Everything But The Elote Seasoning Blend



RAVE

Here’s another nice addition to Trader Joe’s seasoning blends, in a similar vein obviously to their very popular “Everything but the Bagel” seasoning (which is excellent btw, and something I will review in future). Well, “everything but the bagel” is pretty obvious to most people but “everything but the elote” maybe not quite as obvious at least in the US. What is “Elote” anyway that this is “everything but”?

Elote corn is a popular street food found all over Mexico, which is hot corn on the cob, adorned with mayonnaise, cheese, chile powder, lime juice and grated cheese…. Trust me if you’ve never tried it, it’s crazy delicious. The Elote vendor takes an ear of corn, which he then sprinkles with lime, spreads mexican crema or mayonnaise over it, sprinkles it with a tons of grated cotija cheese, chile powder and sauces. The combined flavors will send you to heaven.

This blend has everything but the corn. Typical Mexican spices replicating the taste. And by the way, add your own corn and make Elote Corn yourself!

Here’s a video I found on Youtube of a Elote vendor in Oaxaca prepping one for a customer in a jiffy with all the works. Watch how fast this guy is!

Don’t you wish we had smellovision?

Trader Joe’s did a good job of capturing all these flavors into this seasoning, which is so good this stuff has quickly been capturing the internet by storm. It gives you the cheese-sy smell, sweet and spicy flavor profile of Elote. Ingredients include cheese, cumin, chile, salt, sugar, chipotle… Very yummy stuff.

While I intend to of course try it on fresh corn this summer when corn is available in season, you can use this seasoning in lots of ways besides on corn, as yummy as that will be! You can sprinkle this on all kinds of veggies or meats. I tried it out on some boneless chicken breasts for dinner, I hit them with olive oil and a good amount of the Elote powder all over them, let them marinate for 10 minutes or so, before grilling them in a hot cast iron pan (recipe below). The chicken turned out fantastic with a super flavor. I also tried it out just mixing some of the blend into greek yogurt, which made an instant delicious dip or sauce and tried that on tortilla chips and that too was super Yummy. Hey you can put that yogurt sauce on top of the chicken (or what have you)!

Trader Joe’s has a number of “elote” products now.
A jar of this is $2.49. I hear its flying off the shelves. It’s very worth trying if you like spicy, cheesy, delicious stuff.

https://www.traderjoes.com/digin/post/everything-but-the-elote-seasoning-blend

Here by the way is my patented greatest method to cook boneless breasts of chicken so they come out juicy, not dry. The seasoning can be almost anything you can think of.

Prep your chicken breasts. Season them. Put them in a very hot black cast iron pan, or non-stick pan with some olive oil, or oil and butter. Grill on one side for about 3-4 minutes till nice and brown, then turn them over and grill for 1-2 minutes. Then turn off the heat and cover the pan. This is the secret. Let them rest without peeking for about 5 minutes. The breasts will continue to cook through but not over cook and dry out. There will be juice in the pan which you can pour over the chicken breasts when you serve them or serve these pan juices on the side. You can also mix the pan juices with some greek yogurt, or any sauce you care for. Everyone will tell you how juicy the chicken is.

Try this recipe with a good amount of the elote seasoning blend, or everything but the bagel or your own. 

Just in case you didn’t get enough, here’s another “elotero”in action ; making it a lot slower so you can check out all the additions (god, he puts crema and tons of mayo!) … cheese made from goat and cow…homemade red chile paste…. All for just around $1.

Trader Joe’s JERK-STYLE PLANTAIN CHIPS


RAVE

My newest “Love It” item at Trader Joe’s are their new spicy flavored JERK-STYLE PLANTAIN CHIPS.

Warning: SERIOUSLY SPICY (and SERIOUSLY DELICIOUS). No kidding. I mean mouth on fire level SPICY! You’ve been warned. Now taste these, if you dare.

I’ve always loved the regular Plantain Chips. They are one of the best products at Trader Joe’s. Only $1.69. Amazing snacks.

trader-joes-roasted-plantain-chips-6oz-pack-of-6-B005E7AY50-500x500

The Jerk-Style chips are the same delicious plantain chips but with lots of seasonings added to them. I’m talking highly spicy Jamaican Jerk Seasonings. They got that Jerk flavor kind of right on the nose with this spice mix blend:

Each individual Chip is covered in a generous dusting of jerk cooking-inspired herbs and spices, including allspice, garlic powder, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, and ginger extract.

What you’ll likely notice above all other flavors, however, is the increasing heat of spicy red chili pepper powder. As you snack, the spice builds steadily (but not altogether overwhelmingly) to an exhilarating crescendo of heat, making it a perfect treat for the real spice fans out there (you know who you are.)

