If you’re in the US, don’t forget that the newest coupon book has already gone into effect on Thursday, so if you were thinking of taking advantage of some of those deals, now is the time.
Scotch Beef Stewing Steak – It’s getting to be that time of year, when a big bowl of stew is the perfect way to end the day. Okay, actually, we’ve already had a few weeks of that kind of weather. So, I was happy to see the subtle reminder from Costco to make some stew. I’m sure I could have gotten my own uncut piece of meat and chunked it up into stew sized pieces myself, but it’s nice to have that part already done for you. And since they have pretty different cuts of beef here, from what we have in the US, it’s nice to not have to worry about it. We’ve had very lovely pieces of Scottish filets, so I knew the quality of the meat would be good to make stew. And I was so right! Oh, it was delicious. If I had to complain, it might be that the pieces were a smidge on the large size. However, after cooking/stewing for a couple of hours, they were tender and perfectly delicious. They had a lovely flavor that really enhanced the stew. This would be perfect for any slow or long cooking recipe requiring beef pieces. And the good thing for us is that the package at Costco was big enough for us to split into two nice portions; we used one immediately and froze the other. I kind of wish that I had it thawed out right now, because today is all rainy and would be the perfect day to have a lovely bowl of stew. 1.275 kilograms for £8.91, £6.99/kg (US: $14.11; $11.07/kg). Item #: 0001176.
Kirkland Signature Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese – We eat a lot of pasta because it is totally my lazy, mid-week, easy meal. And sometimes, you really need just that little extra something that freshly grated parmesan can give. It is a pretty strongly flavored cheese, but when you put it with pasta, of really any kind, it don’t overpower but really enhances the flavors and adds a little tanginess that was missing. Sort of like adding lemon to things; sometimes you just need a little boost. Some of my favorite pasta is the easiest to prepare: garlic, butter, and parmesan. However, it’s great with more complex pasta flavors too. And then there’s all of the other ways you can use it, freshly grated over: soup, bread, vegetables, potatoes. One of my other favorite uses for freshly grated parmesan, is to put a decent amount on top of roasted or steamed vegetables or potatoes. It really gives a great flavor and again, just adds a little something to what could be bland preparations. Cauliflower or broccoli are two really good examples of vegetables that go perfectly with a little grated parmesan. But if you’re looking for other ways of serving it, you could try just cutting super thin slices and putting them on a salad or fresh bread. You can also eat it just in little pieces too and with a nice piece of fruit; I like it with dried fruit like apricots or dates. I’ve learned over the years that Costco certainly has the best prices on large chunks of good quality parmesan that you are ever going to find too. The Kirkland Signature cheese is actually from Zanetti, a leading producer in Italy. And it is the real deal too, actually from the right region and bearing the regional protection seal (Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano) and everything. It’s a hard cheese made with partially skimmed cow’s milk and aged for 24 months. That long period of aging, gives it a mature, deep nutty flavor. If you treat your hunk of parmesan nicely, it will last you long enough to actually use the large wedges that they sell at Costco. I usually wrap mine in a piece of parchment paper and then store it in an airtight container or zip top bag; you want to avoid exposing it to air because that will dry it out (and not in a good way). 700 grams for £7.65 (US: $12.11). Item #: 0055516.
Kettle Salt and Balsamic Vinegar Chips – Okay, I admit it, sometimes we eat chips, or crisps as they are called here. And we especially love the big punch of flavor that can be had with the salt and vinegar ones. It’s really perfect alongside everything from peanut butter and jelly to burgers – at least for us. You’ve got the saltiness and then a nice punch of vinegary tartness, and it makes for the perfect duo. If you only had one of the flavors it might seem overwhelming and too much for enjoyment, but they each keep the other tempered so that you don’t just have a chip with a single note of flavor. The Kettle brand, which I know they have in the US too, is a really nice chip. The chips are thick but somehow still light and crispy, and don’t seem anywhere as oily as some brands. I’m guessing that the texture and non-greasiness comes from the mix of oils that they use to fry in: safflower or sunflower. And you can even pronounce all of the ingredients: potatoes, safflower/sunflower oil, vinegar powder, sea salt, maltodextrin, citric acid. So, all in all, for chips, they aren’t nearly as bad for you as they could be. These are definitely my favorite chips, no matter what the flavor; the sour cream and onion are really delicious too. And for those of you that are concerned with such things, all Kettle products are certified Kosher. 450 grams for £2.85 (US: $4.51). Item #: 0062959.
Costco Bakery Cupcakes – I feel almost like I am taunting those of you in the US since they have pulled the cupcakes from the bakery lineup there. But for those of us in the UK, we can still get the cupcakes here (at least as of two weeks ago anyway). They do have a smaller package of them, with just nine of them in the box. And, the cupcakes themselves seem smaller in diameter and height than the US version. However, they still had the delicious taste and moistness that we all depend on from cakes coming out of the Costco Bakery. The ones that we got were frosted in yellow, white, and pink and actually had a hint of flavoring in the frosting as well. The yellow and white frosting had a nice lemon flavor and the pink had a bit of strawberry flavor. I almost forgot how much I love the Costco bakery cakes and cupcakes until I tasted one of these. Man, they are delicious and totally outstrip anything I’m buying at a regular grocery store and even some (if not most) of the upscale cupcake bakeries. So, I find myself wondering why Costco in the US would get rid of the cupcakes. Perhaps they should think about scaling them back size-wise or packaging them in a smaller box like they do here. I’m guessing it is a bakery efficiency thing because it’s obviously going to take longer to frost a bunch of cupcakes versus a single large sheet cake. But since customers love them so much, I’m not sure increasing the efficiency of the bakery by getting rid of them altogether is the right answer. 9 for £5.49 (US: $8.69). Item #: 0003833.