Fried Vegetable Bird’s Nests

Homemade Fried Vegetable Birds Nests

Hello there, 2018! It’s a brand new year and we’re coming to an end with college football season. Although the new year is just beginning, it’s important for football fanatics to go out with a bang with a fantastic tailgating menu. From winter recipes like San Marzano Tomato Soup to Cheesy Fennel Gratin to popular classics like Sheet Pan Nachos (Vegtarian) and Slow Cooker Artichoke Dip, we’ve got some amazing recipes for throwing the best tailgate you’ve seen yet. This week’s recipe, however, is something a little different from what you may usually munch on. Even though one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to eat healthier, that doesn’t mean we stop craving fried foods, especially during game day. Vegetable Bird’s Nests gives us the best of both worlds. Fresh organic vegetables from Melissa’s like organic cabbage, organic carrots and organic zucchini, all of which are sliced thinly, and then fried until crispy and golden brown. This fabulous party appetizer is quite simple to put together and makes an incredible gluten-free, vegetarian option. You may enjoy them on their own or serve alongside soy sauce or sweet chili sauce for dipping.

Raw Green Organic Baby Zucchini

Also called courgettes, zucchinis are a variety of marrow squash with thin skin and crisp cream colored flesh. Although known as a summer squash, Melissa’s Organic Zucchini is available year round. Our organic zucchini is free of artificial or synthetic fertilizers and full of unforgettable, great tasting flavor. From the skin, seeds and flesh, nearly all components of this squash are edible. 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. You can also serve them fried, grilled, or steamed, buttered and sprinkled with herbs and spices. They can also be enjoyed raw such as sliced or shredded into cold salads or spiraled into a Zucchini Linguine with Meat Sauce.

Fried Vegetable Bird’s Nests

Yields: 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/4 cup of rice flour
  • 1 cup of iced water
  • 1/4 head of organic cabbage or 1 whole Kool Cabbage, finely sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 1 organic carrot, peeled and finely shredded
  • 1 organic zucchini, peeled and finely shredded
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the rice flour, corn starch, ice water and salt. This will be your batter.

2. Toss the sliced cabbage, onions, carrots and zucchini into the batter, making sure the vegetables are evenly coated.

3. In a deep frying pan or saucepan, heat up 2 to 3 inches of vegetable oil over medium high heat to 350 degrees.

4. Take a large spoon and scoop up the vegetable batter, forming a bird’s nest. Drop it into the hot oil. Do this for about 3 to 4 other bird’s nests but be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for around 2 to 3 minutes per side until the bird’s nests are golden brown and crispy.

5. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bird’s nests from the hot oil. Place onto a paper towel lined plate to drain off any excess oil.

6. Serve alongside soy sauce or sweet chili sauce for dipping.

Orange Cranberry Holiday Punch

Red Cranberry Holiday Punch

Can you believe New Year’s Eve is less than a week away? Celebrating the start of the new year is one of our favorite excuses to continue the holiday festivities with family and friends. A New Year’s Eve party always include great finger foods and bubbly librations and this year is no exception. Garnished with some of the best fruits of the season, this sparkling, boozy holiday punch is the perfect refreshment to serve to the grownups. Fresh cranberries gives this punch its festive holiday red color and sweet and tart flavor. Organic Navel Oranges, in honor of citrus season, offer a nicely balanced brightness to the drink. And of course, you can’t forget the bubbly! One of our most popular wines in our wine lineup, the 2013 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs makes its star appearance because hey, why not? This time calls for going all out with your party spread and your guests are sure to toast to the start of 2018 with this fabulous party punch. You can whip up the punch pretty quickly during your party or make up a batch of it ahead of time and keep chilled in the refrigerator.

Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs

Photo Credit – A Glass After Work

A timeless choice for sparkling wine, the Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs was America’s first commercially produced Chardonnay-based brut wine. The 2013 release is vibrant, fruity and crisp and boasts fresh aromas of grapefruit, mangos, lemons, peaches and apricots. This medium bodied wine is one hundred percent Chardonnay and holds very true to the Blanc de Blancs model. It can be sipped on its own but is especially paired beautifully with seafood appetizers like fresh, briny oysters and hard cheeses. A most festive option for enjoying at a formal dinner or any cocktail party!

““The 2013 Blanc de Blancs has bright and fresh aromas of grapefruit, mango, apricot, lemon, and white peach. The fruitful fragrance intermingles with hints of fresh bread, vanilla cream pie, and rose petals. Freshly sliced Gravenstein apples, zesty citrus, and bright pineapple flavors carry vibrant length on the palate.” – Winemakers Sean Thompson and Hugh Davies

– Tasting Notes from Winemakers Keith Hock and Hugh Davies

Please visit our website and browse through more selections of wine.

