Hatch Chile Cornbread

Corn Bread with Jalapeno Peppers

It’s that time of the year again–Hatch Chile season! In less than a couple of weeks, we will be teaming up with local supermarkets in Southern California and all over the nation to distribute and roast these highly coveted chiles. Because Hatch Chiles are only available for a short period of time in August and September, they’re typically purchased in bulk, roasted and then frozen for later use in recipes during the rest of the year. They can be enjoyed in so many different ways and today, we’re giving the basic cornbread its own tasty Southwestern twist. You may be familiar with jalapeno cornbread but what if we took that and substituted them with Hatch Chiles instead? Sounds simple enough to us! The combination of spicy and sweet flavors combined with its soft, crumbly texture is too irresistible to pass up and really gives this cornbread a touch of magic. Though entirely delicious on its own, a drizzle of honey or a pat of honey butter really takes this easy side dish to the next level.

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Hatch Chiles are one of the nation’s most highly coveted chiles for a reason. These chiles hail all the way from the Mesilla Valley in New Mexico, where the region boasts intense sunlight by day and a still coolness during the night, adorning this chile variety with a unique flavor unlike any other. No two Hatch Chiles are the same and their heat intensity can range from mild to medium to hot. Hatch Chiles make a great ingredient that’s exquisite in practically any recipe. Once roasted, their skin peels off easily and the flesh can be chopped up as toppings, blended into sauces or even incorporated into desserts. If your mouth isn’t watering already, check out recipes such as Hatch chile queso fundido, Hatch chile stuffed pork tenderloin and even Hatch chile and vanilla bean ice cream! Check out our Roasting Schedule and find out where and when your local store will be roasting Hatch Chiles.

Hatch Chile Cornbread

Yields: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • 1 cup of fresh Hatch chiles, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons of baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar.

2. In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk and butter and stir together until mixed.

3. Add the bowl of the wet ingredients to the bowl of the dry ingredients. Use a wooden spot or spatula to mix together until most of the lumps have been dissolved. Be careful not to over mix.

4. Add the chopped Hatch chiles to the mixture and gently combine. Allow for the mixture to sit at room temperature for around 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake the cornbread for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is a light golden brown and a toothpick pricked into the center comes out clean.

6. Allow for the cornbread to cool before cutting and serving. Serve alongside honey or sweetened butter for dipping.

Summer Vegetable Ratatouille

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Pardon us but summer isn’t always about grilling.  While we always love ourselves a good cookout, we’d like to pay homage to some of our favorite summer vegetables this week instead. This season has some of the very best produce to enjoy from succulent organic zucchini to red, ripe organic Roma tomatoes and much more. Many of these vegetables are best enjoyed unadorned, allowing their natural flavors to shine through. When it comes to how we can make this magic happen, a traditional ratatouille comes to mind. This is a traditional French-style, peasant recipe that features colorful, vibrant layers of sliced vegetables spread across a bed of savory tomato sauce. Cooking the vegetables in the oven slow roasts them while the parchment paper on top helps to steam them, keeping them moist and succulent during the cooking process and trapping in all of its wonderful flavors. The recipe is somewhat simple, albeit a little time consuming if you want to arrange it in the fashion shown above. However, one bite of this dish and you’ll agree with us that it’s well worth the effort! The result is a comforting, home-style summer casserole that’s both vegan and gluten-free, perfect for those of you looking to eat a little lighter during this time of the year. You can enjoy this as it is or alongside a bed of steamed rice or pasta.

Raw Green Organic Baby Zucchini

This Summer Vegetable Ratatouille features plenty of delicious produce including Melissa’s Organic Zucchini. Melissa’s Organic Zucchini is free of artificial or synthetic fertilizers and full of unforgettable, great tasting flavor. This vegetable is a type of marrow squash with a thin skin and crisp creamy flesh. Its flavor is mild and mellow with just the right hint of sweetness and savoriness. Easy to cook and work with, zucchini is very versatile and can be made into a classic Zucchini Bread with Lemon and Blueberries or Zucchini Linguine with Meat Sauce. You can also serve them fried, grilled, or steamed, buttered and sprinkled with herbs and spices.

