Google Tag

Search This Blog

Friday, July 6, 2018

Trader Joe's Blue Cheese Stuffed Chalkidiki Olives

You've heard of the summer of love...this summer just might be the summer of olives here.

Years ago, if you would have told me that my lovely bride would like olives that weren't just of the canned and black variety, I would have laughed. That's just not what she did...along with many other foods.  Like meatloaf or steak or most red meats or Thai food or chili or pickles or most veggies or anything. I remember asking with trepidation when we were dating if it'd be okay if I made her chocolate chip cookies. I had a really picky girlfriend, apparently, which really adds to the confusion of why she ever picked me.

Now she loves all that stuff, pretty sure me as well, and when she does something like pick up some olives and other cool goodies off a grocery store salad bar to bring home for dinner, it's just not terribly surprising. We've done that a few times recently. The slightly pickled garlic cloves? Awesome! Time changes you, I guess.

Still, Sandy's pretty hesitant about Trader Joe's Blue Cheese Stuffed Chalkidiki Olives. She hasn't tried them, still kinda sticking to her claim that she doesn't like green olives.

I'll get her to, though. Oh I will. Unless I eat all of them first.

I've never heard of a "chalkidiki" olive before. Apparently they're named after a region of Greece and are basically just big and green. That's more or less how they taste as well - big and green, and perhaps a little firmer than the smaller, pimento stuffed olives I'm more accustomed to from growing up.

The creamy cheese filling is pretty delicious, too. Took me a second or thrid read when I noticed the lack of usual bleu cheese bite...but it's not "bleu" cheese, it's "blue" cheese." Well, whatever. It's soft and creamy, a lot  like cream cheese, and jives really well with the olive to make a cool, refreshing, salty snack or addition to antipasto platter.

And typing this I just realized the true appeal to me...

Growing up, on occasion, my mom would make us cream cheese and olive sandwiches. Maybe that sounds odd, but they're delicious. Granted, they were made with those aforementioned pimentoed olives and Philadelphia cream cheese, and the ingredients in these Greek-inspired TJ's olives are perhaps a little fancier than that. But there's still a familiar, yet fancier vibe. I dig it.

It's only a couple bucks for a huge jar. I think it's about $3 or $, but I've misplaced the receipt so I'm open to correction. It strikes me as a decent enough value, and something I hope we pick up on a regular basis this summer as we swelter through and hot dinners just don't sound as appetizing while living in a 100 year old, well insulated brick house with no AC. It's like a Thermos. Great in winter, but not right now. Unlike this olives...if it's the summer of olives, bring it on.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Blue Cheese Stuffed Chalkidiki Olives: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Trader Joe's Grilled Jerk Chicken Thigh Skewers

I know it's kind of juvenile and gross, but I just can't get the idea out of my head that these are somehow gophers or other small rodents just plopped on sticks and fire roasted au naturale—like something you'd see Bear Grylls whip up for supper in a far-flung mountain range. I mean, clearly, they were cooked on a grill (I hope), since they come with grill marks already on them, but their size and shape—and even their texture to some degree—suggests that they could be something other than chicken.

I'm not saying they ARE any of those non-poultry animals. When the ingredients say "chicken," I'm not so cynical YET as to simply disbelieve it outright. I'm just saying there's something foreign about the texture here. It's not a bad texture, it's just an odd texture for chicken if you ask me.

It's mysteries like these that are steering Sonia and I away from meat altogether. Sonia actually sat this one out, proudly waving her newfound pescatarian flag high. At this point in the game, I'm more "flexitarian," happily seizing the opportunity to review jerk chicken for this blog as my only meaty meal in the past week or two.

So yeah. Unusual, but not terrible, in the texture department. The chicken was super soft. It came off the sticks in juicy little bite-sized chunks and didn't need a lot of chewing. Not rubbery in the slightest. Still, there was the suggestion that the chicken was processed along with a good bit of fat, gristle, and skin, and wasn't just traditional dark meat thigh pieces.

Flavor-wise, these aren't nearly intense enough to bear the label "jerk chicken" in my humble opinion. I've only had Jamaican jerk chicken twice in my life, and both times, there was a much more significant kick to the spice. There's just enough here to be flavorful. There is a mild lingering heat to this product, though, that shows up a little late to the party. Especially when masked by the semi-sweet mango chutney, there's very little spiciness up front. For that reason, I would have just as readily consumed the skewers with some good old-fashioned barbecue sauce as I would something so exotic as pureed mango and chutney spices.

Six skewers in the box for $5.49. Decent value. They're better than the other chicken skewers we used to see around TJ's, but that's not saying a whole lot. I doubt I'd get them again, but glad I tried them. I'm torn between 3 and 3.5 stars, so we'll go with one of each since I'm scoring on behalf of Sonia.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

You Might Like: