Dodger Stadium Championship Series Eats with Melissa’s

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2017 is sure to be one amazing year for the Dodgers as they take on the Houston Astros in the biggest baseball championship series of the year. After all, it’s been nearly three decades since the Dodgers last made it all the way into the World Series. The only thing that’s just as exciting is all the limited edition food featured at Dodger Stadium. The culinary team had been hard at work crafting up some special eats only available during the World Series. If you’re lucky enough to score a ticket into one of the four games played here, make sure to take the time to enjoy all of the unique creations throughout the stadium.

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In honor of the Dodgers making it into the series, the culinary team baked up a few special themed desserts that showcased the championship’s official logo. We have to say, as tasty as they looked, these were almost too pretty to eat!

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If you have access to the Dodger’s Dugout Club, you’re in for an extraordinary treat. Known as the “best seat in Major League Baseball” according to USA Today, the Dugout Club is the ultimate VIP exclusive experience for Dodger fans. Fans can enjoy a complimentary full service buffet from Levy Restaurants, in-seat waiter/waitress service, concierge service, premium seating and much more. When it comes to giving members the best experience possible, the secret lies in its endless dining options.

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The Dugout Club offers just about anything you could ask for in a high-end buffet.  There’s a carving station with plenty of choices of meats as well as other game day snacks like sliders, pastas and more. Of course, Levy Restaurants has not forgotten about providing healthy options with all of the best premium salads you can eat made with fresh produce from Melissa’s. In fact, for Game 1, we saw a Classic Caesar Salad, Spinach and Fennel Salad tossed with fresh raspberries, Gem Lettuce Salad and even Muffuletta Salad!

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There was no shortage of ballpark worthy treats to be found inside the Dugout Club either. Cheetos or Flaming Hot Cheetos dusted corn on the cob elote, anyone? As one of this year’s biggest food crazes found around fairs, food festivals and more throughout the nation, these were definitely a hit. Or how about a classic chicken club slider stuffed with chopped bacon and topped off with fresh cherry tomatoes?

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In honor of the upcoming Halloween, the Dugout Club’s dessert spread featured one of our signature Freaky Fruits, Dragon Fruit in this gorgeous panna cotta. This rich and creamy sweet treat combined with its subtly smooth tropical flavors was scary delicious!

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We’d also like to give a shout out to Chef Marco Zapien, owner and Executive Chef of Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria  and Corporate Chef at Melissa’s. Chef Marco was hard at work throughout the series making sure all operations were running smoothly and even held a special demo inside the Dugout Club featuring Melissa’s seasonal fruit. There, members enjoyed a taste of our famous Cotton Candy Grapes as well as tropical dragon fruit.

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Elsewhere, there are also other special limited edition food specials available. We snacked on seasoned popcorn during the game and sampled specialty caramel apples. This one was loaded with crushed Oreos and could be found at the Trolley Dodger Treats on the Field Level at Section 46, the Marketplace on Loge Level at Section 137 and the Reserve Level at Section 5.

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Whether you’re rooting for Houston or the Boys in Blue, competition between the rival teams is incredibly fierce and there’s no predicting who will come out victorious. The Dodgers took their first win in the series but the Astros unexpectedly came back in one of the wildest games in recent history with their first World Series win in franchise history. Until the very end, all we can do cheer on as we witness history in the making between the most exhilarating baseball face off of the year.

We at Melissa’s would like to give a big thank you to the chefs and culinary team at Dodger Stadium, Levy Restaurants, all staff members and fans who have made this all possible. It’s been an incredible season for us and the Dodgers and we look forward to another amazing one next year.

Mini Pumpkin Spiced Bundt Cake

Yummy Mini Pumpkin Bundt Cakes

With Halloween right around the corner, we can’t help but dive into the pumpkin recipe trend. Last week, we brought you Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes for a crisp autumn morning. This week, we’ve got another pumpkin-laced treat for you that makes a perfectly festive treat for the upcoming holiday. Adorable and delicious mini bundt cakes take the spotlight for Halloween this year and are made with real pumpkin puree and of course, all the wonderful pumpkin spices we’re obsessed with. Funny enough, when sandwiched together, these bundt cakes actually come to resemble mini pumpkins. In the end, you have yourself a Halloween decoration that’s both decorative and delectable. Who knows? You may find that these Mini Pumpkin Spiced Bundt Cakes are simply too cute to eat!