Summer Vegetable Ratatouille 

Yields: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a separate bowl, pour in the crushed tomatoes, minced garlic, diced onions and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir together.

2. In a cast iron skillet, pour in the tomato sauce, making sure to cover the bottom.

3. Arrange the vegetables on top of the tomato sauce, alternating and overlapping the tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and summer squash. Start the outer edge of the skillet, working your way in to create a spiraled design till you reach the center of the dish.

4. Sprinkle the top of the skillet with kale, thyme, salt and pepper. Drizzle with more olive oil on top. Cover the vegetables with a piece of cut parchment paper.

5. Place the cast iron skillet into the oven and roast for around 40 minutes. Once finished, cooking, remove from the heat. Remove the parchment paper and serve.

Passion Fruit Cheesecake

Fresh passion fruit cheesecake dessert

Hooray for passion fruit season! With its delicious flavor and aroma, we’re definitely feeling the passion for this tropical fruit. Sometimes eaten fresh, passion fruit is generally best utilized in fillings and sauces and paired with desserts. One dessert that’s always foolproof comes in the form of one of our favorite kinds of cakes–cheesecake! The combination of creamy, velvety smooth cheesecake paired with the sweet-tart pulp and crunchy seeds of passion fruit makes for one memorable confection. This cheesecake itself is incorporated with fresh mangoes and passion fruit juice and sandwiched between a buttery and crunchy graham cracker crust and exquisite passion fruit glaze. The result is one heavenly sweet treat that tastes of the summertime in a tropical place far, far away.

Passion fruits

With its wrinkled, dimpled appearance, passion fruit may look a little unusual on the outside. However, on the inside lies a lovely jellied golden-flesh that’s filled with edible seeds. The flavor is both sweet and tart and also slightly acidic, comparable to that of the guava fruit. This fruit is found in both tropical and semitropical regions such as parts of South America, Australia, Hawaii, Florida and more. In New Zealand, passion fruit is purple while in Hawaii, the variety is golden-yellow and also known as lilikoi. To enjoy this fruit, simply halve the fruit and scoop out the pulp and seeds with a spoon. You can also make passion fruit juice by straining them from the pulp with a fine strainer or cheesecloth and a spoon. The juice can be used in a refreshing cocktail, cooler or sorbet.

Passion Fruit Cheesecake 

Yields: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

For the cheesecake

  • 1 pound of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of mangoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup of passion fruit juice (about 3 passion fruits)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon of lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of lime zest

For the crust

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of graham crackers
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar

For the passion fruit topping

  • Pulp and seeds for 1 passion fruit
  • 1 cup of passion fruit juice (about 6 passion fruits)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of powdered unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of lime juice

1. Begin by making the crust. Place the graham crackers into a food processor and pulse until crushed. Add the butter and process again until well combined. Transfer the crumbs into an 8-inch pan. Use the back of a spoon to press the crumbs onto the bottom of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for around 30 minutes.

2. In a clean food processor, puree the passion fruit juice and mangoes together until the mixture is smooth. Then add the cream cheese and process together.

3. Add the sugar, cornstarch and yogurt to the mixture and pulse together. Then add the lime juice, lime zest and eggs and pulse together again. The mixture should be smooth and not over-mixed.

4. Pour the mixture into the cake pan. Bake at 325 degrees for around 45 minutes. The center of the cake should still be a bit loose.

5. After 45 minutes, turn off the oven and open the oven door for a few minutes. Then, close the door and allow for the cheesecake to continue cooking for around 20 minutes.

6. Remove the cheesecake from the heat. Run a knife around the edges of the cheesecake. Allow for the cake to cool to room temperature for about an hour. Then cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for another hour.

