Trader Joe’s KALAMATA Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($5!)


Great price on a good extra virgin olive oil from Greece, single origin, Kalatmata olives. I really like the attractively designed tin it comes in too. “Bright and grassy in flavor with a light bitter finish”. I like it’s taste. 16.9 oz. $4.99? Super!

Seen at Trader Joe’s: OLIVE TREE Plants For Sale!


Olive Trees?!? Yes….wow, cool. For $13 it’s yours. Need to make up with someone? You could give them an olive branch!

Trader Joe’s TEA TREE TINGLE Body Wash (hot weather must!)


Trust me, you want this.

This body wash is a must have for hot weather! “Invigorates with Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Tea Tree botanicals….” It’s the perfect product especially right now for the heat wave that much of the U.S. has been experiencing (July 2022). TJ’s Tea Tree Tingle body wash has tea tree oil, peppermint, eucalyptus and other natural essential plant botanical oils, which make for a really refreshing and invigorating body wash for your shower. It smells terrific. It was so refreshing sponging up with this after a really hot summer day in NYC where the thermometer hit 95 today. This stuff was a lifesaver.

Also, I’ve found its great to add a little when I am washing out my gym clothes!

Certified Organic. Trader Joe’s sells this for just $3.99, a wow price and its a huge 16 oz bottle to boot.

I would buy this again.

Trader Joe’s new Asian products: Gochujang and Red Boat Fish Sauce !


Seen at Trader Joe’s

Red Boat Fish Sauce is back at Trader Joe’s! Red Boat brand is one of the best fish sauces on the market. TJ’s is selling it for just $4.99!? Wow, super price folks. Grab a bottle. Red Boat is a Top, Famous brand that usually costs about double that price (Amazon has it for $9). You’re lucky IF you can find it at a well stocked Asian supermarket. I suggest you grab up a bottle if you see it, even if you don’t think you would ever use it. Because you will, and should. What is Fish Sauce anyway?

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/what-is-fish-sauce

We’re talking UMAMI all day long. Believe it or not, a teaspoon of fish sauce is the secret ingredient you should add to your tomato sauce. Again, its umami. Just like Parmesan has umami and Tomato Paste too. Anchovies! The ancient Romans had their beloved “Garum” (a fermented fish sauce) which they put on everything according to historians.

The other New Asian Product seen at Trader Joe’s: Korean GOCHUJANG pepper paste, sweet, hot and savory. Review coming. If you want to know what you can use this for, watch Aaron and Claire on Youtube to get some terrific ideas for Korean dishes.

Trader Joe’s ORGANIC TOASTED SESAME DRESSING & marinade


Trader Joe’s says “A versatile dressing that can be used for salads, marinades and dips.”

I really like this. It is delicious as well as versatile. It’s an organic Japanese / Asian sesame based dressing which is great for any salads and for coleslaw. Savory and a little sweet, with lots of Umami. Versatile as in, this is more than just for salads. It is also an excellent marinade which you can use to marinate many foods. For one thing its terrific to use with chicken. Marinate the chicken in some of this sauce for 1/2 hr or more before grilling, then brush on some more near the end as a glaze. You can also do the exact same thing with Tofu. It is really great as a sauce with the Baked Tofu. Slice up the tofu and pour some of this sauce over and sprinkle with scallions. Its also good just added on top of any sauteed veggies. Cold noodles with sesame sauce (add some more toasted sesame oil and some peanut butter and soy)

You could even mix in a tablespoon of chunky peanut butter into a some of this dressing for a Thai type variation.

Now $3.99 for a 12 oz bottle.

I would buy this again.

Trader Joe’s THAI SWEET GINGER SAUCE


Trade Joe’s new product: THAI SWEET GINGER SAUCE. It seems to be flying off the shelves, people seem to love it. I am guessing mostly for all the frozen DUMPLINGS they buy?

I tried it and I can say it’s pretty good. It is quite thick and garlic-y. Ingredients include pickled garlic, coconut sugar, and coriander. Personally I think it needs more ginger. I added some fresh grated ginger, and I found it very improved. I also found it good with something spicy added (Bomba or Peri-Peri) However even just poured out of the bottle this stuff is good. Serve this with all of your frozen dumplings obviously, either fried or steamed/boiled ones. Its quite good on sautéed tofu. Grilled chicken of course! Grilled shrimp? Perfect for shrimp or any fish for that matter. Even just try this on top of rice or just grilled veggies. It will add flavor.

THAI SWEET GINGER Sauce is $2.49 for a 10 oz bottle.

Yesterday it was out of stock. It’s popular and people are really buying up this stuff!

Is this replacing the red bottle of SWEET CHILI SAUCE? I am afraid thats gone now. I like both sauces and the chili sauce has been a must have item for me for ever. Sigh. I will have to go back to getting CHILI SAUCE in Chinatown. Its a staple condiment in Asian cuisine.

Trader Joe’s fresh, fully cooked, ready to eat, ROASTED SALMON FILLET


This is now one of my favorite New Products at Trader Joe’s. A fully cooked, lovely fillet of Roasted Salmon. Find it in Refrigerated near the fresh fish and smoked salmon. This cooked piece of salmon is so handy and convenient, especially for hot summer days, or anytime you don’t want to cook (or smell) fish cooking. The salmon is fully cooked but just barely, it’s incredibly moist, so you can even heat it up a wee bit if you like, which I did. Now the first time I bought this I didn’t check the dates carefully, and when I opened it, I smelled the tiniest bit of a fishy smell. A sprinkle of lemon took care of that and it tasted fine. However the second time I bought it I checked a few packages and noticed some had a date maybe a day or even two older than another package. So naturally I picked out a package with the most recent date, and when I opened it that night for dinner the salmon had no smell at all. So check the packages carefully and get the latest dated ones.

For under five bucks you get a lovely fillet of farmed Atlantic salmon from Norway. No bones. Skin on. You can slip off the skin in a second. I actually enjoy salmon skin if its crispy. So I tossed the fillet into a hot pan skin side down for maybe 90 seconds to crisp up the skin. Then I flipped it and gave it about 30 seconds on the top side too to get a little sear and color (this is all completely optional of course as it is already cooked). However I did think it was slightly improved with this little searing and I was very careful not overcook the fish. Plating it up I sprinkled some TJ’s DILL SEASONING BLEND on which is a perfect match for this. I flaked up the fish with a fork, put it on a plate with a squeeze of lemon. It was delicious and a pretty good deal for $4.99 (5 oz portion) Of course the fresh Norwegian farmed Atlantic salmon TJ sells for $10/lb is an even better deal if you don’t mind cooking.

note a little color from my searing the fish briefly

To second time I tried this salmon I thought it would be perfect to make some Japanese “Nori Hand Rolls”.

Sushi Style Salmon Hand Rolls Bites

I made some Sushi Rice and served up these tasty little bites of Salmon Hand Rolls (“Temaki Sushi”) with the salmon and matchsticks of cucumbers on TJ’s SEAWEED SNACKS (nori). One piece of salmon was enough for two of us with the rice and other things. We REALLY enjoyed these sushi bites. You take a square of nori in one hand, gently spoon on a little sushi rice add some salmon and cukes, then pop the whole bite into your mouth. This is super tasty. Really, try making this, it’s fun and delicious.

Want to learn how to make sushi rice? Its not hard and TJ’s carries the rice vinegar (you have salt and sugar). Sadly I’m afraid they’ve discontinued the CALROSE RICE they had! I’m bummed about that as med/short grain rice is best for sushi rice and it was easy to get it at TJ’s while they had it. Oh well. In a pinch, Jasmine works if you can’t get short/med grain rice.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/99211/perfect-sushi-rice/

I would think even though this salmon is cooked its still best to use it the day you buy it, if you can. If not, you could keep it in the coldest part of the fridge to use the next day (or in a pinch freeze the whole package and when ready to use, do an overnight defrost in fridge).

PS – If you dont like / eat salmon skin, and you have a pet, don’t throw it away; Wash it off as much as possible and give it to your cat or dog. They’ll likely go nuts getting some healthy healthy Omega-3’s and fish oil.

Trader Joe’s suggest this goes well with the new TAMARIND SAUCE (I’ve yet to try it)

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/recipes/60-second-tamarind-salmon

60 Second Tamarind Salmon
Sweet and tangy with a gentle heat, Trader Joe’s Tamarind Sauce delivers maximum flavor with no prep time required. Slather it on a Trader Joe’s Fully Cooked Salmon Fillet and serve atop a bed of rice or salad greens for a protein-packed, positively satisfying meal that’s ready in about a minute. For a pleasant crunch, top with Trader Joe’s Crispy Onion Chips and fresh green onions.

Trader Joe’s ORGANIC BROCCOLI SLAW


This makes a really good coleslaw. We really liked this as a slightly different coleslaw from the regular cabbage one.

I made the recipe like the package describes with one difference, basically using way less than the “1 cup” of dressing they suggest. You don’t need that much; if you need more sauce just add a little vinegar and a little honey or palm sugar.

Yes it does say “organic shredded broccoli stalk”. I promise you won’t even know, the finished slaw will soften up and be like any regular coleslaw after it marinates for awhile (20-30 minutes).

