TJ’s Organic Five Country Espresso blend coffee (whole bean, dark roast)


Trader Joe’s Organic Fair Trade FIVE COUNTRY ESPRESSO blend, whole bean, dark roast coffee

If you’re want espresso or dark roast coffee the options at Trader Joe’s are a little more limited compared to the light and medium roast coffees. Now don’t get me wrong, light and medium roast coffees are wonderful and a terrific choice for most coffee lovers, especially those who make coffee using a pour-over or French press method. However if you make espresso, either with an espresso machine or even in a Moka pot (as I have started doing recently for Moka Pot Espresso) then you likely want whole beans in the darkest roast possible. You will grind the beans yourself just before too, for maximum aroma and flavor…you know, the way your typical coffee geek (like yours truly) will do.

TJ’s FIVE COUNTRY ESPRESSO whole bean is a very good coffee for espresso, moka pot and all dark roast coffee lovers. It’s especially terrific when you first open up the can, when you’ll get the aroma and see super shiny beans just glistening with oil, which is what fresh espresso roast looks like. Once the beans get exposed to air they’ll look less shiny, in about 3-5 days however they still taste pretty good. TIP: you can parcel up the beans in a number of small ziplock bags, freeze them, and take out bags as needed.

These beans are from FIVE different countries….El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Sumatra, Indonesia (wow huh?). Grinding this coffee will release an intense aroma. Another dark roast coffee option at TJ is the very good CAFE PAJARO.

FIVE COUNTRY ESPRESSO WHOLE BEAN COFFEE; $8.99 (13 oz)

MOKA POT – If you are interested in getting one, there’s a link below to one of the more inexpensive Moka Pots (Primula) on Amazon. The original Bialetti Moka Pot is excellent of course but a bit pricey. (note: cups in this case refers to tiny espresso cup 2-3 oz) I like the “9 cup” Moka Pots for doing Cafe Con Leche for 2.

https://amzn.to/3p9W2rW

Disclosure: as an Amazon affiliate I may earn a tiny bit from your purchase at no additional cost to you

TJ’s Pain De Campagne (country bread loaf)


Trader Joe’s Pain De Campagne (French Country Bread) – Minimalist packaging huh? But trust me, if you see this bread, grab it. It’s delicious. In a bakery I’m thinking this would sell for about 6 or 7 bucks? Trader Joe’s had it for about $2.80 for just over a 1 lb. piece.

Ingredients include: Water, Unbleached Unbromated Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Rye Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Dark Beer…. We are talking serious bread folks, good bakery bread. Naturally this will greatly benefit from being refreshed with a baking or toasting in the oven for 10 minutes to get it crusty again.

I do find it pretty funny they write on the package: “Contains Wheat. May Also Contain Gluten”.

Trader Joe’s ground fermented BLACK GARLIC


“Use like garlic. Delicious on avocado toast, in butter and sauces, on vegetables and proteins, or any time you want extra depth of flavor”

This is a pretty interesting Trader Joe’s product, a bit of an unusual find. Now a few years ago, they sold something in the produce section labeled “Black Garlic”. It was from Japan. It basically looked like a whole head of garlic you had forgotten about in the pantry that had shriveled up. I tried it. Inside was soft black garlic, very weird. But the cloves of black garlic were absolutely delicious, chock full of UMAMI. I found it to be a pretty amazing and unusual product for Trader Joe’s to carry. This eventually vanished, or was discontinued? I stopped seeing it. Now a year or two later, I notice this small jar in the spices section of “Ground Fermented Black Garlic…Made In South Africa”. The black garlic has been dried and ground up into little tiny black bits that can be sprinkled onto things. It tastes garlicky but different from fresh garlic or garlic powder for one thing this was fermented. It’s full of Umami, adding extra depth of flavor to whatever you put it on. I did think it’s a little on the pricey side at $2.99 for a tiny 1 oz jar but I have found it does last a bit. It’s terrific added to sauces and as they mention vegetables. I am trying this on so many things. Avocado anything especially. I am thinking this is a hidden gem that many will look at and bypass and it may vanish in the future. So as we don’t know how long this product will last, if this sounds interesting, grab one to try.

WHAT IS BLACK GARLIC

https://www.thespruceeats.com/black-garlic-4165384

A little search and you find that it’s super healthy to boot! https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-black-garlic#1

https://www.mashed.com/325207/trader-joes-fans-are-so-excited-about-this-new-fermented-black-garlic/

