Coolest Summertime Foods-To-Go

AUSTIN, Texas (June 6, 2006) The warm, lazy days of summer are beckoning us outside to hit the road, the trail or the hammock in the backyard. Whether you are dining al fresco with friends or road-tripping it, Whole Foods Market has the best solutions for the hottest summer flavors and the coolest summer meals to make celebrating the season easy and delicious.

Summer means the debut of some of the boldest, brightest flavors of the year -heirloom tomatoes, tender basil, juicy watermelon, crisp green beans, wild salmon, fresh mozzarella, and savory grilled beef kabobs.

“Savoring summer's offerings should not confine you to the kitchen. In addition to easy, grab-and-go restaurant-quality foods, Whole Foods Market has a tempting world of food and flavors that can make whipping up summer foods-to-go a snap,” said John Mitchell, chef and prepared foods director at Whole Foods Market. Mitchell offers seasonal recipes and creative tips to make summer foods on-the-go simple and delicious.

Hitting the Trail or Chilling at the Campsite

Roughing it doesn't have to translate to out-of-a-can, uninspired camp grub. Challenge your dinner to complement the beauty of your natural surroundings. Mitchell recommends packing a “cool cooler” with pre-marinated meats, seafood or tempeh for the grill. “The flavor combinations we are seeing this year are leaning heavily toward the Asian styles such as honey-mustard-lime pork chops or chicken breasts, maple-glazed salmon steaks, ginger-lime white fish fillets, or sesame-shoyu tempeh.” Packing meat and seafood in a separate cooler and cooking it your first night under the stars is a wise idea, plus it's a fun way to celebrate the start of a relaxing vacation. Mitchell also recommends grilling stone fruits (peaches, plums, or nectarines) or figs with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper as a sweet accompaniment to your savory grilled foods.

Dessert will rival big city restaurants when you elevate your not-your-scout-leader's-s'mores with high quality chocolate bars in combinations such as milk chocolate with coconut and exotic nuts or dark chocolate with Ceylon cinnamon. The cooler is even cooler still when you pack a non-traditional dessert such as a ripe, creamy Brie paired with flatbread crackers and an artisan fig spread.

If you are planning on hiking in the early morning hours, consider spending a few minutes in Whole Foods Market's bulk section ahead of time creating a gourmet, good-for-you gorp. “Make an esoteric blend of things you don't normally see in traditional trail mixes such as chili-spiced dried mango, tamari almonds, dark chocolate sour cherries, and dried banana chips,” said Mitchell.

*Recipe and summer foods-to-go ideas include:

  • Crispy Cashew Rice Treats
  • Grilled Shrimp on Lemongrass Skewers
  • Apricot and Tamari Grilling Marinade
  • 365 Organic Everyday Value™ Soy Ginger Sauce or Peanut Sauce
  • (New) 365 Everyday Value™ Black Cherry or Apricot Mango Organic Spritzers
  • AFA™ Organic Adriatic Fig Spread
  • 365 Flatbread Crackers
  • Whole Catch™ Raw Shrimp (Frozen)
  • (New) 365 Organic Sweet 'n Spicy or Teriyaki Beef Jerky


Beach Blanket Bingo

Frolicking in the pool, lake or ocean is the quintessential way to beat the summer heat. While your friends are building sandcastles, consider firing up the grill to create your own exotic creations.

“International flavors are very big for the barbecuing season. From tandoori chicken with chutneys to Brazilian-style mojo sauces with serrano peppers, mint, and onion – outdoors by the water is a great place to wow friends and family with appetite-inspiring flavors with a twist,” said Mitchell.

Since you are often out in the sun for much of the day when visiting the beach or pool — choose cooling food ingredients like cucumber, lime, yogurt, tropical fruits, and spices.

Italian-style grilled flatbreads make a terrific accompaniment to your entrée. Using thawed pizza dough or pizza bread from the bakery, the topping possibilities are endless. Spread prepared pesto onto your bread and grill some thinly sliced height-of-the-season summer vegetables like zucchini or yellow squash. Smear some cr?me fra?che onto your pizza dough and dot with capers and smoked salmon. Top your flatbread with a few dollops of goat cheese and antipasto-olive bar ingredients like fire-roasted sweet red peppers, oil-cured olives and marinated artichoke hearts.

For dessert, cool down with an Indian-style rosewater and cardamom sweet lassi yogurt drink — blend it ahead of time at home and just add ice cubes. Or try utilizing the tropical fruits in season — bring your grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grill rack. Skewer chunks of pineapple, mango, lime and finger bananas and grill for a few minutes on each side until softened. Serve drizzled with sweetened yogurt.

Don't forget a well-insulated cooler packed with ice or reusable cold packs. The summer heat increases the chance of bacterial growth in foods, and bacteria are more likely to grow in foods that are high in protein and moisture like meats, poultry, seafood, and dairy products. The absolute maximum time for leaving prepared foods at room temperature is two hours-including time for preparation, serving and eating. If temperatures are above 90?F, the maximum time is reduced to one hour.

