Author Archive

WPC – Cork Silence – Photography

01/20/2018

trader joe, wine, review, cork, ocarossa, red blend, price

The cork is silent.  The air makes the pop.

Not quiet enough? Click here.

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Ocarossa – Cuvée Rosso – NV- Wine Review – Trader Joe’s

01/20/2018

Trader Joe's, red wine, review, price, ocarossa, cuvee rosso, red gooseJanuary 20, 2018

This is a medium-bodied, but still dry and earthy red wine. There are no negatives to this wine. It is an unpretentious red table wine. Pour it straight from the bottle and enjoy with food.  Think red when selecting a food for pairing; red sauce, spicy red pepper, red meat.  The lighter body makes this a good wine to help get the food down. There’s no dainty sipping at the dinner table.

I like this wine.  However, it’s a different wine than most on the shelves today.  The flavor profile or style is different from most of its neighbors.  I’m going to call this old-school wine; earthy, dry and good.

Two things are of interest.  One is the somewhat disjointed backstory on the bottle explaining how this wine got its name.  There are mosquitos, birds, woods, a pond, a red goose, a zen master (?) and of course grape vines in the story.  All this, I suppose, means the grapes are grown in harmony with nature.  And the name?  “Oca rossa” means red goose in Italian.  Ocarossa is the red goose that lives in the pond.

trader joe, wine, review, cork, ocarossa, red blend, priceThe second noteworthy item is the cork.  This is corkscrew-less cork.  Just grab the top of the cork protruding from the bottle, twist and pull the cork until out.  Everyone needs one of these for their cork collection.

Price $5.99.

Meat Lovers Vegetarian Chili – Recipe

01/20/2018

recipe, food, vegetarian, soy chorizo, beans, chiliYes, this is a vegetarian recipe.  And yes, there should be no reason for your meat lover to turn up their nose at this.  If they do, it’s only because this is more than they can handle.  So maybe you need to trade in for a new one?

Notes

Chili at it’s best is a dump, heat and eat food.  And basically, so is this recipe.

What’s missing for a meat eater from a typical vegetarian chili is the meat texture and grease.  The Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo (or similar product) adds the texture.  Browning the Soy Chorizo in enough vegetable oil adds the “grease.”  The textured soy protein used as a base for the Soy Chorizo is an oil sponge.  The trick is to saturate the “sponge” with so much oil that it can’t absorb any more.  So start to “brown” the soy chorizo in about a tablespoon of oil, and as the oil is absorbed keep adding oil until the soy chorizo can’t absorb any more.  This will leave enough oil left over to help disperse the spices throughout the chili, leave a nice sheen over everything, and even create those small pools of oil that float to the top.

Between the spices in the soy chorizo and the chili beans, this recipe produces a pretty spicy chili even without adding additional spices.  In fact, it may be too spicy for some.  So be sure to taste before adding additional spices.

Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base contains salt.  For me that was enough salt without adding additional salt.

The easiest way to remove the plastic casing from the soy chorizo is, to cut the tube into about 3  pieces, then cut the plastic casing the long way to get to the soy chorizo.  The plastic casing is not edible.

Ingredients

1 – 15 ounce can chili beans with liquid

1 – 15 ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained but reserve liquid

1 – 12 ounce package Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo, plastic casing removed

1/2 –  medium onion, roughly diced

3-4 cloves garlic, roughly diced

1 – generous tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Seasoned Vegetable Base in one cup of hot water

4+ – tablespoons vegetable oil, see notes above

additional seasonings and spices to taste, e.g., cumin, chili powder, oregano, black pepper, red pepper, thyme, salt, etc.

Directions

Brown onions, garlic, and soy chorizo in oil, adding additional oil as needed to keep a “moist” consistency (see note above.)

Add chili beans, vegetable base in water, drained red kidney beans.  Bring to a simmer.  Stir in reserved liquid from red kidney beans to adjust thickness as needed.  Simmer with an occasional stir for about 10 minutes to distribute spices.  Taste and add additional spices as desired.

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WPC – Running Weathered – Photography

01/12/2018

wpc, weathered, photography, nik, classic car

Looking for more patina? Click here.

Trader Joe’s – Black Diamond Mature Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese – Food Review

01/12/2018

TJ, trader joe's, black diamond mature reserve, extra sharp cheddar, review, price, calories, nutritionJanuary 12, 2018
For a 4-year-old cheese, this cheese is surprisingly soft, but still firm. There is little crumbling when cut. There are no obvious crystals visible in the cheese. However once in the mouth some very fine crystals can be detected crunching between the teeth.  Crystals form as the cheese ages.