COLESLAW RECIPE (my modified version): Dump this in a bowl. Add one grated apple (grate on box grater with skin), a handful of dried cranberries or golden raisins, add about an ounce or two of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and add just enough of your favorite dressing to lightly coat things (maybe a 1/4 to 1/3 of cup? The package says 1 whole cup of dressing – come on, that’s way too much. I used TJ’s Organic Ranch Dressing. Or you can just add some mayo. A sprinkle of DILL SEASONING will be nice in this. Mix everything up and let it sit for about 20-30 minutes in the fridge to marinate. It will soften up. The slaw can easily stay in the fridge for the next day. This is a very tasty and healthy side dish!

You can even sauté these veggies for a cooked dish.

Trader Joe’s “Hold The Cone” MINI ICE CREAM CONES


Hold The Cone! Mini Ice Cream Cones

These seem to be pretty popular so I checked them out. My take was they are super cute for one thing if you serve them to someone. Taste wise, they’re pretty good. The chocolate coating was good, the ice cream good (but not as good as TJ’s “premium” coffee bean ice cream). The cones had a slightly stale texture especially at the bottom. So while OK, frankly these wouldn’t make me want to give up a scoop of TJ’s excellent “super premium” Coffee Bean Ice Cream instead of these if given a choice. So while really cute to serve to someone, personally I would prefer a scoop of the better ice cream. The MINI CONES come in a package of 8 for $3.79. If I had a choice of picking this product over a quart of ice cream which is almost the same price don’t think I would get these. I’d get the bigger ice cream, better taste and value, over the “cute factor”.

Trader Joe’s “SPICY JOLLOF SEASONED RICE MIX”


Trader Joe’s “SPICY JOLLOF SEASONED RICE MIX” with dried tomatoes, onion and garlic

There was actually a little controversy across the internet when this product first came out, as some viewed this as a bit of cultural appropriation on Trader Joe’s part. What is JOLLOF RICE ? It’s a very famous African dish eaten widely across parts of West Africa, especially Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and The Gambia. Even in Africa the dish has a little controversy. Whose version is the best? Is it Nigerian or Ghanaian – or Senegalese where it has a different name (Tchebu Jen) ? The dish is considered the national dish of Senegal where it’s Thieboudienne or Tchebu D’jen. (The word “Jollof” is an English variation of the word “Wolof” which means both a language and a people/tribe)

In my lifetime, I’ve eaten many many plates of authentic Senegalese Tchebu D’jen in many African restaurants back in the day when there were a dozen African restaurants on 116th Street in Harlem when the street used to be known as Petit Dakar . I love this dish and variations of it. Taste a real version of this dish if you ever have the chance. An authentic “JOLLOF RICE” (aka Party Rice, aka Tchebu Djen) from Nigeria, Ghana, or Senegal is an amazing dish. It’s complicated to make with a number of ingredients, another reason that Trader Joe’s coming out with this “instant” version caused a wee bit of controversy on the internet. The mix was developed by a Nigerian family here I believe.

Here’s my take. Out of the package, this is a far, far cry from an authentic African Joloff Rice. I fixed it up when I made it. It has some potential if you fix it up to make something better, not close to what your Nigerian granny would make but something semi-OK and better than just making this package as is.

Here’s my suggestions on how to fix this up: In a large pot, put a tablespoon olive oil and butter (you probably don’t have Palm Oil which is best) Stir in a huge tablespoon of tomato paste. Cook for 30 seconds and add a chopped up tomato, 1/2 a chopped onion, 4 cloves of garlic minced. Cook 2 minutes, then add your cooking liquid (water, but chicken or veggie broth would be better). 3 cups as the package says is a lot. I reduced to about 2 3/4 cups as the veggies have water. Add a few carrots and a 1/4 cabbage. Boil for 5 minutes. THEN add the package of this “JOLOFF RICE” mix. Add some Smoked Paprika and as much as you like of some spicy mix of PERI-PERI, BOMBA, or ZHOUG . Once it boils lower to a simmer and cook covered for 20 minutes. Turn off heat. Let it sit 5 minutes covered to absorb all liquids. When you are ready, serve rice with vegetables on the side/top, and serve some of those spicy sauces on the side for people to adjust to their tastes.

Tchebu Jen is made with smoky dried stockfish in the broth and served with fresh fish. I ate it with some fish on top (smoked sardines and salmon) Other ideas are serving this with grilled chicken or maybe grilled SHAWARMA chicken.

TJ’s SPICY JOLLOF SEASONED RICE mix is $2.69 for an 8 oz package.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/spicy-jollof-seasoned-rice-mix-070883

“Originating in West Africa as far back as the 14th century, Jollof rice is more than just an esteemed and storied dish, it’s a cultural force of its own. It’s served as the inspiration for countless recipes across the African diaspora, including jambalaya and gumbo. It’s even sparked a friendly (if not, at times, heated) rivalry between a handful of nations regarding who makes the best version. If you’ve ever had the chance to try it, you know exactly why it’s remained such a vital part of African cuisine for over 700 years.”

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