*Recipe and summer foods-to-go ideas include:

  • Fresh Mint Mojo Sauce
  • Beef Tandoori
  • Grilled Fish Tacos
  • Sweet Lassi with Rosewater and Cardamom
  • AFA Tracklements Organic Tomato and Onion Chutney
  • 365 Coconut or Lime Frozen Fruit Bars
  • 365 Peanuts Salted in Shell
  • Whole Catch Wild Alaska Sockeye Cold-smoked Salmon
  • (New) AFA Rosebud Farms Mint Jelly


Midsummer Night's Dreaming in the Backyard

Escape the heat by retreating to your own backyard, patio, or balcony for an evening gathering. Now is the time of year to slow your pace and enjoy time with friends and family outside instead of being chained to the hot kitchen inside. Dining al fresco is a snap when you mix a variety of chef-inspired prepared specialties with easy, traditional favorites.

“In the dog days of summer, no one wants to cook. A rotisserie chicken, for example, can take the stress out of hosting,” said Mitchell. “But who can beat the basics for simple backyard cookouts? Spice up grilled hot dogs with chipotle ketchup or spicy pepper relish or try sausage with peach chutney or wasabi mustard. Don't forget the grilled corn and chilled watermelon.”

Preparing a few salads ahead of time is even easier and lends itself to the freshest fruits and vegetables in season. Juicy heirloom tomatoes go perfectly with fresh basil and mozzarella. Combining cucumbers, apples, and pears with a whole grain mustard-apple cider vinegar dressing makes for a crunchy, sweet and tangy salad. Try pairing a simple green salad with meaty green olives, fresh tomatoes, red onion and feta with a lemony vinaigrette.

*Recipe and summer foods-to-go ideas include:

  • Insalata Caprese
  • Apple Pear Cucumber Salad
  • Lemony Green Salad with Mt. Athos Green Olives with Kritamo
  • Chilled watermelon with a dash of salt
  • Whole Catch Salmon or Tuna Burgers (Frozen)
  • Whole Creamery™ Ovoline Fresh Mozzarella
  • Whole Ranch™ Uncured Beef or Turkey Franks
  • (New) Whole Ranch Sweet Italian Sausage
  • Whole Ranch Angus Beef Burgers with Blue Cheese or Bacon Bits (Frozen)
  • 365 Organic Cheese-Garlic Veggie Burgers (Frozen)
  • (New) 365 Pomegranate Cherry Berry Juice


Road Tripping

Road trips don't have to be about fast food joints and service station junk food. Make your journey — not just your destination — one to remember with tasty, easy-to-pack healthy snacks and meals.

Load up your car with a small cooler full of goodies to get you deliciously to your final destination. Fruits and vegetables are a smart choice that won't spoil quickly or weigh you down. Enjoy cooler-chilled jicama slices sprinkled with lime juice and chili powder. Fresh baby carrots and a zesty black bean hummus can take you many miles. Before you go, spend a few minutes boiling up frozen edamame and pop it into a plastic bag with a generous sprinkle of some delicious fleur de sel. For dessert, trans fat-laden gas station sweets are no match for juicy strawberries, pears and oranges.

The trick to road trip food is making sure it travels well, and you can eat it easily. Try whipping up some fresh, healthy portobello spring rolls for the ride — you can either combine their dipping sauce with the other roll ingredients or bring along an extra plastic container for dipping. Canned garbanzo beans and tuna can make a protein-packed, tasty salad a meal. Spend a few more minutes on a chilled soup like gazpacho or avocado-cucumber puree that you can sip from a thermos in the cooler.

Sandwiches are another easy option. Let your backseat drivers create their own sandwich masterpieces before the big trip. Some interesting options to take the doldrums out of everyone's typical lunchbox include alternative seed or nut spreads like tahini or cashew butter with boysenberry jam. Or try creamy smoked Gouda with sliced apples on pecan raisin bread or sliced turkey and cranberry jam on whole wheat. You will never miss the burger and fries.

*Recipe and summer foods-to-go ideas include:

  • Portobello Spring Rolls with Cilantro-Tahini Dip
  • Black Bean Hummus
  • Tuna and Garbanzo Bean Salad with Gazpacho
  • Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup
  • Jicama with lime and chili powder
  • Whole Fields™ Organic Petite Carrots
  • 365 Organic Edamame (Frozen)
  • AFA Big Tree Farms Handcrafted Balinese Sea Salt
  • Whole Kids Organic™ String Cheese
  • 365 Organic Smooth Almond Butter
  • Whole Foods™ Boysenberry Jam
  • 365 Blueberry or Strawberry Cereal Bars
  • 365 Solid White Albacore Tuna
  • Whole Kids Organic Lemonade or White Grape Juice (individual serving boxes)

*Foods with recipes are in italics and included with this release. Recipes with photos available are indicated. For photos of products or recipes or to schedule an interview with John Mitchell, please contact Ashley Hawkins at 512-542-0381.