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Looking for a good, inexpensive balsamic vinegar

Well it better be at $80 per liter! :)

Enjoy!

about 1 hour ago
NuMystic in General Topics

Looking for a good, inexpensive balsamic vinegar

Guessing you're thinking of the lead not iron.

Yes, all red wine and balsamic vinegars have trace amounts of lead. It can vary from bottle to bottle and the warnings you've heard of are on the bottle so it can be sold in California which has the strictest regulations in the country.

Being that balsamic is generally consumed by the occasional spoonful most of us aren't too concerned, but it's always good to be informed:

http://www.environmentalhealthnews.or...

Just realize that if you're buying outside of California you have no way of knowing whether the lead content of any other Balsamic is higher or lower than the Kirkland so it's a complete crap shoot. Even if you stick to only the vinegars listed in that article that had lower than Prop. 65 limits, that was testing done in 2007 and every batch can vary depending on the crops used.

The only way to avoid all traces of lead in Balsamic Vinegar is to simply give it up altogether. Modena style Balsamics are known to have the highest concentrations of any vinegar.

If you want to be certain that it's below California limits you'd have buy one of the few that pay for regular testing themselves so they can promote that they meet Prop. 65 requirements, but then you'll likely need to give up the goal of buying cheap and excellent.

Here are a few:

O California Balsamic ($48 per liter
)http://www.ooliveoil.com/store/vinega...

The only cheap one that I personally know that promotes meeting Prop 65 limits is Monari Federzoni's Green Label (7$ per Liter):
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Monari-Fede...
While the above says nothing but Balsamic in the ingredients, other sites list caramel, must, and wine vinegar which would explain the cheap price.

Archer Farms Balsamic sold at Target tested as below limits back in '09 and costs $16 per liter but can't speak to how good it is personally.
http://www.target.com/p/af-estate-bal...

about 2 hours ago
NuMystic in General Topics

Looking for a good, inexpensive balsamic vinegar

The Roland has sulfur dioxide added to it.

The Super Premium Balsamic Vinegar of Modena from Fairway we're discussing above is available online in two sizes:

http://www.fairwaymarket.com/shop/cat...

If that's still too expensive for you then you'll need to settle for "good/decent" rather than "excellent", and the already recommended Kirkland brand at Costco is likely the best value you're going to get in that realm:

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/-2...

about 15 hours ago
NuMystic in General Topics

Looking for a good, inexpensive balsamic vinegar

No ingredients at all actually which would be highly disconcerting if not for the explicit description and Fairway's very solid reputation.

I can't imagine they could use any of the official designations since it appears they are importing this in bulk and bottling it themselves.

It's not as syrupy thick as the $50+ certified balsamics but it's leagues better than anything I've had remotely close to this price range.

1 day ago
NuMystic in General Topics

Looking for a good, inexpensive balsamic vinegar

Fairway Super Premium Balsamic Vinegar of Modena - Aged in Wooden Kegs and marked as "Special Occasion Quality" is a bargain at only $19.99 per liter and an insane value when it's occasionally on sale for only $14.99

The label reads:

This balsamic vinegar is a limited quantity special import brought to you by Fairway.

It's flavor is even more complex than our premium balsamic, and it's texture noticeably thicker. The word "balsamico" refers to the vinegar's medicinal qualities. Balsamic vinegar this fine, this old, would retail at any other store for $50 to $90 per liter. Italians would never use it as a vinaigrette ingredient. Rather, they employ it drop-by-drop in various recipes as a braising and de-glazing liquid for protein as diverse as foie gras and calves' liver, for beef, pork, lamb and veal, poultry, game, rabbit and seafood. It is made from the cooked-down must of trebbiano wine grapes, but it was never wine. It is then aged over a period of years from a few to as many as 150. Over the years, portions of different batches are transferred, in turn, from keg to keg. These kegs are made from oak, mulberry chestnut and juniper, and each imparts its singular aromatic esters into the vinegar. The centuries-old practice makes dating the vinegar accurately impossible. Absolutely nothing is added to real balsamic vinegar, though the inauthentic and inexpensive balsamics are blended with red wine vinegar, and some even have corn syrup added to them. This is not one of those. We love to drizzle this fine balsamic vinegar over sorbets, over seasonal berries and peaches, and over slivers of Parmaigiano Reggiano.

Oct 23, 2014
NuMystic in General Topics

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

Just need to work on your Google-Fu Maria. :)

Type in "Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread Pudding", click on "images" and a few rows down you'll find a picture of the full side panel with ingredients and nutritional info.

Here's a direct link to the image:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VAzBUWx0IVs...

Oct 22, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

The Frozen Pumpkin Croissants are also superb while they're still available.

