Sunday, May 31, 2009

Brand Whore

I compose blog entries many times while I'm running in the mornings. For this one, I was all set and ready to write about how I tend not to care about brands - except when it comes to cooking. And then I started remembering my designer handbags, and my particularity about my brand of running shoe, and the little blue boxes much of my jewelery comes in, and how I literally drool over anything created by a specific designer. At which point I hung my head in shame and recognized myself for the brand whore I actually am.

So I guess it makes sense that this particular form of particularity extends into the brands I use in my kitchen. And I know I'm not the only one, there are many who swear that a certain by a certain brand of canned tomatoes. Others who require a specific brand of flour. As for me, I'm a firm believer in the "crap in, crap out" school of thought so I definitely try to use quality products. With the exception of wines - I know there's a school of thought about using high quality wines for cooking, but I just get sick to my stomach pouring out tasty stuff anywhere but my mouth so I stick with 2 buck chuck for all my cooking needs.

Right now, we are truly, madly, addicted to Trader Joe's garlic asiago bread. It is beyond excellent and I try to keep a loaf in the fridge or freezer at all times. It's terribly versatile and I've used it for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. You can't even begin to imagine what it does to a turkey sandwich. Here are a few of my favorite uses for it, just to show the versatility. Our star players are of course, the Trader Joe's bread, Cento marinated artichoke hearts, and Arbequina olive oil from our favorite olivery (is that what you call a place that makes olive oil?) We Olive.


Garlic Asiago Strata
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Trader Joe's Garlic Asiago Bread, sliced in 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 cup shredded asiago cheese
  1. Butter a 2 qt pyrex dish (I used a round one). In a separate bowl, mix eggs, milk, cream, salt, and pepper.
  2. Place slices of bread on bottom of pyrex dish, sprinkle with asiago cheese.
  3. Place another layer of bread, then cheese on top of base layer. Repeat one more time with bread, then cheese.
  4. Pour half of the egg mixture over the bread and cheese.
  5. Repeat with remaining bread and cheese. When you're out of bread and cheese, pour the remaining egg mixture over top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 375. Bake strata for 45 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes to cool.
  7. To serve, invert strata on large plate.

Artichoke Brushetta
  • Trader Joe's garlic asiago bread, sliced into 1 inch slices
  • 1 jar Cento marinated artichokes
  • 3 Tbsp parsley, chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup Arbequina olive oil, plus extra for bread
  • 1/4 cup parmesean cheese
  1. Heat grill pan over medium high heat. Brush each side of sliced bread with olive oil and grill 2-3 minutes per side.
  2. Combine artichokes, parsley, garlic, olive oil, and parmesean in food processor and pulse until the ingredients are mixed together.
  3. Spoon artichoke mixture over bread and serve.

11 comments:

  1. MMMMmmmnn! I LOVE anything from Trader Joe's.

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  2. I really don't need another excuse to go buy TJ's bread! This looks absolutely delicious, though.

    I also compose blog posts while running!

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  3. I so want to try that bread.

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  4. My husband would go apeyouknowwhat for that strata. Too bad the closest Trader Joe's is awfully far away....

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  5. Mmmm this looks so good, especially the strata. I've never tried that bread. Why did you decide to tell me about it after I moved from the TJ's that was like 4 blocks from my place?

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  6. Holy cow! I'll have to remember about that bread the next time I'm at TJ's.

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  7. Trader Joes is about an hour away from me, so I don't make it there often. But when I do, I stock up and I am totally adding this bread to my list!

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  8. I just wanted to refer to you, in your own words granted, as a whore.

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  9. I'm a total brand whore. Least I know I'm in good company. ;)

    I'll have to pick up some of that bread next time I'm at TJs. Sounds delish!

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