Monday, September 5, 2016

Home cooking: Pulling together great ingredients from my favorite stores

For a snack at home, I layered smoked wild Alaskan salmon, reduced-fat Swiss cheese, Dijon mustard and sliced California black figs on Swedish crispbread, topping them with fresh mint leaves from my garden.


The Swedish Food Market at IKEA in Paramus stocks a lot of bottled herring with way too much salt and fruit drinks with too much added sugar.

But the simple Swedish crispbread is irresistible: 

These crunchy disks -- each about 3 inches across -- invite you to layer cheese, smoked salmon and fresh figs on them for a midday snack.

Or, you can top them with sliced cheese, organic greens and tuna salad dressed with Dijon mustard, lime juice and ground cumin.

IKEA sells two kinds -- Rye Crispbread and Multigrain Crispbread, both made in Finland -- in 8.8-ounce packages for $2.99 each.

I rely on Costco Wholesale in Teterboro for smoked wild Alaskan salmon ($14.89 per pound), reduced-fat sliced Jarlsberg Swiss Cheese (2 pounds for only $6.69 with an instant coupon last week), and Dijon mustard.

I picked up a pound of California Black Figs for $3.99 at Trader Joe's in Paramus, but had to refrigerate them to prevent spoilage.

I baked a pan of Fresh Wild Coho Salmon from Costco Wholesale in Teterboro with fresh spinach, organic diced tomatoes, pitted black olives, grated cheese, olive oil (on the spinach), fresh lime juice (on the fish) and fresh herbs from my garden.

I cut up the fillet, cooked the pieces skin-side down on a stove-top grill for 4 minutes, then placed them on the spinach. The pan spent another 7 minutes in a preheated 400-degree oven. The organic diced tomatoes were cooked separately with red wine and seasonings, and were added along with the chopped herbs when the pan was removed from the oven.

Fresh wild salmon

If the past is any guide, fresh wild salmon will be available at Costco in Teterboro for another month or so.

Last week, my wife found a Fresh Wild Coho Salmon Fillet instead of the sockeye we've been buying since June ($9.99 a pound).

Meanwhile, I went to the Costco Business Center in Hackensack for a 1-pound package of Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix ($4.89), the world's best-tasting salad.

The price fluctuates, and earlier this year, Costco was selling it for only $4.29 a pound, compared to $6.99 in most supermarkets.

When buying the salad, select packages that have little or no condensation to avoid the greens rotting before their use-by date, which is printed on the front label.

No dinner is complete without a salad and a glass of red wine.

A salad of Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix with cherry tomatoes from our garden and kernels shaved off an ear of sweet Jersey corn, dressed simply with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The Organic Spring Mix has a new label, but the triple-washed greens are as delicious as ever. Earthbound Farm added the words "grown without GMOs," "a blend of tender baby greens" and "a versatile classic" to new label. See the ingredients, below.
The Earthbound Farm label on the back or bottom of the package.

Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix can go straight from the container onto a plate or into a bowl. Here, I added cucumbers and our cherry tomatoes. Three large hothouse cucumbers from Costco Wholesale were $3.49.
I also like the Spring Mix from Olivia's Organics, but even on sale at H Mart in Little Ferry (5 ounces for $1.99), you'll pay more per ounce than at Costco for a 1-pound tub of Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix.

With Kirkland Signature 100% Liquid Egg Whites from Costco, you can eat an omelet or frittata every day and not worry about cholesterol. Six 16-ounce cartons were $8.79.
At H Mart in Little Ferry on Sunday, Baby Mustard Greens, above, were on sale for 78 cents a pound; and Chinese Eggplant, below, were 99 cents a pound.
I grilled the eggplant slices on the stove top with spray oil and a little salt.

At ShopRite, my wife picked up a carton of Barilla Whole Grain Spaghetti made with 100% whole wheat, which I prepared with olive oil, fresh garlic, cherry tomatoes from our garden and homemade pesto. But the package was a couple of ounces shy of a pound and cost more than the 1-pound package of Luigi Vitelli-brand Organic Whole Wheat Spaghetti, which ShopRite also sells ($1.29). The cooked organic spaghetti feels better in your mouth, too.

When you buy six bottles of wine with prices ending in "9" at Total Wine & More in River Edge, you get an additional 10% off. I purchased six bottles of Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Cabernet and Carmenere for an average of under $7 each, plus tax.


For fresh wild salmon and fresh fish from Iceland, smoked wild Alaskan salmon, Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix, fresh organic spinach, Dijon mustard and so many other great ingredients at great prices:

Costco Wholesale, 2 Teterboro Landing Drive, Teterboro; and Costco Wholesale Business Center, 80 S. River St., Hackensack.

For California Black Figs, organic sweet potatoes, organic whole wheat pasta; Green Plant, a 100% fruit and green food juice blend with no added sugar, and antibiotic- and preservative-free beef hot dogs and bacon:

Trader Joe's, 404 Route 17 north, Paramus.

For cans of pitted black olives, conventional sweet potatoes, grass-fed Australian beef, lactose-free milk and Luigi Vitelli-brand Organic Whole Wheat Pasta:

ShopRite, 224 Route 4 east at Forest Avenue, Paramus. 

For a large variety of Asian greens, fresh fruit, fresh whole fish for as little as $1.99 a pound and prepared Korean food:

H Mart, 260 Bergen Turnpike, Little Ferry; go for the low prices and ignore the shabby entrance and drab interior of this large supermarket.

For crispbread; frozen meatballs, including a vegetarian version; and other food from Scandinavia:

Swedish Food Market at IKEA, 100 IKEA Drive, Paramus. 

For inexpensive red wine:

Total Wine & More, 135 Kinderkamack Road, River Edge.

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