Orange Cranberry Holiday Punch

Yields: 12 to 16 servings

Ingredients

1. In a pitcher or punch bowl, mix together the cranberry juice, lemon lime soda and orange juice.

2. Pour in the 1/2 bottle of the Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc or sparkling wine. Stir gently to combine

3. Add the cranberries, orange slices and ice to the punch. Serve cold to your guests.

 

Walnut Snowball Cookies

Walnuts and Pastry Balls

Christmas is just around the corner which means it’s time to get your holiday baking on! After all, what could possibly be sweeter than baking cookies at Christmastime? We can’t think of many things. Whether you’re leaving them out on a plate for Santa or serving them in a dessert platter at a party, homemade cookies are just one of those things that make this time of the year a little more special. Everyone has their personal favorites from classic sugar cookies and gingersnaps to adorable jam thumbprints and flavorful snickerdoodles. One of our favorites happen to be Snowball cookies! Petite and round sweet bites made with delicious organic walnuts and vanilla dusted in a coating of powdered sugar to resemble wintry balls of snow. While not the flashiest of your holiday desserts, they are certainly one of the most delicious with their sweet, buttery and nutty flavors. Gather your family and friends to join in on the baking fun–these are incredibly easy to make and even more addicting to eat!

Raw Brown Organic Walnuts

If there’s a nut to represent the holiday season, it would have to be the walnut. Walnuts make a great ingredient in many recipes, from the savory to the sweet. These nuts are known as among the world’s healthiest and one of the fourteen “Super Foods”. They have a significant amount of omega-3 content and anti-inflammatory properties. They also aid in reducing bad cholesterol in the body and weight management. Walnuts can be eaten on their own whether raw, toasted or candied and are popular added to various desserts such as cookies, brownies and ice creams. Besides this recipe of walnut snowball cookies, you can also bake them into these lemon walnut cookies. Or you can add them as a tasty garnish by tossing them into salads.

Walnut Snowball Cookies

Yields: 25 to 30 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of organic walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar (for dusting)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

In a large mixing bowl with an electric stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Then add the salt and vanilla. Slowly add the flour a little bit at a time. Then add the walnuts and continue mixing until incorporated.

2. On a flat surface, use your hands to form the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for around an hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Portion out the dough to about one tablespoon size per cookie and roll into a ball. Place the ball onto the baking sheet. Repeat this step, placing the cookie balls spaced about 1 inch apart from each other.

5. Place the baking sheet back into the refrigerator for around 15 minutes.

6. When ready to bake, place the baking sheet into the oven for around 12 to 14 minutes. Make sure not to over bake the cookies.

7. Remove from the heat and transfer the cookies on a wire rack for around 5 minutes.

8. Fill a bowl with the powdered sugar. While the cookies are still warm, roll the cookies in the sugar until well coated.

9. Serve immediately or store in a container for up to 3 days.

 

 

San Marzano Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese SandwichHot soup is the perfect complement to wintertime. If the cold weather doesn’t stop you from tailgating (and why should it?) you’re going to want to prepare for those cool, crisp days spent outdoors. The great thing about soup is that it can be kept hot and easily transferred to any tailgating event in a thermos.  We’re all about comfort food in the winter season and what could be more comforting than piping hot creamy tomato soup? Old fashioned tomato soup is simple and unadorned but always delicious and loved by all. Although this recipe doesn’t require too many ingredients, this soup is bursting with flavor and the secret lies in the Mini San Marzano tomatoes. In contrast to the canned variety, San Marzanos give the soup a more gorgeous color and deeper, richer flavor. Add a hot, gooey grilled cheese sandwich to the mix and you have yourself a complete classic meal and the ultimate timeless combination!

San Marzano tomatoes

Considered the creme de le creme of tomatoes, Mini San Marzano Tomatoes have a lot going on for them. These heirloom variety Roma tomatoes popular for their sweeter, more intense flavor and meatier, thicker texture compared to regular tomatoes. You can recognize them by their distinct pear shape and thin skin. Much hype surrounds this petite fruit, which basically taste like the essence of tomato, and is quite adored in both Italy and around the world. They have fewer seeds and also contain a mild acidity that helps balance out richer dishes, meats and cheeses. Really, what’s not to love about San Marzanos? Enjoy them roasted in the oven to help intensify their unique flavor or use them in other soups sauces, salsas and even serve them as part of a fun ceviche.

