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Spinning Leaf
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:41 pm  Reply with quote
Primate
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I couldn't find a thread about this anywhere else so here goes.

I know a couple of you out there are fans of Trader Joe's so I thought this would be as good a place as any to recommend the good items and warn others about the bad ones.

If you've put together a whole meal with TJ products, even better. I'll start.

---
So far, the only thing I've ever purchased that I didn't like was their French Toast...not that I ever expected it to stand up to the freshly made stuff but this doesn't even cut it as an enjoyable timesaver. It's bland and never develops that crust.

+++
It recently came to my attention that they offer blocks of good quality tofu for a mere 99 cents (enough for 5 servings). Now I'm trying to use it as often as I can. They've got a couple of sauces/marinades to pair it with. I've been happy with the yellow thai curry sauce and the sesame/teriyaki marinades are excellent.

If you're not a regular tofu person (which I certainly wasn't prior to all this), the basic rule is that you should hack off a slice, put it on a plate, and sandwich it between a few layers of paper towels. Put a heavy pot on top (or take a regular pan and fill it with water) and let it sit for about 10 minutes. This will expel a lot of the water in the tofu, allowing it to take on the flavor of the marinade more readily.

After it's drained, you can dice it up and let it soak in a liquid of your choice for about 20 minutes. You don't need to drown it & waste your sauce. Instead, add just a little bit more than you'd need to coat the pieces and stir (a good alternative is to pack it into a narrow glass or mug...that way you don't have to use much at all to come in contact with all the pieces).

When it's been in there long enough, fry it in a pan with a little oil and serve with rice. I like to remove the browned tofu from the wok/pan, cook some red peppers/onions as well, and then combine everything with a little bit more sauce before putting it on top of the rice.

++++
other things I've enjoyed:
turkey meatballs
vodka tomato sauce
frozen gyozas (pork and chicken are the best)
mochi (japanese ice cream pastry thing - mango esp.)
crispy orange chicken (much better than you'd think)
pretty much any bag of frozen stir fry
vegetarian corn dogs
their granola/fruit bars are incredibly cheap
same with olive oil...a 1/3 of the cost of most supermarkets
also the little bags of fresh flavored pizza dough turn out pretty well

okay, that's enough. anyone else?

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Tuesday
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:52 pm  Reply with quote
Levitating Brain
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they have this amamzing thai green curry. Oh man I miss Trader Joe's... there's none in Rochester, and the closest one to me in Chicago is like a 20 minute drive (which is a lot in the city).

About a week ago, I took over the house of this guy i was dating to cook him dinner. We decided on stir fry, and I asked if I needed to bring any marinades or if he had it covered. He said I didn't have to bring anything. I get there, open his pantry, and he has like 6 unopened bottles of marinades from Trader Joe's from the last time his mother came to visit! I'm incredibly jealous. He had the green curry.

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sarah hayley
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 3:22 pm  Reply with quote
No muffins for you!
No muffins for you!


Joined: 09 May 2005
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Location: NY

When I go I like to get Breton or Vinta crackers and yogurt cheese. Such a good snack.
I really like some of their stir frys, which are perfect because I can't cook anything.

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Aquarius78
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 4:49 pm  Reply with quote
The Lexicon
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I thought this thread was going to be about scandalous newspaper gossip on Trader Joe's.

I mean I'm glad it's not, and I love shopping at TJ's, I'm just sayin... Wink

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Napalm
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 1:32 am  Reply with quote
Vertebrate
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Thanks for that Tofu tip. I just wish I would have had it last year when cheap tofu was more readily available to me.

That was always the biggest problem for me with Tofu. It just woud not absorb flavours unless you drowned it in sauce.
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Silly Lily
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:06 pm  Reply with quote
Saucy Seattle Sweetheart
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it absorbs flavors readily if you saute it!
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Spinning Leaf
PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 2:53 pm  Reply with quote
Primate
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i second that. go right from the pan into a bowl with the sauce. you need not drown it.

also, i just had the Spicy Apple Cider from there. very good.

thanks for the breton/yogurt cheese tip, sarah. i was pleased.

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phool2056
PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:37 pm  Reply with quote
Primate
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My friend William will saute tofu with peanut type stuff at every opportunity. It is very strange.

I love Trader Joe empanadas. For an extremely easy microwave type foodstuff, they cannot be beat.

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Spinning Leaf
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 3:39 pm  Reply with quote
Primate
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the bags of roasted vegetables with balsamic sauce are very good provided you don't microwave them. Take the time follow the stovetop directions.


Last edited by Spinning Leaf on Thu Nov 02, 2006 7:58 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Silly Lily
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 7:47 pm  Reply with quote
Saucy Seattle Sweetheart
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the reducing makes it lighter?
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Spinning Leaf
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 7:57 pm  Reply with quote
Primate
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ah, crap no (slapping self on forhead).

i did not mean to imply that.

to start over.

Scattered among the frozen vegetables are little pellet-like globs that, when heated, become the buttery balsamic sauce (too much, in my opinion). Microwaving the mix just melts them and you're left with vegetables drowning in a tasty but greasy/oily/fatty/whatever sauce that you really can't have too much of (I actually used a slotted spoon to remove the portion of vegetables i planned on eating).

reducing, as you'd expect, concentrated the flavors and reduced the quantity of liquid present making it far more edible...not lighter as i had stated earlier.

my mistake. i shall edit now.
(thanks for pointing that out lily. at times, i am, at best, retarded.)

