Thursday, July 12, 2012

More great food from Costco

How do they get 15 avocados in "every batch"?

Editor's note: Today, I discuss more great food from Costco, and restaurant-quality takeout dinners from Jerry's in Englewood.

Every time we enjoy Wholly Guacamole from Costco Wholesale, I think of another guacamole, this one prepared at your table in Rosa Mexicano, where every dish is made from scratch.

Three pounds of preservative-free guacamole -- divided among three peel-and-serve trays -- cost $9.49 at Costco.

Rosa Mexicano in Hackensack charges $12 for its guacamole -- made with a single avocado -- but includes small corn tortillas fashioned by hand in the dining room and a couple of salsas.

At home, we add bottled salsa and serve the guacamole as a side dish at any meal, dispensing with chips or tortillas.

Extra-virgin Spanish olive oil is a new item at Costco.

Arbequina is the name of an extra-virgin olive oil from Spain with the kind of "protected denomination of origin" you usually find in wine.

Two 1-liter bottles were $11.99. Compare that to the $5.99 you'd pay for a liter of 100% Spanish extra-virgin olive oil at Trader Joe's.

The label says the small Arbequina olive is used, producing "a golden oil characterized by low acidity and a rich, fruity olive flavor with delicious apple notes."

I'm looking forward to using this oil in salads, drizzling it over fish and using it to fry eggs sunny side up.

Black is beautiful.

Black apricots are a fruit I haven't seen before, but I found them at Costco next to the traditional kind.

They are black outside and apricot-colored inside, and very sweet, though I don't agree with the label they are "the sweetest fruit you ever tasted."

A 3-pound package was $7.79.

The biggest jar of capers I've ever seen.

Capers are hand-picked from a Mediterranean bush.

I asked by wife to look for capers at Costco, and she came back with a 32-ounce jar of Paesana Non Pareil Capers for $4.99 that I expect will last us a couple of years.

Tonight, I used 2 or 3 tablespoons of drained capers  to prepare snowy Icelandic flounder fillets I bought at Costco for $7.99 a pound.

The recipe, from Mark Bittman, calls for sliced tomato, capers, chopped red onion and olive oil. I added crushed Aleppo pepper and fresh lime juice.

The Kashi bars on the left contain chocolate and seven whole grains.

In comparing labels at Costco, I found Kashi Go Lean Crunchy variety bars, which contain chocolate, have the same or fewer calories and calories from fat than Kirkland Signature Variety Nut Bars.

The Kashi bars list total fat as 5% to 8%. The Kirkland Signature bars list 15% total fat.

One or two of these and similar bars allow me to skip lunch and maintain my weight loss.

Dinner at Jerry's

Calamari Balsamico.

Grouper with Roasted Peppers.

Roasted Pork Chop.

No. I'm not getting a cut of the profits from Jerry's Meals To Go, the restaurant-quality takeout dinners that cost only $7.99 each -- $5.99 after 4 p.m.

I just think they are a delicious bargain that allows you to put a balanced meal on the table without cooking.

Plate the food, heat it in the microwave for about 2 minutes, pour a glass of wine and go to town.

I had the Calamari Balsamico dinner on Wednesday night and enjoyed the combination of tender rings and baby squid, along with pasta, vegetables and potato.

I tasted my wife's Grouper with Roasted Peppers, and it continues to be one of my favorite fish.

The Meals To Go usually go fast, but after 4 p.m. on two recent Wednesdays, I've found several in a small refrigerated case.

Jerry's Gourmet & More, 410 S. Dean St., Englewood; 201-871-7108.

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