TJ’s Indian Masala Simmer Sauce


Trader Joe’s Indian Masala Simmer Sauce makes a wonderful base for authentic Indian meals.
Masala Simmer Sauce is a Indian style spiced tomato-based sauce which can be used as the main sauce component to easily make a tasty Indian inspired dish that could come together in as little as 15-20 minutes. We made a very tasty Indian style stewed dish with chicken and vegetables using this sauce that was really tasty. We served it with basmati rice and Naan and some chutney. The sauce is concentrated so you can thin it with water as they suggest (TIP: after emptying the jar into the pot just half-fill it with 8 oz of water, shake it up and pour that into your pot). Or if you want to make a coconut milk version use 8 oz of coconut milk instead of water. I haven’t done that yet but I’m sure that would make a wonderful dish. The spices in the simmer sauce include pureed ginger, tumeric, cumin, fenugreek, red pepper, cinnamon and clove, which combine perfectly with the tomato. Naturally there’s nothing stopping you from adding some more spices, and I’m in that camp. I had added additional chopped ginger and fresh garlic plus a 1/2 chopped onion which I browned up first in some ghee (butter) before adding this simmer sauce. As they suggest on the label, this works very well to make a stewed dish with boneless chicken, either breast or thigh meat (or even tastier might be chicken on the bone which one would cook 20 minutes more). Add in some frozen veggies (peas, or haricot vert green beans, or edamame) during the last five minutes if you like. Serve the finished dish with basmati rice and some Naan for getting all that delicious sauce. We ate this with TJ’s MANGO GINGER CHUTNEY which matched beautifully. Of course one can make this strictly vegan or vegetarian. Just use either tofu and/or just vegetables (veggies, plus beans for protein like chick peas or lentils….)

TJ”s MASALA SIMMER SAUCE can be the base of a very tasty dish. A 15 oz jar was $2.69.

Wholesome Organic Coconut Palm Sugar


FAIR TRADE. CERTIFIED ORGANIC. ALL NATURAL. LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX

“Made from the nectar of the coconut palm tree flower”

I really like this organic coconut palm sugar sold at TJ’s under the original brand “Wholesome”.

For one thing it tastes amazing in my morning coffee, that is my Moka pot, Cafe con Leche (#mokapotlover).

https://www.seriouseats.com/moka-pot-cheap-espresso-alternative

This coconut palm sugar is a brownish fine granulated sugar. It has its own distinctive taste which is quite delicious and a bit different from brown cane sugar. I’ve switched to this coconunt palm sugar especially for coffee, as it just adds a little something, a very nice subtle flavor. Plus using it on my yogurt too, just a little sprinkling is excellent. This is also excellent in any Asian recipe which calls for sugar, which most do.

It’s good stuff! I see people saying how this is “low glycemic” compared I think to cane sugar, but I don’t know much about that honestly. TJ sells this palm sugar for 3.99 a one pound bag (cheaper than the company sells it for directly) LINK BELOW TO “WHOLESOME” WEBSITE WITH MORE INFO

“Wholesome Organic Coconut Palm Sugar is a rich, unrefined brown sugar that makes an ideal substitute for conventional brown and white sugar. Beyond baking, it’s an excellent choice for sweetening your preferred coffee, preparing sauces and perfecting your favorite Asian dishes, all thanks to its rich molasses taste and caramel overtones.

Made with Care
Contrary to its name, this sugar doesn’t actually come from a coconut, nor does it remotely taste like coconut. The brown sugar’s rich caramel flavor is produced by tapping the sweet nectar from the tropical coconut palm tree flower (a process that’s similar to how maple trees are tapped for maple syrup production).  The nutrient-rich juice is dried in a large open kettle drum and condensed into a delicious whole brown sugar. A natural sugar substitute for baking, this organic product will add depths of flavor to all your favorite recipes.”

RECIPES HERE ON WHOLESOME’S SITE

Trader Joe’s MUESLI Breakfast Cereal


This is probably the healthiest cereal you can buy at Trader Joe’s. “Swiss Muesli” is a classic breakfast cereal invented over a hundred years ago by a Swiss doctor. It’s a blend of whole grain oats, seeds, fruit and nuts.

Contains no added sugars

TJ’s Muesli ingredients: Whole grain rolled oats, sunflower seeds, raisins, rice crisps, pumpkins seeds, coconut, dried apple, sliced almonds

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muesli

This is obviously healthy stuff, that even a horse would love. Trader Joe’s version of Muesli is good. One caveat though. If you just pour it into a bowl, add milk, and eat it immediately, you may not like it. Unless you are a horse and you don’t mind giving your jaws a work out. Otherwise you probably want to let this soften up a bit, meaning let those rolled oats get hydrated and soften up by sitting in milk for at least 15-20 minutes – that is in your choice of breakfast beverage (milk and/or yogurt or kefir). The longer it sits, the better. Actually I really enjoy Muesli when I mix some up as “overnight oats” the night before. That way in the morning it’s nice and thick and soft. Making “Overnight oats” is easy. Just put some muesli (or rolled oats) in a container, add liquid and let it sit in the fridge. I do Kefir and some soy milk and/or yogurt. If you find “overnight oats” too mushy for your tastes, just try to wake up and pour some milk on your Muesli before taking your shower and giving it a 20 minute soak. I typically add some fresh fruit (banana, apple, berries) and a bit of something crunchy as a topping like TJ’s Grainless Granola and more yogurt or kefir.

This is a good healthy breakfast, that will keep you (or your horse) going all day. I bet Roger Federer grew up eating Muesli and look how far he got.

A 16 oz bag is about $4. Worth trying.

