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 BEEF BIRRIA


“Slow cooked beef in a savory tomato and chile sauce

Here’s what Trader Joe’s has to say about BEEF BIRRIA…

“This Mexican dish originally hails from Jalisco, and, like ours, is traditionally cooked for several hours in kettles until the Beef is incredibly tender and infused with a savory tomato and chile sauce. You can serve it as a simple stew, topped with fresh cilantro, diced onions, and a squeeze of lime. Alternatively, if you want to evoke the taco truck vibe—and we’re thinking you will—make your own Birria tacos! Dip Corn Tortillas in the broth and fry them in a hot pan or on a plancha. Add the Birria, top with chopped onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime, then fold and fry on each side until crispy. But don’t stop there—that lusciously spiced broth serves as a delectable dip for your tacos, too. Believe us, you’ll want to spoon, dip, and sip every last drop.”

I’ve wanted to review this product since I first heard about it months ago but I found it almost impossible to find in stock for some time. Is this Trader Joe’s most popular item now due to social media internet buzz? Does it sell out almost as soon as they put it out? Or has it just been a supply problem? Or a combination of the two. They get a box or two, put them out and they go fast. Anyway I looked for it every time I went to TJ’s for the last few months and could never find it. Finally last week I got lucky, and saw literally one last package sitting alone in Frozen section. So I grabbed it, but fast!

I defrosted it overight in the fridge, one method they suggest and cooked it on the stove. At $8 for 16 ounces, this is a wee bit pricey but this is beef, and you get a fair amount of large beef chunks with sauce. With tortillas and a little rice on the side the package was just enough for two of us for a dinner. I found the beef and sauce tasty, with the beef so soft and tender, stringy and moist. The sauce the beef is cooked in is good, savory with tomatoes, chiles and spices. The ingredients read like real food. Generally the beef is of a decent quality but there were a few inedible fatty pieces but not many and fyi some fat is important in this dish. So don’t just skim it off. This is what you should dip the tortillas in the fat on top of the broth to fry up the tortillas as the package suggests. Now BIRRIA is especially known for the stock or broth it’s in, which they call the “consommé” and typically is served alongside the meat in a cup so you can dip tortillas in it. Trader Joe’s version didn’t have enough broth for me anyway. Frankly I wished they gave more broth with this. I would like about double what they give you. So what I actually ended up doing was this. I added maybe a 1/2 cup of water to the pot and simmered it for 30-40 minutes to get more broth going in this dish. On top of that I also added a veggie (one large zucchini, quartered) to the pot, and let that simmer in the broth, and that came out delicious and gave it some more juice too. Though I did not find this overly salty the Sodium content listed on the package is pretty high. One portion (1/2 a package) contains over 1000mg sodium which is almost half (47%) of one’s daily recommended sodium so just be informed. I would certainly not recommend that one person eats whole package as that would be over 2000 mg of sodium with just this one thing alone. By my adding water to make more broth I did dilute things a bit and it was still tasty not watery at all, if you want to go in that direction. A Vegetable cooked in the broth will be delicious. We served this with corn tortillas and a little rice, and it made for a pretty tasty dinner. Birria is always served with chopped cilantro and chopped onion so consider that a must to add on top like the Serving Suggestion. Buy cilantro and onions along with your preferred tortilla to go with the Birria. I vote for corn tortillas. All in all I liked this, and would say this is one of Trader Joe’s better items, it almost tastes like it was home made. If you can find this (!) I think this is worth trying and I would buy it again.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/beef-birria-072620

$7.99 for 16 oz.

Trader Joe’s Beef Birria is tender, slow-cooked beef in a flavorful broth made with crushed tomatoes, dried chiles, and aromatic spices and often served as a simple stew….make your own Birria tacos….if your mantra is “everything is better with cheese,” then make Quesabirria tacos! We dip corn tortillas in the savory broth and fry them in a hot pan, top them with Birria and shredded mozzarella cheese, then sprinkle chopped onions and cilantro and fold into a taco. We suggest frying each side until the tortillas are crispy and the cheese is gloriously gooey and begins to brown at the edges. But don’t stop there—that lusciously spiced broth serves as a delectable dip for your tacos, too.”

Finally if you want to really learn about this dish there’s a really good documentary series on Netflix called the TACO CHRONICLES and it has a whole episode about making Birria in Jalisco, Mexico, it’s point of origin. And you will see, it is traditionally made with goat, the most authentic meat for Birria.

