I was looking through my notebook from the last couple months and had a bunch of random notes scattered throughout that I thought I would utilize in this post. Let’s call it my “curated” collection of tid bits, or that dreaded Jeopardy category- Potpourri.
Whenever I go to Trader Joe’s (not much, lately!) I make sure to get two things: Cheese and Wine. Their selections and prices are the best! I usually get the Toscano with Syrah cheese (my favorite!), some type of blue and a goat cheese, as cheese board gurus suggest a “hard, a soft and a blue” for a well-rounded spread. I go a little crazy on wines- Rose, Pinot Grigio, Prosecco- but here are some other suggestions to get you started.
Best 5 Wines from Trader Joe’s under $10 from Real Simple
Floriana Veltiner Gruner (white from Hungary)
Cecilia B Spumante Rose (Sparkling Rose)
Susumamiello Ruggero Di Bardo (Red)
Espiral Vinho Verde (White from Portugal) $5
Corvelia Zinfandel (Red from California)
The only one of these I can personally attest to is the Esprial Vinho Verde, which I usually buy every time I visit Trader Joe’s because it’s good and super cheap. My in-laws once bought this type of wine for a Fourth of July weekend at Ocean Reef; the wine guy suggested it as the type of wine to pour over ice, with a squeeze of lime, to enjoy while sitting by the pool. It’s also delicious just cold and straight from the bottle, if you like wines with a little fizz; the perfect summer wine.
Speaking of Trader Joe’s, they are reconsidering changing the names of their ethnic foods, as they had previously announced. So, for now, Trader Jose, Trader Ming and Trader Giotto are staying on the shelf. I always thought these names were tongue-in-cheek (you know- a joke) but apparently someone started a petition to eliminate the “racist packaging”, which got Trader Joe’s to rethink their branding choices. Is it possible to be too politically correct?
“The World is changed by your example, not by your opinion.” Pablo Coelho
Another thing I often get at Trader Joe’s is their Almond Butter, but it usually has a layer of oil on top when I go to use it, eventually leaving a solid layer of not-very-easy to spread gunk underneath. The solution? Store it upside down in your pantry. Also, if you buy cheeses, take them out of their plastic wrapping and rewrap them in parchment paper before putting them in the fridge. I guess they are kind of alive and the plastic suffocates them, so let your cheeses breathe, people!
If you buy herbs, such as parsley, cilantro or basil the best way to keep them fresh is to snip off the ends and stick them in a glass of water. And you know how those delicate raspberries you buy go bad, like right away? Soak them in a 1:10 mixture of vinegar to water to get rid of mold spores. Rinse them well and store in fridge. I got these tips from food52.com.
I just returned from Publix in the Keys and there was no 409, no Fantastick, not even the pricey Mrs. Meyers lurking on the shelves. What to do if you need a disinfectent spray? Make your own. You will need a spray bottle, easily recycled from an old 409 bottle or purchased at the dollar store. The nice thing about this recipe is you can customize the scent to whatever you like and it doesn’t have that heavy, artificial floral scent. It’s also considerably cheaper than the store-bought stuff. I can’t testify to the germ-killing quality of the this mixture but it will clean and smell good. From the thefrugalgirls.com.
2 TBLS Distilled White Vinegar
1 tsp Borax
1/8 cup Dawn Dishwashing Liquid
1 cup Hot Water
8 drops of essential oil, your choice (I like lavender or lemongrass)
Pour vinegar, borax and hot water into a spray bottle. Continue to fill with cool water. Add Dawn last, gently tilting back and forth. Add essential oil, if desired.
Sexiest Foods ( a question Ellen asked Diane Keaton during a game of Burning Questions) She gave the answer of: “A Creamy Soup.” It got me thinking about My answer: Oysters on the half shell, sushi, lobster with melted butter, chocolate covered strawberries, champagne and caviar, heart-shaped creme brûlée.
Should you get a hankering to “get out of Dodge” and visit Key Largo (only an hour from Miami), here are some restaurants I feel comfortable dining at right now. All have outdoor seating.
Key Largo Restaurants
Sharkey’s Bar & Grill Great food and beer, fun atmosphere, on a canal.
Snooks A little touristy and pricey, but live music, good food, a killer Bloody Mary.
Lazy Lobster A big chickee hut out back, by the same people who own Lazy Days.
The Pilot House Started by two pilots, on the water, good happy hour, live music.
Skippers By the Holiday Inn, oceanside, live music. Get there early to get a seat outside.
Mrs. Macs II Reliably good food and service, like diner food with a Keys twist.
For Take Out, it’s all about the Thai, ’bout the Thai, no pizza… for me.
The Key Thai & Sushi for: Drunken Noodles, Tom Kar Soup, Thai Papaya Salad.
Num Thai for: Crispy Duck, Green Curry and Stuffed Tuna.
And since I’m being really random, this has nothing to do with food, but everything to do with how I spend my Friday and Saturday nights. This poem is dedicated to Zeke, my partner in crime watching.
A baseball bat by the side of the road A knife ditched in a bush A gun tossed in an inky lake These are the instruments of death, But who committed the crime?
Bum, bum, bum.
First take a close look at the boyfriend or girlfriend Husband or wife, Significant other Disgruntled lover, then the Ex-husband or wife, always prime suspects Sometimes, it’s even a Random Stranger.
Bum, bum, bum.
Not very likely, though But I did see one the other night A guy pretending to buy a house strangled a perfect stranger to death and left her on her own bedroom floor.
Bum, bum, bum.
Now, in prison, he’s a Preacher Proclaiming his innocence, of course Despite insurmountable evidence to the contrary. Why is this the way I spend my Friday nights? Giddy at each bloody clue.
Bum, bum, bum.
But when I hear those opening notes… And that Baritone voice beginning “It was a perfectly sunny Colorado morning the day Shelly Wong accidentally fell off a cliff. Or did she?”
Bum, bum, Bum.
Up Next: Still, who knows?