One of my first visits to the local Farmer’s market this year yielded a bunch of rhubarb. I do not often cook with rhubarb, but I like to buy a little bit of everything from the market to support the farmers. I remember growing up…
Month: July 2014
I’ll be the first to admit that I was never a fan of Trader Joe’s. I remember when family members would make a trek to one store, nearby downtown Milwaukee, and as we recently had one built not too far from where we currently live. I’ve been there, once, and bought random frozen products, only to be nearly disappointed every time I tried one of their products. I’ve asked my coworkers who live near the downtown location, and they also did not believe the hype. They’ve stated (and others) there are a couple of things that they did like about some of their stuff, including some of the jarred salsas, frozen Indian food, and wine specials. That is about it. Regardless, during last year’s Christmas season, my colleague gave me and my coworker a bag of Trader Joe’s poutine, yep, that’s how we roll in our office. Months later, I figured I would give these a try. As much as I love poutine, and I’ve made it before back in 2007, as well as put a twist on a chicken satay poutine (which rocked by the way), who could go wrong, right?
While looking at the bag, I had to somewhat drool. If you never had poutine, you are essentially getting french fries, drizzled or soaked in great gravy, and smothered with cheese curds. It’s pretty awesome. So when I opened the bag, I got a frozen packet of gravy, a frozen packet of cheese curds, and frozen french fries. Directions were simple, bake the fries until done, and simmer the two packets in hot water until cooked through.
When everything is ready, go ahead and assemble. I laid out the cooked fries, which looked good, onto a serving plate, then cut open the bag of gravy and curds. I squeezed the gravy all over the fries, and layered on the curds.
I then dug in. My first bite was just OK, second bite, less then OK, and it seemed to hang at that point from there on out. In all honesty, I was tasting every bite as though I was doing a product review. The fries were just OK, maybe slightly less than OK. I had to add salt, even though there was gravy and curds to be dealt with. The cheese curds kind of freaked me out to the point where I no longer wanted to eat them. Granted, the cheese curds had a great squeak to them, as every good cheese curd should, but the texture was totally off, and that is when the squeak freaked me out. I did not even want to look at the ingredients, or better yet what the hell that squeak was.
Overall, I would not purchase a bag of Trader Joe’s Poutine again, but I was appreciative of my colleague giving us the bag as a gift during that time. It really confirmed why I do not shop at Trader Joe’s, and I will continue to not believe the hype. If you are wanting poutine, make your own. You know what you are getting, and putting into your dish. Have you tried this product, and if so, what were your thoughts?
It’s that time of year again where fruit is in season, and a few weeks ago, cherries were on sale at my local market. I’ll be honest and tell you that as I do like cherries, they are not my favorite fruit. I know those folks like my father-in-law who will show up to a picnic with a bag of them and chomp away at them, and I recall my dad sitting around on a couch nibbling on them for some time as well, but me? Well, not so much. I did buy them with the idea that my kids would make an attempt, or better yet, my wife make an attempt at eating them, but a few days later, I still saw the lonely bag of cherries. I ultimately knew that if I was not going to take matters into my hands and do something about the cherries that they would most likely go to waste.
That’s when I remember seeing a show about removing the seeds from the cherries by using a straw. Yes, a straw. I figured what a better way to see if the straw technique actually worked, rather than buy some pitter gadget. The straws worked. That’s when I thought of macerating cherries for the upcoming cocktail season.
I’ve made macerated cherries in brandy some time ago, and they were awesome, so why not soak them in vodka, right?
Let’s get started.
- Fresh cherries, pitted, approximately 1 bag
- Mason Jar
- Straw or cherry pitter
How can it get any easier than that right?
Using a straw (I use a metal straw), insert into the center of the cherry, at the stem side, and push the pit through the cherry. Repeat. You can also wear gloves while doing this as the cherry juice stained my hands for a few days. No lie.
Once the cherries have been pitted, fill them to the top of a mason jar. I used a large mason jar, just because I wanted more cherries. Once filled, pour in your favorite vodka all the way to the top. Seal with the lid, and cover tightly.
Place in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. When you are ready, for some out and enjoy, otherwise serve them in some sparkling water, white soda, or place a couple on a skewer in a great summer time cocktail. Enjoy!