Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Some of my favorite things at Costco are ready for their closeup

You might know pesto as a wonderful dressing for pasta, but the refrigerated product sold at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack also can be used as a sandwich spread or as a garnish for omelets, frittatas and soups, below. All the basil in Kirkland Signature Bail Pesto is imported from Italy.

Parmigiano Reggiano has been called the "King of Cheeses." At $10.59 a pound, the aged Kirkland Signature cheese, imported from Italy, is selling for less than at other retailers. The nutty cheese is wonderful with dried or fresh fruit, and shaved over eggs. Costco also sells the same cheese shredded for adding to pasta and egg dishes.

On Tuesday, I bought a wedge of another aged cow's milk cheese, Kirkland Signature Grana Padano, said to Italy's most popular cheese. Tiny print on the wrapper says this cheese has been made since Roman times.

Grana Padano shaved over two organic eggs from Costco, above, and in a salad made with Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix, below.

Even at a higher price, Kirkland Signature Wild Alaskan Smoked Sockeye Salmon is cheaper at Costco than at any other retailer in North Jersey. Smoked farmed salmon doesn't even come close to the color or robust taste of the wild-caught fish.

The price of Jarlsberg Lite Swiss Cheese has jumped about a dollar, but the reduced-fat slices are great in sandwiches or as snack food, whether eaten alone or with smoked wild salmon, canned-fish salad and red-leaf lettuce, below.

Sweet potatoes have reappeared at Costco in Hackensack for the holidays. A 10-pound bag was only $7.99 or about 80 cents a pound, compared to a 3-pound bag of the same sweet potatoes at the Paramus ShopRite for about $1 a pound. They are terrific baked or cut up, boiled with peeled garlic and mashed, using extra-virgin olive oil and seasonings.

The price for 100 bags of Japanese Green Tea from Ito En, sold under the Kirkland Signature label, has risen, but the bagged leaves and matcha powder make a soothing cup of tea.

One of the cheapest items at Costco travels the farthest. We use Ground Saigon Cinnamon from Vietnam to dust raw, salt-free almonds we roast at home; and in coffee and hot milk.

Costco says Himalayan Pink Salt is the purest form of sea salt available because it is harvested in the mountains, not from potentially polluted ocean water. A 13-ounce grinder was $3.99.

There is only 1 gram of La Mancha Spanish Saffron in the jar, but the label says you have to use "only a few threads" in rice, soup, sauces and other dishes to make them come alive with the unique flavor. The jar was $11.99, but La Mancha Saffron offered on appears to cost less.

Organic No-Salt Seasoning is a flavorful blend of 21 organic spices and ingredients that help you cut down on the use of sodium in home-cooked meals. A 14.5-ounce jar was $8.29.

These addictive sheets of Roasted Seasoned Seaweed from South Korea have less salt than other brands. Each package contains nearly three times as much seaweed as Korean brands.

Kirkland Signature Minoxidil (Foam) is a better deal than Rogaine hair-regrowth treatment. A four-month supply of the name-brand foam is $49.99 ($39.99 on sale), compared to $48.99 for a six-month supply of Costco's Minoxidil.

These sun-dried organic figs are unsulfured and free of GMOs. They are terrific with cheese or in salads. A 2.5-pound package was $10.99.

At ShopRite in Paramus, a deep discount on Paesana Marinara pasta sauce in a 40-ounce jar manages to just beat Costco's sale price for Victoria Marinara, below. Neither has added sugar.

This week, Paramus ShopRite's sales price also is undercutting Costco's price for Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice in the 89-ounce container. A geezer who saw me putting two bottles of the OJ in my cart on Tuesday denounced the product as "sugar water," insisting Tropicana would never give consumers 100% juice, despite what the label says.


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