Trader Joe’s GREEN JACKFRUIT & recipe for Pulled BBQ Jackfruit


My DIY Pulled Jackfruit on Aloha Bun with coleslaw

Jackfruit is a tropical fruit, popular with vegetarians as a “meat substitute”. When cooked it can have the texture of “pulled meat” such as pulled pork or chicken or ropa vieja. It doesn’t have much taste but it easily absorbs flavors and sauces and it’s quite good cooked up with BBQ sauce as “pulled jackfruit”. Trader Joe’s carried a pouch of PULLED JACK FRUIT IN SMOKY BBQ SAUCE in a green foil pouch (see below) but it got discontinued. Alot of people liked it and I did too, despite not being vegetarian. TJ’s does sell this can of JACKFRUIT so you can make the same thing fairly easily yourself, just mixing this can of jackfruit with your favorite BBQ sauce. A can is only $1.99 too!

How does one use Trader Joe’s Green Jackfruit in Brine, you ask? It takes on a “meaty” texture, and, much like tofu, absorbs the flavors of sauces. Our favorite preparation involves cooking jackfruit in barbecue sauce, where it eventually shreds like pulled pork, ready to be piled on a warm Honey Wheat Hamburger Bun and crowned with crunchy cabbage.

UPDATE: This is in stores again.

what it looks in the can; frankly not too appetizing, yet!
after cooking the Jackfruit; Now it looks pretty good!

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/recipes/pulled-jackfruit-sandwich

HOW TO MAKE PULLED JACKFRUIT MINI SLIDER BUNS: After opening the can, dump the liquid out and put the fruit into a colander. Rinse the jackfruit thoroughly and drain it. To get the texture, I just used my fingers and crushed up the jackfruit piece by piece. The seeds you can mash or crush or leave as is. Sauté the jackfruit in a pot in some EVOO (or butter) for about 5 minutes on low heat, stirring it gently. Add your favorite BBQ sauce (1/2 cup per can?) in. I used the SRIRACHA ROASTED GARLIC sauce, a good match. Cover the pan and simmer on very low heat for about 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes or so and making sure it doesn’t burn. It will be thick when done. Turn off the heat and let it rest for about 10 minutes. When you are ready to assemble the sandwiches, put a scoop of the jackfruit on†o the bottom half of a TJ’s ALOHA BUN (or brioche roll). Top with some coleslaw and the top half of the bun. Enjoy! A bit messy to eat but quite tasty! 1 Can served 2 of us easily with the fixings.

Directions as per TJ’s website

(note I liked it without the water, or just a few tablespoons)

  1. Prepare Pulled Jackfruit: Drain jackfruit and pat dry. Partially shred jackfruit chunks into smaller pieces. In a sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add jackfruit and sauté for five minutes. Add BBQ sauce and water to pan and stir to evenly coat jackfruit. Cover pan and simmer on medium-low heat, 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally and pulling jackfruit apart as it becomes tender.
  2. Prepare Tangy Cole Slaw: While jackfruit cooks, in a large bowl, toss cabbage blend with mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. 
  3. Prepare Sandwiches: Place a scoop of pulled jackfruit on the bottom of a bun. Top with diced onions, coleslaw, and bun top. Eat and repeat until satisfied!

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 CUBANO WRAP SANDWICH


Pretty rare that I buy pre-made sandwiches but I saw this in the case at Trader Joe’s recently and was intrigued at the name, Cubano Seasoned Wrap. The label say its”Roasted Pork, Ham, Swiss Cheese and Dill Pickles on a flour tortilla with Cuban inspired mustard dressing”.

Just in case you’re not familiar what that is, a Cubano is a pretty famous, not to mention, amazing sandwich concoction made with both Roasted Pork and Ham (yes two kinds of pork!) Swiss cheese and pickles. This traditionally goes on a very soft “Cuban bread” with a good smear of butter and goes into a special grill press which is like a “panini” press. It gets pressed and grilled until its toasted up and golden brown and delicious with that swiss cheese now all melty and gooey and everything warm and yummy smelling. Trust me, if you ever had a really good Cubano, you would love it, they are to die for.

The Cubano sandwich is super famous in Miami as you might imagine with its large Cuban population. But fortunately its available in other places, especially with a large Hispanic speaking population, like New York City for one, where you can get a good Cubano. I used to go way uptown in Manhattan to a little Dominican bakery on Dykman Street in Inwood that makes them right in front of you, super non-fancy but amazingly good.

So I decided to try Trader Joe’s “Cubano Wrap” and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, its pretty  good if “inspired” by a Cubano. It contains a good amount of roasted pork with ham pluss Swiss cheese and pickles. However instead of the traditional bread they have come up with a tortilla for a  burrito style wrap. The wrap variation is different from an authentic one, but still tasty. I got one to make for lunch for my wife and we found it to be pretty tasty. Since then I’ve bought it a few times.