Post Script: I can actually see the "excessive" amount of sauce working out if you're spooning this over some sort of rice, pasta, or mashed potatoe type thing...but as a side on it's own, it's too much.

Post II: I forgot to mention that the stovetop directions also instruct you to add some water to the mix. I'm assuming this was meant to dillute...? I don't know, I didn't do it.

hopefully this is the last thing i'll have to say about this bag and we can talk about other products instead...i also bought a box fried eggplant slices...we'll see how those turn out.

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Silly Lily
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:56 pm  Reply with quote
Saucy Seattle Sweetheart
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awww, you're not retarded.

i haven't been to trader joe's in ages. i don't like the chocolate they use, it's ghirardelli.
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Spinning Leaf
PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 1:16 pm  Reply with quote
Primate
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Spinning Leaf wrote:
...i also bought a box fried eggplant slices...we'll see how those turn out.


excellent.

they don't need to thaw for very long, they cook quickly on the stove, and taste great with a little marinara.

highly recommended.

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sarah hayley
PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 7:10 pm  Reply with quote
No muffins for you!
No muffins for you!


Joined: 09 May 2005
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How fried are they? Healthy enough or fried food-fried, if you know what I mean?

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Spinning Leaf
PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 3:18 am  Reply with quote
Primate
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i know exactly what you mean. they are not chicken nugget style Fried Food fried...if anything, the coating is pretty light but not exactly tempura style either. i didn't feel bad eating it and the coating never got in the way of the eggplant flavor (which is surprisingly strong). Also, I was extremely pleased to see that the bag was full of irregularly shaped slices...always nice to know that it's a genuine slice and not some eggplant mash shaped into a patty.

im going to go with healthy enough.

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sarah hayley
PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 9:46 am  Reply with quote
No muffins for you!
No muffins for you!


Joined: 09 May 2005
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Mmmm sounds good. I'll see if it's at my TJs the next time I go.

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Fwching
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 3:56 pm  Reply with quote
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Spinning Leaf wrote:

mochi (japanese ice cream pastry thing - mango esp.)
crispy orange chicken (much better than you'd think)


The green tea ice cream mochi is amazing.
They also have this great frozen Malaysian rice dish... not sure what it's called.

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Spinning Leaf
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 4:16 pm  Reply with quote
Primate
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I'm not much of a green tea guy (hate how it's practically the only flavor of muffin mix they have right now in the manhattan store) but mochi is so good im willing to experiment.

also good for dessert with Trader Joe items:

blend:
-vanilla (or plain) yogurt
-frozen strawberries

add Vanilla & Almond "Just The Clusters" "cereal"
eat/slurp

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Silly Lily
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 4:18 pm  Reply with quote
Saucy Seattle Sweetheart
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muffin mix? asifff, they're so easssssyyyyyy!!

and i like green tea. green tea mochi is yummy but it's not very sweet so don't be expecting that.
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Spinning Leaf
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 4:30 pm  Reply with quote
Primate
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regular muffins perhaps but im specifically looking for pumpkin muffin mix (which i am too lazy to make - i know it can't be all that easy) so that i might throw in some globs of pumpkin butter before baking. now those are good.

bah, ive got to run some stuff over to the guys. good bye

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Silly Lily
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 4:31 pm  Reply with quote
Saucy Seattle Sweetheart
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OH MY GOD. DON'T! PUMPKIN MUFFINS ARE SO SO EASY! I JUST MADE UP MY OWN RECIPE BECAUSE I COULDN'T FIND ONE I LIKED EXACTLY SO I'LL WRITE IT UP FOR YOU. IT TAKES ME ONLY ABOUT 10 MINUTES. MAKE THEMMMMMMM.
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Spinning Leaf
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:32 pm  Reply with quote
Primate
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you'll have to make some for me and send them because im a pretty terrible baker.

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Silly Lily
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:40 pm  Reply with quote
Saucy Seattle Sweetheart
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OKAY!

(you should just stop by philly around thanksgiving, i'm sure i'll make dave some)
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Silly Lily
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:41 pm  Reply with quote
Saucy Seattle Sweetheart
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ps. if you can make a mix you can make my recipe. it's foolproof since you just mix it all at once.
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Spinning Leaf
PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:33 am  Reply with quote
Primate
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Silly Lily wrote:
OKAY!

(you should just stop by philly around thanksgiving, i'm sure i'll make dave some)


that sounds incredibly tempting...if only i wasn't flying to south carolina. that's the worst part about this thanksgiving. I'm flying to meet up with family down there on Thanksgiving day so I don't get to do any cooking. I just show up and eat. If you know anything about me based on this section of the board, you know why this makes me sad.

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Silly Lily
PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 1:07 pm  Reply with quote
Saucy Seattle Sweetheart
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none?? at all??


well if you get bored, you should just run off to philly. i'll be there for like a week and i'm going to have to figure out someway to cook in dave's pot-less dorm room.
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podbaydoor
PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 1:14 pm  Reply with quote
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My dorm has a kitchen in the basement, and one of my friends likes to cook so between the four of us we have enough impromptu implements to put together an actual Thanksgiving dinner this Sunday. :3

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Silly Lily
PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 1:18 pm  Reply with quote
Saucy Seattle Sweetheart
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aww. that's lovely. dave's dorm room has a kitchen in it but he has NOTHING so it's very hard to cook there. last time i improvised and made chocolates but it was hard. i'm talking no mixing bowls, no spoons, no spices, nothing.


and i love him anyway.
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