Great Cookbooks for Families:
Reviewed by Katy Killilea
Rhode Islanders used to be divided into two groups: those who commute to Massachusetts regularly and can easily stop for provisions at one of the state’s gazillion (sixteen) branches of Trader Joe’s, and those who bitterly envied them. But starting this fall, we can all go to Trader Joe’s. Rhode Island’s very own TJ’s–as you have surely heard by now–is opening on Bald Hill Road in Warwick. (The company predicts the store will open in October.)
Serendipitously for us, the new Cooking with All Things Trader Joe’s will also be available this fall. This is a cookbook of eclectic recipes that make Trader Joe’s your prep cook. In some ways, the recipes remind me of the old “Mix one can of this with a packet of that.” The difference, of course, is that the ingredients are yummy treats from Trader Joe’s, free of added chemicals, instead of spooky glop.
This book will make it easier to shop at TJ’s and acclimate yourself to the store’s fine jarred and refrigerated sauces, condiments, and chopped vegetables. You could translate the recipes into traditional grocery store foods if you wanted, but this book has a very specific audience in mind: the busy Trader Joe’s enthusiast. Breakfast, dessert, salads, main courses, and even “Bachelor Quickies” (i.e., barely cooking) are all included. Most of the recipes are for wholesome meals. The recipe I’ve included below may not fall under that category, but isn’t it ingenious?
Honey, I Ate the Chocolate Bread Pudding
8 slices whole wheat honey Bread
1Â½ cups Brownie Truffle Baking Mix
2Â½ cups whole milk
1. Cut crusts off bread. Cube bread into Â½-inch pieces. Toss diced bread in an 8 x 8-inch lightly greased or buttered baking pan and arrange so pan is filled evenly.
2. Combine milk and brownie mix. Stir well for a minute until dissolved. Pour brownie mixture over diced bread. Lightly press down on bread pieces so that they are thoroughly soaked through with brownie liquid.
3. Set pan aside while you preheat oven to 350, perhaps ten minutes or so. This extra time will give the bread time to soak further. Cover pan tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
4. When done, remove pan from oven and let it cool for 15 minutes, allowing bread pudding to set. Serve warm.
[The authors recommend serving this with vanilla or chocolate ice cream.]
Cooking with All Things Trader Joe’s
by Deana Gunn and Wona Miniati
2008 Brown Bag Publishers