Try ’em if you can take the heat. Also, try them with some kind of dip to go with these chips (guacamole? hummus? greek yogurt and garlic? Tsastiki?) They were delicious even with just some greek yogurt that I dipped each chip in. The Greek yogurt of course tames down the heat.

Put out a dish full of these chips with some cold beers and I think you will be in heaven. They cost $1.79 a bag.

Buy both kinds of these chips, regular and the Jerk-Style. These spicy ones are for when you want your mouth to tingle with some major, spicy Jerk spices.

https://www.traderjoes.com/digin/post/jerkstyle-plantain-chips

TJ’s High Protein Organic Super Firm Tofu


 

Let me begin with saying Trader Joe’s Firm Organic Tofu is very good. I always buy that. That’s the one that comes packaged in a red/pink plastic container and is in water. This product, HIGH PROTEIN SUPER FIRM TOFU is quite different. For one thing (unusual for tofu) it does not come floating in water, it’s packaged in a tight fitting green plastic wrapper. I saw this and thought I’d give it a try for the blog here. So here’s the shortest review I’ve ever given “I didn’t like it” (but don’t take just my opinion, other’s here have written in to say they like it a lot)

 

 

Super firm? They are not kidding when they say “super firm tofu”. I say more like super- duper firm. If I drew a picture in my mind what “Shoe Leather made of Tofu” might be like…then you will have some idea of the texture of this. Have you ever cut firm Tofu? Sure, your knife glides right through it, so easily. Well this stuff, your knife has to be pushed with a little pressure to cut through it. Kind of the texture of a soft tofu rock. To me, the package should read “HARD & TOUGH TOFU”. I guess thats the “High Protein”?

Its sounds kinda good when you look at it and think “Oh High Protein, that must be better” but the reality is this extra protein must be the thing that makes the texture so hard. 

When I cooked it for dinner, we found the finished dish so tough and chewy to be barely edible. We barely choked it down chewing our cud so to speak and only ate this due to the fact that we were starving at the time and had nothing else at hand to eat for dinner. Man did my (Japanese) wife take it out on me for buying this. As she said, “I come from tofu country”. She made me swear to “Never, ever buy that stuff again”. 

Having said all that from our take on this, some readers have Commented they like it because it is so very firm. Go figure. To each his own, right? 

Here’s TJ’s own take on Super Firm Tofu, via Fearless Flyer archived post. 

For me, I will stick to TJ’s ORGANIC FIRM TOFU (in the red pack) which I love and have reviewed with a RAVE

 

RANT

 

 

NYT no-recipe recipe idea. Soba/Tofu and Kimchi

Get some firm tofu; some soba noodles; some jarred kimchi. Make a sauce of minced garlic and ginger, some soy, hoisin or oyster sauces, a splash of maple syrup, another of sesame oil, a lot of red-pepper flakes, all whisked together. Boil water for the soba. Cut the tofu into manageable pieces, and pat dry with paper towel. Heat a good quantity of neutral oil, like canola, in a big sauté pan, then add the tofu in a single layer and fry it over medium-high heat, turning to get every side. Meanwhile, cook the soba. Remove the crisp tofu and toss with the sauce. Serve in a bowl, the hot soba arranged to one side of the tofu and the kimchi to the other, along with the sauce. Oh, man. You could put some roasted asparagus on top. A soft-boiled egg. It’s so delicious.

TJ’s “Almond Smooth” Non-Dairy Beverage


Recently saw this in the “New Product” section at my local TJ’s in NYC (72 St). Liked the label design and thought I would try it. The label describes this product as, “A smooth and creamy all natural non-dairy beverage made from real almonds”.Sounds similar to soy milk in a sense but this is made from almonds.

I bought the “Vanilla” one (sweetened), as I usually like “vanilla” soy milk too. The packages recommends “serve chilled” so put it in the fridge for a few hours before trying it.

How does it taste? To me, totally delicious! It practically tastes like a milkshake (if it was made with nuts). Its so tasty, I can drink it as is and its my desert, after dinner. In fact its so good its dangerous. I have to stop myself from draining the package. Its really really good over cereal, instead of milk, as they suggest on the box, and I’ve been using it like crazy that way at breakfast time. Way tastier than milk. One thing I’ve yet to try is to use it in pancake batter as the package suggests but I can imagine how good an addition that would be.

Anywhere soy milk would be used, I imagine this can as well. The almond flavor makes it much more yummy than soy milk, as good as that is. I think “raw food” recipes use nuts, and mostly crushed almonds blended with water as a substitute for “milk” or cream, in other words it makes a creamy liquid similar to milk. The package says a cup (8 oz) has 90 calories – which seems to be about the same as regular milk. Cost: 32 Oz (1 Qt) is $1.69. It is marked both “Vegan” and “Gluten Free” (V & G ) If you haven’t tried this yet, grab it and see for yourself. I predict its going to vanish very quickly from your fridge once you taste how delicious it is though.

A RAVE