Editor's note: Today, I discuss comfort foods; good deals on extra-virgin olive oil and organic greens; and restaurant-quality takeout dinners for only $5.99.
By VICTOR E. SASSON
The imported Parmigiano Reggiano cheese I buy at Costco Wholesale is good down to and including the rind, according to the package.
The Italian cheese maker says the rind shouldn't be grated, but can be diced and added to pasta sauce for flavor.
I reserved the rind and added a small dice of two or three pieces to bottled Victoria Marinara Sauce the last time I made organic whole wheat pasta with anchovies and capers, both rinsed under water to reduce the sodium in the finished dish.
The rind doesn't disappear completely even after the sauce is boiled for the 10 minutes or so the pasta takes to cook, but has a distinctive flavor and a nice chewy texture.
|Trader Joe's Organic Whole Wheat Spaghetti with bottled marinara, canned anchovies and capers made a nice dinner with a glass of wine and a salad of Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix from Costco Wholesale.|
|The whole wheat spaghetti showed up the next morning as a foil for a simple egg-white omelet with Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto and a little Aleppo pepper.|
Food deals in Lodi
I stopped at the International Food Warehouse at 370 Essex St. in Lodi today after looking over a sales flier that came with the morning newspaper.
The store no longer has as many bargains as before, but I wanted to try a 3-liter glass jug of extra-virgin olive oil from Tunisia for $12.99 or a low $4.33 per liter.
I bought two after checking out the sturdy metal cap and closure. Plastic inserts in the cap and neck make for easy pouring into smaller containers.
For many years, Tunisian extra-virgin olive oil has shown up in blends with oil from Greece, Italy, Spain and other Mediterranean countries.
The store is where I bought several 3-liter tins of excellent extra-virgin olive oil from the island of Cyprus.
|The Alomda Extra Virgin Olive Oil is 100% Tunisian, above. Colavita blends oils from Italy, Greece and Tunisia at a higher price, below. The sale ends Dec. 17.|
|No deal. Pure apricot and wild blackberry juices from Serbia are a pricey $6.99 for a 24-ounce bottle, above.|
Greens for less
I found another bargain in the produce section, where organic baby kale, spring mix and other combinations of greens were only 99 cents for a 5-ounce package.
I bought two packages of Earthbound Farm Organic Kale for 99 cents each, and added some to my salad of Earthbound9 Farm Organic Spring Mix at dinner tonight.
The organic spring mix is $4.49 to $4.99 for a 16-ounce package at Costco.
The label on the kale suggests adding it to smoothies and pasta recipes.
|A salad with Earthbound Farm Organic Kale, dressed simply in Tunisian extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.|
|Organic greens at the International Food Warehouse.|
Let Jerry cook
On Wednesday, I picked up two Meals To Go at Jerry's Gourmet & More on South Dean Street in Englewood ($7.99 or $5.99 after 4 p.m.).
Both restaurant-quality dinners included pasta, vegetable, dumplings and other items.
The main ingredients were roasted braised beef in red wine sauce and filet of sole with a crab-meat stuffing.
Stuffed filet of sole with mac-and-cheese and vegetables from Jerry's in Englewood.