TJ’s Old Fashioned CINNAMON GRAHAM CRACKERS


These are so good.

I loved graham crackers as a kid and these kind of remind me of the graham crackers we used to eat which were probably Nabisco’s. Except for one thing. These are WAY BETTER! These are a big improvement on Nabisco grahams. TJ’s grahams are thicker, heartier, and have a bigger cinnamon flavor. We both tasted these and immediately gave a big thumbs up. I think of these as “gourmet graham crackers for adults” – though the kids will like them too. They were delicious with milk, tea and coffee, they went great with some ice cream, and of course were great just on their own.

I will buy these again for sure. Trader Joe’s Old Fashioned Cinnamon Graham Crackers: $3.99 for a 1 lb box.

TJ’s Nori Komi “FURIKAKE” Japanese Seasoning


Trader Joe’s FURIKAKE Japanese multi-purpose seasoning

PRODUCT OF JAPAN

“Furikake” is so typical in Japan you’ll probably see a jar next to the salt and pepper in any eatery as well as anyone’s home. Its a Japanese seasoning blend condiment of chopped dried nori (seaweed), sesame seeds and sometimes other flavors. Mostly a rice topping, one sprinkles furikake on top of plain rice to give extra flavor (umami) and make it more interesting. It’s delicious sprinkled on a bowl of rice. You can use it elsewhere too. Sprinkle this on rice, on fish, meats, on top of eggs, noodles, or a bowl or ramen. This is why Trader Joe’s calls its a “multi-purpose seasoning”. Trader Joe’s Nori Komi Furikake is a basic simple version. In Japan, there are lots of kinds of furikake with different flavors (dried salmon and other fish, etc) As you can see here

https://amzn.to/3HSE1V6

Got “nothing to eat” in the house? If you have some Asian rice; an egg and FURIKAKE you can have a easy and tasty meal. Top a bowl of hot rice with a fried egg, and sprinkle a liberal amount of Nori Komi Furikake over everything. Mix it all up with a spoon. YUM. DINNER.

Trader Joe’s Nori Komi Furikake contains: white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, nori (seaweed), salt and kelp powder (more seaweed!). Seaweed of course contains glutamates which gives food “umami”. Personally I have to have this in our pantry at all times. A jar will last some time. You’ll find it in TJ’s spice section. This is worth trying.

A jar is $2.49. At a Japanese grocery it would be twice that.

PRODUCT OF JAPAN

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 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 “Everything but the bagel” Seasoned Smoked Salmon


Is there anyone reading this who would not enjoy some tasty smoked salmon on an everything bagel shmeared with some cream cheese and squeeze of lemon? Well Trader Joe’s had a decent idea when they decided to combine smoked salmon and their wildly popular seasoning “Everything but the bagel…” with to come up with this great combo as and additon to the successful “Everything but the Bagel” seasoning blend family. I found Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel SMOKED SALMON to be very tasty. The everything seasonings do not overpower the (cold smoked) Atlantic salmon. The seasonings add a nice top note to the mild farm raised salmon which has a nice buttery texture.

I tasted the salmon in two ways, the first being in a classic Sunday breakfast, putting this smoked salmon on a bagel, with some cream cheese, a little pickled red onion and a squeeze of lemon, all on top of a very fresh TJ’s Artisan everything bagel, with a nice slice of salmon…. This was perfectly delicious and really Everything good!

The second way we enjoyed this EBTB smoked salmon was using the salmon in some “Temaki sushi (hand rolls)”. I made sushi rice and which we ate topped with pieces of smoked salmon, some sliced avocado and cucumber sticks nestled into a piece of Trader Joe’s seaweed treats for little tasty sushi hand rolls. This was incredibly tasty and made an easy and super yummy dinner.

It’s $5.49 well now increased to $5.99 for a 4 oz package and yes the four slices inside went very quickly! But is an affordable splurge, this smoked salmon being still a fairly decent value. FYI at Zabar‘s smoked fish counter, the sliced smoked salmon goes for $50 a pound now! (winter 2021). This is half that price, though yes it is not hand sliced in front of you by a seasoned pro.

This is well worth trying and I would buy it again, as well as TJ’s very tasty Pastrami smoked salmon.

simple sushi handroll

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)

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