San Marzano Tomato Soup

Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of Mini San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup of heavy cream
  •  1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Italian parsley, chopped, for garnish

1. In a medium sized pot, heat up the oil and butter over medium low heat. Melt the butter and add the onions. Cook the onions until soft and translucent at about 15 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.

2. Increase the heat to medium. Add the tomatoes to the onions and garlic. Use a spoon or spatula to crush the tomatoes. Add the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for around 20 minutes.

3. Remove from the heat and cool off for around 10 to 15 minutes. Use a blender or food processor to puree the soup until the soup becomes smooth.

4. Put the soup back into the saucepan. Turn the heat onto low. Slowly add the cream, making sure to stir together and mix well. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste.

5. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve hot in bowls on its own or alongside grilled cheese sandwiches.

Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon

Potato Rosti Lunch

Happy Hanukkah! The next eight days are sure to be full of family, fun and of course, food. Also known as the Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah represents religious freedom and national survival and is a time for families to light the menorah, sing songs and play games of dreidel. During the celebration people come together to commemorate the Jewish holiday by eating fried foods in relation to the miracle of the burning oil lamps in ancient Jerusalem’s Holy Temple. One food that perfectly represents the story of Hanukkah and how it came to be are none other than latkes. Latkes are essentially crispy pancakes made of grated potatoes, flour and egg and often contain garlic, onions and other seasonings. The smell of freshly frying latkes in the kitchen is simply heavenly. Once cooked, they can be enjoyed with a variety of toppings from traditional applesauce or sour cream. Let’s take things a bit further this year with the addition of smoked salmon and a deliciously decadent dill sour cream. The result is a gorgeous appetizer or breakfast which can be accompanied with our other Hanukkah creations such as Challah French Toast or Sufganiyot.

BlogPost_PotatoPancakeswithSmokedSalmon_1

Russet potatoes are usually a favorite for making latkes because of their high starch content. Yukon Gold potatoes are also a fantastic choice and give off a lovely golden yellow color. However, don’t underestimate the power of Baby Dutch Yellow® Potatoes. Once you tasted the light, buttery flavor of these miniature spuds, you’ll be swapping out all your former potato choices. And although they’re small in size, they hold their shape well during the cooking process, making them an excellent choice for frying until a crispy golden brown. Melissa’s Baby Dutch Yellow® Potatoes are perfect quintessential ingredient for the holiday season, from Hanukkah to Christmas to even Passover, which we celebrated earlier this year with a beautiful DYPs® Kugel Gratin. For other delicious spud-worthy recipes, check out our 10 ways to Enjoy Melissa’s Potatoes story.

Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon

Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of Baby Dutch Yellow® Potatoes
  • 1/2 lb of smoked salmon, sliced
  • 1 onion
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped dill
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped dill for garnish

1. Prepare the potatoes. Use a food grater or food processor to shred the potatoes and onion. Move them over to a paper towel and squeeze out any excess liquid.

2. Mix together the potatoes and onion with the flour, egg, baking powder, salt and pepper.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together the sour cream, lemon juice and dill. Set aside or chill in the refrigerator when ready to assemble the potato pancakes.

4. In a large skillet, heat up the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Drop about 2 tablespoons of the potato pancake batter onto the hot oil. Use a spatula to flatten batter into a pancake. Repeat the steps with more of the batter, but make sure none of the pancakes are touching.

5. Cook the pancakes for around 3 to 4 minutes on each side until the edges are browned. Remove from the heat and place onto paper towels to drain off any excess oil.

6. Repeat these steps until all of the potato pancakes are cooked.

7. Top the potato pancakes with a generous dollop of the sour cream and dill mixture. Then layer some smoked salmon on top. Garnish with chopped dill.

Cheesy Fennel Gratin

Homemade Cheesy Fennel Gratin

Every great winter tailgate has something hot and bubbly. Eating outdoors during the cold weather months requires something a little heartier and more robust than typically traditional tailgate fare like burgers and hot dogs. This is the perfect time to break out the soups, stews and casseroles. Casseroles make great game day food because they’re quite easy to put together with a minimum amount of time and effort. They feed a crowd effectively and is easy to transport from a casual gathering at home to an exciting tailgate at the stadium. However, this week’s casserole is not just any casserole. We’re staying warm with our Cheesy Fennel Gratin. A gratin can be described as any type of dish that’s browned in the oven with a topping of cheese or bread crumbs. This one is a  delicious baked vegetable casserole with plenty of melted mozzarella and parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs and fresh herbs. The result are tender roasted fennel bulbs bathed with chicken stock and wine with a scrumptious crunchy topping. This recipe is best served hot right out of the oven but can also be transported to any game day event and kept warm.