Ground cinnamon and spices

Although pumpkin spiced items are everywhere these days, many of them don’t actually contain any actual pumpkin. Pumpkin spice is the combination of spices people typically use when baking pumpkin pie. A blend of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground cloves and ground ginger, these are all the quintessential flavors of fall. This fragrant concoction can be used to make all sorts of recipes from desserts to drinks. Rather than going out to purchase store-bought pumpkin spice, it’s simple to make your own at home. Here at Melissa’s, we carry a wide selection of various spices, including the ones needed to create your own pumpkin spice blend. If you’d like to purchase any of the spices you see here, please call us at 800-588-0151 or email hotline@melissas.com.

 

 

Mini Pumpkin Spiced Bundt Cakes

Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients

For the Mini Bundt Cakes

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of Pumpkin, pureed
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 6 pieces of Toberlone Chocolate
  • Faux leaves

For the Glaze

  • 4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Orange food coloring

1.  If you need to make your pumpkin puree, please refer to the instructions in our Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and ground cloves.

4. Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Add the eggs and continue to mix.

5. Add the pumpkin puree and sour cream and gently mix. Then add the dry ingredients, followed by the milk.

6. Grease your mini bundt cake pans. Spoon the mini bundt cake mixture into the pan.

7. Bake the mini bundt cakes for 20 to 25 minutes until the cakes are golden brown.

8. Once the cakes are finished baking, allow them to cool for 15 minutes before removing them from the pan.

9. While the cakes are baking, make your glaze. Put your powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl along with the salt and gently whisk together with an electric mixer.

10. Add your hot water to the mixture and fold to combine everything. Add your vanilla extract and a few drops of orange food coloring. Stir to mix.

11. When the cakes have finished cooling, you may assemble them. Arrange the cakes onto a wire rack with parchment paper underneath.

12. Place one mini bundt cake upside down and top with some of the orange glaze. Place another mini bundt cake on top, sandwiching the glaze in between.

13. With a rubber spatula, slowly drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake.

14. To create the pumpkin stem, place one piece of Toberlone chocolate in the center. Add 1 or 2 faux leaves next to the stem.

Wine Pairing Recommendation: Darioush Chardonnay 2011 Although many wines are often paired with savory items, the oaky nature of Chardonnay can hold up well against certain desserts. The rich butteriness of the Signature 2011 Chardonnay integrates layers of stone fruits and citrus, as well as notes of nutmeg. This unique combination pairs wonderfully with the rounded flavors of pumpkin as well as its warm fall spices.

What are some other recipes you can make with pumpkin spices? And what will you be feasting on during your Halloween celebration? 

Vegetarian Sheet Pan Nachos

Homemade Loaded Sheet Pan Nachos

Baseball fans, gather round! The ultimate championship baseball series has finally arrived and it’s going to be the most exciting one yet this year. Whether or not your favorite team made it, this set of games are definitely a suspenseful affair worth gathering around the TV for. As we wait in anticipation, many questions are sure to pop up. How many home runs will we see? Who will take the victory this year? And the real question begs: what will we be eating? Even if you can’t make it to the actual game, making your own party eats are the next best thing. No baseball game is complete without nachos on hand and this week’s recipe is sure to hit it out of the ballpark. This is our quick, easy and (slightly more) healthy take on nachos which are layered with plenty of toppings including corn, chiles, tomatoes and cheese and then baked onto a sheet pan. Once finished in the oven, take the sheet right out of the oven while it’s still hot and bubbly and serve it in front of the television for everyone to enjoy family style. This recipe is vegetarian but you can easily customize it to suit everyone’s tastes.

