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John Francis's Profile

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Table salt or kosher salt?

Yes, because the measurements are different. For a quantity of table salt, you need up to twice the quantity of kosher salt, depending on the brand.

Apr 04, 2014
John Francis in General Topics

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - March 2014 [OLD]

I've liked the flavor from the start.

Mar 30, 2014
John Francis in Chains

TRADER JOE'S:Microwave friendly

I've seen quite a few microwave-packaged entrees etc. in their chill chest, chicken masala etc., but since I don't have a mw I've never tried them. My guess is they're no worse than comparable stuff in the supermarkets and possibly better.

Mar 26, 2014
John Francis in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - March 2014 [OLD]

They shouldn't be called burgers, they're vegetable patties and make a nice side dish. Besides carrot and peppers they also include green beans and maybe other veg, I haven't analyzed. As for being oily, I haven't noticed that, but then I put them in the toaster oven with no oil added. Sometimes I have one or two of them and nothing else for a meal, if I'm not so hungry.

Mar 26, 2014
John Francis in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - March 2014 [OLD]

Agreed. The chicken broths other than free range organic not low sodium have hardly any flavor at all. For me, the FRO is just fine, I often heat some up for a nightcap.

Mar 26, 2014
John Francis in Chains
1

Traditional Southern cooking - cookbooks?

Revisiting the thread. Thanks to all for the suggestions. Marion Brown's book, both editions, has become my go-to; the recipes are not by cookbook authors but home cooks, I'm guessing not those given named credit but their African-American kitchen help, plus a few from restaurants like the Hotel Roanoke.

Mar 23, 2014
John Francis in Home Cooking

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - March 2014 [OLD]

Yea to the smoked sliced gouda, a staple, and also to the sliced sharp cheddar. The sliced muenster is nearly flavorless, too bland for my taste even for muenster.

Mar 23, 2014
John Francis in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - March 2014 [OLD]

I have a couple of TJ's 99¢ bags, which look like lasting forever. When I don't have them with me, the paper ones with handles, which my local store always doubles, normally stand up for the bus ride and walk home even when full and heavy. Once in the last 6 months a handle came loose; another time, the handle stayed stuck but the bag tore around it. Otherwise no problem.

They also provide plastic bags if you prefer.

Mar 23, 2014
John Francis in Chains

Vinegar(s)

Balsamic and sherry vinegars have a sweetness that other vinegars don't have. There are other differences among the various vinegars as well, but this is the most obvious.

Mar 17, 2014
John Francis in General Topics

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - March 2014 [OLD]

And what do you get for your trouble? Nickels and dimes.

Mar 17, 2014
John Francis in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - March 2014 [OLD]

For the hash-browns, I stick them in the toaster oven to grill for 10 minutes - no need to fry them, no added oil. Not salty on my tongue, just well seasoned.

Mar 17, 2014
John Francis in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - March 2014 [OLD]

Depends on what you count as "pre-prepared." Would that include frozen but otherwise raw fish and vegetables? Ground meats? If so, then in my local store, I'd say no more than half the products are prepared foods, probably less.

Mar 15, 2014
John Francis in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - March 2014 [OLD]

No, I was brought up on Skippy Creamy and for me it's the default peanut butter, alternating with Jif. (America's Test Kitchen says that's OK. :-) ) Tried the TJ's because I like so many of their products, but for me, the oil and peanut butter wouldn't mix.

Mar 15, 2014
John Francis in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - March 2014 [OLD]

I bought a jar of the smooth out of curiosity. Being "natural," it had separated and the oil was pooled on top; I could never get it mixed together properly. Also took a sample to see if it was worth the effort and disliked the taste.

Mar 13, 2014
John Francis in Chains

Are there such things as greengrocers, butcher shops and fish shops in the States?

Sure. All three within a few blocks of each other in my Brooklyn NY neighborhood.

Mar 10, 2014
John Francis in General Topics

How many people really use shallots? I generally don't.

I use shallots when the recipe calls for them. Never buy as much as a pound at a time, that's way more than I'd ever use, I keep one or two of them around on general principles, and the price is trivial.

Mar 07, 2014
John Francis in Home Cooking

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - March 2014 [OLD]

Is that different from the chicken broth in the box? The free-range CB is a standby, not the low sodium version which is flavorless and a waste. But if there's also a chicken soup with chicken pieces in a box, I've never seen it at my local TJ's. I'll ask about it.

Mar 01, 2014
John Francis in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - March 2014 [OLD]

It's a Yea for me. That's how I use it, and in other New Orleans/Louisiana cooking. But since it's fairly mild (though still has some kick or it wouldn't be andouille), I sometimes eat it plain, and it's very tasty.

Mar 01, 2014
John Francis in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay - February 2014! [OLD]

Yes, there's no limit to how long a thread can get when people constantly go off-topic. Speaking just for myself, I wish we could go back to the time when every message was yeas and nays about specific TJ products. The other comments, however interesting, get in the way of what I want to learn from this thread, which is what to try and what not.

Feb 28, 2014
John Francis in Chains

What's the best can opener?

I've used the Zyliss safety can opener for several years and it hasn't failed yet. Opens cans from the side instead of cutting through the top.

http://usa.zyliss.com/safety-can-opener

Feb 21, 2014
John Francis in Cookware
1

Do TJ's differ drastically in different regions?

I'm sure it must be up to each store's manager to decide which TJ products to stock and which not, unless the store has so much floor and shelf space that he/she doesn't have to be selective. Products are often mentioned in the Yea/Nay thread that I've never seen in my local store.

Feb 21, 2014
John Francis in Chains

Brown Rice

On my gas stovetop, simmer is none too gentle, but instead of using a heat disperser I just don't cook the rice so long; 25 minutes just about does it. Also, the jasmine rice makes a nice pilaff with chopped onions and oil (I use toasted sesame oil), which toasts the rice before adding the water or broth and replaces the butter. Might add a bit of saffron next time, if that isn't gilding the lily.

Feb 10, 2014
John Francis in General Topics

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay - February 2014! [OLD]

Very much in the style of the Scottish marmalades, Chivers and Keiller's Dundee (TJ used to carry the latter), but much less expensive.

Feb 08, 2014
John Francis in Chains

PBS show "A Chef's Life"

And yet it seems her workers stood by her, and her prickly husband, after the fire wiped out the restaurant. That seems pretty dedicated to me. Finally, the test of a manager's effectiveness is its effect, isn't it? And she's certainly not a tyrant in the restaurant's kitchen, just a determined perfectionist.

The comparison with April Bloomfield, whom I haven't yet seen running the kitchen in either of her restaurants, doesn't take into account their very different situations. Bloomfield's restaurants are in Manhattan, a food metropolis with millions of potential customers and thousands of skilled and motivated kitchen and waitstaff workers to draw on, Hunter in a rural, thinly populated area with no history of fine dining restaurants or reservoir of potential workers. All they have in common is their profession and, of course, their gender.

Feb 08, 2014
John Francis in Food Media & News
4

Brown Rice

Also good is brown jasmine rice. I get mine at Trader Joe's but I'm sure it's available in other places.

Feb 07, 2014
John Francis in General Topics

Commonly mispronounced foods

Minnestrohn, likoor, chicken keev, worst for wurst, etc. etc. You hear this from professionals on TV programs like America's Test Kitchen.

Feb 07, 2014
John Francis in Food Media & News

Ditching the mircowave?

I've never had a microwave in my life, and have never missed it. However, my big toaster oven takes up as much space as a MW - use it several times a day for all kinds of things.

Feb 07, 2014
John Francis in Cookware
1

Trader Joe's vs Whole Food: What to buy at each and why?

For more information than you probably want about what to get at Trader Joe's, have a look at the Yea-Nay threads in this forum.

Feb 07, 2014
John Francis in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay - February 2014! [OLD]

From the nutritional information about goldfish and rockets, the amount of sodium looks just about the same. The rockets do taste a bit less salty; this might be because of the cheese TJ uses, just a guess.

Feb 06, 2014
John Francis in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay - February 2014! [OLD]

Yea - Cheddar Rocket Crackers. A rip-off of Pepperidge Farm's Goldfish crackers, with almost identical nutrition information. It's up to you which company you want to get your dollars. :-)

The monthly threads have gotten longer because people aren't just posting the yeas and nays but discussing all kinds of things, recipes and such. The actual yeas and nays haven't increased that much. So I'm against shortening the threads to a week - that's a real inconvenience to those just looking for reviews.

Feb 06, 2014
John Francis in Chains
1