Oct 22, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Costco Food Finds - 3rd Quarter 2014

Speaking of the dolmas, I wanted to update my review above. Discovered that they're often eaten steamed in other regions not just cold or room temperature the way I've always had them so I thought I'd give that a shot.

These were absolutely fantastic steamed. That conditional complaint I made about them being firmer and more dry than oil packed dolmas is entirely changed by steaming them. Soft, moist, and the flavor is kicked up considerably.

I'll still enjoy these cold straight from the fridge when I feel like snacking but will always steam them from now on when I'm going to actually serve them with a meal.

Oct 21, 2014
NuMystic in Chains
1

Discontinued at Trader Joe's: July 2014-December 2014

That link was incomplete, this one should work:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/22/bus...

Oct 21, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

Mostly small but some big enough to be sifted out for sure.

If you can handle fine coconut but not larger pieces it may be even simpler and more effective to pick up some coconut flour to lightly pan roast and add to any pancake mix you like.

Even safer for your tummy might be just using natural coconut extract/flavor.

Oct 21, 2014
NuMystic in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

Soooo yeah... hot pumpkin bread pudding, half a banana, and a few tablespoons of salted caramel gelato sprinkled with spiced pumpkin seeds.

Dangerously satisfying, though with this much going on the actual salted caramel notes were pretty buried unless you closed your eyes and consciously sought out them out.

While I loved the hot/cold contrast I'll probably stick with simpler combos that let the gelato stay front and center. Like that awesome olive oil drizzle Savour just suggested!

Oct 21, 2014
NuMystic in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

Okay, so I haven't gotten to the Affogato yet, but my wife and I just each had a scoop each of the gelato with a generous handful of toasted pecans and half a sliced banana.

Conversation killer. That is to say, no one was about to use their mouth for anything other than what was in their bowl until it was licked clean.

I cannot begin to express how grateful I am that this is actually best in very small servings.

Given that my store has been having a hard time keeping the freezer stocked with this, I'm really hoping this is the first of many more TJ Gelatos to come. Seems an obvious move given the success Talenti is having.

Oct 20, 2014
NuMystic in Chains
1

Discontinued at Trader Joe's: July 2014-December 2014

I'm terribly sorry you're not pleased with the direction it's gone since your early days of shopping there. That must be a terrible disappointment after having been a fan for so long.

That said, the financial success of that direction isn't a matter of opinion at all.

They're doing phenomenally well, expanding rapidly, and more Americans than ever have fallen in love with their current business model and are voting with their wallets in droves.

Every few months there's another article in Forbes or the Wall Street Journal about how they're passing all their competitors by and stronger than ever...

http://wallstcheatsheet.com/business/...

Also, please refrain from patronizing based on age simply because someone doesn't share your personal views. My Grandmother is 96 and loves TJ's so much that I have to mail her care packages since she's not currently living close to one.

TJ's isn't for everyone. I know a few people that aren't fans at all, but they're in the vast minority in my area at least. Tastes are subjective and everyone's entitled to their own, but objective facts are another thing altogether.

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

Spot on rynnyb. When I first sampled the Gelato I immediately started thinking about adding some crunch on the way home.

Considered both pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds and the sweet and spicy pecans but decided against anything that adds more sweetness given how rich the gelato already is.

Raw cacao nibs were okay but nothing spectacular.

Still hot freshly toasted pecan pieces on the other hand resulted in a bowl full of win.

I agree with some other comments that a dramatically smaller serving size can still satisfy which is a huge bonus given that I happen to know "some people" who have been known to polish of a pint of other favorites in a single sitting.

My current approach is now a single small scoop with an almost equal volume of chopped toasted pecans. The added protein and fiber to help stave off that sugar coma isn't a bad thing either.

Next up: Affogato

3 Days to Make 8 Cronuts at Home? No.

Since we're getting *serious* let's start with dropping the "ZOMG ALL this effort for ONLY 8 PASTRIES?!?!" ridiculousness.

Anyone dedicated enough to spend days on these who wants more than 8 can manage another 30 seconds doubling or quintupling the measurements.

Seriously. : )

Not like the recipe warns that trying to make more will result in litigation and the maiming of innocent bystanders due to spontaneous combustion.

Noting the absurd impracticality of the recipe is one thing but folks are forever bitching about supposed home cookbook recipes being for too big in volume and multiplying is always easier than dividing in this regard.

Oct 20, 2014
NuMystic in Features

3 Days to Make 8 Cronuts at Home? No.

.

Oct 20, 2014
NuMystic in Features

Bought these copper pans from the charity shop, what's inside them?

