September 27, 2011

Blueberry Scones

Sweet, Tart, Flaky, Pastry Triangles from Heaven.
I made these for breakfast and they were scrumptious.
Perfect with a cup of tea. Just the right amount of blueberry filling, and even a few whole berries. Yum. The pastry dough is perfect. Not too sweet and not too dense, light and airy is how I like it. I used an egg wash on top to get that golden brown layer and baked them for 25 minutes on the dot. Any longer and I could see the bottom of the scones would start to burn. I had a tab of butter off to the side for some old fashion enhancing but they really didn't need it. I just think it's fun to "butter your scone" , makes me feel british and fancy.

With my sister's wedding rapidly approaching and me being the maid of honor (eeek big responsibility) I have to plan a few "showers" for her. If we follow through with a vintage Alice in Wonderland themed tea party of sorts I will definitely be buying a few boxes of these scones and telling everyone they are home-made. shhhh.

Don't be Alarmed. These bad boys spread out a little bit and the bottom half starts to spread first. It looks really funny and for a brief moment I thought they were going to morph into blueberry pancakes.

My Rating * * * *

September 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Goodies

Every now and then I stumble across something at Trader Joe's that I should NEVER buy again. Not because the item is repulsive (quite the opposite in fact) but it is because I don't trust myself not to eat the entire thing in one sitting. This is the case with the aptly named Peanut Butter Goodies. I should tell you that peanut butter is my weakness. It is a staple in my apartment and I always have it in on hand in various forms. in a jar. in a pretzel. in between crackers. in ice cream. peanut butter cereal. and now these cookies. Yum Yum Yum! peanuts, chocolate, cookie, and peanut butter mousse!? If you are a peanut butter lover like myself I promise these crispy, gooey, sweet and salty delights will satisfy your soul. That is all.

My Rating * * * * *

September 22, 2011

Tempura Chicken

This is a good at home "take-out" dinner. 
Unlike the TJ's orange chicken, the tempura chicken is ALL white meat and has a tangy sweet and sour sauce to go with it. Before I bake this dish I like to get out my sharpest knife and cut the big pieces into bite-sized portions. I do this so that its easier to eat AND it allows them to get extra crispy while baking. If your knife isn't sharp enough to cut through the icy poultry, bake the chicken halfway, slice, then return to oven. *Don't burn your fingers on the hot meat. 
Now I have come to realize that almost every frozen item from Trader Joe's needs to be cooked longer than the box says. These little fried nuggets are no different. I like to cook them for a good 6-10 minutes longer because once you pour the sauce on them they will soften a bit anyway.
I served my chicken on a bed of the Rice Medley which is also found in the frozen aisle. This rice is similar to their regular brown rice but it has a little more chewiness like wild rice, and it's pretty too. My only wish is that the orange chicken sauce would join forces with the white meat tempura chicken. That would be ideal because the orange sauce is tastier but I prefer white meat and I think the tempura has a better crunch. Oh yeah, I only use about 3/4 of the sauce on my meat. I don't think it needs the entire pouch. I like to save the rest and use it to pep up my home-made BBQ sauce. That recipe will be up soon.     

My Rating * * *  

September 21, 2011

Pear Tarte

So I had this last night for dessert and then again for breakfast (just to make sure I still liked it.......heh)

Pear-adise. The tarte is sweet but not overwhelming. The pears taste fresh (not canned) and maintain their texture integrity after cooked, which I think is really important. I love that they are not lacquered in that thick gelatinous sheen you see on many fruit tartes. The custard is divine but I wish there was more of it. The crust is my favorite part, and usually always is. After the first bite I was transported back to childhood. It took me two slices to finally figure out what that nostalgic flavor was. When I was in elementary school my dad used to take me to a little ma and pop bakery about once a week. I would always get the same thing, a cream cheese muffin and a glass of cold milk. The muffin had a crisp top and gooey cream cheese center. I LOVED this thing. I would leave the crunchy top part for last and savor every bite. The crust of this pear tarte is my childhood and that makes me very happy.

