Thursday, April 08, 2004

As previously mentioned, I went to Trader Joe's while on vacation. This post is really about cooking while in a vacation rental which is stocked with just about nothing. The "just about" is because it did have milk, little pats of butter, little packets of jam, and little packets of Philadelphia cream cheese.

At Safeway, we bought: a bag of carrots, package of flour tortillas, bag of baby spinach, mushrooms, red onion, muenster, fake butter, non-eggs (the no-cholesterol stuff), pasta, parsley, arborio rice, crackers and shallots.

At Trader Joe's, I bought: hummus, apples, cambazola, goat-cheese and mushroom dip, mushroom ravioli, more crackers, no-chicken broth and three salads.

During the course of our visit, we ate breakfast at our vacation rental most days. Breakfast options included: omlette with mushrooms and red onions sauteed in fake butter with the mushroom and goat cheese dip; omlette with sauteed onions, wilted spinach and muenster; omlette with mushrooms, shallots, spinach and cambazola. Sometimes with an apple shared between us.

After baseball games and cooling off, there were often snacks. Crackers or carrots with hummus. Crackers with the mushroom-goat cheese dip. Cambazola and apple slices. Tortilla and hummus.

In order to watch as many NCAA women's games as possible, I made dinner in. Dinners included one of the Trader Joe salads divided between us-- one with beets and goat cheese saw me with all the beets and Ladybug with most of the goat cheese. Fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and toasted pine nuts were enjoyed by both of us. The balsamic vinagrette that didn't get used in salad got used in sauteeing mushrooms the following night. The gorgonzola and walnut salad got one of the apples added to it. The mushroom-goat cheese dip got eaten once again on the mushroom ravioli with a little cambazola. Whatever combination of mushrooms, sauteed red onions/caramelized red onions/shallots, spinach and/or parsley didn't get used in breakfast got used with pasta or in risotto for dinner.

My conclusion: Trader Joe's mushroom and goat cheese dip is incredibly versatile and can be used at any meal. TJs is perfect for pulling stuff together when I have no spices or herbs. I am lost without mushrooms. Ditto apples and some blue-ish cheese. As much as I *like* olive oil, its not essential. Unless, of course, you care about my arteries.

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