Give Me 3

Another Trader Joe’s problem while I discovered; scalloped Cracker Trio. Boxes of these were, of course, used as a display on aisle-end and looked far too tempting – had to try.

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The box has three flavors – Rosemary, Red Chili and Garlic. The crackers have a nice thickness to them but still are a bit soft. They sort of crumble, but in a nice way. They also almost taste like they might have some butter to them, but per the ingredient list, they do not. Perfect to pair with soups, salads and just to munch on. Recommend giving them a try.

Whole Grain Crispbread

Another crazy Trader Joe’s find…Whole Grain Crispbread.

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That dang store. This small plastic bag contains another form of addiction. As the back of the bag says ‘they are a really seedy, really crunchy, savory flat.’

 

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Crunchy is no lie. And I really like the crunch, then the taste. It’s hard to eat just one… Good ingredients, so they can be justified as healthy, so it’s ok to eat more than one, right?

 

Dukkah

Another problem from the grocery. That store that (often) makes you find another addiction each time you walk through the door. Thanks Trader Joe’s. This time I found Dukkah.

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It’s a nut & spice blend with several delicious ingredients, which are what make it problematic — almonds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, coriander, anise seeds and kosher salt. These are all pretty much at the top of my list.

Put in on bread with olive oil, add it to olive oil, sprinkle it on meat or veggies, you’re set! (Or just eat it straight if totally needed).

 

Servilleta

If you speak Spanish, you might be thinking napkin. But, if you look around the cheese section at Trader Joe’s you might know I’m talking cheese. Found this one recently, which is a goat cheese, aged in cloth (which I am sort of thinking is where they got the name) for at least four months.

It has a subtle bite and is more firm than the ‘normal’ goat cheese. It can be easily cut, as in it doesn’t squish. Nice to serve on crackers, with veggies and to pair with wine.

Salud!

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More Lunch on the Road

Progressing on the trip in Iceland, you don’t necessarily want to eat PBJ each day. Some food was also brought from home. So one day we enjoyed some great individual packs of Bumble Bee Light Tuna, Trader Joe’s Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Trader Joe’s Marinated Olives, and some of the bread we bought for the PBJs. We also had a bit of wine left to kill that we’d bought a couple days prior. So we had paper coffee cups from a hotel brunch and probably each got half a glass of Trapiche Malbec. Living the high life!

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This was also on a day that was sunny. Only reason we had to sit in the car was because of the million mile an hour winds we had (90% of the time we were in Iceland). Enjoyed this while visiting Þingvellir National Park (or Thingvellir in English) and seeing some other beautiful sites.

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Baby Goat

As you might have read several times in my blog(s), Trader Joe’s is one of my two favorite grocery stores (Wegmans being the other). The other thing you might have read is that I am a lactard (thanks Caroline for giving me that term, as you are also one), but can eat goat or sheep’s milk (cheese).

While strolling through TJ’s recently I was just really wanting some cheese. Stood there staring at the cheese section for several minutes then my eyes fell upon these ‘baby goat’ (as I like to call them) cheese discs. They are just the goat cheese logs divided into smaller pieces, or as they more appropriately term them Medallions. Each package is 1oz., very nicely sealed and there are about 5-6 per container. Of course I can’t remember the price, but I’m fairly certain it was less than $5.

Handy to have around and they will definitely be making it to my kitchen more frequently.

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Smokin’ It

I love seafood, I love smoked seafood. So on my weekly or bi-weekly trip to Trader Joe’s I of course swung by the demo station. Had a bite of what they were serving (I think it was a egg salad). And at the station, they had a stack of Smoked Trout. While I have had their (and others’) vacuum packed/sealed stuff, this one was canned. Think of a sardine can, with a pull-top lid. It’s farm raised (not my favorite), skinless and in canola oil.

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So I grabbed some and used it on a salad.  Simple arugula, tomatoes, kalamatas, hearts of palm and baby Brussels sprouts. Just delicious blend of flavors. So as long as you’re not totally against the farm-raised, this is great stuff to have on hand. Stack it in the cupboard with the tuna and the other stuff and you’re good to go.

Getting Nuttier

Pretty much my favorite place to do grocery shopping is Trader Joe’s. Well, that is because there isn’t a Wegmans close by (DC residents, have you heard the latest rumor about the Fannie Mae building on Wisconsin Ave and them looking at the space??).