Mixed Chilies

Whether you like your chiles mild, medium or hot, Melissa’s has a vast selection of chiles and peppers ranging from common jalapeno chiles to specialty finds like bhut jolokias chiles and shishito peppers. Chiles play an important role in many cuisines and are integral to giving dishes extra flavor and heat. These pulled pork nachos definitely get that extra kick of spice from the addition of chile peppers. You can use any of your favorite chiles for this recipe but we highly recommend either jalapenos, Anaheim chiles or Serrano chiles. Each chile pepper brings a different kind of flavor and heat. If you’re looking for something on the mild side with a slight sweetness, Anaheim chiles are a great versatile choice. Jalapenos have more of that extra kick and boast a green vegetable flavor. If you want to take things even further up a notch, then throw in some Serrano chiles if you dare. They have a Scoville rating ranging from 10,000 to 25,000 making them some of the hottest chiles commonly available.

Vegetarian Sheet Pan Nachos 

Yields: 8 servings

Ingredients

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray with cooking spray or drizzle oil onto a baking sheet.

2. Spread the tortilla chips onto one layer onto the baking sheet. Top with the cheese, corn and black beans.

3. Bake the tortilla chips for around 6 to 8 minutes until the cheese has melted and becomes bubbly.

4. Remove from the heat and top with the avocados, onions, tomatoes, chiles, cilantro and sour cream. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Spiced Macarons

Halloween Macaroons

Halloween is lurking just around the corner. October is the quintessential month for all things pumpkin and pumpkin spiced. What’s not to love about the cozy autumnal flavors of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg? From cookies to pancakes and just about anything else you can think of these days, pumpkin spice is everywhere. This week’s recipe is perfect for celebrating our favorite spooky holiday coming up in just a couple of weeks. Macarons are thin, airy meringue cookies sandwiching a creamy buttercream, frosting or ganache filling. Now, don’t be too frightened by the thought of making these French cookies. As long as you weigh out and sift your ingredients carefully, you shouldn’t have any problems. This Halloween worthy treat boasts cookies flavored with everyone’s favorite pumpkin pie spices and filled a simple, rich pumpkin cream cheese frosting. The more pumpkin, the better, we say!  Pipe on some spooky faces using black decorating icing and you have yourself some edible jack-o-lanterns that are scarily delicious!

Spices for Christmas Gingerbread Cookies in Spoons

There’s something about pumpkin pie spices that always seems to evoke a nostalgic, comforting feeling every year as we welcome in the fall season. But here’s a fun fact: Pumpkin spices don’t actually contain any pumpkin. Instead, what you’re craving when you think about traditional pumpkin pie is a concoction of commonly found spices, namely ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg and ground cloves. While actual pumpkin pie spice can be found at the grocery store, making your own blend at home is not only more cost effective but also allows you to make your own tweaks if you prefer more or less flavor from any of the spices. After you’ve put together your own, you too can enjoy all your favorite things pumpkin spiced.

Pumpkin Spiced Macarons 

Yields: 20 macarons

Ingredients

For the macaron shells

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup of almond flour
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 drop of orange food coloring
  • Black decorating icing

For the pumpkin cream cheese filling

  • 1/4 cup of fresh or canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup of cream cheese, softened

1. Take parchment paper and line two separate baking sheets. Draw 12 1.5 inch circles onto the parchment papers, spacing them about 1 inch apart from each other.

2. In a food processor, process the almond flour, powdered sugar, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves until finely ground. Take a sieve and sift the dry ingredients.

3. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, pour in the egg whites and beat them at medium speed until the mixture is frothy. Reduce to low speed and add the granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Then increase the speed to high and beat for around 5 minutes until you see stiff peaks form.

4. Take a rubber spatula and gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg white mixture. Do not over mix. Then add the food coloring to the batter. Fold the mixture again until it loosely falls into a ribbon into the batter.

5. Take a pastry bag and fit it with a 1/2 inch rounded tip. Fill the bag with the batter and pipe into the circles you have drawn onto the parchment paper.

6. Tap the bottom of the baking sheets and make sure there are no air bubbles present. Let the batter sit at room temperature for around 30 minutes.

7. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and bake the cookies for around 10 to 15 minutes.

8. Transfer the cookies onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely for around 15 to 30 minutes.

9. While the cookies are cooling, make the filling. Combine the pumpkin puree and cream cheese together until well mixed.

10. Take two of the cookies and pipe a teaspoon of the filling onto each side of the cookies. Sandwich the two cookies together to form one macaron. Repeat this step.

