Monday, August 4

Whole Foods Product Samples for the Summer

Summer is almost over so you better go to Whole Foods now to try some of these new products. Whole Foods Campbell gave me another package of goodies to try and these were unbelievably fresh. In the package were a bag of rainier cherries, dark red cherries, Seka Hills Elderberry Balsamic Vinegar, and a healthy piece of Wild King Salmon. It all came in a great insulated Whole Foods shopping bag too. This will definitely come in handy later.

I decided to use the balsamic vinegar and salmon in one recipe to make balsamic and dijon glazed salmon. I used a very rough interpretation of this recipe from the Food Network website. Basically I cut the filet in half for two servings, salt and peppered both sides of the salmon, then in a bowl prepared the dressing by eyeballing amounts of balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, and olive oil. I tasted to make sure it was balanced and not too much of one taste. In my experience, balsamic tends to reduce into a sweeter flavor so I had honey on the side but was prepared not to use it depending on how the glaze turned out.

On high heat, I seared both sides of the salmon then turned the heat to medium and spooned on half the amount of the glaze. I let it cook on this side for a few minutes and flipped it over for the other side and spooned on the other half of the glaze. When it was done, I was ok with how the glaze turned out so I didn't use honey. I'm not a fan of sweet fish, which is what I'm imagining using honey would do. You do you though, boos! You do you!

Last year, I bought a bunch of green onions, chopped off the white parts with the root and stuck them in the ground. We have some pesky racoons in the hood who dig things up and sometimes bury peanuts in their place. Yes, it's weird. At first I thought teenagers were running around eating peanuts and burying it in people's flower pots. Now I'm certain it's the racoons. So out of maybe 8 roots I planted, only 1 plant survived (and a few pieces of peanut shells in their place). I entirely gave up on taking care of that one remaining plant. I figured it was a matter of time before the coons got it. After the winter rains, by spring time I had an almost 2 foot stalk of green onion. WTF!? My plants tend to do better without my attention. So anyway, cut a few leaves of that onion, shredded it, garnished my salmon with the onions and capers. 

The balsamic vinegar on it's own looks like red wine vinegar. It has that reddish and watery consistency. The taste is sweeter than regular balsamic and not too sour.

While I was in the store, I picked up a few extra goodies for myself.
Tiny juicy little champagne grapes.

The most popular olives from Whole Foods according to one of my friends. The castelvetrano olives with seed in it. It's important to get the one with the seeds. I will always have to Google the spelling of the name every time. They are crunchy, salty, and addictive.

Fresh mozzarella. I'm a fan of burrata but it gets expensive. Mozzarella is the poor man's burrata except it's not that much cheaper! Great cheese is worth it though.

I could not resist getting this bundle of watercress with root attached. The leaves are a bit more light green and larger than the watercress I get from the Asian market. It is also much more bitter. I cut and washed these, then laid them in a bed with cherry tomatoes and sliced beef on top. Dressed all of that in lemon juice, salt, and pepper, courtesy of the bo luc lac recipe we Vietnamese people love. The acid from the lemon juice really offsets the bitterness and the salad turned out great!

The cherries and grapes lasted a good few days for me to have dessert. They were so fresh.

*Sorry I didn't think to write down prices of the items. Whole Foods did give me the cherries, salmon, and balsamic free of charge in exchange for this post. The opinions and recipes I used for the dishes were all my own, unless I linked the recipe.

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