Thursday, February 13, 2014

Problem checkout at ShopRite isn't my fault

On Wednesday morning, shoppers packed the ShopRite in Paramus in anticipation of today's snowstorm, but when the store computer didn't give me the sale price on 5.27 pounds of sweet potatoes, my checkout line came to a standstill.

Editor's note: Today, I discuss a slow checkout at the ShopRite in Paramus that was the store's fault, homemade dishes using ingredients from H Mart and Costco Wholesale, and a tasty version of tabbouleh from Costco.


Don't look at me, I told shoppers in my checkout line on Wednesday morning at the ShopRite in Paramus, where the clerk flipped on a flashing light to summon a supervisor.

In the produce department, I saw that the sweet potatoes I bought last week for 99 cents a pound were now 89 cents a pound, with an additional 20 cents off per pound, if I bought more than 5 pounds and used the store's Price Plus Club Card.

Last week, the checkout computer deducted the 20 cents per pound automatically, but on Wednesday morning, it didn't and I mentioned it to the clerk.

She flipped on the flashing light of her lane number to summon a supervisor, and I could see shoppers in line behind me react with rolling eyes.

On weekday mornings around 9 a.m., the Paramus ShopRite is fairly quiet, but on Wednesday, dire forecasts of another big snowstorm touched off panic food shopping.

Not much help

The supervisor came over, spoke with clerk, left and then returned, saying the promotional discount of 20 cents is only good, if I had purchased 5 pounds or more.

But I had.

To resolve the logjam, I suggested the clerk deduct $1 dollar from my order (5 pounds times 20 cents), and get the line moving.

First, she added $1, but I caught the error and the supervisor approved the deduction.

Finally, I was out of there with my sweet potatoes, lactose-free milk, apples, strawberries and Smart Balance spread.

Bibimbap is a rice-based Korean comfort dish that is known for being labor intensive. I made a meatless version with organic brown rice and an organic brown egg, above, with a lot of help from Jinga's Seasoned Vegetables, which I picked up at the H Mart in Little Ferry. The package includes a small cup of mildly spicy gochujang, a red pepper paste, but I added more from a container I had in the refrigerator.

I made four cups of organic brown rice in an electric cooker, but you can reduce the amount of rice, if your prefer a higher concentration of vegetables.

Korean bargains

At H Mart in Little Ferry on Monday, I picked up fresh, wild-caught whole whiting for $3.49 a pound, Kabocha Squash for 59 cents a pound and a 15-pound bag of California-grown Kokuho Yellow Label Rice for $8.99, a discount of $6.

We pan-fried the whiting, and served them with mashed Kabocha squash and sweet potatoes moistened with a few ounces of extra-virgin olive oil and seasoned with a little salt and Costco's Organic No-Salt Seasoning.

Everything but the za'atar thyme mixture and Aleppo pepper I used to season this frittata came from Costco Wholesale: Smoked wild salmon, shredded Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, Jarlsberg Reduced Fat Swiss Cheese, organic brown eggs and egg whites.

Another labor-intensive dish is tabbouleh, a Middle Eastern salad of cracked wheat mixed with finely chopped tomato, fresh parsley, onions and other ingredients. A version sold at Costco Wholesale is pleasantly tart.

The version sold at Costco is from Hannah International Foods in New Hampshire. The company drops a "b" and the "h," calling its product Taboule.

Vine Valley

Vine Valley was a Lebanese restaurant in Paterson that closed several years ago, but I'll never forget its tabbouleh, a tall, fluffy mound of finely chopped fresh parsley, tomato, onion and cracked wheat.

Hannah Taboule, sold at Costco Wholesale, is a tasty version.

A 21-ounce container of refrigerated tabbouleh was $5.49 at my Hackensack Costco.

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