Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Fresh Market Opens at One Loudoun in Ashburn

Open for business!

Gorgeous produce!

I seriously wanted to try a little of everything in that case!

(above photos copied from The Fresh Market's Facebook page)

Some of my friends have been buzzing about The Fresh Market ever since they announced earlier this year that they would be opening a new location at One Loudoun in Ashburn.  I was lucky enough to get there on opening day and it was a lot of fun!  Lots of specialty items that I haven't been able to find in other stores (high quality tuna in oil or different varieties of capers, for example) and just a beautifully laid-out market.  Because the store is on the smaller side, by necessity the items they carry are well-edited, even if some are on the pricey side.  I've signed up for their weekly specials newsletter, because the specials they were running were really good (BOGO on quick bread loaves -- I bought the banana chocolate chip and the pumpkin), but generally the prices do run a little higher on a lot of things, but seems comparable on others.  Go take a look and see what you think!

Check out all the fun things I bought!

It will be really fun to go back when I need to put together any foodie gift baskets for friends or other winter events coming up!  I could also see popping in there to pick up fun items for a picnic lunch (go out and enjoy this beautiful fall weather) or when you need some quick appetizer ideas.  I stocked up on some Stonewall Kitchen jellies and jams (also a BOGO special) to have on hand.  Their red pepper jelly spread over a block of cream cheese makes a delicious and easy appetizer if you need one at the last minute.

Now, it would take a lot to tear me away from Wegmans as my main grocery store, but here is what I will go back for regularly at The Fresh Market:  Nueske bacon (if you've never had it, you are so missing out), their peanut butter power chews (bulk food bins), chili lemon rounds (rice crackers - also found in the bulk food section), their cucumber salad (at the olive bar) and their coconut shrimp with mango dipping sauce.  Nom, nom, nom.

Because I am a baker, and have lived in France, I do have a quibble with what they call "napoleons." The Fresh Market version looks like cake layers with cream and fruit layered between.  A true napoleon (or mille-feuille in French), in my opinion, has to have the puff pastry layers.  I am a traditionalist like that, and I want to make sure we Americans know the real thing.  :-) They do, however, have lovely baked goods that would be a hit at any dinner party, or just a sweet treat (they have many single-serve options)!  I tried their apple pie (very tasty, although I like mine with lots of cinnamon), banana chocolate chip bread (yum!) and pumpkin nut bread (good, but needs more nuts) and two types of cupcakes -- a chocolate and vanilla (with swirled frosting) and their cannoli cupcake.  Both were really good!  They had a lot more varieties that I will want to try...

I also wasn't a big fan of their sushi. I got their spicy tuna roll, but thought the rice on their version was too soft and "glue-y" and the tuna wasn't all that flavorful.  My husband and son, on the other hand, liked the tuna, even though they agreed with me on the rice issue. Just a matter of opinion, of course.

I bought some of their name brand items to see how they compared to what I would make, and we really enjoyed their cornbread stuffing mix and their "Anything Goes" spice rub.  I used the spice rub on their chicken breasts (a good deal at $2.99/lb) and baked them in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes (until the thermometer registered 170 degrees).  Supper tasty and moist. I think the spice rub would taste even better on pork, so that's up next.  I highly recommend getting a tin of it, and this is coming from a Penzey's girl.  :-)

Below is my take on their cornbread stuffing:

The Fresh Market Cornbread Stuffing, Marna's Way

Adapted from The Fresh Market Basic Stuffing Recipe

3 slices of Nueske bacon
One medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 2/3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 Box of The Fresh Market Cornbread Stuffing Mix
Pepper to taste

Cut bacon cross ways (across the short side) into 1/4 inch strips.  Heat a large skillet and sauté bacon until the fat starts to render, but before it is crispy.  Add celery and onion and cook together until the bacon is crispy and the onions are soft and translucent.  Add butter and chicken stock and cook until butter is melted.  Take off heat and set aside. Open stuffing mix box and pour onto a large, heat-proof bowl.  Add the onion/celery mixture to the dry stuffing mix and stir until all the stuffing has been moistened (you might have to let it sit a few minutes to soak up all the broth). Put the stuffing in a buttered baking dish (the one I used was 10x12 inches) and bake, covered with foil, for 40 minutes at 350 degrees. If you like your stuffing with a little crispity crunchiness on top, remove the aluminum foil for the last ten minutes of baking. 

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