Trader Joe’s Salmon and Vegetable Croquettes. As I’ve mentioned many times here, I am from Seattle. We eat a lot of Salmon. Especially when the salmon is running in Alaska and Canada in early summer time. We gorge ourselves on it every year and we can’t get enough. We mainly eat sockeye salmon because it’s a nice balance between the super expensive price on King salmon and flavor. It has a lot more flavor than King but not nearly the fat content. The Sockeye are generally smaller fish but have a nice deep red color and flavor to match. 90% of the time we grill it on cedar planks but sometimes we make salmon patties with leftovers. So healthy for you and by the end of the season it’s so cheap they are basically giving it away at prices cheaper than boneless chicken breasts.
Trader Joe’s Turkey Gravy. I briefly talked about Trader Joe’s Turkey Gravy last year here. I revisited it when I did the Cornbread Stuff Mix review and I thought I’d put it in it’s own post this year. I first tried Trader Joe’s Turkey Gravy about a year ago when I really kicked this blog up a notch and at the time I thought it was one of the lowest scoring products I’ve ever had from Trader Joe’s. Another year rolled around and I had seen some people rating Trader Joe’s Turkey Gravy pretty highly so I decided to try it again this year.
I picked up another box of it to have with the Trader Joe’s Stuffing mix I just reviewed. Again, I was really disappointed in the turkey gravy from Trader Joe’s. I do think I was a little harsh on the 2 Bells I gave it last year and will revise that score upwards. But let’s get to the Turkey Gravy itself.
First the Turkey Gravy comes in one of those thick paper square cans that many soups and other liquids come in these days. You have to lift the edges and then squeeze the top and rip off the top. Occasionally, I screw it up and spill it all over the place. I miss my steel cans! Anyway, when I opened it up I saw that it was basically the same as before. The color is a light nut brown color and the consistency is consistent with a good gravy. I didn’t want the whole box so I put about a cup in a glass bowl and heated it up in the microwave.
When I took it out of the microwave, it smelled faintly of gravy but not very strong. I expected a more robust smell. I got out a spoon and tasted the turkey gravy directly. Again, not impressed. It’s just missing so much flavor that you expect from a real gravy! I like gravy that is full flavored and fairly salty. It’s a condiment so it should add flavor to the dish that you are putting it on. This was fairly bland and tasted faintly of cardboard.
I would definitely kick this up a notch or two buy putting it in a pot and adding some salt, pepper and herbs like thyme, rosemary and sage. Maybe a good pinch of those or fresh if you have it. I would simmer it for a good 10-15 minutes. You might want to add a little chicken stock so it doesn’t boil down too much and that should enhance the flavor quite a bit. This year we made Alton Brown’s Gravy (Here is his great cookbook that I use all the time Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here for the Food) and it was fabulous. Rich, dark, thick bursting with flavor. Alton Brown rocks!
I could see using this gravy if you were in a real pinch and then you enhanced the flavor, but I would never use this gravy on it’s own without enhancements. Having said that, it wasn’t as terrible as I remembered so I am going to revise my score to 4 Bells!
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This sounds perfectly decadent, but in reality Trader Joe’s doesn’t quite pull it off! This is listed as “Trader Joe’s Spotlight” cheese for the February 2012 Fearless Flyer and it has the special sticker on the upper right hand side of the packaging. I assume it will be limited in terms of how long it stays in the store.
To be honest, I think this is a novelty item that won’t have staying power. I really wanted this to work out, but the cheese and chocolate just don’t mesh well. My wife, Becky, is a serious cheese head! She studies cheese. She reads books about it and of course, she loves chocolate so when I brought this home we both pounced on it immediately hoping for the best!
She could barely gag it down! I didn’t think it was that bad, but combination of cheese and chocolate fight with each other and it leaves a weird taste on your palate. I think the use of milk chocolate instead of something more savory, like dark chocolate is the problem here. The sweet milky chocolate and sharp, english cheddar don’t meld well. I also think there is too much chocolate in the cheese and it ends up killing both flavors instead of blending together. Maybe if they had sprinkled cocoa powder on the outside or little chocolate nibs inside.
This is something I will not buy again and I can’t really recommend it other than a novelty and I think clearly Trader Joe’s has no intention of keeping this around long term.
Becky hated it and I thought it was just mediocre, so I am going to rate this one 4 Bells.