Trader Joe’s SALSA DE CACAHUATE


“A Southern Mexican inspired salsa made with guajillo chiles and peanuts”

“A peanut based salsa with a unique mix of creaminess, nuttiness and peppery heat. Versatile. Enhances food from burritos to shrimp.”

(summer 2022) Wow, this is an interesting new product at TJ’s. As salsa’s go, this is a bit of an atypical regional salsa from Southern Mexico (FYI, Cacahuate is Spanish for peanut which is based on the Nahuatl word – you pronounce it : kaka-wa-te).

I found this new salsa to be really, really good. It’s a bit unusual due to fact it’s peanut based as well as creamy. This salsa has a huge flavor profile and depth. It’s got a kick (med. hot spicy!) and its thick and creamy (be sure to stir). This salsa was really tasty on some tortilla chips, also with some spinach quesadillas I made. But it can be great with lots of things. I think this is going to be a great sauce or ingredient for many different foods, as Trader Joe’s suggests. For one thing, Chicken. This will be fabulous on chicken, say grilled chicken breasts or thighs. Pork ; This works great with TJ’s CARNITAS as the “slices of pork loin”. I also like the idea of trying it with shrimp as TJ’s suggests. It will be great even with TOFU. I will experiment with this, and you should too. It’s excellent! Definitely worth trying. Trader Joe’s indicates this is a summer / seasonal item so if this sounds interesting I would not wait too long to grab a jar to try out (or two). $2.99 for a 12 oz jar.

“If you’ve ever sampled the cuisine of southern Mexico, you’ve likely come across a version of salsa de cacahuate, a savory, often spicy, peanut-based sauce that’s used on a remarkably wide range of dishes, from street tacos to roast chicken to grilled shrimp, and more. Etymologically derived from a Nahuatl word for peanut, salsa de cacahuate has a unique mix of creaminess, nuttiness, and peppery heat that makes it an uncommonly versatile condiment—just the kind of sauce that cries out to be put on everything.

In tribute to this southern Mexican staple, we’re proudly offering Trader Joe’s Salsa de Cacahuate for the summer. And just like the namesake sauce that inspired it, this rich and flavorful jarred Salsa is almost endlessly versatile. Aside from enjoying as a dip with your favorite tortilla chip, you can use it to enhance everything from burritos to burgers to breakfast fare. It adds an extraordinary depth of flavor when served over salmon, steak, or stuffed peppers, and brings out the best of a sizzling plate of fajitas. For a true treat, try spooning it generously over a plate of sliced pork loin.”

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/salsa-de-cacahuate-073992

Trader Joe’s THAI SWEET GINGER SAUCE


Trade Joe’s new product: THAI SWEET GINGER SAUCE. It seems to be flying off the shelves, people seem to love it. I am guessing mostly for all the frozen DUMPLINGS they buy?

I tried it and I can say it’s pretty good. It is quite thick and garlic-y. Ingredients include pickled garlic, coconut sugar, and coriander. Personally I think it needs more ginger. So I added some fresh grated ginger. For me, it was way better with fresh ginger. However even just poured out of the bottle this stuff is good. Serve this with all of your frozen dumplings obviously, either fried or steamed/boiled ones. Its quite good on sautéed tofu. Grilled chicken of course! Grilled shrimp? Perfect for shrimp or any fish for that matter. Even just try this on top of rice or just grilled veggies. It will add lots of flavor.

THAI SWEET GINGER Sauce is $2.49 for a 10 oz bottle.

Yesterday it was out of stock. It’s popular and people are really buying up this stuff!

Is this replacing the red bottle of SWEET CHILI SAUCE? I am afraid thats gone now. I like both sauces and the chili sauce has been a must have item for me for ever. Sigh. I will have to go back to getting CHILI SAUCE in Chinatown. Its a staple condiment in Asian cuisine.

