Google Tag

Search This Blog

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Trader Joe's Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry

Trader Joe's has cauliflower filling the shoes of rice, pizza crust, mashed potatoes, and burger patties, among other things. Here, it's reprising its classic ricey role, but this time, it's part of a complete stir fry meal—well, complete if you're fine eating stir fry sans meat, or even fake meat of any kind. Surprisingly, I was more than happy with it that way. Sonia was too.

Not only is it full of peas, corn, and peppers, but there's already a good bit of savory flavor thanks to the blend of tamari, onion, sesame oil, and ginger. I had to look up "tamari." In this case, it's soybeans, salt, and spirit vinegar. Then, I had to look up "spirit vinegar." Is it related to spirit gum? Is it really that close to Halloween? We haven't even started pumpkin pandemonium yet. Turns out it's a vinegar that's distilled from the ectoplasmic residue of ghosts and otherworldly beings. Oh, no wait. That's what I assumed it was before I looked it's actually...well, here's the link I found. You can read it yourself if you're as culinarily ignorant as I am...ahem, was.

The blend of veggies is very well balanced against the base of riced cauliflower. In our case, each veggie was pristine, whole, and was extremely high quality in both taste and texture. The combo of seasonings is subtle, but goes a long way toward making this a stand-alone side dish. I wasn't even craving extra salt or pepper. There's something surprisingly addictive about this product. I mean, I thought the same thing about the riced cauli by itself, but this particular mixture is even more enjoyable in some ways.

We even tried adding it to some leftover food from the local Chinese place since we had run out of white rice. It worked surprisingly well with my Kung Pao Scallops. I'd be willing to bet it'd go just fine with less exotic selections like beef or chicken, too.

A normal bag of riced cauliflower will run you $1.99 at TJ's, and this offering costs exactly a dollar more. Couldn't you simply buy a bag of mixed veggies and stir it into a bag of riced cauliflower while altering the amount of veggies to suit your personal taste? Sure could. And it would probably cost about the same, or maybe even a little less. But as far as pre-mixed concoctions go, I can't imagine a much better blend—certainly not a blend with more universal appeal than this one. It seems pretty safe to me. If you like mixed vegetables and riced cauliflower, you're probably not gonna hate this.

Four stars a piece here.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Trader Joe's Gochujang Flavored Almonds


Gotta admit: Never heard of it. Not sure how to pronounce it. Every time I type it, I've had to look back and make sure I'm spelling it right. Go-chu-jang. I'd butcher that any which way I could, for sure.

Must say something about how relatively sheltered my palate has been that a lot of my exposure to imported flavors have come from Trader Joe's. I mean, I'm a guy who's excited that Panda Express and their legendary orange chicken is finally coming to Pittsburgh. So, once again, forgive me here, as I have no other gochujang experience to relate to Trader Joe's Gochujang Flavored Almonds...

...but holy smokitos, these are some blazing almonds. These just be the spiciest widely commercially available product I've had. These nuts are the kinda deal where it doesn't really hit you right upfront, but more steadily builds and builds with each bite. Sandy's only had a few and has said she doesn't think they're that hot, but trust

And, even better, it's a somewhat complex spice as well. Gochujand is apparently the name for a certain type of red chili paste that's a little sweet, a lot spicy, and definitely multilayered. I almost hate making the comparison, but think of the seasoning of Chex Mix condensed down into a more concentrated, potent powder. Some soy/Worcestershire sauce. Garlic salt. A few extra shakes of chili powder. Intensified. It's the best, easily relatable comp I can think of. Even then, it's not quite that. There's just this little sweetness, this little kiss of sugar, that somehow sneaks in through all of that just to keep it all grounded. Also, there's almost like a fermented savoriness at work here - makes sense with what I've learned about gochujang - and it just all ties together unbelievably well.

The almonds make a great base for really showcasing the spice, as well. Nicely roasted, crunchy, very munchable. The gochujang mix doesn't stick to the nuts all that well, which is just as well, as it's very potent...but man, the nuts at the bottom of the bag are gonna be spicy af. I'm looking forward to them, but not without some trepidation.

The bag cost only like $5 for 12 ounces. Not a bad deal. I'd be remiss of my duties that consumers may, like myself, experience some, um, digestive consequences after eating. Nothing so awful I won't go back for more, but there's a, um, pattern that's been established here. Let me keep that at that, please. After all - fermented product. I honestly have no real complaints and will probably snack on them and buy as long as they're available, and I'm sure I can get Sandy hooked on them too.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Gochujang Flavored Almonds: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

You Might Like: