Monday, November 23, 2009

Review: Whole Foods Market - Thanksgiving Ideas!

Last week, Bo, Lydia and I had the opportunity to visit a local Whole Foods Market in Tempe, AZ and enjoyed a tour with one of their chefs, Bethany and Theresa from Marketing. I don't usually shop at Whole Foods, but I've read about them and was very interested to learn more.

The first thing I noticed when walking in the store was how beautiful the produce section was!  The fresh vegetables and fruits were displayed in a way that made the color stand out and the store was bright and welcoming. We talked about Thanksgiving and Bethany offered to make some suggestions for our meal this week.

We started in the produce section and Bethany talked about her preference for organic foods. Whole Foods has a wide selection of organic produce and provides samples for many of their goods.  Bo & Lydia sampled some of the organic Gala apples and both declared them delicious.

Bethany asked if we have beets for Thanksgiving, and Bo & I looked at each other with a funny look.  When I think of beets, I think of canned beets -- which I have never enjoyed.

These were fresh beets, however, and Bethany assured us that they were delicious when roasted. They had both yellow and red beets and I purchased a few of each to roast on Thursday.  The recommended serving is about 1/4 lb raw beets per person -- less if you have a bunch of sides. The recipe she gave us for roasted beets is very simple!
  • Roasted Beets
  1. Wash and slightly scrub beets.  Peel with a grater and dice the beets
  2. Toss lightly with olive oil, salt, pepper.  Top with chopped fresh herb (she suggested tarragon or ginger or basil)
  3. Bake on cookie sheet for 45 minutes to an hour.
  4. If roasting both red and yellow beets, use separate cookie sheets since the red color will bleed, but the flavor is the same.
Bethany suggested a very simple green bean almondine by sauteing green beans, then topping with toasted almonds.

Our next stop was potatoes.  I thought that Yukon Golds were best for mashed, and Bethany agreed.  I asked about adding cold milk vs. warm milk to the potatoes and she said that you always want to add hot to hot.
  • Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
  1. Boil potatoes until fork tender.  Bethany likes to leave the skin on, we usually peel most of the skin off, but may leave it on this year!
  2. Drain the potatoes in a colander and let them steam in the colander for about 15 minutes to remove extra moisture.  Return to pan and mash.
  3. Add warm cream and butter.  She suggested melting the butter and adding it to the cream to mix into the potatoes.
  4. Grate a white cheddar (about 2 cups for 10lbs of potatoes) and mix in, along with salt, pepper and a sprinkle of fresh chopped chives on top.  Using a white cheddar keeps the potatoes creamy-white.
When we stopped at the wine and cheese department, a very helpful associate named Dave helped us choose a sharp white cheddar (Kerry Gold Kilaree).  We were able to sample it before purchasing, and it's been a struggle not to nibble on it before Thursday!

I will share how these recipes were received by the family after we enjoy them on Thanksgiving!  I have another post in the works about Whole Foods and my experience there, but I wanted to throw up those food tips before Thursday!  I had a great tour with Bethany and am eager to share more insights about that tour soon.

Before I close, I want to mention that Whole Foods has a wonderful selection of prepared foods that could either be your Thanksgiving meal, or round it out with additional sides.  We sampled the turkey, as well as some vegetables, and thought it all tasted delicious.  Here's a picture of Bethany (in the middle) with her team!  If you visit the Whole Foods in Tempe, be sure to say hello!

Disclosure:  I received a selection of Whole Foods brand foods to help round out our Thanksgiving meal, as well as a gift card to help me purchase some of the items mentioned in this post.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, that Cheesy Mashed Potato recipe sounds awesome. I'll be anxious to hear what you thought of it.


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