7. While the cheesecake cooling, make the passion fruit topping. In a separate bowl, pour in the lime juice and half the passion fruit juice. Add the gelatin on top and allow for the gelatin to bloom. This should take around a minute.

8. In a separate saucepan, boil the other half of the passion fruit juice with the sugar. Whisk in the hot juice into the gelatin mixture.

9. Place this topping into the refrigerator for around 20 minutes. The topping should begin to set. Then add the passion juice pump to the mixture and stir.

10. Pour in the topping on top of the cheesecake. Place the cheesecake back into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and serve the following day.

 

Celebrate National Pickle Month

Winter store

This July, we’re celebrating all things pickled with National Pickle Month! Pickling not only prolongs the life of your favorite produce but also takes its flavor to a whole new level that you simply wouldn’t find when eaten fresh. Most of us have grown up on the common dill pickle where we added to them our favorite burgers and sandwiches or enjoyed them straight out of hand as a snack. But did you know that there are so many other wonderful vegetables and even fruits out there that you can pickle? After all, pickling has been one of the culinary world’s hottest trend over the past few years and many of us have been thinking beyond the basic cucumber. From crunchy green beans to earthy beets and even sweet peaches make for some pretty incredible pickles that you can munch on long after their seasonality has finished.

Homemade pickles are incredibly easy to make at home and that combination of tangy, salty, briny and sweet is simply irresistible. We love the method of quick pickling because it it doesn’t require any complicated or lengthy canning processes. All of you need is your choice of vegetables or fruits, boiling water and vinegar. If you really want a unique pickle, don’t be shy in incorporating spices, fresh or dried herbs or even chiles if you want an extra kick. This process is entirely customizable and works with so many different ingredients that you may find yourself with more than enough pickles you can handle this summer. In order to insure a successful pickling process, choose only the freshest produce you can find. These pickles can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Quick Pickles

Yields: 2 pint-sized jars

  • 1 lb of fresh vegetables or fruits
  • 2 sprigs of fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, dill, etc. (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried herbs such as rosemary, thyme, paprika, etc. (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons of whole spices such as mustard seeds, black peppercorns, anise seeds, etc. (optional)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of white granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
  • 2 pint jars with lids, washed and dried

1. Begin by preparing the vegetables or fruits. Make sure they’re washed, dried and have been cut or trimmed into their desired shapes.

2. Make your brine by combining the water, vinegar, salt and sugar into a saucepan. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Stir the salt and sugar to dissolve.

3. Add the spices or herbs into the jars. Reserve half the spices for each jar.

4. Add the vegetables to the jar and pour in the pickling brine, filling up each jar while leaving about 1/2 an inch to the top.

5. Tap the jars against a hard surface to remove any air bubbles. Seal the jars.

6. Allow for the jars to cool to room temperature, then place into the refrigerator for a minimum of 48 hours before consuming.

Anything you can fit into a jar, you can probably pickle. Here are a couple of our favorite recipes to help get you started on your pickling journey for this scrumptious food holiday:

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Kickin’ Bread and Butter Pickles

What exactly are Bread and Butter Pickles anyways? These pickles are more commonly known as sweet pickles and get their name from the Great Depression when food was scarce and were enjoyed sandwiched between two slices of brown bread. Bread and Butter are the perfect accompaniment to sandwiches and burgers. This recipe is made with Melissa’s Organic Mini Cucumbers, Organic Bell Peppers, Sweet Onions and get an extra kick from fiery Serrano chiles. They’re best enjoyed a week or two after refrigeration.

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Pickled Tokyo Turnips

Word of warning, these aren’t any ordinary turnips. Tokyo Turnips, also known as our baby turnips, are a tender, mildly sweet and juicy variety with a slightly spicy bite. They’re so delicious that we couldn’t help ourselves when pickling these adorable little bulbs. All you need is water, sea salt, crushed and dried red chiles such as our Japones or De Arbol and a little Meyer Lemon zest. Pickled Tokyo Turnips are best enjoyed within a couple days and pairs beautifully with hot rice, farro and banh mi sandwiches.