RAVE

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!?

TJ’s Organic Corn Chip Dippers


GLUTEN FREE. ORGANIC.

We know Trader Joe’s carries a ton of all kinds of chips. These are one of my favorites out of all of them. So why are these corn chips are so good? I think a big reason is they only have 3 ingredients! They list : organic yellow corn, organic sunflower oil, sea salt. That’s it. They must be using the best organic corn they can find, these chips have a super tasty corn flavor. These chips are both thick and a bit curved. They’re thick enough to stand up to any dip you put them in, such as guacamole, salsa or what have you. Even on their own with nothing on them, they still taste fantastic. They have been $1.99 (forever) but I bought them last week and I got yet another case of TJ inflation sticker shock to see TJ raised the price of these. They’re now $2.29.

Match the plain corn chips with CHIPOTLE BLACK BEAN DIP – an excellent combo

Beside this plain version, TJ has a spicy variation, the delicious “Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers” (Elote aka Mexican street corn flavor) which is an amazing chip, those are loaded and I do mean loaded, with spices; these cost a little more than the plain version, Elote chips are now $2.69 (also up 20 cents). The Elote chips are excellent and pretty spicy. Personally I love them with, among other things, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, in other words something plain as they bring plenty of spices on their own.

You can’t go wrong with either variety. Here’s what TJ has to say about them: https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/092482

RAVE

Need a recipe for GUACAMOLE?

TJ’s Organic Roasted Teriyaki SEAWEED SNACKS


TJ’s Organic Roasted Teriyaki SEAWEED SHEET SNACKS (aka Korean Gim/Kim)

These are very similar to the single pack roasted Seaweed Snacks TJ carries. You know, the little green sheets of seaweed that American kids love! These however come in a convenient “six pack”. They are labeled Organic and “Product of Korea” and “teriyaki flavor”. Unlike Japanese nori seaweed sheets which are sturdy and solid (used in making sushi) these Korean seaweed mini sheets (aka Gim or Kim) have been roasted with sesame oil making the texture much airier and crumbly so they will break apart if you bend them too much. So while not great for rolling up as traditional sushi, I do use these to make a kind of “easy sushi” style mini hand roll. Putting a spoon of Asian rice in the middle, then something on top of that (especially good with Spicy Tuna*) and a few strips of cucumber. These are so tasty. You can hold the seaweed in one hand and add the other things carefully, bend it gently and pop it in your mouth in one or two bites. Quite yummy this combo! See pic and also Maangchi’s descriptive How To in the link.

$3.49 for a six pack. I have a feeling these may work out to be a bit more economical than the single packs?

TIP: snip a few sheets up into little thin strips for a super rice topping.

* EASY SPICY TUNA RECIPE (using canned tuna)

Drain the water or oil from a can or two of your favorite tuna fish. To the tuna, add 2 tablespoons of Mayo. Then add about a tablespoon (or two) of your favorite hot sauce of your choosing such as Sriracha, Zhoug, Peri-Peri or whatever you like, to taste (you can add more if its not spicy enough when you taste it with the rice). You might add a few chopped Hot and Sweet Jalapenos to the mix. Add a chopped scallion or two, mix everything together, and refrigerate for an hour to blend the flavors. Serve with cooked Asian rice and these Seaweed Sheets.

HOW TO MAKE EASY SUSHI MINI HAND ROLLS: Hold a sheet of seaweed gently. With your free hand, put a teaspoon or two of cooked rice on it gently and make a slight indentation for the tuna topping. Add some spicy tuna and strips of cucumber. Not too much in one square or it may fall apart, just enough for a nice big bite. Put in to your mouth carefully!

You can also the tuna just putting some a spoon on top of asian rice in a bowl. You put a little tuna, a crunch of cuke, and then cover that with a square of seaweed. Carefully “fold it” (bend gently) into a little package using chopsticks (or your fingers).

Naturally you can use other toppings. Smoked salmon and avocado is a classic too.

Serving these with some Kimchi on the side would be great.

TJ’s MULTISEED RICE CRACKERS with Tamari


Trader Joe’s Savory Thin Mini Multiseed RICE CRACKERS with Tamari Soy Sauce (GLUTEN FREE)

These are delicious little savory mini rice crackers in the Japanese vein (aka “senbei“). Each is tiny, a little bigger than a nickel so quite literally bite size. They are crunchy and tasty, great on their own out of the package. Or top them with whatever you can think of (cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese, smoked salmon, tuna salad, etc) They could make a great base for little mini bite sized hors d’ouvres (imagine for example a little cream cheese, smoked salmon, and dill).

Ingredients include brown rice and white rice flour plus sesame and flax seeds and tamari soy sauce. Though it doesn’t specifically say “Gluten Free” on the package but one can assume from the ingredients that these certainly are gluten free. An 8 oz bag costs $2.99. After you try them you may buy them two at a time if a package goes as fast in your house as it does in ours.

I just enjoyed them as a snack with a little dollop of cottage cheese and Green Dragon/GDS . YUMMY

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