Monday, October 8, 2007

My other boyfriend is Trader Joe.

I love Trader Joe's. If you live in the Pittsburgh area and haven't made the trek to the Trader Joe's on Penn Avenue yet, you should. You probably own a car, so going there and loading up will make the trip well worth it!

Why is it worth this trip? Trader Joe's specializes in inexpensive, natural foods, many of which are also organic. It also caters to those with special dietary needs who would otherwise find themselves going broke at "Whole Paycheck". In fact, many of the foods that Trader Joe's carries are manufactured by makers you already trust and love, but with the artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives removed.

This recipe features many of the good things Trader Joe's has to offer, and shopping for the ingredients will give you a tour of most of the store! If you don't have a TJ's nearby, just approximate with my notes.

Asian-style Vegetable Soup

1 container TJ's Ginger Soy broth
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 package TJ's Harvest Mix Vegetables (broccoli, carrots, water chestnuts, onions, peppers, and mushrooms -- Birds Eye has a similar mix)
1/2 package extra firm tofu, cubed OR 1/2 pound of frozen uncooked shrimp
1/2 package TJ's rice stick noodles
3 green onions, snipped into 2 inch lengths
4 pieces of fresh cilantro

In a 4 quart pan, combine the first three ingredients, and bring to a simmer. Add the vegetables and shrimp if using. If using tofu, heat 2 teaspoons canola or olive oil plus a drop of sesame oil in a pan. Cook tofu cubes to remove excess moisture and until just browned.

When Shrimp starts to turn pink, or when broth begins to simmer again, add noodles. Also add tofu at this time if using. Allow to simmer 7 minutes, until noodles are soft. Remove from heat and add green onions and cilantro, stirring them in. Allow to sit 3-4 minutes.

Serve hot. Serves 6, and when made with tofu, the whole pot will cost you about $5 to make!

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