Trader Joe’s fully cooked ROASTED SALMON FILLET (Ready to Eat)


This is now one of my favorite New Products at Trader Joe’s. A fully cooked, fillet of Roasted Salmon.

Find it in Refrigerated near the fresh fish and smoked salmon. This cooked piece of salmon is so handy and convenient especially for the hot summer days or anytime you don’t want to cook (or smell) fish. The salmon is already cooked but just barely, it’s incredibly moist, so you can even heat it up a wee bit if you like, which I did. Now the first time I bought this I didn’t check the dates carefully, and when I opened it, I smelled the tiniest bit of a fishy smell. A sprinkle of lemon took care of that and it tasted fine. However the second time I bought it I checked a few packages and noticed some had a date maybe a day or even two older than another package. So naturally I picked out a package with the most recent date, and when I opened it that night for dinner the salmon had no smell at all, so check dates when you buy this.

For under five bucks you get a lovely fillet of Atlantic salmon (farmed) from Norway. No bones. Skin on. You can just slip off the skin easily. I actually enjoy salmon skin, if its crispy. So I tossed the fillet into a hot pan skin side down for maybe 90 seconds to crisp up the skin. Then I flipped it and gave it about 30 seconds on the top side too to get a little sear and color (this is all completely optional of course as it is already cooked). However I did think it was slightly improved with this little searing and I was very careful not overcook the fish. Plating it up I sprinkled some TJ’s DILL SEASONING BLEND on which is a perfect match for this. I flaked up the fish with a fork, put it on a plate with a squeeze of lemon. It was delicious and a pretty good deal for $4.99 (5 oz portion) Of course the fresh Norwegian farmed Atlantic salmon TJ sells for $10/lb is an even better deal if you don’t mind cooking.

note a little color from my searing the fish briefly

To second time I tried this salmon I thought it would be perfect to make some Japanese “Nori Hand Rolls”.

Sushi Style Salmon Hand Rolls Bites

I made some Sushi Rice and served up these tasty little bites of Salmon Hand Rolls (“Temaki Sushi”) with the salmon and matchsticks of cucumbers on TJ’s SEAWEED SNACKS (nori). One piece of salmon was enough for two of us with the rice and other things. We REALLY enjoyed these sushi bites. You take a square of nori in one hand, gently spoon on a little sushi rice add some salmon and cukes, then pop the whole bite into your mouth. This is super tasty. Really, try making this, it’s fun and delicious.

Want to learn how to make sushi rice? Its not hard and TJ’s carries the rice vinegar (you have salt and sugar). Sadly I’m afraid they’ve discontinued the CALROSE RICE they had! I’m bummed about that as med/short grain rice is best for sushi rice and it was easy to get it at TJ’s while they had it. Oh well. In a pinch, Jasmine works if you can’t get short/med grain rice.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/99211/perfect-sushi-rice/

I would think even though this salmon is cooked its still best to use it the day you buy it, if you can. If not, you could keep it in the coldest part of the fridge to use the next day (or in a pinch freeze the whole package and when ready to use, do an overnight defrost in fridge).

PS – If you dont like / eat salmon skin, and you have a pet, don’t throw it away; Wash it off as much as possible and give it to your cat or dog. They’ll likely go nuts getting some healthy healthy Omega-3’s and fish oil.

Trader Joe’s suggest this goes well with the new TAMARIND SAUCE (I’ve yet to try it)

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/recipes/60-second-tamarind-salmon

60 Second Tamarind Salmon
Sweet and tangy with a gentle heat, Trader Joe’s Tamarind Sauce delivers maximum flavor with no prep time required. Slather it on a Trader Joe’s Fully Cooked Salmon Fillet and serve atop a bed of rice or salad greens for a protein-packed, positively satisfying meal that’s ready in about a minute. For a pleasant crunch, top with Trader Joe’s Crispy Onion Chips and fresh green onions.

Trader Joe’s “LIGHTLY SMOKED” SALMON (canned salmon)


RAVE

TERRIFIC ITEM – “Skinless, boneless salmon in Extra Virgin Olive Oil“. One portion contains a whopping 21 grams of protein!

Trader Joe’s came out with this new product they call “Lightly Smoked Salmon“. You will find it with the tuna, sardines, and two or three other kinds of canned salmon they carry. I was intrigued when I first saw this plus a bit confused by it’s name (smoked salmon in a can?). Just know this is terrific canned salmon. Trader Joe’s has a hit here. In fact I find it it’s so popular, it sometimes sells out. To me, the name is off and confusing. So first off just ignore “smoked” This is nothing like “smoked salmon”. I would just call this “the best canned salmon you ever had. I mean practically Gourmet stuff. In fact it made me think of the gourmet tins of fish like high end canned tuna from Spain (Ortiz for example) which can sell for $15-25 a can! TJ’s so called Lightly Smoked Salmon is basically “salmon poached in extra virgin olive oil”. When you open the can you see an appetizing piece of Atlantic salmon, and unlike most canned salmon this is boneless and skinless, for many a big plus. The fish is swimming in yellow/orange olive oil (the color from the salmon). The salmon is so flaky and incredibly moist. It has an excellent flavor and texture from being cooked in a decent quality extra virgin olive oil. Yes, it’s farmed but top quality Atlantic salmon. It is a “Product of Chile”.

Now as far as any “Applewood smoke” which is listed in the ingredients I would say that it’s so light as to be non-existent. I can’t really taste any smoke flavor so just forget they use smoked in the name. Just know this. This salmon was so tasty I couldn’t stop trying it to review. I kept saying “umm, let me just try one more little bite” and shortly noticed the can was almost empty, Yes, people it’s that good. Oh and that golden oil it’s swimming in? If you dump this, you are missing out. I implore you do not dump this precious juice, the way one usually dumps all the oil in a can of tuna. Here the salmon’s juices, mixed with decent Extra Virgin Olive Oil make for a very delicious “sauce” oozing flavor. I just spoon some of this golden juice over the fish with a squeeze of lemon. So Perfect. You could equally spoon this flavorful golden olive oil over your salad, potatoes, rice bowl, or what have you.

You can use this salmon exactly like you would a piece of poached salmon. You can simply open this up and put the fish on a plate or put it on top of a salad or greens, or in a protein bowl, or mashed up into an avocado for an almost instant delicious (and healthy) dinner or lunch with no effort. This salmon is wonderful as-is right out of the can. On a toasted bagel, on toast, or on crackers. Perfect for TJ’s Norwegian CRISPBREAD for a Scandinavian style open faced sandwich.

Open faced salmon sandwich on TJ Norwegian Crispbread, cucumbers, cream cheese, lemon. Delicious, try this!

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

Avocado Stuffed with Salmon
Seaweed Hand Rolls with Salmon and Cucumber

One serving contains 190 calories. You get a whopping 21 grams of protein. The 5 oz can has about 3.6 oz of drained salmon. It’s $3.69. Product of Chile. Great pantry item. I would gladly buy it again.

RECIPE IDEAJapanese Salmon Rice Bowl: Put some 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 in your larder for a year or two, to improve with age like fine 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

Why you should eat SARDINES (Protein, Omega 3 & Calcium…)


You should probably add sardines to your diet if you don’t eat them already. Before you click away just hear me out. Don’t be squeamish about these little fishies. Sardines are good, and they’re good for you. In fact did you know Sardines are one of the healthiest fish you can eat? Not only are they are loaded with protein they are a terrific source of calcium (the ones with skin and bones but don’t worry these tiny bones are so soft you don’t even notice them). Women especially need extra calcium. And Sardines are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids giving one 2 grams of omega-3s per 3 ounce serving – which is one of the highest levels of omega-3s in any food per amount They also have the lowest levels of mercury of any fish. Sardines are WILD caught only, never farme and the sardine is a plentiful and sustainable fish. And they are cheap. But not only are these little guys healthy for you. I think sardines are DELICIOUS. Europeans love them and eat lots of sardines. Not so much here in the U.S, but you should if you don’t already.

