Monday, September 22, 2014

Frittata's many accents, H Mart bargains, confusing signs

A 10-inch frittata made with smoked wild salmon and extra-virgin olive oil proves to be a linguist, speaking in Italian, Swiss and Middle Eastern accents, above and below.

This morning, I had a wedge of frittata with a leftover rice-lentil-diced-tomato side dish I prepare in an electric cooker. I added a Mexican accent with roasted green salsa before heating up the rice.


My latest weekend frittata mixes accents -- grated Pecorino Romano, a sheep's milk cheese, and pesto, both from Italy; Aleppo pepper and za'atar thyme mixture, two spices from the Middle East; and reduced-fat Swiss cheese.

I started with a mixture of egg whites and organic whole brown eggs from Costco Wholesale, and added a little low-fat milk, grated Italian cheese, and chopped green pepper and tomato.

For a 10-inch frittata, you can use up to four cups of egg mixture, which you pour into a pre-heated non-stick pan with a thin layer of extra-virgin olive oil.

Three or four reduced-fat Jarslberg Lite Swiss slices can then be added, along with slices of smoked wild Alaskan salmon, both from Costco.

When the crust sets, move the pan to the oven and cook for about 15 minutes under a low broiler setting or until the frittata puffs up and turns brown (my oven has "low" and "high" broiler settings).

Mildly spicy Aleppo pepper, za'atar and Basil Pesto, also from Costco, are added after the frittata is removed from the oven.

A za'tar mixture includes dried thyme, sour-tasting wild sumac, crunchy sesame seeds and salt. 

Za'atar also is great accent for fresh tomato slices or sprinkled over cooked rice, and the mixture can be used as a coating for fish, chicken or lamb.

Aleppo pepper -- a crushed red pepper -- and za'atar are available from Fattal's, a Syrian bakery, grocer and butcher in Paterson's Middle Eastern bazaar (open 7 days, 975-77 Main St.; 1-973-742-7125).

Fattal's says you can call to order crushed red pepper and za'atar, along with bulgur wheat, bread and some other items, and they will be sent to you by United Parcel Service (UPS).

Large, seedless cucumbers are on sale through today -- the first day of autumn -- at H Mart in Little Ferry, one of the biggest stores in the Korean chain.

When I got them home on Sunday, sliced cucumbers made a nice salad dressed with extra-virgin olive oil, Ponti-brand Chianti and Pinto Grigio Wine Vinegars from Jerry's in Englewood; and Himalayan Pink Salt and Organic No-Salt Seasoning from Costco.

Kabucha or kabocha squash at H Mart in Little Ferry is on sale through Thursday.

H Mart has good fall deals

At H Mart in Little Ferry on Sunday, I picked up a 15-pound bag of California-grown Kokuho Yellow Label white rice on sale for $10.88, a savings of $5.11, according to the Korean supermarket.

Before the drought in California, the same bag would go on sale for $8.99. 

Other bargains were large, seedless cucumbers at 69 cents each and kabocha squash at 49 cents a pound.

Golden pineapples were only $1.99 each, compared to $2.99 at ShopRite in Paramus.

Whole, fresh, wild-caught croaker were $3.99 a pound.

There is no indication on signs you need the H Mart Smart Card to take advantage of fall sales.

The card provides a 1% store credit after you spend $1,000 (that's $10).

I bought three wild-caught whole croaker at the Little Ferry H Mart on Sunday ($3.99 a pound), and asked the fishmonger to cut them into steaks, including the heads. My wife seasoned them with Old Bay (celery salt, red and black pepper and paprika) and prepared them with olive oil; onion, tomato and sweet pepper, and chicken stock.

The entrance to H Mart in Little Ferry is one of the shabbiest in North Jersey. The store is clean, but worn floors, stained ceiling tiles and other signs of a long-overdue renovation abound. At the same time, the store offers more than a half-dozen free samples on Sundays.

Too good to be true. At ShopRite in Paramus this morning, a tote bag of Bosc Pears weighed 6 pounds, but you can't buy one for 99 cents. The sign, in smaller lettering, lists the price per pound as 99 cents, which is the same price, if you buy the pears loose. 

Confusing signs, rotting tomato

When I'm food shopping, it's bad enough when I can't find a sign that lists the price for an item.

But confusing signs don't help either.

Today, at ShopRite in Paramus, I found at least two of the signs in the produce department confusing, and was turned off by a rotting cocktail tomato when I turned over a package that was on sale.

A sign with 6-pound tote bags of Bosc pears had "99 cents" in big type, but smaller type listing that as the price per pound.

Nearby, a large bin with loose Bosc pears had no price sign.

The $2.99 price sign for Golden Pineapples was partially obscured by the fruit itself, and a $3.99 sign for honeydew melons was mounted just above it.

No sale. Campari-like cocktail tomatoes from Mexico were on sale for $3.49 (2-pounds), a dollar less than the price at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack. But when I turned over one package ....

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