Fennel

There’s something special about fennel. With its celery-like base and dill-like leaves, one may wonder what to expect from this unusual looking vegetable. Fennel dates all the way back as far as 1500 B.C. and has been long enjoyed by the Italians, French and Greeks. Its flavor is quite unique with a slightly sweet and spicy licorice taste and a crunchy texture.  Perfect for adding a bright snap to a variety of dishes, fennel is a very popular ingredient, one that you’ll love utilizing during these cool winter months. You can slice them thin and enjoy them as part of a salad like in this Cocktail Grapefruit with Mixed Greens, Fennel and Parmesan. Braised or caramelized, fennel becomes tender and fragrant with an irresistible sweet, anise flavor. It also adds special depth to soups such as in this Fennel Potato Soup.

Cheesy Fennel Gratin

Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 fennel or fennel bulbs
  • 1 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup of dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest, grated
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

1. Prepare the fennel. Remove the fronds and stalks of the fennel. Then cut the fennel bulb into quarters, then smaller 2-inch pieces.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking dish with the olive oil. Arrange the wedges in a single layer inside the baking dish.

3. Pour in the chicken stock and white wine. Then add the salt and pepper. Distribute the 2 tablespoons of diced butter throughout the dish.

4. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake the fennel for around 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and raise the heat to 425 degrees.

5. Combine the melted butter, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, panko bread crumbs, and lemon zest. Spread the mixture evenly on top of the fennel.

6. Bake the fennel gratin for around 30 minutes until the top is nicely browned. Remove from the heat. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve hot.

 

Spicy Glazed Meatballs

BlogPost_SpicyGlazedMeatballs.jpgFootball and finger food go together like peanut butter and jelly, cookies and milk and all the other timeless combinations you can think of. However, when it comes to game day parties, we like to keep things simple. No need to get all fancy with any complicated recipes that take a long time to put together. No, we like to keep things simple, especially when tailgating in the wintertime. And what could be more simple than serving up meatballs? Meatballs always make a great savory finger food and are perfect for keeping the body warm against the bitter cold. These mouthwatering meatballs are made with either ground beef but you can substitute them with ground turkey if you’d like to opt for less calories; the choice is yours. Serve them up in a sweet and spicy sticky glaze made with sweet chile sauce and Sriracha. However, the secret is in the spices–ground cumin and ginger takes the sauce to a whole new level. It’s truly a flavor explosion, in all the best ways possible! These meatballs can be prepared in bulk ahead of time and kept hot inside a crockpot or a food buffet warmer. In the event you make a large batch, you can even freeze them and pull them out for any future parties when needed.

Ginger rootThe flavor of ginger is optimal to many fall and winter recipes. Its potent fragrance and spiciness gives warmth to many recipes, something that the holidays are always in need of. Melissa’s Ground Ginger is ginger root in powder form and makes it easy to flavor a variety of items from spice rubs to marinades and even desserts. While fresh ginger root has a fiery, pungent taste, the ground-up form is a lot more warm, mellow and subtle, making it great for adding a nice subdued kick to recipes. Melissa’s Ground Cumin is wonderful in savory recipes as an aromatic spice with a distinct pungent flavor and strong aroma. This spice is often roasted before grinding, which gives it a toasted, nutty flavor that’s simply divine with beans, chicken, curries, lamb, potatoes and other delicious savory dishes.

Spicy Glazed Meatballs 

Yields: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic chile sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • Chopped mint leaves, for garnish

For the glaze

  • 1 cup of ketchup
  • 1/3 cup of sweet chile sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons of reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin 
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger

1. Start off with making the meatballs. In a bowl, mix together the ground meat, egg, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, garlic chile sauce, parsley and salt. Add the bread crumbs and use your hands to mix them in.

2. Roll the meat mixture into 1-inch balls. Add the vegetable oil into a skillet and heat up over medium heat. Cook the meatballs in the hot oil for about 5 to 6 minutes, making sure to cook them evenly on all sides.

3. Place a paper towel onto a plate. Transfer the meatballs onto the plate to drain off any excess oil.

4. In a small saucepan, combine the ketchup, sweet chile sauce, Sriracha, soy sauce, cumin and ginger together and bring to a slow simmer until the mixture has thickened.

5. Place the meatballs into the glaze, making sure they’re all well coated. Transfer them to a serving dish. Insert a toothpick into each meatball to making serving them easier. Garnish with mint leaves.