Please note, you must heat this up. Don’t even think about eating this at room temp or cold. Check out that grill mark in the picture? Thats what you want. Personally I would not nuke it, I suggest you grill it in a pan. Put the wrap in a non-stick or cast iron pan on med-low heat and heat it for about 4-5 minutes a side, pressing down gently till its one on one side, then flip it till both sides are G.D.B. and the cheese all melty inside, and eat it while hot. As you can see in the photo here it looks pretty yummy and for $3.99 this not a bad deal. It could be a dinner, for me. My wife and I usually split one for a light lunch, with some other stuff on the side. I served it with some TJ Horseradish Aioli, which was perfect with this Cubano Wrap. That is a very good sauce (I will review in future). So all in all, this Cubano Wrap gets a Thumbs Up, a Worth Trying, and Good Value seal of approval.

Let’s be real though. Its a little high in calories and sodium, so I treat this as a special treat for once in a while. I would not eat one every day no matter how yummy it is.

If this video doesn’t make you want to get a on plane to eat one in Little Havana, Miami, somethings wrong with you. Making Cubanos. From the film “Chef” with John Leguizamo and Jon Favreu.

RAVE

Trader Joe’s UNEXPECTED CHEDDAR CHEESE


96923-unexpected-cheddar

RAVE

Unexpected Cheddar Cheese “tastes like an aged premium cheddar cheese with hints of Parmesan”.

In this case the hype is justified

Year in, year out, Unexpected Cheddar is one of Trader Joe’s best selling products. For good reason. It’s fantastic. A knock it out of the ballpark cheese. This is the kind of thing which if you put it on a cheese plate for people who never had it to taste, you are guaranteed to get “Hmm, where did you get this cheese?”

Now while I have not tried every cheese that Trader Joe’s sells (I wish!) I have to say Unexpected Cheddar is one of the best cheeses I have gotten there, or anywhere frankly. I’m a huge fan of a good Cheddar cheese. For my tastes, the sharper the better. Well I am a damn Yankee (kind of, a New Y’awkah that is). Sharp Cheddar is a very “Yankee” / East Coast” cheese. On this side of the Atlantic at least as Cheddar is quite English in origin. Historically in my taste memories, the Sine Qua Non of a classic sharp Cheddar cheese, one that was in our house since we were kids, is CABOT CHEDDAR cheese from Vermont.  If we didn’t have a piece of CABOT Extra Sharp in our fridge we would at least have a package of Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp. The reason being my dad’s favorite cheese was Cheddar. by far.

TJ’s Unexpected Cheddar is a bit different from these classic cheddars. Cabot Extra Sharp is wonderful, and in fact it’s sold at TJs (and I recommend you try it)! But “Unexpected Cheddar” is unique with a texture unlike most any Cheddar you’ve tried. As Trader Joe’s own description is so perfect I’ll simply quote it: “Unexpected Cheddar has been a best-seller since it first hit our cheese cases, back in 2011. It presents itself as an aged Cheddar, and tastes like one as well. Until, it doesn’t. That creamy Cheddar takes an unexpected flavor turn, the texture seems to change as you eat – you might swear you were enjoying an aged Parmesan. On first try, it’s an unexpected pleasure. With subsequent purchases, the only unexpected part of the experience is that it continues to be such a great value. Then again, you’ve come to expect great values at Trader Joe’s, so our price of $3.99 for each seven ounce piece may not be so unexpected after all.”

Ignoring the marketing, the description of the taste and texture is exactly right. When you slice this, it might crumble on you, not unlike a piece of Parmegiano Reggiano. Unexpected Cheddar has some flavors which have that same “umami” overtones of a Parmigiano, Grana Padano or an aged Pecorino too. I’ve tasted this with wine, and it pairs wonderfully with both whites and reds. Or beer for that matter. I can see this as a good pick for a wine tasting or a beer tasting.

At $4 for 7 oz. figure this costs a bit under $10/lb. for a super premium cheddar, a very good deal as usual from Trader Joe’s. Once you buy this you may find it makes it onto your “Always Buy” list. To be honest in our house, the biggest problem with UNEXPECTED CHEDDAR is it goes so damn fast. Its too damn tasty, and it is way too easy for a package to get eaten in one day. So be warned. Be sure to try this melted, as it is perhaps even better melted! A slice on top of a burger? OMG. Grilled cheese sandwich? This may make the best grilled cheese you ever made. In an omelet? On pizza or as quesadillas… Yes, yes, all fantastic. So be sure to try it melted (tip: I would grate it up to use somewhere melted)

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/recipes/unexpected-grilled-cheese-sandwich

Fruits: It also goes exceptionally well with fruits. Apples, grapes, pears or figs. In particular, I find the ENVY or FUJI apples that TJ carries pair very well with U.C.C. It is a little tricky to slice this cheddar perfectly as it tends to crumble a bit but that’s OK as I promise you every last crumble will be consumed. If you serve this to guests, you will get praise. This is a must for your next “cheese plate”. Seriously if you always wondered what the buzz on this cheese was about, you must try it and you will understand.

As mentioned too, TJ’s carries the CABOT EXTRA SHARP VERMONT CHEDDAR., also well worth trying if you’ve never had it, as it is the classic East Coast sharp cheddar. You will find both the Cabot and the U.C.C. usually in my fridge.

NEW ITEM (Summer 2022) – UNEXPECTED CHEDDAR CHICKEN SAUSAGES : CHEDDAR SAUSAGES (excellent item)