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Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - February 2013 [OLD]

Starting a new thread for February since we are fast approaching 300 posts on the January thread - looking forward to the new Fearless Flyer coming out soon!

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  1. Not new to TJ's but new to me…

    Yay - Dutch Pancakes / aebleskivers (frozen) - Far exceeded my expectations. If you're unfamiliar with aebleskivers they're basically pancake balls. Shockingly good for something out of the freezer

    Yay - Green Olive Tapenade - Far more chunky and toothsome than I expected including chunks of peppers and onion which made it perfectly suited for making zero prep muffaletta sandwiches. Will definitely be a permeant fixture in my pantry from now on.

    7 Replies
    1. re: NuMystic

      those aebleskivers are lovely (But I believe they are Danish, not Dutch)! A friend who was an exchange student in Denmark and goes back frequently keeps 2-3 bags in her freezer at all times.

      1. re: jujuthomas

        They most certainly are Danish Pancakes, thanks for catching that!

      2. re: NuMystic

        Love both of these... I keep a jar of the tepenade at my work fridge to change up sandwiches or to make a quick snack... The Dutch Pancakes work well in the microwave... but actually are BEST when done up in the oven... they get a nice crisp edge! :)

        --Dommy!

        1. re: Dommy

          I had to go to Marshalls (on my friends orders, lol) to get a jar of REAL, manufactured-in-Denmark lingonberry jam to go with the aebleskivers. delish.

          1. re: jujuthomas

            Ikea also has imported lingonberry jam in huge stacks year round, but I can't comment on the quality having never bought it myself.

            1. re: NuMystic

              The Ikea stuff is good... no great... but pretty tasty still! :)

              --Dommy!

              1. re: NuMystic

                If you have a Marshalls, TJ Maxx or HomeGoods, look for Scandinavian Delights lingonberry fruit spread. made in Denmark. it's the only kind my friend will buy, she says the Ikea stuff is not the "real thing" :-D

        2. The new (to me) Roasted Coconut Chips are addictive. Sweet, crunchy, and full of fat :)

          3 Replies
          1. re: Boston_Otter

            I was just about to mention those, when I read your post!
            They are great!

            1. re: Boston_Otter

              Good stuff indeed, particularly when watching a mate completely ignore the nutrition label bag after bag...

              1. re: Boston_Otter

                I can't stop snacking on these. I about devoured an entire bag in one sitting. Definite yay!

              2. Not new, but I cannot get enough of the Unexpected Cheddar. Love love love it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                  I agree the Unexpected Cheddar taste is great. But it's so crumbly! Hard to put on a cracker.

                2. Yay: PB and J Milk Chocolate Bar - if you like PB and J sandwiches and you like chocolate then you will love these. A sprinkling of sea salt really brought out their flavor well.

                  Nay: Raspberry and Cream Bars - I did not like these half as much as I liked the Mango and Cream Bars. Sorry to say but they looked and tasted like pepto bismal to me. Mango and Cream Bars have already been a multiple repeat buy for us, but the Raspberry kind will not.

                  Moderate Yay: British Crumpets - had heard great things about these, but they crumbled apart on me as though they were stale when I tried to slice them in half to toast them. However, once toasted and slathered in butter and honey, they were rather good.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: littleflower

                    Good to know about the raspberry cream bars -- they would have been next on my list to try.

                    Are those crumpets meant to be sliced in half? And by that, I'm picturing them being sliced in half like an English muffin, but the crumpets are one whole piece. I always just put them in the toaster oven whole, let them get toasty and crispy, then butter and jam (or butter and whole milk ricotta, nutella optional). Whatever I top them with is delicious. I love crumpets! I've been buying them weekly for my Downton Abbey viewing parties ;)

                    1. re: calmossimo

                      Littleflower, I don't think crumpets are meant to be fork-split like an english muffin. I've always toasted them whole and topped with a nice big pat of kerrygold.

                      Calmossimo, lemon curd and clotted cream would also be fitting!

                      1. re: ohmyyum

                        Ohhhh, clotted cream. That would be wonderful.

                        1. re: calmossimo

                          Do you have a world market near you? They carry clotted cream, as well as many other imported British foods.

                          1. re: ohmyyum

                            The nearest world market is about 45+ min away... but I make the trek on rare occasion. I have a well stocked natural foods market near me that I suspect might have clotted cream (but at what prices, I'm not sure). I'll check for it next time.

                        2. re: ohmyyum

                          Indeed, they are not meant to be split or sliced. And I second the Kerrygold recommendation.

                          1. re: Rilke

                            Third for Kerrygold...really an outstanding butter and soo much cheaper at TJ's than anywhere else around.

                            1. re: littleflower

                              One of our local Jewel stores started carrying Kerrygold at $5.99!! I saw that and just laughed and laughed.

                          2. re: ohmyyum

                            Ah, perhaps that is why they did crumble so much...thanks for the tip!! BTW...if anyone is looking to experiment with a sweet spin on them, do try putting on a bit of honey - really made the difference.

                          3. re: calmossimo

                            Yeah, the raspberry ones just didn't wow me like the mango and cream ones did...definitely give the mango ones a try if you have not already.

                            Will have to try them toasted whole with the nutella - yum!!

                          4. re: littleflower

                            I lived in the UK for many years and miss crumpets. I was thrilled to see them. Crumpets always need toasting anyway. These were okay if maybe a bit chewier than I would get in the UK.

                          5. YAY: February spotlight cheese, fresh unripened triple cream Brie. $2.99/ small, 4oz round. No rind, super mild, rich, buttery flavor. It is kind of what you might expect if Brie and farmers cheese had a love child. I yay'd this on the last thread but I loved it so much I thought it was worth a repeat mention. I hope they keep this one around.

                            Yay: mozzarella sticks. $3.99, frozen. Very lightly breaded with panko breadcrumbs and well-seasoned. Baked up wonderfully brown and melty in a covection toaster oven; not sure they would hold up to deep-frying because of how little breading there is.

                            23 Replies
                            1. re: ohmyyum

                              I am now really craving these new mozzarella sticks...officially putting it at the top of my TJ's "must try" list.

                              1. re: littleflower

                                Make sure you have friends to share with. The fat is high...but...dip it in a marinara sauce...Too Good!

                              2. re: ohmyyum

                                Unfortunately since it is the spotlight cheese it most likely will not be around for long :-(

                                1. re: Rilke

                                  Do they not add the ones that sell particularly well to their regular selection??? I think this one will be popular, not only for its own wonderful qualities, but for it's very affordable price point.

                                  1. re: ohmyyum

                                    Sometimes it isn't possible to keep them, as it was an opportunity buy and no longer available at the same price.

                                    Maybe they'll be able to keep this one. I don't know. . . . but I am looking forward to trying it.

                                  1. re: ohmyyum

                                    Nay - Sweet Potato Tots - Loved the idea but even baking longer than the suggested time didn't get them crispy, and flavor wasn't all that great either.

                                    Yay - Mozzerella Sticks - Nothing special, but a slightly better than average incarnation for this bit of 80's nostalgia.

                                    Meh - Unripened Brie. - Enjoyable enough, but given how everyone has been raving I was hoping for something better. Actually prefer the normal wedge of commercial BJ's brie, and I'll take TJ's Delice de Bourgogne or Cambozola over this any day.

                                    1. re: NuMystic

                                      Then I'm glad my store was out of the sweet potato tots when I tried to buy them! Now I don't have to bother (though I probably will just to see for myself because I also love the idea)

                                      1. re: AmyH

                                        If you get yours crispy do share Amy. I'm guessing that with some experimenting at least that could be improved, but I made the whole batch at once and plated before realizing they were still on the mushy side so I can't offer any additional insight.

                                        1. re: NuMystic

                                          I tried the sweet potato tots, and too was disappointed about the lack of crispness. But making sweet potatoes crisp is tricky by any standard.

                                          http://www.instructables.com/id/Perfe...
                                          stresses not crowding the pieces, and not letting them overlap.