11. Take your black decorating icing to pipe Halloween designs onto your macarons.

 

Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach Dip with Baked Pita Chips

Brrr, the fall chill is soon to settle in, which means it’s time to break out that slow cooker once again! Slow cookers are great for when you want to throw together something simple without all the mess and hassle of slaving away over a hot stove all afternoon. You can make nearly anything from a Slow Cooked Squash Stew to a Slow Cooked Thai Pork with Kabocha Squash and much more. But let’s talk about tailgating. We’ve been on a tailgating kick lately and we’re excited to share another simple chip and dip recipe you can bring to any game day gathering. We all know how simple spinach and artichoke dip is to make. The only thing more simple than that is our slow cooker version.  Green leafy spinach broken down into a hot and bubbly creamy dip combined with the irresistible flavors of hearty artichokes, what’s not to love? After just a few hours on the slow cooker, you have yourself a fun and cheesy appetizer to serve at parties or gatherings. To serve alongside this recipe, the only thing you need are your favorite crunchy dippers.

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Of course, you can’t have spinach artichoke dip without the artichokes! Melissa’s Steamed Artichoke Hearts make a wonderful ingredient for this game day favorite. Artichokes are an edible member of the thistle family and actually the immature bud of what would be a large sunflower-like blossom if not picked for consumption. Although there are around 6 different parts to an artichoke, only the leaves, center and heart are eaten. The meaty base of the globe is where the heart is and is considered a culinary delicacy. Its flavor can be tricky to describe–mild with a slightly citrusy taste and a subtle sweetness. Melissa’s Steamed Artichoke Hearts come already steamed, vacuum sealed to insure a fresh just-picked flavor and ready to eat. Besides incorporating them into dip, you can also enjoy them fresh as part of a salad such as this French Country Style Beet and Artichoke Salad or a pasta like this Lemon Basil Artichoke Spaghetti.

Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip

Yields: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 cups of spinach leaves
  • 1 package of Melissa’s Steamed Artichoke Hearts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup of white or yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 brick (8 oz) of cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1/3 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, freshly ground

1. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients together. Stir thoroughly to make sure everything is well mixed.

2. Coat the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray. Then add the mixture to the slow cooker.

3. Cook on high for 2 hours or low for 3 hours.

4. When the dip is finished cooking, transfer to a serving bowl and serve alongside pita chips, tortilla chips or any of your favorite sides.

 

10 Ways to Enjoy Melissa’s Apples

various kinds of applesOctober may be all about Halloween, autumn leaves and pumpkin spice but did you know there’s yet another thing about this month worth celebrating? Why, it’s National Apple Month! This month as well as the following autumnal months brings us many different apple varieties and is the perfect time to sample all the wonderful fruits the fall harvest has to offer. As one of the world’s most common fruits consumed by kids and adults alike and the second most purchased fruit in the United States, apples are every bit worth the recognition. The fruity holiday originally started off as a week long celebration, enacted by he U.S. Apple Association all the way back in 1904 but has since expanded to a month in 1996. After all, they say an apple a day keeps the doctor away and to that, we say the more apples we eat, the better!

Fun fact: Did you know that there are over 7,000 different kinds of apple varieties? Here at Melissa’s, we offer some of the most popular and delicious apples in our selection. Perhaps you love the large size and sweetness only found in Honeycrisp Apples. Or you favor the unique pineapple-reminiscent flavor of Green Dragon Apples. No matter the kinds of apples you like the best, there’s something here for everyone. Let’s take a look at some of our most popular ones.

Arrangement Fresh Ripe Organic CrabappleCrab Apples

Aren’t these just some of the cutest little apples you’ve ever seen? Though they may resemble regular-sized apples, these miniature fruits, which are about the same size as cherries, are not normally recommended to be eaten raw. They have quite the reputation for being mouth puckering tart but their sweet and sour flavor and high pectin content make them popular in use for jams and jellies, which always make a scrumptious accompaniment to meat dishes like poultry or pork. Or you could also poach them in a sweet wine with cinnamon and cloves for an autumn-worthy dessert.

BlogPost_10WaystoEnjoyMelissasApples_2Green Dragon Apples

Green Dragon Apples are a force to be reckoned with! One of our favorite fall varieties, Green Dragon Apples are a cross between Golden Delicious Apples and Japanese Indo Apples. Said to be one of the most aromatic of apples, this variety is low in acidity and possesses a unique sweetness with a hint of pineapple or pineapple flavor. Its sweetness is subtle with just a lingering of tartness after each bite. These are some of the best apples around to eat raw but they can be added to both savory and sweet dishes.

Raw Organic Honeycrisp ApplesHoneycrisp Apples

When it comes to the many apple varieties available in the marketplace, the sweetness of Honeycrisp™ Apples is nearly unrivaled. Honeycrisps™ have a gorgeous coloring with light red striping over a golden background and are seasonally found during the fall and winter. These apples are quite large and firm in size, though they do bruise easily. They have a pleasantly juicy sweetness and wonderful crispness and are fantastic when eaten fresh or baked into desserts.

 

Raw Organic Lady ApplesLady Apples

Lady Apples are one of America’s oldest known varieties and a traditional favorite used in cooking. This fruit is petite in size compared to other larger apples and can range from a green to yellow hue with a gorgeous crimson blushing. Lady Apples taste both sweet and tart and is known for its pleasant aroma and tender, slightly crisp flesh. Although delicious when eaten raw, they are popular for culinary use such as in baking, stuffing and incorporating into sauces and chutneys where their flavor becomes more pronounced after being cooked.

Raw Red Fuji ApplesOrganic Fuji Apples

Organic Fuji Apples are some of the best all-around apples. This attractive variety was born in Japan but have quickly become a favorite in the United States. They offer the gorgeous coloring, juice and firmness of Red Delicious Apples and the exquisite heirloom flavor of Ralls Janet Apples. They have a thick, dense flesh that holds up well during the cooking process and are wonderful baked into desserts or roasted in the oven. Their sweetness also pairs nicely with sharp cheeses and are popular in charcuterie plates.

With the season bringing us all of these wonderful apple varieties, there are so many different ways to enjoy them. Apples are not just limited to eating straight out of hand, though tempting at times. Some varieties can be enjoyed year-round whereas other specialty ones are available during the crisp fall season. Here are 10 scrumptious ways you can make the most out of these sweet, juicy fruits.

Homemade Glazed Apple Fritters10 Ways to Enjoy Melissa’s Apples

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Roasted pepper hummus

Tailgating season is well underway, which means weekly gatherings of friends, fun and of course, food!  When it comes to putting together a tailgating menu, it’s always best to keep things simple and portable enough to feed a crowd. And what’s better than game day food? How about game day food that’s actually healthy and energizing instead of the heavy, calorie laden fare you’d often find? There’s no need to sacrifice your favorite dishes when you have healthy options to balance out your party spread. We’ve always been big fans of hummus because they make not only a delicious afternoon snack but also a crowd pleasing appetizer at parties. Pair them up with sliced pita bread, pita chips or raw vegetables for a great finger food alternative to the usual party dip. This week’s recipe is our refreshing take on a classic hummus made with our Peeled and Steamed Garbanzo Beans and Fire Roasted Red Bell Peppers. The result is a vibrant creamy dip blended with the perfect combination of sweet and smokey flavors.

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We have a confession to make: roasted red bell peppers are kind of addicting. The process helps bring out their sweetness while adding a touch of unique smokiness you could only find when roasted in the oven. They also become incredibly tender and easy to use in various recipes like soups, stews and sauces. While you can roast your own at home, Melissa’s Fire Roasted Sweet Red Bell Peppers are incredibly easy and convenient to use right out of the jar and will save you plenty of time and kitchen cleanup. Their unique flavors are sure to amp up and add a touch of zest to a variety of dishes.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Yields: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

1. In a food processor, combine the roasted red bell peppers, Steamed Garbanzo beans, garlic, jalapeño, onions, lemon juice, paprika, salt and cayenne pepper and process for about one minute until smooth.

2. With the motor still running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil for another minute.

3. Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle in more olive oil and garnish with the chopped cilantro and sesame seeds.

4. Serve alongside sliced pita bread, pita chips or tortilla chips.