Thursday, August 15, 2013

Picking up more than a few of my favorite things

My first visit to Costco Wholesale in Hackensack after a brief vacation netted fresh wild sockeye salmon fillet, Tropicana Orange Juice, beefsteak tomatoes, bottles of mango nectar, Greek Yogurt, a seedless watermelon, Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix, clothing for my teenage son and other items.

That night, I prepared the wild salmon with Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto that I had in the refrigerator, and served it with organic brown rice and prepared sweet-potato salad, all from Costco.

By Victor E. Sasson

It wasn't difficult to drop nearly $200 at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack on Tuesday during my first visit after a brief vacation.

I spent $95 on clothing, and the rest on food:

Earthbound Farm Organic Sprinx Mix, 1 pound for $4.99; a large seedless watermelon, $5.49; Kirkland Signature Greek Yogurt, 2 32-ounce cups for $6.99; fresh, wild sockeye salmon fillet, up $2 in recent weeks to $11.99 a pound; 3 half-gallons of organic, low-fat milk for $10.19; and other items.

At checkout, a woman in front of me was so impressed with a 5-pound box of Sunset-brand hothouse Beefsteak Tomatoes ($6.39) she saw in my cart that -- without asking -- she actually picked up one to examine it.

An open-face omelet made with Kirkland Signature Egg Whites.

Campari Tomato, bottled Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto and sliced, reduce-fat Jarlsberg Swiss Cheese dress up another egg-white omelet, served over brown rice.

More favorites

On Wednesday, in Englewood, I stopped at Balthazar Bakery on South Dean Street for 2 fresh baguettes, still $2 each.

Then, I drove the half-mile or so to Jerry's Gourmet & More, where I picked up 2  Meals To Go, cut to $5.99 after 4 p.m.

Normally, the restaurant-quality dinners are $7.99.

At home, I plated tender calamari tubes stuffed with shrimp and arugula, penne alla puntanesca, fresh artichoke salad and eggplant caponata, and re-heated them gently in the microwave.

I poured myself a glass of Italian red wine, and allowed myself a couple of pieces of crusty baguette.
My son enjoyed Jerry's Chicken Cordon Bleu, Spinach Lasagna and a Ham & Cheese Monte Cristo, but passed on the Brussels sprouts and baked cauliflower that came with the dinner. 

Balthazar's baguette has a living crust: It's crispier in dry weather.

A bowl of Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix.

Kimchi and coffee

Also on Wednesday, I visited the Englewood building where Arirang Kimchi is made by hand, and learned the Oh family will be moving the operation to a Ridgefield shopping center in the next few weeks.

On Thursday, I dropped into the Target in Hackensack, where an employee said the store's small food court is being replaced by a Starbucks and a Pizza Hut.

They should be open by the last week in September, she said.

The licensed store would be the second Starbucks in Hackensack.

There is a company owned Starbucks on Essex Street, near the medical center, but the city still needs one close to the Bergen County Courthouse and law firms, and there are a couple of vacant storefronts that would do nicely within a block or two.

Salted codfish

On Monday, in Englewood, I picked up medium boneless salted codfish at the ShopRite for $6.99 a pound, compared to $8.99 a pound at Costco.

Jersey Blueberries were 2 pints for $4.

The tart-sweet blueberries are great with the sweet seedless watermelon I bought at Costco.

No need to thump the melon unless you plan to make music with it.

I look for the biggest, heaviest watermelon I can find; the exterior was a paler green than others, but it was perfectly sweet inside.

The blueberries also are wonderful in a breakfast "parfait" made with Greek Yogurt, Hemp Hearts, Black Chia Seed and Organic Blue Agave nectar -- all from Costco.

Parchment paper

To roast fish or chicken, I now use Kirkland Signature Parchment Paper to line the pan.

Meat or seafood doesn't stick to the paper so I don't have to use spray oil, as I did with aluminum foil, which is more expensive.

With chicken, I use two layers of paper to handle all of the juices, but one layer is enough to roast wild salmon or other fish.

I also use parchment paper to roast the sodium-free raw almonds I buy at Costco, and use the paper over or recycle it. 

I was never sure whether the aluminum foil was recyclable.

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