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:
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
Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Location: your face!
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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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.
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.
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
Joined: 12 Feb 2005
Location: my home on the sea
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.
(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.
Joined: 12 Feb 2005
Location: my home on the sea
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.
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