Whole Foods Market here, Whole Foods Market there, Whole Foods Market everywhere!  As I was going through my 2nd week as the new Culinary Director at Whole Foods Market, I received an invitation from Curator PR to attend a fun and what turned out to be delicious and educational event: Preview of Taste of Thanksgiving at Interbay Whole Foods Market.

No worries – you too can taste these and more samples of what Whole Foods has to offer for your holiday table.  Stop by at your local Whole Foods market this Thursday, November 4th (check the times for your location) and be ready to eat – a $5 donation will directly benefit Food Lifeline.  While at the store, be sure to place your order for the holiday bird – don’t leave it till the last second.

  

Check out “Top Ten” wine selection available exclusively at Whole Foods Market.
While we didn’t get to sample the wine, we did have a pleasure of drinking apples.  Sounds funny, right?  Who drinks apples?  But that’s exactly what you’ll feel when you take a first sip of Skagit Fresh Apple Cider.  100% apple juice.  No sugar.  Keep it refrigerated for up to 1 month – though I doubt it’d last more than just a few days.  Drink up!  The cider is a blend of three varieties of apples: johnagold, honeycrisp, and gala.  Similar to wines, the actual share of juice from each apple variety can change from one gallon to the next.
Penn Cove Oysters. and Lemon. on Ice.
Oysters.  Just like sushi or sunflower seeds, I can never quite have enough.  I eat the last one, and then look at the plate in pure disbelief and my heart hurts just a little bit – there’s no more.  Luckily for me, one of my table companions was allergic to the oysters, so I got a chance to slurp a few extra.  Not all oysters are created equal though – these were better than some – firm and crisp with just a bit of brininess.  I would’ve liked a little bit of the mignonette, but the lemon worked ok.
Mushrooms stuffed with Italian Fennel Sausage
Roasted Jalapeno stuffed with Chorizo and wrapped in Bacon
I love mushrooms.  I love sausage.  I sort of like fennel.  It’s one of those flavors that I definitely have had to at first tolerate and then learn to enjoy.  I’m almost there.  I definitely wouldn’t eat a teaspoon of fennel seeds on their own (but who would?), but sprinkled liberally through the sausage and then hidden inside the mushroom cap, they were a gem rather than a distraction.
Hope you like the heat, because the jalapeno chorizo boats (ok, that’s what I’m calling them) are super hot/spicy/zesty/develish – you pick the word you want.  When making at home, feel free to play around and perhaps use a milder pepper as a chorizo carrier.  But for someone who does like the heat, I quite enjoyed these bites.
So I realized something while uploading the photos – I am missing the photo of the turkey plate!  I must’ve been to distracted by the food and the conversation.  Too bad.  The plate was full to the brim with turkey, mashed potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts & pecans, cranberry sauce, stuffing and Field Roast (not a turkey imitation, but an option for your vegetarian and vegan friends and family).  And there was a bowl of gravy.
Sweet ending: Caramel Latte and Cranberry Walnut Tart
I have to say, I’ve never been a fan of sweet potato pies or pecan pies, so I clearly welcomed the idea of something different for dessert.  Boy, was I happy with the Cranberry Walnut Tart.  What makes the tart so incredibly delicious yet simple?  Fresh cranberries – tart and plump and juicy.  Walnuts – nicely toasted inside the tart and as a garnish on top of the whipped cream dollop – they add crunch and richness to the dessert.
What are your plans for this Thanksgiving dinner?  What are you cooking?  Who are you feeding?
The focus of Whole Foods this year is to celebrate local and unique products.  So head out to the store and check out a few new-to-you ingredients and products that will be welcomed guests at your table this year.
Happy Thanksgiving!
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