Nah, seriously, courtesy of Pam AKA the Frozen Queen. Must be payback from that one time I demanded she find me churros and find me churros NOW. I've nagged her every time I've seen her since about anything new and interesting, and I guess this time she skipped the small talk and got right down to some serious appetizer business. "You gotta try them!" was all she said with a wink and a smile. Yes, ma'am!
Sorry it took me so long to get around to them, Pam. You wouldn't think it'd take a guy like me so long to finally try them out. But turning on the oven in this heat in a 101 year old brick house with no AC...you can understand, right?
Well, as it turns out, you don't have to stick them in the oven. Once I actually looked at the box, a recommended cooking method is zapping them to defrost a little, then sizzling in a skillet for a few minutes. I really hoped this make a perfectly acceptable, semi-greasy, crispy, spring roll full of warm veggie material - Kale! Edamame! Forget all the salt, this is health food! - that would be worthy of a full stamp of approval.
Oh, so close.
Everything else seemed right, or close to it, at least. The veggie mix - kale, edamame, mushroom, carrots - were about on par for a frozen spring roll, and blended nicely with the little bits of tofu in there. Nothing seemed too chunk or stood out too strongly, which was welcome from a textural standpoint - even Sandy ate them without complaint, and normally mushrooms make her gag. Those veggies were seasoned fairly liberally with soy sauce and salt, and probably would have been better if more restrained. A little bit of black pepper helps balance that out, though.
For a small handful of bucks (maybe $3 or $4) I can't say I was overly thrilled, but wasn't terribly disappointed either. Sometimes a spring roll is just a spring roll and that has to be okay. Such is the case here. Sandy liked them a little more than I did, and we'd buy again.
Just hope Pam doesn't throw anything else at me after this review.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Vegetable Spring Rolls: 6.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons