Tag Archives: fresh

When is pasta not pasta? When it’s mushroom.

2 Mar

For me, cooking is usually an arts-and-crafts project or a science experiment. I imagine that certain flavors will go together well and then test the theory.

Other times, I challenge myself by trying to recreate an amazing dish I’ve had at a restaurant. Like I did this week.

Recently, I went with friends to John Bentley’s in Redwood City, Calif. Everything on the menu sounded delicious and I thought it was going to be hard to decide what to order, until I got to the end of the menu and found: “Trumpet Mushroom “Pappardelle” with tomato, garlic, basil,Kalamatas, edamame and Pecorino Romano.”

Mushroom Pappardelle

A carbless delicious beauty from John Bentley’s

The waiter said the chef created Pappardelle from mushrooms. The dish had a red sauce, and it was like a pasta dish without the pasta. I was so intrigued I had to order it. And WOW! It was SO delicious!

A week later, I decided to try to recreate the dish with a few embellishments.

For my mushroom pasta, I did not use edamame or fresh basil, although there was basil in the pasta sauce. I used shiitake mushrooms, garlic, Kalamata olives, spinach, onion, tofu and a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan on top. I went with the short cut of using Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Maranara sauce.

I started by sautéing garlic and onion in olive oil.

Step one, saute onions and garlic in olive oil.

Onions and garlic sautéed in olive oil.

Then I added the mushrooms, olives, tofu and spinach.

A garden in a skillet

Ingredients. Not pictured: sauce, cheese.

After the vegetables were softened, about 10-15 minutes, I poured in some marinara sauce, sprinkled shredded Parmesan on top and. SOOO good!! (To make it vegan, don’t add the cheese at the end.)

As you can tell with the difference in ingredients and stage presence, it wasn’t exactly the meal I had at John Bentley’s, but it was close enough and very satisfying!

Give it a try!  Add your own twists, and please share your recipe thoughts in the comments.

Bon appetite!

Fresh lavender: A peaceful way to begin the week

14 Jul

In my book, the only thing better than breathing fresh air is breathing fresh lavender!

I was thinking about lavender the other day, and wondered if TJ’s would be offering buckets of cut stems any time soon. Then I went to pick up a few things and lo and behold…

Trader Joe's welcomes customers with fresh lavender

A fragrant welcome

Maybe I should try thinking about winning the lottery, and then buy a ticket?

A taste of springtime: Homemade lemonade

24 Apr

It’s the end of April in the Midwest, among other places. In Missouri we had sleet yesterday, and today, we woke up to 30-degree temps and wind chills in the 20s.

But when I stepped into Trader Joe’s last weekend, I could have sworn it was spring! In fact, it could have been verging on summer the way the store was decked out.

Case in point:

A glass of sunshine. Just add a spritz of clear skies, rainbows and unicorns.

A glass of sunshine. Just add a spritz of clear skies, rainbows and unicorns.

It’s a scene that instantly transports me to age 11, visiting my cousins in Memphis, Tenn., running around barefoot in their family’s sprawling, soft, overgrown yard.

The adults sprawled in aluminum folding chairs with loosely woven green-and-white striped plastic strips. They’d sit in those chairs for hours drinking lemonade. And we’d leave our glasses of summer’s nectar by them as we ran around aimfully.

The moms and dads and grandparents would stand up to get a refreshing refill, and they’d have criss-cross red marks on the backs of their legs where their shorts had ridden up from the plastic chairing.

Lemonade is what sunny days taste like.

Thanks for the memories, Trader Joe’s.

And thank you for stopping by. Please visit anytime and leave a kind thought.

Lemonade recipes:

From AllRecipes.com

From Food Network/Paula Deen

From Chow

Snow Peas: Snack of the day from Trader Joe’s

5 Apr

Coming clean: I sit at a computer during the day and at night. And on weekends. For work. For fun activity and personal projects.

It’s my writing tool, my publishing platform, my darkroom, my editing suite, and theater, television, radio, jukebox, newspaper, magazine, universal messaging system …

And then there’s the smart phone and tablet for those moments I stray from the mother ship.

The sad truth. There it is.

And when I’m working, playing, watching, listening, processing and creating, I often like to snack.

Even though my habits are more sedentary and less healthy, that doesn’t mean I don’t care about what I eat. I strive to live up to my mantra: “Snack smartly.”