This is a very tasty cheddar with a nice and noticeable amount of natural sharpness. The sharpness lingers on the back of the tongue long after the cheese has left the mouth.  A little cheese goes a long way.  Unlike some other cheddars, the word sharp on the label has real meaning.  Some people may find this too sharp.  Without doing a side by side comparison, this is the best cheddar at TJ I’ve reviewed so far.

Calories 120 per ounce, price $8.99 per pound

Trader Joe’s – Cinnamon Apple Snack Sticks – Food Review

01/12/2018

Trader Joe's, apple cinnamon snack stick, review, price, calories, nutritionJanuary 12, 2018

So light you’ll eat the whole bag and never notice it. That is until you step on the scale.

These are mildly sweet, gently flavored cinnamon and apple, multi-grain snacks. Like all snacks they’re easy to like and even easier to eat. The grains used are;  corn flour, rice flour, and potato fiber (I know, not a grain).  They’re labelled gluten-free.

The really interesting thing about these is the shape. They are small hollow tubes. How do they do it?

 

Trader Joe's, apple cinnamon snack stick, review, price, calories, nutritionTrader Joe's, apple cinnamon snack stick, review, price, calories, nutrition

Price  $2.49 per 6 oz. bag

Calories  140  per ounce (28g)

WPC – Growing Grapes – Photography

01/07/2018

wpc, growth, photography, nik, grapes

Looking for more growth? Click here.

Trader Joe’s – Parmigiano Reggiano Stravecchio Cheese – Food Review

01/07/2018

tj, trader joe, review, calories, nutrition, price, cheese, parmigiano reggiano stravecchioJanuary 7, 2018

Recently reviewed here was a Trader Joe’s Parmesan cheese.  That was found to be okay, but nothing very special.  Today, reviewed is a Parmigiano Reggiano Stravecchio cheese imported from Italy by Trader Joe’s.  The first question is, what is stravecchio?  Stravecchio simply means; old, mature or extra aging.  This cheese is aged for 36 months, or 3 years, depending on how you count time.

In comparison to the previously reviewed TJ Parmesan cheese, this cheese is still hard, but easier to cut because it tends to crumble somewhat.  As for flavor, there’s no comparison.  This cheese is tons more flavorful and complex. There’s some nuttiness to the flavor but also hints of sweetness contained in an earthy base.

This is a very nice cheese to snack on.  It would be difficult to use this for a cheese tray, as it does not cut well into nicely shaped cubes due to its crumbly nature.  For cooking and sprinkling on salads, I still prefer the inexpensive everyday grated cheeses in the plastic containers.  At $14.99 a pound, this is a cheese that really needs to be savored by itself, rather than diluted with other food.  And when it is savored by itself, it’s a savoring experience.

Price $14.99 per pound   Calories, 110 per ounce (28g)

Trader Joe’s – Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese – Food Review

01/07/2018

TJ, trader joe's, cabot, extra sharp cheddar, review, price, calories, nutritionJanuary 7, 2018

This is a very nice cheese with a very good flavor. The cheese is sharp, but I wouldn’t call it extra sharp as the label does. The cheese is nicely aged to a crumbly consistency.  The cheese should be good for cooking as it melted nicely with a quick microwave test.  Per the label, the cheese is produced by a farmer’s cooperative, which is nice to know in this age of mega-scale industrial food production.  As a domestic cheese from the Northeast, it’s reasonably priced to boot.

Price  $6.99 per pound      Calories  110  per ounce (28g)

Trader Joe’s – Beef Chili with Beans – Food Review

01/02/2018

Trader Joes, beef chili with beans, review, price, calories, nutritionTrader Joes, beef chili with beans, review, price, calories, nutritionJanuary 2, 2018

This is a fairly spicy chili leaving a lingering heat at back of the roof of the mouth. However with the heat are overtones of sweet.  There’s a lot of tomato sauce in this chili, giving it a different flavor profile than most of the usual canned chili suspects on the supermarket shelves.  Along with the meat are two types of beans in the chili.  Jalapeno is listed on the label, which also helps explain part of the different flavor profile. If you’re open to a different flavor in your chili, you might like this. If you have a favorite brand of chili that you love, this may not be to your liking.

With recent low temperatures here at around -22 C (it always seems much colder using Celsius), this is a good winter warmer-upper.  For the environmentally inclined, chili with beans may also be a potential untapped source of a recycled fossil fuel. And it may be the all-convincing proof that global warming really is man-made.

Price – $1.99 per 15 ounce can

Calories – 210 per serving (about 2 servings per can)


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