There are a number of respected names offering silicone and silicone coated whisks now that have excellent reviews:

Kuhn Rikon has a variety of styles and sizes with silicone coated wire:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_nos...

Rösle makes a well rated flat silicone whisk:
http://www.amazon.com/Rösle-Silicone-...

Sur La Table carries this 2-in-1 style (flat / balloon):
http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...

Oct 19, 2014
NuMystic in Cookware

Why Does Ketchup on a Hot Dog Piss People Off?

Nope not hard to understand that at all, but then you're saying something quite different than you did before. Language matters. :)

Oct 18, 2014
NuMystic in Features

Trader Joe's "pumpkinundation" 2014

Thanks for the extra insight on the *krinkle* greygarious. (ducks)

Oct 17, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

I thought you were posting the TJ's list of ingredients above! I missed the "WS" when I read your post! LOL :-\

Oct 17, 2014
NuMystic in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

Okay. Fine. YAY already - Hatch Valley Salsa.

Yes, I opened yet another jar of salsa. Es verdad! :-|

Russ nailed it. Very pleasant heat. I'd rate it "medium-hot" with a more pronounced burn than the Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa but not overwhelming by any means. Self proclaimed wimps should steer clear but if you're someone that ever reaches for dried chili flakes, sriracha, cholula, etc. you'll be just fine.

Both thin and chunky at the same time. Which is too say it's got a bit more liquid than most chunky salsas without actually being a thin or blended one.

Russ, I suspect it's the more generous than usual lime that gave this a degree of pucker easily mistaken for high salt. (which is why so many salt substitutes are built around dried lemon/lime/citric acid)

(Salsa Verde tangent to follow)

That said you will definitely want to avoid the Salsa Verde Russ which is dramatically saltier tasting than the Hatch.

In case it seems like I'm on a crusade against this poor salsa, I just want to clarify that it's actually very tasty and one that will work beautifully in moderation with something that isn't already heavily seasoned. I'll likely make black bean and corn salsa with it and not add any other salt.

Being that salty just means that for me it's application is limited, and I'm fond of literally smothering some things in salsa which I could never do with this Salsa Verde. (as a point of reference only one cup yields an entire day's RDA for sodium)

Being that I'm fond of it's heat the Hatch Valley is definitely now my TJ's green salsa of choice.

Oct 16, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Why Does Ketchup on a Hot Dog Piss People Off?

Because it ruins hot dogs but not burgers served on white bread toast. Gotcha.

Always amusing to see how people are so utterly tone deaf to their own rationalizations and hypocrisy. :)

Oct 16, 2014
NuMystic in Features

Trader Joe's "pumpkinundation" 2014

I would totally stock up myself except that my freezer has now been officially renamed the "Salted Caramel Gelato Storage Unit".

I will certainly mourn the passing that bread pudding when it's out of stock.

Oct 16, 2014
NuMystic in Chains
2

Trader Joe's "pumpkinundation" 2014

Looking forward to giving the almond a try as we definitely found the pumpkin to be too sweet and I'm quite fond of almond pastries.

Speaking of which how does it compare to the Almond Ring Danish (bakery) and Almond Croissants (frozen self-bake).

Also does the Almond Krinkle have a glaze like the Pumpkin or can it actually be crisped up rather than just warmed. That might seal the deal for me since I also didn't care for the Krinkle's dampness.

Oct 16, 2014
NuMystic in Chains
1

Trader Joe's "pumpkinundation" 2014

Definitely curious to see what I think of the Almond Krinkle now since I'm also a big almond flavor fan and found the Pumpkin far too sweet.

Is it free of any glaze on the top so that it can be heated to the point of actually crisping rather than just warming?

Also how does it compare to the Almond Ring Danish (bakery) and the Almond Croissants (frozen)?

Oct 16, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

Actually Russ it was the Salsa Verde that was remarked upon as being heavy on the salt.

The Hatch is only 70mg vs the Salsa Verde with a whopping 280mg.

Struggling mightily to not open the jar of Hatch I've got in my cabinet right now because I've already got 3 other jars of salsa open in the fridge at the moment!

Oct 16, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

One and the same! TJ's does it again!
http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

Williams Sonoma $30(!!!) per lb.
Trader Joe's $3.49 10 oz. (only $5.50 per pound)

Oct 16, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

No swirls. No Mix-Ins.

Just pure uncut, unadulterated, diet destroying, crema del diavolo that relationships will be ended and mended by.

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

For those who don't already know the veggie chili is relabeled Amy's.

Oct 15, 2014
NuMystic in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

I'd suggest toasting the shredded coconut first then (if it's not already) as that definitely plays a hand in what makes these special.

Oct 15, 2014
NuMystic in Chains
1