Anyway, there is of course point-of-purchase stuff at TJ’s and one I opted to grab recently was their Mixed Nut Butter. It’s a blend of Dry Roasted & Salted Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Brazil Nuts, Hazelnuts & Pecans. Sounds great. I’m just not a huge fan of the Brazil nuts, but I’ll eat them. It doesn’t say smooth anywhere, which is cool, too.

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The flavor was ok, but it was almost too many flavors fighting with each other. When you buy mixed nuts you can taste each one on its own. I also love chunky nut butter and it was a bit too smooth, for me. Not much salt in it, though salt was an ingredient. Not something I’ll buy again, but glad I tried it. Price was $5.99, I think. Not cheap, especially for the size. Totally worth the test.

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Oh Ewe Cheese

Was on just a normal shopping trip the other day so had to stop at Trader Joe’s. That also meant I was required to stop by the sample and coffee counter.  They had a cheese sample out, so at first I didn’t think I could have some as the lactard.  Then I saw that it was goat cheese, cool. It was a new one — Chevre with Honey.   Just a little bit of sweet taste. I used to not like goat cheese but it has gotten so much better.  Ok, bad idea to try it… Effective work TJ’s… I left with one of the 8 oz. packages. We’ll see how long it takes me to get more.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Over a month ago I was strolling through Trader Joe’s and saw this frozen riced cauliflower and just had to grab it, why not?  Then last week I was going to a friend’s place for a potluck dinner and (1) wanted to try something new and (2) she is gluten intolerant. I remembered I had the riced cauliflower so had to see what I could use it for. Started looking stuff up and came across some recipes for Cauliflower Crust Pizza. That sounded great! Especially since my cauliflower was already riced.  The recipe I ended up using was from the Lucky Penny Blog.  It’s both gluten and dairy free.

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Ingredients

1 medium sized head of cauliflower – should yield close to 3 cups once processed (this is where I used the riced cauliflower from Trader Joe’s)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (crush it even more between your fingers)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (crust it even more between you fingers)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
optional a few shakes of crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons almond meal (my friend has a Vitamix — this took 2 seconds to make)
1 tablespoon (or more if desired) nutritional yeast (you could also omit this entirely if you like) — didn’t use it
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg

Directions

-Place a pizza stone in the oven, or baking sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a cutting board, place a large piece of parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking oil or brush the parchment with olive oil.

*I skipped these next 2 steps with the riced cauliflower.

[Wash and throughly dry a small head of cauliflower. Don’t get one the size of your head unless you are planning on making 2 pizzas. Cut off the florets, you don’t need much stem. Just stick with the florets. Pulse in your food processor for about 30 seconds, until you get powdery snow like cauliflower. See above photo. You should end up with about 3 cups cauliflower “snow”. Place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cover. Microwave for 4 minutes. Dump cooked cauliflower onto a clean tea towel and allow to cool for a bit before attempting the next step.

Once cauliflower is cool enough to handle, wrap it up in the dish towel and wring the water out of it. You want to squeeze out as much water as possible. This will ensure you get a chewy pizza like crust instead of a crumbly mess.]

-Dump cauliflower into a bowl. Now add all your spices, your almond meal, your nutritional yeast (if using), and your olive oil. Mix the mixture to incorporate all the ingredients. Now add your egg and mix away again. Hands tend to work best.

-Once mixed together, use your hands to form the dough into a crust on your oiled parchment paper. Pat it down thoroughly, you want it nice and tightly formed together. Don’t make it too thick or thin either.

-Using a cutting board slide the parchment paper onto your hot pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until it starts to turn golden brown and the edges crisp up. Remove from oven.  *It took a bit more time to cook that it called for.  This is likely because I forgot to heat the baking sheet before I put the pizza in the oven.  So I cooked it a bit longer, probably about 10 more minutes.

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-Add your toppings and slide parchment with topped pizza back in the hot oven and cook for another 5 minutes until the toppings are warm. If using cheese for a topping, you can pop the pizza under the broiler to get the cheese melted fast without burning the crust.

I put manchego, olives and tomatoes on the pizza, then topped it with arugula when it came out of the oven.  It was a bit moist, but nice and crisp on the edges.  Very tasty and I’ll have to try it again.

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