A quick note on the heating instructions: I baked this at 350 for 10 minutes (like the box says) and it was still ice cold. After another 10-12 minutes we were in business. The box says "allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving." I gave it 10.

My Rating * * * *

September 19, 2011

Wasabi Roasted Seaweed Snack

Umami Wasabi. Now I tried the plain seaweed snacks and they were fine. If you've had seaweed sheets before you know what to expect. But these wasabi ones change the whole game of dried translucent algae. They are very delicious and very wasabi-y. I eat these things like popcorn or better yet flaming hot Cheeto's. It burns and clears your nasal passages but you can't stop eating them. They are sprinkled with some sort of wasabi powder on one side. I like to fold mine in half (wasabi on the inside) so I don't get pure wasabi on my taste buds. If this sounds like something that would tickle your fancy I suggest grabbing a few boxes. I finish them in one sitting and at only 99 cents they won't break the bank.

My Rating * * * *

Bento Box

I've been seeing this in the frozen section and finally decided to go for it. The little red box has nine different compartments so I figured my odds were good on enjoying at least a few of them.
Bento Bummed! I am going to try and break down each sampler as efficiently as possible. I could easily ramble because I really wanted/thought this was going to be tasty.

  1. Pumpkin with Shiso Seasoning. Mushy, soggy, zero flavor
  2. Spicy Long Beans. Holy smokes batman. Way too SPICY for my liking. I thought I wasn't going to be able to taste the rest of the box. kind of wish I hadn't.
  3.  Eggplant with Miso Paste. Eggplant? Are you sure? This was slimy and tasted exactly like okra. The miso paste was gritty and sweet. Not for me. 
  4. Soba Salad with Oyster Mushroom. I tried the mushroom on its own and gagged. It was watery and tough like a piece of freezer burned meat. The Soba noodles had absolutely no flavor and felt like cardboard slivers in my mouth. I dipped the noodles in the other compartments to try and rummage up any flavor I could. Why bother?!
  5. Shiitake Mushroom with Edamame and Carrot. Forgettable. And yes ONE carrot, the description doesn't lie. 
  6. Baked Tofu with Teriyaki Sauce. Blech!!! Soggy Custard sponge anyone? 
     7. 8. 9. The Three Rices (brown, curry, teriyaki) They all tasted the same. Curry had a little more flavor but didn't help the fact that they were all dry and an afterthought (not to say that anything WAS thought about)

And after nine little mistakes, to make matters worse, my mouth had this weird dry, metal, iron-like aftertaste.

My boyfriend was making himself a grilled cheese simultaneously and burnt it. I ended up eating his charred cheese bread which got rid of the aftertaste and was better than everything else. If you can believe it.

My Rating *

September 18, 2011

Alfredo Pasta Sauce and Organic Marinara Sauce Duo

I made this dish last night for dinner. It is one of my ultimate comfort foods. It is spaghetti with peas, bacon (extra crispy) and my new favorite pink sauce.

To make the sauce just combine half Trader Joe's Alfredo Sauce with half their Organic Marinara Sauce or until you get the pinkness desired. I think it tastes better than the Trader Joe's Vodka Sauce. This sauce duo is rich, cheesy and creamy. I only had spaghetti in my pantry but I bet it would be great on any sauce catching pasta like penne or fusilli. Enjoy!

September 17, 2011

Fusilli with Vegetables & Basil Pesto

A Pasta Poem

This pasta was pretty
It smelled divine too
10 minutes later
I knew what to do

I took my first bite
But then I was sad
For my fusilli was mushy
And no flavor it had

              Where is the sauce?
            I thought in my head
         And that wonderful aroma?
           It was gone, it was dead

                Overall, I would say
                 This is a big miss
                The rating you ask?
             My dog wouldn't eat this

My Rating *

September 16, 2011

Cubano Seasoned Wrap

Its what's for lunch! I've had this wrap before and went back for seconds. Found in the refrigerated this wrap includes roasted pork, ham, swiss cheese and dill pickles all encased in a spice speckled flour tortilla. If that's not enough Mr. Cubano comes with a side of "cuban inspired mustard dressing" which I will probably dream about tonight. Here are my favorite elements to this wrap!

