Seen at Trader Joe’s: CREME FRAICHE


New at Trader Joe’s: Creme Fraiche is kind of the French version of sour cream. However its a bit different, and better that sour cream as it has more butterfat and is tangier. This is the first time I’ve seen it at Trader Joe’s. This is a welcome addition to the dairy stuff.

A 7.5 oz container is $3.99.

https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-between-sour-cream-and-crme-frache-203467

Trader Joe’s MEXICAN STYLE ROASTED CORN WITH COTIJA CHEESE


” This unique take on corn combines flavors inspired by Elote, a popular street food in Mexico. Our version is lime spiked slathered in a smoky cream sauce and topped with authentic cotija cheese. “

I find this to be really good Trader Joe’s product. Find this In the frozen veg section. When you open the bag you see corn plus some large pellets. This is the sauce, frozen up, a neat trick. The pellets melt up as you heat it coating the corn in a nice sauce. When its ready to serve you sprinkle on a little package of included grated Cotija cheese (kind of Mexico’s parmesan). Everything works together to make a delicious corn dish inspired by “elotes“. It can be a great side dish for tacos, maybe Carnitas.

$3.29 (14 oz bag)

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/mexican-style-roasted-corn-059063

“For this at-home version of what’s often called street corn, we’ve opted to take the kernels off the cob. We’ve enrobed the corn in a creamy, smoky sauce that melts off as the corn heats – it seems magical, but it’s really just simple thermodynamics. It’s also spiked with lime juice and studded with cilantro, lending additional authenticity. A packet of Cotija cheese is included in each package of Corn – when the corn is heated through and ready to serve, sprinkle the crumbled cheese on top. It’s the ideal finishing touch to this crunchy, sweet, smoky, spicy dish. Present it as a side dish with a Mexican-inspired meal, or serve it in individual ramekins as an appetizer course.”

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


RAVE

TERRIFIC! – “Skinless, boneless salmon in Extra Virgin Olive Oil“. A 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 and curious when I first saw this one the shelf and a bit confused by it’s name (huh? smoked salmon in a can?). Forget about the “smoked”. Just know this is terrific canned salmon, maybe the best gourmet one you ever had. Trader Joe’s has a hit here. I find it it’s so popular, it sometimes sells out. Now to me the word “smoked” is is off and confusing. Ignore it. Its nothing like “smoked salmon” in a fresh package. I would just call this “the best can of salmon” you ever had. Practically Gourmet. This 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

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 ORGANIC POLENTA (tube)


Trader Joe’s ORGANIC POLENTA; cooked; ready to heat and serve. Gluten Free.

Ingredients: Water, Organic Corn Meal, Salt

Just in case you are not yet familiar with Polenta, it’s simple and delicious. Polenta is inexpensive, healthy, gluten free, and vegetarian. Its just coarsely ground corn. That’s it. This Organic Polenta from Trader Joe’s comes in a plastic tube. Its been precooked which save you about 45 minutes. It’s ready to slice up into 1/2″ slices which you grill up into crispy fried polenta rounds. This is really yummy and cheap. This is why polenta has been a staple of Italian “cucina povera” for centuries, very similar of course to “grits” here in the US. TJ’s tube of cooked polenta is convenient, shelf stable, and is only $1.99. One tube can easily make a dinner for two. We love it as an alternative to pasta. I recommend you pan fry it as being the best way to serve this. The package also says you can bake it. Any way to get it crispy. Please don’t consider microwaving as it also says on the package!. For polenta to be tasty it is best as crispy as possible, as this way it gets a really nice chewy “meaty” texture.

As shown in the first picture is how I made the polenta into dinner recently. I sautéed the slices in olive oil plus a little butter to help it brown better, for maybe 10 minutes a side – note, this is double the recommended time of 4-5 minutes on the package. Trust me, you want to get this very golden brown and delicious. I flipped it over and put a bit of mozzarella on each slice which melted as the other side cooked. When it was ready to serve, I plated it up and spooned over tomato sauce, in this case TJ’s Roasted Garlic Marinara sauce which is quite good by the way. I grated some extra cheese, Asiago all over. This made for a delicious Italian dinner along with a little salad and crusty bread. Dinner for two for about $4 bucks.