This week’s smart snack from Trader Joe’s: Snow peas.

Snow peas, please

Smart snack: Snow peas

With bags of chips, cans of nuts and boxes of cookies, I have to ration my intake very consciously. If not, the entire contents of each container quickly and mysteriously vanishes. How does that happen?

Watching or rationing is not required when eating snow peas, the prototype healthy snack. Check out the related links below to find out just how healthy.

Thank you, Trader Joe’s!

And thank you for visiting Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Pinterest: Trader Joe’s

Like Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Facebook: Things I Love at Trader Joe’s

Related links:

Snow pea nutrition count

Snow pea recipes (allrecipes.com)

Spicy snow pea and sesame stir-fry recipe (Chow.com)

Another pretty breath of spring – Tulip time at TJ’s

15 Feb

When daffodils are around, tulips can’t be far behind. And they’re not, at Trader Joe’s.

Ah, spring!

Poetry in a bunch

It’s tulip time at Trader Joe’s

Thanks, Trader Joe’s!

And thank you for visiting Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Pinterest: Trader Joe’s

Related links:

About tulips

20 facts about tulips


Daffodils when it rains. Perfect. Just what I needed.

30 Jan

The world’s been a little topsy turvy lately, and the weather has been leading the tumult.

Yesterday, in Kansas City, we hit a record high of 76 degrees for that day. Thunderstorms overnight left us with a still-balmy awakening, but by mid morning the temperature started turning south, and it was downright chills and drizzle by the time I left work and headed for a quick trip to Trader Joe’s.

I was carried through the entryway in a swirl of floral scents, but I was rushing in from the cold and didn’t take as much notice as when I was leaving.

On my way out, I lingered to whiff a while. Just standing still, letting go of the day’s rush and filling my lungs with daffodil air made me feel so good. On a cold and dreary night, the little plants, sitting pretty like it was a sunny spring day, were just what I needed. A wintertime spirit lifter.

Daffodils from Trader Joe's

“I wandered lonely as a cloud…”

Thanks much, Trader Joe’s.

And thank you for visiting Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Pinterest: Trader Joe’s

Related links

Daffodils, by William Wordsworth

American Daffodil Society

From the Flower Expert

Potato pancakes how you like ’em: From Trader Joe’s freezer or from scratch

10 Dec

A staple of Hanukkah food is a serving of the traditional Hanukkah “Latkes.” In English, that means potato pancakes. Although they might look like a patty of hash browns, done right, they pack more potato punch than any shredded starch side dish you’ve ever had.

In Trader Joe’s style, we have options when it comes to latkes. The store offers a package of frozen ‘kes as a holiday specialty.

Latkes are potato pancakes

You say, “potato pancakes.” I say, “latkes.” Let’s just eat!

I tried one today – but I cooked it in a way that might be considered a sin against latke and Trader Joe’s. Instead of searing it or baking it, as recommended on the package and from thousands of years of Jewish cooking, I steamed it. I can be weird like that.

It was good! The flavor was tasty. Baked or seared, it would have been crispier, and I like a crispy latke. But I steamed it, and I was OK with my decision. At risk of committing further blasphemy, I’d recommend having a package on hand for times when latkes are demanded but time is short and hunger is urgent.

Of course, there’s the old school, make-your-own latke choice, too. TJ’s has a bag of the most colorful potatoes you’ll ever see. (If you’ve seen more colorful potatoes, please share your photos with us!)

A sack of potatos - latkes in the raw.

Trader Joe’s Potato Medley. Harmony in nature.

Basically, a latka is comprised of potato, onion and matzoh or bread crumbs. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper. Pan fry it in some oil and eat it with some apple sauce, sour cream or as it comes naturally from the stove.

Potato pancakes are also one of those dishes – like ravioli – that are a part of the cuisine of many cultures. I’d recommend exploring all of the flavors enjoyed with the cakes from different parts of the world, like Austria, Poland, India, Iran and Switzerland.

Toda rabah, Trader Joe’s!

And thank you for visiting Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Pinterest: Trader Joe’s

Related Links:

Review from What’s Good at Trader Joe’s?

AllRecipes potato latkes

Epicurious potato latkes

Martha Stewart latkes recipes

Chow latkes recipes


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