 

Mini Berry Pavlovas

Pavlova cake with fresh summer berries

You know summer really begins when the 4th of July festivities kick off! From the feasting to the fireworks to the family time, Independence Day is where the party is at. The weather is beautiful this time of the year so we usually have no problems taking the celebrations outdoors with a good old-fashioned cookout. From a delicious patriotic potato salad to a festive American Flag Pie, we’ve got no shortage of red, white and blue recipes to help celebrate the nation’s independence in style. Last year, we did some pretty adorable summer berry parfaits, and we’re thinking of dessert again this year in the form of Mini Berry Pavlovas. Light and airy homemade merengue shells are the perfect vehicle for its fresh fruit and cream filling. Pavlovas are such an elegant and underrated confection with its crisp yet soft texture with a delicate flavor that’s complemented by the sweet, tartness of summer’s finest berries.

Fresh berries

Plump, juicy gems that are equally delicious as they are gorgeous, many berries are at their peak during the summertime. Their intense sweetness and luscious texture make them an easy snack to munch on. A much more nutritious option than candy, berries offer a lovely sweetness and succulent texture that goes delicious with all sorts of recipes. They’re full of antioxidants and vitamins and are worth their weight in health benefits, making them some of nature’s best superfoods all around. From the commonly found blueberries and raspberries to the more unique finds such as goldenberries (also known as cape gooseberries), we offer a wide seasonal selection that’s bound to fit your culinary needs. Toss them into a scrumptious Challah French Toast, Breakfast Quinoacrepes and other sweet treats.

Mini Berry Pavlovas

Yields: 8 servings

Ingredients

For the pavlovas

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup of white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the topping

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

2. Use an electric mixer to whip the egg whites until soft peaks begin to form. Slowly add in the white granulated sugar while the mixer is still running.

3. When the mixture has thickened and become glossy, fold in the pistachios, cornstarch and vanilla extract.

4. Using a spatula, divide the mixture into 8 equally sized mounds, while making sure to shape a small well in the center of each mound. Space these mounds about 1 inch apart.

5. Bake the pavlovas for about 1 hour. When they are finished baking, they should look slightly browned at the sides and dry to the touch. Leave them in the oven with the oven door open and allow for them to cool completely.

6. While the pavlovas are cooling, prepare your pastry cream or vanilla pudding according to the package instructions.

7. Spoon a dollop of your filling into each pavlova. Top with the raspberries and blueberries. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve immediately. Do not refrigerate.

Papaya Banana Smoothie

Papaya smoothie, selective focus. Detox, diet food.

June is National Papaya Month! With the summer kicking off soon, it’s no wonder this month is dedicated to celebrating all of the wonderful things this tropical fruit has to offer. Native to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, papaya is enjoyed all around the world for its health benefits, versatility and of course, delicious flavor. This superfood is incredibly rich in vitamins, calcium, antioxidants, potassium and more and also helps aid in healthy digestion. Papaya and bananas combined are nothing short of a nutritional powerhouse which is why this Papaya Banana Smoothie couldn’t be more fitting for commemorating this food holiday. It’s not only scrumptious but also filling enough to curb those morning or afternoon cravings and keep your tummy happy until lunch or dinner time. Both papayas and bananas are not quite as sweet as say, berries or grapes, and benefit from the addition of a little extra honey or vanilla extract in this smoothie.