I always like to keep one of these shelf stable packages of TJ’s polenta in the pantry as it can make an easy, fast dinner for those times when you have “nothing” to eat in the house. A tube of this and a jar of sauce and you have dinner in 10 minutes. Not to mention Polenta’s perfect for Meatless Monday’s. Would I but this again? Yes I buy this regularly, its an excellent cheap TJ product and a great staple to have in your pantry.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/fried-polenta-5535085

PS DIY PAN FRIED GRITS – might be worth the little extra effort (cook the grits, let cool, cut into slices) not to mention even cheaper

TJ’s VAULT No. 5 CAVE AGED CHEESE


If you love finding great new cheeses I think you will find this new cheese Trader Joe’s started carrying as outstanding as I did. It’s called “Vault No. 5 Cave Aged” cheese from the “Cellars at Jasper Hills”. You can probably tell just by looking at that funky rind, this is a “serious” farm produced cheese like cheese you might find in a “fromagerie” in Paris. The moment I tasted this cheese I fell in love with it. To me, it’s another Wow Trader Joe’s item, just amazingly good. If you blindfolded me I would have sworn it was some European cheese, maybe an aged Comté or Gruyere or Emmenthaler with those types of complex, nutty flavors present in those cheeses. Well guess what, “Vault No. 5” is not from France or Switzerland but comes from the Green Mountains of VERMONT from Jasper Hill Farms . It’s cave aged by them for 12 months as it undergoes affinage in their cellars underground.

It has a natural (and funky looking!) rind which looks like that because it is loaded with (friendly) bacteria and cultures. Vault No. 5 has an edible rind (I ate some) but of course you can cut it off as my wife insisted before she would eat some. In fact, she first said the cheese is spoiled (ha!) but I told her no its just aged in some cave in Vermont for a year.

“Vault No. 5” tastes terrific on its own, on a cracker or with some good bread. How is it with fruit? When I paired it with an apple it was seemed to taste even better, in fact I couldn’t stop eating them. They say this cheese matches well with red wine and ales. Now when you melt it, it’s out of this world. Grilled cheese? Yes please. I can only imagine a grilled cheese made with this and some Unexpected Cheddar (note to self; try that) Trader Joe’s is selling Vault No. 5 for $10.99 a pound, a not a bad deal considering it’s high quality. In a top cheese shop in NYC I know premium farm cheeses like this go for at least $20 a pound or more. If you love TJ’s Unexpected Cheddar, you will probably love this one too so check it out folks, this is a keeper and I hope TJ’s continues to sell it forever.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/jasper-hill-vault-no-5-cave-aged-cheese-062684

TRADER JOE’S SAYS:

What happens when you marry old world cultures and cave-aged technique with quality milk production in the Green Mountains of Vermont? The cheese mongers at Jasper Hill did exactly that, and came up with Vault No. 5 Cave Aged Cheese.

Toasty and aromatic, Jasper Hill Vault No. 5 Cave Aged Cheese was inspired by Swiss and Italian mountain cheeses—delightfully creamy, toasty and savory, with subtle earthy notes. It’s cave aged for a minimum of one year, a process that allows a natural rind to form around its golden, straw colored paste. In short, it’s the stuff cheesy dreams are made of.

https://www.jasperhillfarm.com/cellars

Trader Joe’s MOCHI ICE CREAM


Mochi is a very Japanese food product being “sticky” or glutinious rice pounded or ground for a long time until the texture becomes very chewy. Mochi has that wonderful chewy texture prominent in many Asian food cultures. Trader Joe’s MOCHI ICE CREAM product is a terrific combination of this plus ice cream and you can find it in the frozen desserts. TJ’s took a hockey puck of ice cream which has the soft chewy mochi dough wrapped around it to encase it. This combination is delicious. TJ’s mochi ice cream treats come in 3 flavors: Strawberry, Vanilla and a Green Tea (Matcha) flavor. All the flavors are really good and worth trying. These little Mochi Ice Cream treats make for an unusual, interesting and yummy dessert that everyone seems to love. I know we do, we buy them all the time, and yes a box seems to go pretty fast. You get six pieces in the box, and the package now goes for $4.79. Well they are a bit special, its not just ice cream. They’re a special dessert, and these are well worth a try. TIP: keep them frozen as it says on the package and take out just before eating (defrost for 3-4 minutes) If they get too melted its very messy to eat but with a plate for run-off you will be safe and yes you will be licking your fingers like we do.

