Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bring home the bacon, but don't forget to eat pasta with your eggs

An open-face egg-white omelet with smoked wild salmon from Costco Wholesale and sun-dried tomatoes, served for breakfast over leftover organic whole-wheat pasta corkscrews from Italy that are only $1.25 a pound at ShopRite.

Editor's note: Food prices in most stores usually go up periodically. At Costco Wholesale, they've been known to go up and down without explanation. Now, Trader Joe's, where prices have stayed the same for years, is starting to raise prices on some items, including bacon.


I'm retired, but I still bring home the bacon for the meat eaters in my family from Trader Joe's, a reliable source of uncured, antibiotic-free pork.

For years, you could find Trader Joe's Uncured Bacon for $3.99 and $4.49, but on Friday and on a previous trip, I could not find that item in the Route 17 store in Paramus.

I did find a 12-ounce package of W-brand All Natural Uncured Bacon for $5.49.

Trader Joe's Uncured Beef Hot Dogs and Jumbo Uncured Franks are now $4.99 each, a hike of 50 cents.

Since I stopped eating meat and poultry more than five years ago, I eat pasta -- not bacon -- with my eggs, and enjoy plenty of wild-caught fish.

The pasta also is a good substitute for bread or a bagel at breakfast. 

An organic egg from Costco over leftover pasta made for a quick dinner with a salad and a glass of wine. I used 1 pound of pasta and a 24-ounce jar of Victoria Vodka Sauce, which gets its richness from cheese, not heavy cream. To the sauce, I added red wine, anchovies, extra-virgin olive oil and a can of organic diced tomatoes.

Fresh wild Atlantic Cod fillets from Costco Wholesale are boneless and skinless, and cost only $7.99 a pound. They poach in about 7 minutes in Whole Foods Market Roasted Chipotle Salsa, and can be served over sweet potatoes and peeled garlic cloves mashed with extra-virgin olive oil. 

Bring the sauce to a boil in a covered pan, then add the fish. The serving pieces, dusted with ground Turkish pepper, will firm up and turn snowy white in about 7 minutes in the covered pan. For a thicker sauce, omit the fresh lime juice I used, and add the lime at the table.

Fresh strawberries and 1% lactose-free milk over Bob's Red Mill Hot Cereal is a nice change of pace on mornings when I don't have eggs.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A 'sale' on pasta sauce, pricey Passover ingredient, wild sea bass

On Tuesday, I found 24-ounce jars of Victoria Vodka Sauce, one of the few that doesn't contain heavy cream, on sale for $2.99 each with a store card at ShopRite, 224 Route 4 east, Paramus. The store also had a rare sale on ShopRite Lactose Free Milk for $2.99 a half-gallon, a discount of 50 cents.

A 40-ounce jar of the same vodka sauce was on sale in late January for $3.99, but on Tuesday, the price was $8.49.

You probably couldn't get one of the dozen tables at Rao's, the Italian-American restaurant in the East Harlem section of Manhattan, so why pay an outrageous $8.49 for a 32-ounce jar of the joint's marinara sauce at the Paramus ShopRite?

A 2-pound jar of kosher for Passover Tamarind was $17.99 at the Paramus ShopRite. The concentrated sweet-and-sour fruit , from Thailand, is used in many Sephardic Jewish dishes, including stuffed vegetables.

The $3-plus price spike for Wild Alaskan Smoked Sockeye Salmon at Costco Wholesale didn't stop me from buying this wonderful fish, but the price has settled back to $15.99 for two half-pound portions. Here, I used a few slices to stuff a whole egg and egg-white omelet with fresh spinach, a slice of reduced-fat Swiss cheese and Mateo's Gourmet Salsa, all from Costco.

On Sunday, Fresh wild-caught black sea bass were $5.99 a pound at H Mart, 25 Lafayette Ave., Englewood. My wife pan-fried them and dressed them in sweet and hot peppers, and onions cooked in vinegar. At the Little Ferry H Mart, 260 Bergen Turnpike, a box of 14 Ataulfo Mangoes was $9.99 with a store card.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

For heart-healthy meals at home, add color and flavor -- not butter

Organic brown rice prepared in an electric cooker -- fragrant with chopped fresh garlic, organic chicken stock and extra-virgin olive oil -- gets a bit of color from a can of organic diced tomatoes. The ingredients, from Costco Wholesale and other stores, go into the cooker at the same time along with a little sea salt.

An egg-white omelet fried in olive oil is stuffed with fresh spinach and Mateo's Gourmet Salsa from Costco (32 ounces for $6.39) , which also adds flavor to a square of fresh sesame-seed tofu, left.

Salted Alaskan pollock goes into this colorful breakfast of cabbage and salt fish sauteed in olive oil, made with red, orange and green sweet peppers from Costco and ShopRite.

Leftover seafood frittata and mustard greens make a hearty breakfast when served over organic brown rice and Mateo's salsa.

Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal takes 10 minutes to prepare on the stove top with added dried figs and dates, hemp hearts and chia seeds, pignoli nuts and organic agave sweetener. I added a little 2% lactose-free milk at the table.

At home last Wednesday, I plated and reheated a restaurant-quality Meals To Go from Jerry's Gourmet & More, 410 S. Dean St. in Englewood, including tender Calamari and Shrimp Fra Diavolo, Stuffed Portobello Mushroom with Vegetable and Cheese Ravioli Al Pomodoro. I gave a third component, Roasted Potatoes and Sausage, to a meat eater in the family ($5.99 after 4 p.m.)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Starbucks Coffee helps keep bored luxury wing salespeople awake

A full-fledged Starbucks Coffee is strategically placed inside a luxury wing of Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, the biggest shopping center in New Jersey.


On my first and likely last visit to a luxury wing of Garden State Plaza in Paramus, I didn't see any customers in the stores.

Even more troubling, I didn't see any security guards or Paramus police officers inside or outside a mall that was invaded by a gunman whose random rifle shots panicked customers before he committed suicide in November 2013.

A Starbucks Coffee provides needed stimulant to the bored luxury store employees.

On Tuesday afternoon, I didn't see any customers in most of the high-end stores at the shopping center, and salespeople stared vacantly at the door or through plate-glass windows.

A slice of pizza and a small drink is $3.99. Another food stand is operated by Lasaka and offers sushi. Free samples of tea are available at Teavana.