian single origin coffees mixed with a coffee from Honduras. It has that “winy” sharp African coffee note which that is then balanced by the Latin American smoother notes of the single origin Honduran coffee. An excellent blend, roasted perfectly to bring out the best of this coffee. Trader Joe’s is selling it for $9.99 a bag (12 oz). I would buy this again, gladly and hope you give it a try; I don’t think anyone wouldn’t like this. Very impressive “high end” coffee for a good price. Well worth checking out if you see it and are a coffee lover!

https://www.thespruceeats.com/ethiopian-coffee-culture-765829

Trader Joe’s ORGANIC CHIA SEEDS


Trader Joe’s Organic Chia Seeds

If you aren’t eating chia seeds by now, you probably should be eating them. You’ve no doubt heard about what a superfood chia seeds are and all it’s health benefits. These tiny powerhouse seeds are packed with protein and Omega 3’s and other goodies. When soaked in liquid the seeds swell up into a gel. So they are great for adding to cereal, smoothies, yogurt or pancakes. They can be used as a thickener. The seeds are really tiny so be careful as they have a tendency to go everywhere. Rather than pouring them out of the bag, I keep them in a jar so I can pour them or scoopI eat a huge tablespoon every day mixed into oat milk and kefir. They take a little while to swell up and absorb liquid so I wait 10 minutes or so. A 12 oz bag of them now sells for $5.49. Trader Joe’s sells a number of superfood seed items, chia seeds, flax seeds, a mix of chia and flax, and hemp seeds. All of these tiny superfood seeds are good for you and things you can incorporate into your daily diet, especially I think at breakfast when you can eat a few tablespoons easily in cereal, yogurts, and smoothies.

https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-chia-seeds

Seen at Trader Joe’s: STRAWBERRY PLANTS for sale!


Grow your own strawberries? This is pretty cool.

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 High-Oleic ORGANIC SUNFLOWER OIL


Trader Joe’s High-Oleic Organic Sunflower Oil

I use a lot of olive oil to cook with. However there are times when you want or a recipe specifies, to use a “neutral flavored oil”. Meaning you should not use olive oil which has its own flavor, in which case I use TJ’s Organic Sunflower Oil. It’s a very good neutral vegetable oil, in fact it’s a fine all-around cooking oil. This is the oil I use basically whenever I am not using olive oil. For example it’s what I use when I am making a Chinese or other Asian dishes which always specify a “neutral” vegetable oil that won’t affect the other flavors in the dish. And Sunflower Oil is good for high heat which is good for Wok cooking. I had to look up “high-oleic” but that this sunflower oil is High Oleic means its quite healthy too, maybe even more than olive oil. And this oil is ORGANIC. TJ’s Organic Sunflower Oil is quite reasonable at $3.99 for a 33.8 oz bottle, which is of course far less than olive oil. So you probably want this as your “other” oil, like me. I would buy this again.

Trader Joe’s TRADITIONAL CARNITAS Mexican Style Oven Roasted Pork


Trader Joe’s sells packages of “CARNITAS” (Mexican style oven roasted pork). Frankly in the package it may not look look very appealing but trust me, this is not just good, TJ’s Carnitas are delicious. Tender, slow roasted, melt in your mouth, delicious porky goodness. Carnitas (“little meats) are a traditional Mexican preparation & cooking method with the pork typically cooked in enormous copper pots by special masters, slowly stirring it for hour with long handle wooden paddles. Cooking carnitas is an art. You can’t even really make carnitas at home. When done the pork is so tender and juicy it is almost falling apart. Typically the cooked carnitas meat is chopped up for tacos or other dishes. “Trader José’s” version of carnitas can be used to make excellent tacos. Now even though it’s fully cooked, it will be far tastier if you brown it and I strongly recommend you do. Its worth the little extra effort and your tacos will be far tastier. Please do not microwave it – despite the fact they say you can on the package. Just toss it in a pan. I cut up the big piece of meat into a few pieces and cooked it on low-med heat for about 10-20 minutes turning the pieces every 5 minutes or all the side were golden brown and delicious. Some interior fat in the meat will melt doing this too. The carnitas may start to fall apart as you turn it, that’s fine. When its all done, take out the meat, rest it a minute or two and then either chop it up into bite size piece or what I like to do: shred it up using two forks. You can use the carnitas as a filling for tacos or quesadillas with your desired accompaniments. Personally I like traditional Corn Tortillas but use any tortilla you like. Now besides using this for tacos, this tasty roasted pork can be used for other things too of course. So for example this pork is great used for Chinese cooking. I make fried rice using this pork chopped into bite size pieces instead of Cha Siu and it’s super yummy. How about Ramen? Sure. Cut into slices, grill them a bit and use these as the Ramen topping like the traditional slices of Cha Siu. Italian? Chop up the meat for a super easy tasty meat sauce, which you add to tomato or marinara sauce – voila, an instant “Ragu” or meat sauce for pasta or gnocchi. You can even just serve this delicious pork on its own with some lime or salsa or as a topping for a salad. Or make a Cuban Sandwich with this, ham and some Swiss! Trust me, you will find this TJ Carnitas useful to use for many things. The 12 oz. package of TRADITIONAL CARNITAS goes for $6. I would buy this again

BTW – TJ’s PINEAPPLE SALSA goes very well with this pork carnitas for tacos etc.

Trader Joe’s EGGPLANT GARLIC SPREAD


“A traditional Bulgarian recipe that pairs well with pita or flatbread. Use as a dip or as a spread on sandwiches, toast or crackers”.

Ingredients: Eggplant, red peppers, water, sunflower oil, tomato paste, sugar, sea salt, dried garlic….

This spread, which is made in Bulgaria, is absolutely delicious. I tried this as a vegetarian spread with some warm flatbread and it was a combo made in Heaven. Also I can also easily see this used in other ways besides being just a dip or spread. Serve this on top or on the side of some grilled chicken, or fish for a delicious accompaniment. Or you might use this with pasta. Add a few spoons to a pasta dish (or gnocchi or polenta) along with lots of garlic and olive oil. Inside an omelet? Sure thing. Now as yummy as it is, personally I would like more garlic. I have a feeling if your (Bulgarian) grandma made this spread it might actually have enough garlic in it to kill vampires. My late Jewish grandma (Romanian by birth) made a delicious roasted eggplant spread that had a ton – and I mean a ton – of garlic in it and it was fantastic. So just to see if more garlic would be a good addition with TJ’s spread, I mashed up a few cloves of garlic, mixed it in to this spread and let it sit for an hour to develop. OMG, it was now even better – if you love garlic of course. So I suggest doing that, and adding a slug of good olive oil too and mixing it all in. Now this spread tastes homemade. It will be better, but even just out of the jar, this spread is delicious, kind of an “Eggplant Caviar”. This spread is something I can easily see putting out for guests who suddenly showed up, along with some crackers, which would take all of 2 minutes of work, and would look impressive and have them asking you “yum, this dip is delicious; did you make it?”. If you put a few cloves of garlic in it, I would tell them with a straight face, yes I did.

$2.69 for a 12 oz jar. I would buy this again.

Previous Older Entries