  • All About the Sauce. I don't know what they put in this stuff but it is extremely addictive. Spicy and tangy the after taste is still lingering and I'm not complaining. The wrap is good on its own but you will really up the ante per bite when you give it a little dip. 
  • Oink and Oink. Two types of swine in this baby! Thinly sliced, perfectly cooked and not bouncy. There is the perfect amount of meat to satisfy (no need to take any off which is my issue with many deli-styled sandwiches/wraps)
  • Dill-ectable. Didn't expect to be a fan of long sliced pickles in my wrap but these work oh so well. They add the crunch you are waiting for and that vinegary briny bite. mmmm!!!! (i'm not pregnant) 

This wrap is a perfect light lunch with a punch. It is small enough so when you take a bite you taste everything the tortilla is holding. The tortilla seems as though it has some red pepper flakes sprinkled about, for a little added heat. Go try this thing on your next lunch break and don't forget to dip or pour sauce all over it!

My Rating * * * * 

Roasted Gorgonzola Oven Crisp Crackers

My new favorite item! These adult Cheez-Its are packed 
with that pungent gorgonzola flavor. Toss them in some
tomato soup or use them as bread crumbs for home-made chicken strips!
I ate the whole box.

My Rating * * * *

September 15, 2011

Puff Pastry Margherita Pizza

This little pizza is found in the frozen section, usually nestled between some bigger tougher boxed pizzas. It can be tricky to find if you aren't looking out for it. But once you find it, oh happy day!! Here are some reasons why I think this single serving French/Italian creation is worth your dough.

  • Puff Pastry Party. This crust is flaky, chewy and slightly sweet, much like a warm buttery croissant. I recommend eating this pizza over a plate or napkin. I was covered in puff pastry remnants but it was so worth it.  
  • I Say Tomato. Normally I'm not a big fan of sliced tomatoes on my pizza but I went with it. They added the perfect amount of acidity and tang to the sweet flaky crust. Although hard to tear apart with your teeth (i ate a few whole) they are still an important and delicious accomplice.     
  • B and C.  There is not a lot of basil or cheese which I'm okay with. It keeps it light. The basil creeps up as an after taste and the cheese is gooey and mild (next time I might sprinkle on a hand-full of mozzarella and see what happens)  
  • Time and Temp. I cooked this at 400 degrees (like the box says) but after the 7 minute mark I took miss margherita out and she was still cold in the center. After 4 more minutes she was toasty and I was hungry! 

finished product

To sum it up, I love this pizza!
Just remember to cook it a little longer than you think, hold some sort of flake catching device and wait a few minutes before consumption (i burned my tongue)

    My Rating  * * * *

    Breakfast Burritos

    So I hate to start off my blog with a not so great review but it's what I had for breakfast and I gotta start somewhere. The breakfast burritos with eggs, potatoes, turkey bacon and cheese is found in the frozen section with 2 per box and can either be microwaved or baked (I chose microwave). Here are my reasons why this is a less than desirable morning delight.

    • Potato Overload. The majority of this burrito is made up of potatoes. Now I like a good spud as much as the next guy but preferably not al dente ones. bleh. 
    • Egg Hunt. When eggs are the first ingredient you would expect a certain prominence but sadly there should've been more. I think eggs are what should help bind a good breakfast burrito together but in this case my potatoes were on a suicide mission.   
    •  Bouncy Turkey Bacon. Let me note that I use bouncy to describe poor quality meats. Bouncy, because it does just that in your mouth.
    • Cheese Please? Didn't taste any. Didn't see any. so sad. 
    • 7 Minutes Later. The box says 2-2 1/2 minutes in the microwave. Now I know this could be a wattage issue but my microwave isn't ancient and I had to cook the crap outta this thing in order for the ingredients to de-crystalize.

    All and all I would say adios to these little bundles of blandness.

    My Rating  *