If you’re in the UK, don’t forget that this is the last weekend for the current Costco UK coupon book. I still haven’t received a copy of the next coupon book, so if you happen to get one in the store or mail this weekend, don’t forget that if you send me a good, clear PDF of the whole coupon book, I’ll send you a £25.00 cheque. They usually start handing out the new coupon book on the weekend before it takes effect, unfortunately I can’t make it to Costco this weekend because it’s our anniversary and we thought we’d do something a little more romantic than take a trip to Costco.
Fresh Aubergines/Eggplant – I love eggplant because it is so versatile. You can eat it in something like eggplant parmigiana or you can grill it or saute it or you can make it into a mash of sorts, or I suppose you could slice it thin and fry it to make chips even. I like the eggplants at Costco because they aren’t too big which means that they aren’t as hard and don’t seem as seedy as they sometimes do when they are bigger. Plus, they weren’t as bitter. And they are the perfect size for preparing for just the two of us for dinner. Plus, since you get two in a pack, you have two chances to try out some eggplant recipes. If you need any inducement to eat more eggplant, it is quite healthy for you too. It’s low in fat and is an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Folate, Potassium and Manganese. If you’ve got a problem with potatoes, or don’t really want so many of them in your diet, mashed eggplant is an excellent substitute for mashed potatoes too. I had originally bought these with the intent of trying to replicate this really delicious dish we had in Turkey where they grilled the eggplant and then made it into this awesome puree. It was so full of yummy eggplant flavour and had this velvety texture. In all fairness, there is a lot of eggplant used in Turkish cooking, so I’ve had some trouble finding a recipe for this particular dish. It’s one of those times where I thought I would remember the Turkish name of the dish but should have taken a picture of the menu, clearly. I haven’t been quite able to replicate it but I think it is much simpler than most of the recipes I have found online because it didn’t have anything like tomatoes or peppers in it, just grilled eggplant and garlic and probably some lemon juice that you don’t really notice. And no, it isn’t baba ghanouj or some of the other things because they served it as an entree and not a dip. I found out that the eggplants can char or grill in the oven under the broiler pretty well as long as I keep an eye on them and you have to remember to pierce the skin a few times. What I ended up doing was putting it under the broiler for a few minutes to try to char the skin in hopes of getting a better smoky flavour, as well as make it easier to remove the skin. After that, I just kept it in the oven and roasted it until it was thoroughly cooked. Eggplant isn’t a vegetable that you can serve in a not fully cooked state. The oven grilling is great since I live in a flat and don’t have anyplace I could put a grill outside and I have an electric stove, so no open flames. I think I’m just going to have to play around with it since I can’t seem to find the right recipe. It’s probably one of those things that is so simple no one has a recipe for it. In any case, I’m going to have to pick up a couple more eggplants on our next visit to Costco next weekend. 2 pack for £1.99 (US: $3.14). Item #: 0089736.
Honeytop Garlic & Corriander Naan – Last time we were at Costco I noticed they now have these great packages of mini naan, so naturally I had to pick some up. These are great because they are smaller than the regular sized naan and they are packaged with just two naan per sealed package. This is great if for me because sometimes I want something like this to accompany my lunch but if you have a big one or a package with several naan then you have to be worried about drying out the other ones before you can eat them. I’ve found these little naan are the perfect size to go with a bowl of soup or a salad at lunch, or even just to heat up and then have with some sort of dip. I will confess I mix food cultures by pairing them with hummus but they are really good for that, so I only feel a little strange about it. Basically all you are doing to “prepare” the naan is to sprikle them with a bit of water and then heat them or grill them slightly in the oven, which is easily accomplished in about five minutes in the oven or under the broiler. The garlic and corriander flavouring is a nice little bit of added taste to the naan and goes nicely with everything I’ve tried it with at this point. It isn’t so garlicky that you will be feeling like a vampire slayer either; so that’s good. Are they the best naan in the world? No, but then again you don’t have to have a tandoor oven or an Indian grandma at home to make them either. They are definitely as good, or better, than any of the other store purchased naan that I’ve bought over the years though. 4, 4 mini naan packs (16 total naan) for £2.39 (US: $3.77). Item #: 0069737.
Pringle Men’s Classic Boxers – After being here in the UK for two years, and buying lots of Pringle socks at Costco we had enough faith in the Pringle brand to buy the pack of boxers for Dave. The boxers are a nice style with tight fitting legs, a wide elasticated waist band and a button fly. They’re made out of a really soft cotton/lycra blend (95% cotton and 5% lycra) so they feel nice on but they also hold their shape well and have a little bit of give. At Costco, you get a four pack, with two black and two white pairs of boxers; a bit of variety but nothing wild. After a few washings now, they look to be holding up well and the black hasn’t faded at all. But the most important thing is that they are comfortable to wear, right? Dave’s review: they leg length could be a bit longer because they sometimes pull up and bunch uncomfortably and he’s not a huge fan of the button fly. However, overall they are fairly comfortable and don’t make you feel hot even though they are cotton and certainly heavier than his technical fabric Exofficio boxers that he really likes. So overall, he thinks they’re not bad but we might not rush to Costco to buy more of them. However, if you do like the Pringle underwear and you’ve been buying them either online or at another store, you really should think about getting them at Costco instead. When comparing the prices for the same classic boxers to Figleaves.com, you can see that Costco is by far the better deal since you can’t even buy two pairs at Figleaves for the price that you can get four pairs for at Costco. Figleaves charges £9.00 per pair and Costco’s price is equivalent to £4.00 per pair! Buying them at Sockshop.co.uk is slightly better since they are just £8.00 per pair plus if you buy more than 3 pairs you get a 10% discount, so the four pairs there would be £7.20 per pair for a total of £28.80, not including the £2.95 for delivery; that would be a difference of £12.81 not including delivery. So, slightly better than Figleaves but way worse than buying at Costco. 4 pairs for £15.99 (US: $25.21). Item #: 0698743.
Mastergrip Rotary Tool & Accessory Set – If you’ve ever looked longingly at a Dremel but couldn’t justify spending that kind of money for it, this is a good alternative. Frankly, we used to have a Dremel and I wish that we would have only paid $30.00 for it because that is about $20.00 more than the amount of use we got out of it. And that doesn’t even include the extra expense of buying all the accessories and tips for it, which can be pricey to say the least. This is a really impressive set that comes with 190 different pieces that you can use for all the little projects that you have in your mind. Basically, you get everything you could need in one little case. It has the 1 amp rotary tool, of course, that spins at speeds between 8,000 and 30,000 RPM. And then you get 189 accessories for everything from grinding and polishing to cutting and buffing and cleaning. Seriously, this has enough little gizmos to keep you entertained for quite some time. My mom bought one of these at her Costco US location a month or so ago and has yet to really put it through its paces. But I also noticed on our last visit to our Costco UK store that they were selling the exact same set here (obviously with a different plug though). This would make a great gift for Father’s Day or for a birthday. And the price is really amazingly good since you get the tool and all those accessories. Plus, the case that it comes in is definitely suitable for long term storage because it is made of heavy plastic with a hinged lid. And when you’ve got all of those little bits and discs, you certainly need a place with all the little cubby holes to keep them neatly organized. So, if you live in the US or UK, and are thinking of getting one of these tools, I would definitely suggest looking at your Costco for this set. US: $29.99 and US Item #: 573148. UK: £23.98 and UK Item #: 119645.