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Trader Joe’s Chunky Salsa

A few people seemed to enjoy my Kroger Private Selection Salsa review so I’m back again with another salsa. I picked up this “Trader José’s” salsa for $1.99 USD, so expect another cheap salsa. It’s mild, and… well, it is mild. If you want plain, cheap, dare I say boring salsa, this is it!

While the Kroger Private Selection Salsa was probably going for an upscale/artisan look with the label, this Trader Joe item is full on “Mexican Restaurant in America” style. It’s fine. Say “fine” to the salsa. It’s 10 calories per serving but I eat half a jar at a time so whatever.

I had to spice it up a bit, and instead of the Sriracha I grabbed the Old Bay hot sauce for a bit more flavor. That helped.

So yeah, boring salsa, but cheap. Not too much liquid like the Kroger Private Selection Salsa so at least you get your two dollars worth. Chips Ahoy!

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Kroger Private Selection Salsa

What started out as one of my Critique this label posts on Facebook turned into a full review of this salsa. Some of the comments from others included “Tomatoes are listed 4 times.”, “It’s staunchy design.”, “Pretty generic. Too many fonts…”, and “Tomatillo salsa should not have tomatoes in it.” So here’s my take…

First I’ll start off by saying I bought this because it was on sale for $1.99 USD. I like a good medium salsa, and the “Smoky, Tangy” flavor sounded good. It’s definitely got a smoky flavor to it, though I would call this a “hot” salsa instead of a “medium”. I can handle hot stuff just fine but I really think they should label this hot instead of medium. If they do have a “hot” I don’t think I want it.

My main complaint about this salsa is the amount of liquid content. This is not a “thick and chunky” it’s the opposite, a “loose and watery” or something, though putting that on the label would probably affect sales. I decided to run the salsa through a strainer to get some idea of the amount of liquid in it. See the photo below.

Wow! I got about 5 ounces of liquid, which accounts for more than 25% of the contents of the jar. So even though this salsa was $1.99 USD I really only got a jar that was about 70% full of salsa after the excess liquid removal process. (I also wonder if most of the hotness was in the liquid, because it did not seem as hot after I de-liquified it.)

In conclusion, it’s an okay salsa. Will I buy it again? Probably not. Though the low price was appealing, once I finish the three jars I have (?!?) I’ll probably move on to another brand.

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Tofu Recipe (Sort of…)

This is sort of a recipe. It’s pretty loose, but someone asked for it, so I’m gonna write it up.

I got a block of tofu at the store. Probably firm, or extra firm. I don’t remember.

I took it out of the refrigerator, opened it up, drained the water, and then put a towel on the counter, put paper towel on top of it, then put the tofu down, added more paper towel on top of it, and then put weight on it to press it down to drain more water.

I grabbed our toaster oven pan and put it on top of the tofu, then put our tea kettle on top of that since it had some water in it and a little bit of weight. You can use plates, but sometimes the tofu causes things on top to slide off, so… whatever works for you. Let that sit for a bit… maybe an hour? I probably forgot about it.

Remove the weight, get rid of the wet paper towel, the wet tea towel, and all the jazz. Then cut the tofu into pieces. What size? I don’t know… look at the photo I guess. Not too large, but not too small. (More on that later.)

Next I got a big plastic Tupperware-style container, large enough to lay all the pieces into without stacking them. Before I put the pieces in I added soy sauce, some sesame oil, a little bit of rice vinegar, then more soy sauce…

Next came the spices… Here’s a few I remember: smoked paprika, cayenne, chili powder, garlic powder, pepper, and… whatever else I had that seemed like it would fit. Dump a bunch into that soy sauce mix and swirl it around.

Put the tofu pieces into the container, flip them until all sides can soak up the liquid, then sprinkle more spices on the top and stick it in the refrigerator. Come back an hour or more later when you remember you forgot about it. It can sit a long time… whatever.

Now get some corn starch and dump a bunch on a plate. (That shit is messy! It goes everywhere!) Okay, take the tofu pieces out and roll them in the corn starch, covering each side, nice and thick is good. It’ll absorb into the tofu, that’s cool.

Do one piece, put it on a clean plate, surface, whatever, and then do the next, and do them all. Cool.

Once you’ve got them all done, put some oil in a big frying pan. I used olive oil, but use whatever you like/got. Heat that oil and put the tofu pieces in!

Use some tongs, but be careful not to tear the pieces, and check them for crispy done-ness on the bottom, then flip and do the other sides. If you use enough oil you can probably just do the top and bottom, otherwise do the sides as well. They should look browned and crispy, but not burned. Unless you like burned food, like Milt does. (Or did. I don’t know.)

When done take each piece out of the pan and place on new clean paper towel. Once you have them all on paper towel put more paper towel on top and blot out a bunch of oil. Sometimes it’ll stick to the paper towel so be watch out for that. Just press lightly I guess.

Enjoy!

Oh, the size of the pieces… if you make them too large, you don’t get enough crispy outside part and you get too much inside part per piece. If you do them too small it’s a pain to coat them, fry them, etc… So pick a good middle group.

Sorry kids, this is the best I can do for a recipe… at least you didn’t have to read about how I’m a busy (cat) mom on the go who is always trying new recipes. Apologies for constantly switching tense between past and present whatever. Hopefully Dana won’t read this.

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Making Food

Since March and the “Stay at Home” orders due to the global pandemic we’ve rarely gone out for food, and for a while we were trying to order food for pickup at least once a week, partly to support local businesses we love, and partly for variety.

(Astute followers will also be aware of my #BurritoEverything campaign, but that’s another post.)

Due to changes in work and life and finances I’ve been trying more and more to create good/new meals at home. I’ve tried a lot of new recipes, some of them turned out great, by the way… I also started making bread again, which I tend to mainly use for French toast (AKA “eggy bread”) and I’ve realized… this is my MAKING now.

Don’t get me wrong, I still do some making activities, but not as much as I used to, so filling in the gaps with making meals, treats, snacks, food, whatever… has been nice. There have been some clunkers, but overall I’ve make some delicious creations!

My only regret is that I don’t have any events to bring tasty stuff to. Maybe by 2021 that will change. Until then, keep on bAKING!

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Pizzelles

If you don’t know what pizzelles are, well… they’re delicious! Need more info? Let’s go straight to the Wikipedia:

Pizzelle are traditional Italian waffle cookies made from flour, eggs, sugar, butter or vegetable oil, and flavoring. Pizzelle can be hard and crisp or soft and chewy depending on the ingredients and method of preparation. It can be moulded into various shapes, including in the shape of cannoli.

So yeah, that’s a pizzelle. To make them you need a pizzelle press, and luckily I received one as a gift from my youngest daughter recently, so now I make pizzelles. I started making plain ones, but then learned I can make chocolate pizzelles, which are even more delicious. The nice thing about them is that they seem to last a long time and not go stale. I keep them in a container on the counter and even after two weeks they still take fresh and crispy.

Now, a plain (chocolate) pizzelle is good, but damn, you add some Nutella (or other hazelnut & cocoa) spread on top and you’ve just upped your pizzelle game a notch or two!

Pizzelles are pretty darn simple, too. Basically flour, eggs, sugar, butter and flavoring. That’s it. I tend to put them in the press for 60 seconds, remove them, let them cool for 10-15 seconds, then cut into quarters. That’s about the right size for me, but YMMV. I haven’t made waffle cones or waffle cups or cannoli shells (yet) but I’m sure that’s on the horizon.

Remember kids, Baking is Making!