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If you’re unfamiliar with papayas, then you’re in for a real treat this time of the year! Papayas have an irresistibly sweet yet musky flavor and a soft, buttery texture. Once sliced open, you’ll notice an abundance of small, black seeds which are entirely edible though quite sharp and peppery in taste. When ripe, papaya is often eaten raw either out of hand or incorporated fresh into salads such as this Shrimp Salad with Caribbean Red Papaya or Papaya Jicama Watermelon Salad. When unripe, papaya can be cooked and added to dishes such as stews, curries or stir-fries. Here at Melissa’s, we currently have a few special varieties available for a limited season. One of our newest additions comes all the way from Belize–the Caribbean Red Papaya. This large variety boasts a melon-like flavor, fragrant aroma and is incredibly sweet. Another deliciously sweet variety we’re head over heels for are Strawberry Papayas. Their gorgeous salmon-red to pink flesh is considered one of the sweetest and most flavorful of all papayas and has a fragrant, juicy flavor with a hint of fresh peaches and berries. Check out some of our other seasonal papaya varieties and try them all!

Papaya Banana Smoothie

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

1. Start by preparing the fruit. Peel and seed the papaya and then chop into large chunks. Peel and slice the banana.

2. Combine the fruit with the milk, ice cubes and honey in a blender. Blender together until smooth.

3. Pour into a large mason jar or glass and serve fresh.

Seafood Cioppino

Homemade Italian Seafood Cioppino

Father’s Day is right around the corner and what better way to celebrate that other special man in your life than with a tasty home-cooked meal? When it comes to Dad, we have much to be grateful for and this summer holiday is all about celebrating all that he’s done for us over the years. This year, we’re making it our goal to win his heart at the dinner table with this secret weapon–Seafood Cioppino. Hailing all the way from San Francisco, Cioppino is an Italian-American classic dish. Often made with fresh fish from the catch of the day, this fisherman’s stew also features shrimp, clams, scallops, mussels, squid and other items from the sea. You’ll want to choose any firm fish that can hold up well during the cooking process such as halibut, sea bass or snapper but salmon will also work beautifully as well. The seafood is simmered in a white wine and seafood broth along with fresh tomatoes and then served alongside hearty toasted bread for dipping. Now this is no ordinary cioppino; this is the one cioppino to rule them all. The secret is in the addition of our Mini San Marzano Tomatoes which give this recipe a uniquely sweet flavor unlike any other seafood stew you’ll find.

ripe tomatoes on black marble

No cioppino is quite complete without the sweet and rich flavors Mini San Marzano Tomatoes have to offer. This variety can be traced back to the small town of San Marzano near Naples, Italy and is a hot house grown with year round availability. These wonderfully petite jewels are an heirloom variety of Roma Tomato and are known to be naturally sweeter and meatier than regular tomatoes with a stronger flavor. They also have less seeds and a low acidity, making them particularly easy to work with and popular among chefs and home cooks alike. For another easy and refreshing summer dish, you can use them as part of a Ceviche or salad. They are also excellent roasted or incorporated into soups, sauces, salsas and more.

Seafood Cioppino

Yields: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 lbs of firm, skinless fish fillets such as halibut, sea bass, salmon or snapper
  • 1 lb of uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lb of manila clams, scrubbed
  • 1 lb of mussels, scrubbed
  • 1 package of Melissa’s Mini San Marzano Tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cups of fish stock
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of dry white wine
  • 1 and 1/4 cups of water
  • 1/4 cup of tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh basil
  • Toasted baguette or hearty bread

1. In a large pot, heat up the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, shallots and some of the salt. Sauté for around 8 to 10 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and the red pepper flakes and sauté for another 3 minutes.

2. Add the chopped Mini San Marzano tomatoes, tomato paste, white wine and fish stock. Throw in the bay leaf.

3. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for around 30 minutes.

4. After about 30 minutes, add the clams and mussels and allow to cook for around 5 minutes. Add the fish and shrimp and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat when the clams and mussels have opened up and the fish and shrimp and completely cooked.

5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add in the parsley. Add more red pepper flakes if desired. Ladle the seafood cioppino into individual bowls and garnish with fresh basil. Serve alongside toasted slices of baguette or hearty bread.