Trader Joe’s sells about three varieties of canned sardines. I especially love TJ’s SMOKED SARDINES IN OLIVE OIL (purple can) which is just $1.69 (!). A can gives you a whopping 21 grams of protein. Plus Calcium and Omega’3. I probably eat a can for lunch at least once a week.

SERVING SUGGESTION: Drain and mash them up with a fork adding juice of a quarter lemon or lime and a teaspoon of mayonnaise, with a grind of fresh black pepper. Add a touch of hot sauce if you like. Spread this paste on fresh toasted bread or your favorite cracker. So yummy.

Trader Joe’s has 3 varieties of sardines. If you can’t bear to see the ones with skin, the skinless boneless ones in olive oil (grey can) are a good starting point but I do recommend the tasty smoked ones (purple can) which I love best. The “smoked Trader Joe’s sardines” are very tasty.

You can even saute cubed potatoes in the left over oil in the can.

Country of origin: Portugal (purple can), Canada (blue), Morocco (grey)

Get some more ideas here: https://wildplanetfoods.com/recipes-category/sardines/

TJ’s ARGENTINIAN RED SHRIMP with Ginger Garlic Butter & Togarashi Seasoning


(note: after defrosting)

This is the wild same Argentinian Red Shrimp TJ’s has but packaged up with seasoned butter for a ready-to-cook meal. Convenient, yes, but naturally you pay extra for said convenience. We made this and the finished dish with the sauce was very tasty, but honestly nothing I could not have done with maybe 5 minutes of extra effort. This pack is $8 for a 9 oz portion which cooked makes for two meager portions for 2 as a dinner. To make this into a full meal (for two) I served the shrimp with a few sides plus a salad and a little French bread. Follow the instructions on the package which are to thaw overnight in the fridge. After defrosting I used a thin knife to get it out of the package (actually a bit tricky) and tossed the whole mess into a hot nonstick pan with a little (extra) butter. These Red Shrimp cook fast – they will be done in about 1 1/2 minutes – so be careful not to overcook them if you want the shrimp to stay plump and juicy. Frankly if you want to get more for your money, it’s quite easy to make a similar sauce. Buy the bag of frozen WILD RED ARGENTINIAN SHRIMP ($10.99 for 1 lb) and just add some butter and seasonings over the convenience of this pre-packed item. This package is convenient but not great value and its so easy to make. I probably won’t buy this again, I’ll just do it myself. Your call.

Need a recipe for sauce? Here you go folks:

GINGER/GARLIC BUTTER SAUCE: Grate or finely chop 1/2″ of fresh ginger and 2-3 cloves of garlic (optional: a little grated fresh lemon peel too); Toss garlic and ginger into about 2 tablespoons butter in a hot non-stick pan; Sauté 30 seconds, then toss in the (defrosted) shrimp and cook tossing them for about 60-90 seconds till they just turn opaque (max, 2 minutes or they will shrivel up). As soon as they are opaque (and red) toss in the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Optional: if you like spice, add a small spoon of BOMBA or your favorite something spicy. A little salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley or scallions. Serve with rice and/or crusty bread to mop up the tasty sauce.

Cooked (I garnished with scallions)