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: IVY WREATH with lights


I think there’s something about buying a living plant against cut flowers or trees that won’t last. So instead of buying a wreath to hang on the door, which will just last a few weeks, this live ivy plant trained into a wreath shape will keep going all year round, as long as you water it. So while you can’t hang it on your door of course you could put this wreath shaped plant in a window with it’s blinking lights, or perhaps on a table as the centerpiece for a holiday decoration. The ones I saw at TJ’s the other day looked very healthy to me. Ivy can last forever if you take care of it. Could even be a Gift? Come with a little bag which has a short sting with about a dozen small white LED lights (takes 3 AA batteries). You can save this LED light string and use it over and over again, like I have. $12.99

“Keep soil evenly moist, partial to full sun”

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)

Trader Joe’s Liquid HAND SOAP (Bath & Kitchen)


TJ’s sells these bottles of liquid hand soaps in three different scents. This one is “Pink Pomelo Grapefruit” and it has a really nice citrus-y grapefruit smell. They also have a Lemon version, and that one says “Kitchen Hand Soap”. Not clear on why only the Lemon one would be for the kitchen / hands. Looking at the ingredients they seem more or less the same to me. My wife however specifically told me to get the her the Lemon “kitchen” version, for her in the kitchen. In fact, when I bought this Pomelo grapefruit one home for what I thought would be a nice little variety in our kitchen she looked at me like I was crazy and then told gave me a very clear “No Way” to this Grapefruit one for the kitchen. Why? It doesn’t say “Kitchen” on the label and the Lemon one does. I see the grapefruit one says it has Jojoba and Argan oils which I would think would be good for hands, no? The Lemon one doesn’t include these Argan or Jojoba oils, but then what do I know? Anyway all the 3 kinds of TJ’s hand soaps are good, make lots of lather and smell great. These go for $3.99 each for a large pump bottle (17 oz.). I would buy it again.

Grapefruit Soap

Lemon (Kitchen) Soap

Trader Joe’s FLOR DE SAL Portuguese sea salt (great gift idea!)


(Update: These seem to have sold out very quickly!)

Trader Joe’s FLOR DE SAL, like French Fleur de Sel, is a naturally harvested sea salt. This is from Portugal. It has large grains, and is good for a “finishing salt”, something you can sprinkle a few grains on top just before serving, or leave the crock on the table as I am doing. When I saw these attractive crocks, which are only five bucks, I immediately thought, “Perfect Christmas Gift”!

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/portuguese-flor-de-sal-074632

– TRADER JOES SAYS: “Similar to its French equivalent, Fleur de Sel, Trader Joe’s Portuguese Flor de Sal is collected by hand, from a thin layer of salt crystals that form on the surface of the sea—it’s a gentle process, unlike traditional sea salt harvesting methods that use machines. The Salt crystals are small, delicate, and flaky— the name means salt flower in Portuguese. This Salt contains more moisture than traditional sea salt. It’s preserved in a ceramic crock and topped with a cork lid, which helps protect the crystals and keep them from drying out—it’s a terrific vessel that makes this salt tremendously giftable, and also offers countless re-use options once you’ve enjoyed the contents.”

Trader Joe’s BLACK TEA and BOBA NON-DAIRY FROZEN DESSERT


Trader Joe’s seems to have a little thing for “Boba tea” and this is another incarnation of Boba Tea, in a frozen (non-dairy) dessert. Made with coconut milk this has small chewy tapioca pearls (boba) with swirls of brown sugar. More or less like the trendy “Bubble Tea” drink that has become popular recently in the U.S. This frozen dessert tastes like black tea with brown sugar with chewy black pearls of tapioca. Overall I would say I found this OK and interesting. It’s good but I am not crazy for it. However my wife (who’s Asian) liked this very much. She likes Asian style desserts. I said “this is good but I’d probably rather have a bowl of Coffee Bean Blast ice cream”. OK this is not a fair comparison, as this is not ice cream of course, its a non-dairy frozen dessert . So I will say “interesting”. If you want something a little different and want Non-Dairy and love tea, you might give this a try. It improved and tasted better after letting it sit out to defrost a little bit for the tapioca pearls to get softer. So give this about 5 minutes at room temp before eating. About $5 for a pint. We are divided in that I would not buy this again but my wife would, so a its a toss up in our house!

PRODUCT OF THAILAND

Trader Joe’s PUMPKIN CHEESE CAKE (Fall / Seasonal Item)


(Fall Seasonal Item)

We really enjoyed this Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cheesecake. Especially after our upstairs neighbor gussied it up with some whipped cream when she invited us to her Halloween dinner (hence the black spider napkin holder) and served the TJ’s pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. What I liked about this cheesecake was it they did not over do it in the “pumpkin spices” department, it’s pretty subtle and tasted first and foremost like cheesecake with just a little something extra, with pumpkin. Its very yummy. $7.99 for a rather large cake (30 oz). This could make an especially nice dessert for Thanksgiving, or anytime you can get this during the Fall/Winter season when it may be available. Frozen, defrost in fridge overnight or 4 hours and leave at room temp for about an hour or so. I would buy this again.

Trader Joe’s: “We couldn’t fit an entire pumpkin into the box but we did fill it with rich pumpkin flavor…blended into the tangy sweet goodness of cheesecake….perfect for holiday dessert….”

Previous Older Entries