Saturday, August 6, 2016

Jumbo New Jersey mug, salty herring, summer fruit, red wine and more

The Jumbo New Jersey Mug holds 24 ounces or a day's worth of coffee. Trenton, which is in a perpetual state of political gridlock, isn't listed on the side of the cup.


I went looking for a sugar bowl and came away with a bonus -- an unusually large mug with a lighthearted graphic of the Garden State on each side.

I found both at Bed Bath & Beyond, off Route 4 in Paramus, after a fruitless search for a sugar bowl at the nearby IKEA, a maze-like furniture store with a grocery section I tackle once a year, if then.

IKEA has a smaller collection of kitchenware than I remember from my last visit.

I did purchase a pair of thin, flexible IKEA cutting boards that you can carry to the stove and funnel sliced garlic or chopped onion directly into the pan ($1.99).

When I couldn't find a sugar bowl, I also bought three colorful metal canisters for storing flour, sugar and other dry ingredients ($4.99).

From IKEA's grocery section, I bought a box of Muesli, a cereal mix with dried berries and nuts ($4.99); Oat Biscuits and Organic Ginger Thins ($2.49 each), and a package of addictive Rye Crispbread ($2.99).

At Bed Bath & Beyond, the sugar bowl was $4.99 and the jumbo mug $5.99.

I stopped buying pickled herring at IKEA after reading the label and seeing the high sodium content. Five pieces of this herring in dill marinade has 1500 milligrams or 62% of the daily recommended intake of sodium.

IKEA's packaged sauces for fish, left, have the same high sodium content as the herring, and none of the cheeses offered are made from part-skim milk. Sparkling fruit drinks contain added sugar.

IKEA's restaurant offers a dinner entree for only $4 -- mashed potatoes, vegetables and antibiotic-free chicken, lower left, something you don't find in far more expensive places.

A pint of New Jersey blueberries was $1.99 and a box of 16 sweet Ataulfo Mangoes was on sale for $10.99 last weekend at H Mart, 260 Bergen Turnpike in Little Ferry, below. A 15-pound bag of Kokuho Yellow Label Rice, grown in California, was reduced to $9.99. 

Wild Gulf Shrimp from Whole Foods Market cooked in minutes after I heated up olive oil and sauteed plenty of sliced garlic until it was fragrant. First, we marinated the shrimp in fresh lime juice and seasonings. I served them with mashed Kabocha squash and a medley of cooked sweet peppers, red onion and fresh corn.

For four people, I bought 2.2 pounds of wild-caught shrimp (16 to 20 per pound). On Thursday, they were on sale for $14.99 a pound, and the employee behind the seafood counter at Whole Foods in Paramus deveined them for me while I went to pick up other items.

The wild shrimp in the dinner cost about $8.50 per person. They cook in minutes after you put them in hot oil. I turned them once. They are ready when they turn white and curl up. 

The Whole Foods in the Bergen Town Center also had a sale on antibiotic-free chicken drumsticks for 99 cents a pound, above. Four ears of local sweet bi-color corn were only $2.

Whole Foods has a smaller selection of inexpensive red wine and no bottles for $3.99, as before. Still, I found six bottles of sangiovese, shiraz, tempranillo, tinto and a cabernet-merlot blend for $5.99 or $6.99 each. You get an additional 10% discount when you buy six bottles at one time.

A 1-pound box of 365 Everyday Value Organic Whole Wheat Spaghetti from Italy is $1.49 at Whole Foods. Here, I prepared the spaghetti with four cans of skinless-and-boneless sardines, a can of anchovies and a 40-ounce jar of Victoria Marinara Sauce, and served the pasta with sauteed fresh spinach. The canned fish and sauce were from Costco Wholesale in Teterboro.

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