Trader Joe’s THAI SHRIMP GYOZA / DUMPLINGS


Thai Shrimp Dumplings / Gyoza

First to clarify, there are no “Thai seasonings” in these, nor are they spicy. They’re “Made in Thailand” hence the name (Gyoza being Japanese for dumplings BTW). TJ’s THAI SHRIMP GYOZA are frozen dumplings, with shrimp as the first ingredient listed along with cabbage and other vegetables, in a thin yellow wonton type wrapper. You can either steam, pan fry or microwave them. The skin is thinner than the “regular” TJ” dumplings. Taste-wise, these are well, OK, if nothing to write home about. One might say the shrimp flavor is “delicate”. Or one could say they don’t have a very distinct shrimp flavor. I also wish the shrimp in the filling were even more coarsely chopped with bigger pieces texture-wise, or they used a few whole baby shrimp in the mix. These shrimp dumplings are not going to compete with a shrimp dumpling from a good Chinese restaurant. Interestingly, out of the package you will notice they have browned bottoms as if they were already slightly browned or cooked. If you can, do pan fry these, perhaps a little bit more effort but worth it, as the more you brown the bottoms I think the tastier these will be. A bag of these Shrimp Dumplings now go for $5.50. There are about 15 dumplings in the 1 lb package. The funny thing is I’ve read people say these Thai Shrimp dumplings taste almost the same as TJ’s “Thai Vegetable Gyoza” the vegetarian version of these. Therefore the real question for me is since these don’t have a really distinctive taste of shrimp, are they worth the higher price versus the cheaper regular bags of Chicken or Pork dumplings Trader Joe’s has. If for variety, sure, or maybe you are a pescatarian. Frankly however the regular dumplings are better value (they were $2.99. Now $3.49) The wrappers on those are a little thicker which is more to my personal preference. Which is why I usually buy the big blue or red bags of frozen TJ dumplings as opposed to these “fancier” pricier, dumpling that are in boxes or colorful pouches. Anyway, try these at least once and decide yourself if they are worth the extra price. Funny enough I think if you made a few Red Shrimp to serve with these that would be a great combo!

Dipping sauce: I would not go a strong sauce with the shrimp dumplings, you probably want to keep it on the light side. Maybe a bit of low-sodium soy sauce with a teaspoon of vinegar (or lime juice) and some fresh ginger added. If you have Fish Sauce (Nam Pla, etc) around, a little bit might be good to give these a little more of a shrimp-y taste. Trader Joe’s once carried an excellent brand of fish sauce, Red Boat, but they stopped carrying it unfortunately.

Ingredients in the Thai Shrimp Gyoza include: Shrimp, White Cabbage, Chives, Scallions, Ginger, Garlic. Made In Thailand, No Preservatives, No Artificial Flavors. They’re in the frozen section.

RATING: “Meh”. Chinese restaurants have nothing to worry about.

Trader Joe’s PREMIUM SALMON BURGERS


For a short while, Trader Joe’s was carrying fresh Salmon Burgers in the fresh fish section of the refrigerated case. Unfortunately for one reason or another they must have been discontinued these and TJ’s no longer sells fresh salmon burgers – which were pretty good. However TJ’s does carry a frozen version, “Premium Salmon Burgers”. Because these have a lot more ingredients listed than the fresh version had, I was a bit reluctant to try these but I finally did and found them to be actually a bit better than I had expected. At first, I tried cooking them defrosted (which the package says not do!) and I found out why. Defrosted they are so soft you can’t even get them out of the plastic wrapping without falling apart as you do it. Therefore I cooked them again, this time from frozen as the package states. Of course the salmon burger was much easier to handle when it was a frozen hockey puck. Interestingly I found the results cooking them frozen or defrosted came out about the same. I grilled the frozen salmon burgers, using the pan fry skillet method, as per the package cooking them for about 3-4 minutes per side in a little oil and butter. They were pretty tasty. We ate them on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce. On the plus side, the Sodium level listed is not terribly high which is good. I would buy these again. They’re $6.99 for a 12.8 oz package which contains 4 salmon burgers.

Also available at Trader Joe’s in the freezer next to these fish burgers are some other kinds of seafood burgers: Mahi-mahi burgers and shrimp seafood burgers. I will review these too in future.

Trader Joe’s “Everything but the Bagel Seasoned SMOKED SALMON”


An “everything bagel” has a lot of seasonings on it. Is there anyone reading this who would not enjoy a few slices of smoked salmon on an everything bagel with a shmear with cream cheese?

Well Trader Joe’s had a decent idea when they decided to combine smoked salmon and their wildly popular “Everything but the bagel seasoning” as yet another addition to the populoar “Everything but the Bagel” seasoning blend family. I found Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel SMOKED SALMON to be very tasty. The Everything seasonings do not overpower the (cold smoked) Atlantic salmon. The seasonings add a nice top note to the mild farm raised salmon which has a nice buttery texture. I tasted the salmon in two ways, the first being in a classic Sunday breakfast, of smoked salmon on a bagel with cream cheese, a little pickled red onion and a squeeze of lemon, all on top of a very fresh TJ’s Artisan everything bagel, with a nice slice of EB salmon…. So delicious and totally satisfying. The second way we enjoyed this EB salmon was using the salmon in some “Temaki sushi (hand rolls)”. I made sushi rice and which we ate topped with pieces of smoked salmon, some sliced avocado and cucumber sticks nestled into a piece of Trader Joe’s seaweed treats for little tasty sushi hand rolls. This was incredibly tasty and made an easy and super yummy dinner.

simple sushi handroll

A package is $5.49 (now $5.99) for 4 oz., and yes the four slices inside went very quickly! But is an affordable splurge, this smoked salmon still a fairly decent value. FYI at Zabar‘s smoked fish counter, the sliced smoked salmon goes for $50 a pound now! (winter 2021). TJ’s is less than half that though yes it is not hand sliced from a whole side of salmon right in front of you by a seasoned counter guy. Those guys are artists.

TJ’S E.B. SMOKED SALMON is worth trying. I would buy it again as well as TJ’s very tasty Pastrami smoked salmon.

TJ’s (fresh) SALMON BURGERS


“Made with Norwegian farm raised salmon” Bake, pan fry or broil. Ingredients – Salmon, parmesan cheese, panko breadcrumbs.

Trader Joe’s uncooked SALMON BURGERS are in the fresh fish refrigerated section. They come packaged on a tray with vacuum wrapped plastic tightly covering the two burgers. Made from ground salmon, these burger are quite soft. So soft that removing them from the package was tricky without breaking them. I ended up carefully cutting around the plastic wrap with a sharp knife. They kind of wanted to fall apart on me just trying to get them out, so I ended up sliding a spatula under each one to lift it out intact. So be careful, lest they fall apart. Frankly if this was my recipe I would have put egg in the mixture with a bit more binder so they would stay together better (bread crumbs / panko….hmm, that may not be a bad idea, I may do exactly that next time and re-shape them.) I am guessing TJ’s wants you to know they are mostly all salmon with little binder, however in this type of burger made from ground fish, the binder in reality help keep things together.

“Cook 4-5 minutes, flip and cook another 4 minutes or to desired done-ness.”

I cooked these pan fried in a tablespoon of butter, first dusting them with some more panko breadcrumbs. I found these a bit under seasoned so I would give them a hit of salt and pepper. I could not taste Parmesan cheese though it’s listed as an ingredient, probably as a binder.

We ate these salmon burger patties on a toasted hamburger bun. They were good. I put some Tzaziki sauce on them but realized what I should have actually used: TJ’s Tartar Sauce – Of course that would match with these! I will get some next time. These were good on a bun but they might be equally good without the bread just served on their own with some sauce and some sides (rice, potatoes, veggies…). They really do need a bit of some sauce to liven them up, and TJ’s tartar sauce should match perfectly with these.

Two salmon patties are $6.29, or about 3 each. I would buy these again. SHOPPING suggestions: Salmon burgers, buns, tartar sauce, lemons, soft greens for garnish. Maybe your fish-hating kids will eat it if you disguise it as a burger!?

UPDATE (FALL/WINTER ’21) I have not been able to find these for some time so I am afraid they are discontinued. Anyone seen them ? Can you still buy them? TJ’s does sell frozen salmon burgers.

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