Trader Joe’s PECAN PRALINE GRANOLA


This is one of the granola’s I get a Trader Joe’s. I’m still upset my old go-to granola (Coconut Cranberry Granola) was discontinued (argh!!) a few years ago. The Pecan Praline granola is pretty good and now my Go-To general granola for breakfast. If you look at the closeup of the granola you can see it’s not loaded with large pieces of pecans, they are more mixed in as “praline” perhaps. When I want lots of nuts, I just top my cereal with a little Grainless Granola. This Pecan Praline granola’s a wee bit on the sweet side but not overly so. When I add my plain yogurt or unsweetened almond milk on it, it all balances out just fine. A 1 lb bag goes for about $3.50. I assume this is GLUTEN FREE, as it’s just oats. Whole Grain.

Trader Joe’s BRAZILIAN CHEESE BREAD


TJ’s Brazilian Style Cheese Rolls / Bread – with tapioca flour and Parmesan cheese. Thin crisp exterior with a chewy cheesy center. (Frozen) Gluten Free. Frozen

RAVE

From the package: “In every food culture, there is bread. And it is good. In Brazilian food culture, there is Cheese Bread, and it is very good. In your hands is our iteration of traditional Brazilian cheese bread, known as “Pao de Queijo”. These golden rolls are crafted with tapioca flour and Parmesan cheese, and deliver a subtly cheesy, mildly salty flavor, with just a hint of pepper. Like their South American inspiration, these gluten free rolls are softly crunchy outside, and airy and chewy inside. Pao De Queijo make excellent dinner rolls and delicious anytime snacks”

Wow are these delicious! If you never had tried these, you have to give them a taste. I have had Brazilian friends who introduced me years ago to the glorious little baked rolls called “Pao de Queijo (Cheese Bread) in Portuguese. Trader Joe’s now carries them frozen. To enjoy them, you only have to heat them. They can be ready in 6 minutes (though it took about 10 in my oven actually). We made and ate them last night and served them to our guest, who just loved them and devoured many. To be honest they were so tasty we couldn’t stop eating them.

Super chewy and delicious, moist and cheesy on the inside. While they are delicious As-Is, I suggest you try eating these the way Brazilians sometimes eat them : cut them open and put a slice of cheese in the middle (and / or ham) to make a little mini sandwich. TIP: take them out of the oven after about five minutes, slice it open and put a slice of cheese inside then put it back in the oven to melt. Heavenly!

I dare you to just eat one of these. It’s impossible… they are so delicious you will easily want three (or four!) A package with 12 rolls is about $4. Heating Instructions: Preheat oven to 350. Place bread on baking sheet. Bake 6-8 minutes.

As they are made from tapioca flour these are naturally GLUTEN FREE. Ingredients: Tapioca flour, milk, Parmesan cheese, oil, egg, water, salt, pepper

(update: I have not seen this for awhile…!)

TJ’s CANESTRATO PEPATO (Sardinian Cheese with Peppercorns )


Trader Joe’s CANESTRATO PEPATO Sardinian Sheep’s Milk Cheese with Black Peppercorns

I discovered this terrific cheese not too long ago in Trader Joe’s cheese section, and it’s become one of our favorite cheeses they sell. It’s fantastic and we adore it. “Pepato” refers to the cheese being infused with whole black peppercorns, as you can see in the pic. It’s produced in Sardinia, Italy by “an award winning cheese maker” ; The combination of peppercorns and a great sheep’s milk cheese is super. Up till seeing this I don’t think I ever encountered a cheese having whole peppercorns embedded in the cheese when they make it. It’s quite an interesting sheep’s milk semi-hard cheese that is both terrific grated onto pasta or just eaten on it’s own, cut into very thin slices. served with good bread or crackers. If you put this on a cheese board you will get comments. A piece is around $4-5 (its $12/lb)

Great Stuff! You can put this on your Cacio e Pepe dishes! Or even make it from scratch with this.

UPDATE: I haven’t found this for some time unfortunately !!! Sigh…..

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