Monday, December 29, 2014

Trader Joe's Cruciferous Crunch Collection, and Trader Joe's Organics Baby Lettuce Mix

I first heard of the "Cruciferous Crunch Collection" from a post on Twitter. The name was intriguing, and I wanted to learn more about it. A Google search led me to this excellent review on the "Eat at Joe's" blog:
The Cruciferous Crunch Collection, as is not at all clear from the title, is a bag of shredded kale, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage and red cabbage. It is, in short, the nightmare scenario of every little kid sitting down to the dinner table. Back in the day that would have been me panicking at the site of kale, however since growing to adulthood I’ve developed a certain fondness for robust salads. To the modern day me, this bag of greens is a god send. The texture and heft of your greens are aspects of salads that go criminally under appreciated. Every time you’ve ever sat down do a cold plate of watery iceberg lettuce, someone has taken the texture and heft of their salad greens for granted. The absolute bastards. 
Trader Joe’s Cruciferous Crunch mix brings vibrant tastes and textures to your salad, shading the other elements with the nutritious, nutty flavor of kale, the crunch of crisp shredded cabbage, and the dense chewiness of sliced Burssels sprouts. Throwing an handful of two of this mix in with your bed of baby spinach, romaine or, dear I say it, arugula, is the easiest thing you could do to upgrade your entire salad experience.
I was kind of intimidated at the thought of eating a raw mix of kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts alone, so I liked the idea of using it instead as a mix with tamer salads. That's why I bought the baby lettuce mix with it. I can't really review either one alone, since the only way I've had them is as a roughly 50/50 blend. 

And put together that way, they're excellent. Mr. Eating-At-Joe's is exactly right about what the cruciferous veggies do to a salad in terms of "texture and heft." I had worried a bit that it would add a lawn-clippings taste, but I did not find that to be the case. I've had the blend of these two bagged salads now with two different salad dressings (one a sweet/fruity pomegranate dressing, the other a tangy tomato-based one, similar to Kraft Catalina), and liked it with both. 

This part is probably pure imagination or wishful thinking at work, but I got the impression that I was eating something super-healthy, the likes of which should immunize me from any and all diseases that might try to take hold of my fragile flesh. 

Will I buy it again? 

Yes, to both items. However, I wish TJ's would sell the cruciferous blend in smaller bags. Even eating a salad a day, I'm unlikely to be able to finish off a bag of this size before it goes bad. 

Nina’s View

We have reached that banner day upon which Bob is actually more enthusiastic about a green salad-y item than I am. I will pause while you let the occasion sink in, in all its momentousness: and lo! a foodie was born!

My main objection here is not at all to the baby lettuces, or indeed the concept of the cruciferous crunch collection, or the adding thereof to make a pleasing blend. It boils down to one thing. Brussels sprouts: they ought not be raw.

There. I’ve said it.

Brussels sprouts should come in size “baby” and be gently steamed to tenderness, or in size “smallish" so that they can be oven roasted to brown, crispy-soft-sweet perfection. Slicing and eating them raw is wrong and barbaric and I am not having it!

I accept, rationally, that essentially they are just mini-cabbages and thus subject to the slaw preparation. You will never convince me, however, that this is a worthy preparation of them. Go away with your uncooked Brussels sprouts. Away, I tell you!

1 comment:

  1. The cruciferous crunch is a staple item for me- raw i prepare it like a massaged kale salad and rub in the vinegrette for several minutes and let it sit a few hours (even better the next day and for another 3 days or so), it really tenderizes the greens.
    Often in colder weather i just saute the mix with a little olive oil and salt or the 21salute seasoning for a quick veggie dish.