                                          1. re: paulj

                                            No doubt about it Paul. I won't even order sweet potato fries in most restaurants if I don't already know they've got it down. (usually the battered and double fried)

                                            Heated the tots spread way out on a baking sheet so nothing even close to overlapping. With these I'm guessing a LOT longer would be needed than the listed time (I already added another 5 min) turning frequently or on a small grid wire rack.

                                          2. re: NuMystic

                                            Maybe you could take a small blowtorch to them after they're out of the oven? :)

                                            1. re: NuMystic

                                              I finally cooked the sweet potato tots tonight. I cranked up the oven to 450 (instead of the 400 on the instructions) and baked them for the 30 minutes the instructions said. They weren't crispy, but they seemed to be heading that way. I couldn't bake them longer because my DH started the hotdogs too early. I think another 10 minutes and they might have been ok. They aren't oily like regular tater tots, so we might be expecting too much. And they fell apart a bit when going from pan to serving bowl to plate. They tasted ok, maybe could have used a bit of salt. I'm not sure if I'd buy them again or not.

                                          3. re: NuMystic

                                            I think I like the unripened Brie sooo much because it doesn't have a rind. I always try to eat around the rind on normal Brie cheese because it tastes "musty" to me and I love the delicate flavor of the Brie paste (is that the correct terminology..?), especially with apricot or fig preserves.

                                            I tried the sweet potato tots when they were sampling them and even the guy doing the demo admitted that they were a disaster.

                                            1. re: ohmyyum

                                              Ah, fair enough. I actually don't mind the rind on normal brie at all.

                                              I think what I didn't care for about the unripened was a slight note of sour that I don't find in other brie. Don't get me wrong, it was pleasant enough to fully enjoy, but I just love the Delice and Cambozola that much more.

                                              1. re: NuMystic

                                                I just tried the unripened Brie and I like it very much, but like NuMystic, I don't find it as outstanding as others are describing. I actually enjoy the rind on normal brie, so that doesn't make this unripened kind more attractive.

                                                I do like that it's sold in a small enough portion (4 oz.) that I can enjoy it for a week and feel like I'm not overindulging on Brie in my single-person household.

                                                I haven't ever tried the Delice de Bourgogne... maybe next time.

                                                1. re: calmossimo

                                                  I have on a couple of occasions paired the Delice de Bourgogne with a Cave L’Aurance Cremant de Bourgogne Brut.
                                                  Simply delicious.

                                                  1. re: calmossimo

                                                    I adored the unripened brie... It had such a wonderful BRIGHT flavor that is missing from many cheeses....

                                                    I love Delice, but it's a completely different beast from the unripened... In fact, for a traditional cheese plate, I might replace a fresh goat cheese with the unriped and keep something like the Delice

                                                    --Dommy!

                                                2. re: ohmyyum

                                                  I'm feeling much less inclined to try those sweet potato tots!

                                                3. re: NuMystic

                                                  I panfried the tots in my crepe pan (no oil or anything) and shook them around quite a bit for about 6 minutes and they came out crispy! (This was after baking them for 10 min)

                                                  1. re: NuMystic

                                                    Last year we redid our kitchen and for at least a month, relied on premade entrees from Trader Joe's at least three times a week to get us through.

                                                    Both the meat lasagna and the roasted veg lasagna were delicious and well worth the price.

                                                    The orange chicken (with a bag of frozen peppers thrown in) and the beef broccoli stir fry were also frequent meals.

                                                    Also loved the sweet gnocchi as a side dish.

                                                    Would have loved the gnocchi with the red creamy sauce except there wasn't enough to really make two full sides.

                                                    1. re: NuMystic

                                                      They were sampling the sweet potato tots last night, and I agree that they are a nay. They had obviously tried to get them crisp--they were quite dark brown--but they were soggy nonetheless

                                                    2. re: ohmyyum

                                                      The unripened brie has practically the same flavor and texture as a Galician cows-milk cheese with the tongue-twisting name Arzua-Ulloa. I ate this cheese voraciously when I lived in Madrid, and this TJ cheese takes me (quite unexpectedly) right back to Spain.

                                                      It should remind people of queso tetilla as well, another Galicia cheese similar to Arzua-Ulloa.