Trader Joe’s Green and Red Hatch Chile Flakes


Trader Joe’s has a new seasoning: Dried Green and Red Hatch Chile Flakes.

From what I understand in New Mexico “Hatch Chiles” are everywhere, in both fresh and dried form, and consumed by everyone, the only thing being if you are a “green or red” chile person. Some time back, I recall seeing Trader Joe’s selling bags of fresh Hatch Chiles. I was pretty surprised. I can tell you in NYC, seeing fresh New Mexican Hatch Chile’s is rare. I would think only the most gourmet of gourmet shops would carry them. That must have been a one-off as I haven’t seen the fresh ones again at TJ’s and I assume TJ’s has decided it’s more practical to sell Hatch Chiles in a dried form. So there is yet one more addition to their great line of all kinds of seasonings and spices. The bottle of dried flaked chiles has both red and green chiles and its good! The report is these are not spicy hot but have lots of flavor. Try adding this chile flakes to burgers of ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken, impossible burgers, to tacos, stews, tomato based dishes, pasta, pizza, marinate chicken breasts (or tofu for that matter). Add some to marinades and sauces. Try some on eggs or avocado toast. A 1.9 oz jar is $3.99. Yes it’s a little expensive for a bottle of spices but you can add just a teaspoon and get a lot of flavor, plus you don’t have to go all the way to Santa Fe to get a fix of Hatch Chiles and the flavor of New Mexico.

If this sounds interesting I would grab a bottle if you see it, as who knows if this product will be around forever or it’s a one off like the bags of fresh Hatch chiles.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/green-and-red-hatch-chile-flakes-070397

TRADER JOE’S says: “It’s hard to overstate the importance of red and green chiles to New Mexican cuisine — there’s an argument to be made that red and green chiles are, in fact, the foundation of New Mexican cuisine. After all, New Mexico’s state question (apparently, there are such things as state questions), “red or green?”, is a direct reference to their ubiquity in restaurant settings. In honor of these chiles’ special place in Southwestern cooking, we’re proudly introducing Trader Joe’s Green & Red Hatch Chile Flakes to our shelves, so that their spicy, singularly New Mexican flavor can be enjoyed at home in dishes of all kinds — no matter which state your home happens to be in.

Of course, these aren’t just any chiles: these are dried Hatch Chiles, from New Mexico’s renowned Hatch Valley. Widely praised for their unique, savory taste (some detect notes of onion or garlic in their flavor profile), these Green & Red Hatch Chiles are especially great for adding heat and depth to taco meat, enchilada sauces, chilis, or stews. And since each jar contains both Red and Green Flakes, you get the benefits of each: both the round, slightly sweeter flavor of the more ripened Red, and the sharper, more vegetal flavor of the younger Green. Try folding them into your next burger for a nice, peppery kick.”

Trader Joe’s PESTO ROSSO (Red Tomato Pesto)


PESTO ROSSO – “Red, tomato-based pesto sauce, rich umami flavor, including Parmesan and cashew nuts”.

Trader Joe’s recent addition, PESTO ROSSO, is kind of interesting. “Rosso” mean “red” in Italian. Now one usually thinks of pesto as the green Pesto Genovese which is made from basil leaves, (pine) nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Trader Joe’s Pesto Rosso is a red version made from tomatoes, (cashew) nuts, and Parmesan, which is a Southern Italian pesto. I got a jar to check out. I made a pasta dish with it and the dish turned out quite tasty. So TJ’s Pesto Rosso is pretty good too, Like the other jarred TJ green pesto if you fix it up a bit it will better. In this case, some fresh garlic, maybe some chopped up TJ’s Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil, and naturally a generous amount of freshly grated cheese (Parmesan, Pecorino, Rosemary Asiago or Canestrato Pepato. Extra Virgin olive oil at the end is a must, as they made this with bland sunflower oil to keep the cost down of course.

USAGE: Cook your pasta two minutes less than al dente, drain it (saving some pasta water). Add the pasta to a pan with the Pesto Rosso and finish cooking the pasta adding a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water as needed. Cook about another two minutes until the pasta becomes al dente and nicely coated with sauce. I added some fresh garlic. I also added a tablespoon of Tomato Paste (optional) to intensify the tomato and umami flavors even more. When ready, plate it up and drizzle with good EVOO and a nice sprinkle of freshly grated cheese on top. Fresh or dried basil on top would be nice if you have it.

