Friday, October 4, 2013

Keeping it simple and delicious in the kitchen

Costco Wholesale's handmade egg-noodle tagliatelle from Italy cooks in just 4 minutes. The sauce is Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto, also from Costco.

Costco pesto, fresh lime juice and Aleppo pepper dress up wild-caught coho salmon fillets, also from Costco, served with Trader Joe's organic whole-wheat pasta corkscrews. The spirals were prepared with bottled marinara sauce, sardines and anchovies. 

By Victor E. Sasson

The most elaborate dishes we prepare at home come from bottles and cans.

To prepare whole-wheat pasta with sardines and anchovies in marinara or tomato and basil sauce, I open one bottle (the sauce), two cans (the mighty little fish) and a package of spaghetti or fusilli.

Wild salmon with pesto, lime and Aleppo pepper is even easier -- cutting the fresh fillet into pieces and placing them in the oven for 8 minutes to 12 minutes at 375 degrees, removing them and spooning on the room-temperature pesto.

Trader Joe's Organic Whole Wheat Spaghetti with sardines and anchovies in pasta sauce.

A takeout dinner salad with beets, tofu, avocado  and sun-dried tomatoes gets another accent at home, Pecorino Romano sheep's milk cheese from Costco, as well as a dressing of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Costco moving?

Ingredients from my Costco Wholesale in Hackensack help me prepare quick and nutritious meals, but the store appears to be reaching the end of its useful life.

The warehouse store is too popular, and finding a space in the parking lot and shopping is becoming an ordeal.

I was upset when I read in the local daily newspaper that Costco planned to open a bigger store in Teterboro, a few miles from the Hackensack store, which presumably would close.

Now, I'm thinking that's a great idea, if Costco has a gasoline station and its own liquor department in Teterboro, along with a parking lot that is easier to enter and more logically laid out.

Today, I went to Costco to return a box of peaches that were brown inside or mealy, and picked up a fillet of fresh wild sockeye salmon ($11.99 a pound), likely the last of the season.

Costco salmon buyers are divided into people like me who won't eat anything but wild and others who refuse to pay more than $8.99 a pound, the price for bland, artificially colored farmed fish.

I exchanged cooking tips with another customer who was buying wild salmon, and mentioned how good the fish is with ripe peaches and tomatoes dusted with cinnamon.

Tomatoes and black figs from our garden are wonderful in salads, including Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix from Costco.

We marinate farmed Black Tiger shrimp from Costco in fresh lime juice and seasonings, then use a non-stick pan to cook them in the marinade for about 5 minutes, turning them once. Here, they are served with organic brown rice prepared in an electric cooker and baked flounder fillet that had been coated in spices.

We often leave the cooking to Jerry's Gourmet and More in Englewood, where restaurant-quality dinners are reduced to $5.99 from $7.99 after 4 p.m., including this red snapper with shrimp, beets, macaroni and cheese, and a stuffed mushroom, above and below.

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