Now one can use the Pesto Rosso in other ways besides pasta. You can spread it on fresh or lightly toasted bread or a baguette for a kind of bruschetta, again with maybe a few additions (a little olive oil, fresh black pepper and some Black Garlic…. or a little on some crackers topped with a slice of Rosemary Asiago cheese. Pizza? That might be good. So get creative.

Pesto Rosso is worth checking out, and I love yet another convenient fast pantry item to have on hand in the cupboard for those times when “there’s nothing to eat in the house”. The 6.7 oz jar is $2.49. You can get some more ideas about Pesto Rosso from the link below plus even a recipe to make some yourself!

TRADER JOE’S says

Our Pesto Genovese has long been a customer favorite. While this style of pesto comes from Genoa our Trader Joe’s Pesto Rosso brings the tradition of red, Sicilian pesto to our grocery shelves.

Our Italian supplier uses tomatoes as the foundation, with sunflower oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and some basil—though not as much basil as one would find in green pesto. Pine nuts, typical of Genoese pesto, are exchanged for cashews in our Pesto Rosso. Carrot purée pumps up the red-orange color, while also adding some subtle sweetness.

Pesto Rosso has a saucy, spreadable texture that is great for topping a toasted baguette, or a homemade pizza, or even a French bread easy pizza. Use some spoonfuls to enhance the flavor of your minestrone, or vegetable soup. Of course tossing some in with your favorite hot pasta is a must.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/pesto-rosso-068135

INGREDIENTS include: Tomatoes, sunflower oil, tomato powder, Parmesan cheese, carrot, cashews, salt, basil, balsamic vinegar, garlic)

Trader Joe’s STONE GROUND GRITS


“There are grits and then there are stone ground grits.”

Up here in the Yankee North of NYC, most of us are probably not as familiar with grits as folks in the South are. I tried these Trader Joe’s Stone Ground Grits and guess what? This damn Yankee loves me some Grits! Maybe its not such a surprise as I have always enjoyed and made Italian Polenta, and let’s face it grits are almost the American version of polenta, right? OK not exactly as grits use a different kind of corn.

Anyway these TJ’s stone ground grits are much better than commercially mass produced grits you see at the supermarket kind which are not stone ground. Stone Ground Grits are milled from the whole kernel of corn including the healthy tasty germ. They have a coarse, varied texture, as you can see in the picture and have more corn flavor than the supermarket kind. Think of these as “gourmet grits”. Grits take about 25-30 minutes to cook, stirring them every 5 minutes or so. You can just follow the recipe on the package and you will get good grits. I like to cook them using more milk (half milk/half water) which makes them even creamier. Shredded cheddar cheese at the end makes them even better if you like them savory (Unexpected Cheddar perhaps!? Oh yeah). I like to use grits as the Base for a dish, such as the base for sautéed GREENS or especially the base for SHRIMP AND GRITS, which is terrific and typically Southern. You can even do it a super simple version of Shrimp and Grits: just grill up some red shrimp with lots of seasoning and serve them on top of cheesy grits with the pan juices. Yum!

Cook grits low and slow in a thick bottomed pan and stir them often so the bottom doesn’t burn. They may be even better with another 10-15 mins of cooking (ie 40-45 minutes total). If they get too thick, just add a little more water. TJ’s Stone Ground Grits are $2.29. Grits are GLUTEN FREE of course.

TIP: Double up the recipe when you make some grits; then you have leftovers which you can use to make pan fried grits, kind of the way you might make pan fried polenta, which I just love.

Here’s a few recipes for shrimp and grits:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/lemon-garlic-shrimp-and-grits-recipe-1973610

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/the-best-shrimp-and-grits-7448205

TJ’s JAPCHAE Korean Glass Noodles with Vegetables


Trader Joe’s Frozen JAPCHAE ; Korean Sweet Potato Noodles with Vegetables stir fry

I had read about this new TJ Korean offering. Reports on the internet were that it was good. I’ve been waiting for it to hit our shelves in NYC so I could check it out, as I love Korean JapChae. Finally I saw it in our store here. When I made it I was pretty impressed. Indeed it is good. Even my (Korean) wife gave it the seal of approval with her comment “it tastes like JapChae” that she approved it’s taste as authentically Korean. Package says it’s “MADE IN KOREA”. The noodles in JapChae are a clear vermicelli type noodle made from Korean sweet potato called glass or cellophane noodles. Korean Chap jae or (Jap Chae) is a very tasty noodle stir fry dish. TJ’s ChapJae is VEGETARIAN / VEGAN. Trade Joe’s sells it in the frozen Asian section, ready to heat and eat. As well as being quite tasty it’s a pretty good deal at $2.99 (for 10 oz package). For the two of us, the container made 2 medium sized portions for a side dish. It went with our dinner of potsticker dumplings (which were a great combo together!) We really enjoyed the dumplings and noodle dish together with a bit of Kimchi too.

Carrots and red and green bell peppers round out the dish. You can improve the taste with an extra dash of toasted sesame oil. This dish is not spicy, so you can add something if you want spicy. One can “beef this up” by adding some protein to the noodles and veggies. For example we put fried eggs on top which was a terrific addition. Top each portion with a fried egg, or you could make soft scrambled eggs and mix them into the noodles when they are ready to serve. You could also add in some BAKED TOFU or serve it on the side with this. So you can easily take this package of JAPCHAE and use it as the base for making a bigger fuller meal out of it. Of course you could add or top this when serving with grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon or what have you.

We liked TJ’s Jap Chae alot and will definitely buy this again.

One side note though: SODIUM CONTENT (Salt)! If you eat this whole container yourself, note that you are getting a lot of Sodium (1120 mg) or almost half of the daily recommended level (2300 mg). Eating 1/2 the container as a serving brings the Sodium down to (560 mg) 24% of the recommended level, clearly much better for you. Always take a look the Sodium levels on any prepared / packaged food as many foods, can skew pretty high especially some Asian dishes. Get into the habit of checking the Nutrition labels when buying prepared foods, especially as it regards salt, something Americans eat generally way too much of.

TJ’s SOUTHERN GREENS BLEND


Trader Joe’s “Southern Greens Blend” Greens For Cooking” Cut, cleaned and Ready To Cook.

I think this is a fairly new product at TJ’s or at least I don’t recall seeing it until recently. It’s good. No, make that terrific. This Yankee boy is really digging Southern Greens.

TJ’s Southern Greens contains a blend of greens typical in Southern cooking, Mustard, Turnip, Collards and Spinach, ready to cook with. Kind of similar to TJ’s bags of prepped kale. There are a few recipes on the back of the bag which can give one a few ideas on how to use these greens. They take anywhere from about 15-30 minutes to cook. Of course you don’t need a use a “recipe”. You could just sauté the greens in some olive oil with some chopped garlic, covered on low-med heat with a touch of liquid (stock or water), season to taste and cook them for 10-30 minutes to your desired degree of greens “done-ness”. They start bright green and get darker and softer as they cook down. Taste them along the way and see how you like them best. Frankly I find myself throwing some greens now into whatever I’m cooking. I recently mixed some raw greens into a pot of Jasmine rice as I was cooking it and that worked really well (cook time was about 16 minutes total). I’m throwing some greens into many things I’m cooking to “green up” the dish.

Greens is good, and they are HEALTHY, and good for y’all ! Eat more dark green leafy vegetables easily using these Southern Greens. They are $2.99 a 1 lb bag. One thing, use it up pretty fast; cut leafy greens start to go bad fairly quickly; so use it in about 3 days. TIP: I poke a bunch of holes (tip of sharp knife) in bags of greens to let in a little air so they don’t rot quite as fast. These greens need to be used pretty fast before they go bad (3-4 days?)

These can go great on top of some cheesy TJ STONE GROUND GRITS

TJ’s Sweet & Spicy Pickle Chips & Onions


Thin slices of pickles and onions in a sweet and spicy brine. Emphasis on spicy. You have to try these, they are just terrific.

Now when Trader Joe’s calls these “spicy” on the label, in this case they are not kidding! They are quite hot and seriously SPICY! Containing “capsicum oleoresin”. However they are Spicy Delicious. With a hamburger these were particularly terrific. For me these pickles are just one more amazing TJ Wow Product, something that’s unique and special. I’m even a bit addicted and once I start eating them I keep going back for more. While they are Seriously Spicy if you just eat them their own, when you add them as as ingredient and eat them say on top of a hamburger or tucked into a sandwich, you will get a moderated amount of the heat. These are about $2.70 a jar.

Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Corn (frozen)


Ingredients: Corn

That’s it. One ingredient. However what they’ve done is they FIRE ROASTED it. See it blackened up? Doing that to it makes it taste even better than TJ’s regular frozen corn, which is terrific by the way. You can use this fire roasted corn on its own. It was delicious sautéed in some butter as a simple side dish. But of course you can use as an ingredient with things, for example, corn bread, add add it to salsas, soups, stews and of course any Mexican dish. This Fire Roasted Corn is great to have on hand in the freezer. It’s $1.99 for a 1 lb bag and well worth trying.

ROASTED CORN AND FETA SALAD RECIPE (LINK)

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/recipes/roasted-corn-feta-salad

TJ’s Organic Coconut & Avocado Oil Blend (vegan ghee)


Popular in Indian cuisine “Ghee” is butter that has slowly cooked to separate its milk solids from the fat so it doesn’t burn when cooking and can stay unrefrigerated. This is a Vegan “ghee” a blend of coconut and avocado oil. Now I’m not vegan myself, but just wanted to check out this product. It’s OK to cook with, neutral in taste. I think I would just prefer regular Coconut Oil which does impart a little coconut flavor. But if you are vegan this might be an option.

CERTIFIED ORGANIC

$4.99 (8 oz jar)

TJ’s TRAIL MIX CRACKERS


Trader Joe’s Trail Mix Crackers with mung beans, seeds, cashews, raisin, and cheese.

OMG. Crispy, crunchy, nutty, cheesy, raisin-y, sweet and salty… Just outstanding and a very original cracker. Each cracker supposedly is fixed up by hand, to place a cashew nut on it. These are seriously delicious. So much so that I promise you they will go fast, they just seemed to evaporate into thin air (ok more like your mouth). Plus you don’t get that many in a bag, so a little expensive, but very wonderful. Oh, and while delicious as-is right out of the bag there is no law that says you can’t top these with something to boot…like maybe a thin slice of CHEDDAR? Some peanut butter perhaps? About $2.50 a bag (4.5 oz).

TJ SAYS https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/065411

TJ’s Indian Fare (pouch) Yellow TADKA DAL


Trader Joe’s INDIAN FARE YELLOW TADKA DAL is “A savory, creamy and spicy blend of lentils and spices” (PRODUCT OF INDIA)

Trader Joe’s has quite a bit of Indian foods on offer, some in the frozen foods section as well as some non-frozen ones too, such as this line of Indian dishes which comes in pouches. Some of these I’ve tried are really good, especially this one, TADKA DAL.

We ate this TADKA DAL last night and I have to say I found it surprisingly tasty, I’m mean as in “This tastes like it came from an Indian restaurant” level good. This Tadka Dal was very flavorful and nicely spiced with a wee bit of heat going on. I put it in a pan on top of the stove (they suggest heating in hot water). If you serve this dal with a few other things, you have a nice easy dinner… We had this with another dish plus cooked Basmati rice, some Garlic Naan, Mango Chutney and a salad (TJ’s has a new Indian condiment, “Garlic Achar” which I want to try) If you add at least one other dish to the Dal such as TJ’s CHANNA MASALA you can have an easy and quite tasty pretty authentic Indian dinner.

These TJ’s “Indian Fare” products come in sealed plastic pouches, which are are shelf stable and are not a bad deal at about $2 each (10 oz bags) I find these pouches of Indian dishes are great things to have in the pantry for whenever we’re in the mood for Indian food, or come home and don’t feel like cooking but don’t want to order out.

I have not tried all of these Indian Fare pouches but there are a few varieties on offer. This Tadka Dal one is excellent and worth your giving it a try. By the way, in case you want to know what “Tadka” refers to: Tadka translates as “tempering.” It is a method widely used in Indian cuisine, in which whole or ground spices are heated in hot oil or ghee and the mixture is added to a dish.

TADKA DAL: ingredients include yellow split peas, butter, oil, tomato, chili pepper, salt, cumin, onion, curry leaves, yest, mustard see, tumeric…. The Sodium level listed is a bit high, so compensate for that with other dishes (such as using less salt to make your rice)

VEGETARIAN, GLUTEN FREE

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