Friday, January 29, 2016

Where to Store Fresh Produce {Infographic}

Produce Storage Guidelines

  1. Do Not Store Fruits and Vegetables Together. Fruits that give off high levels of ethylene (the ripening agent) can prematurely ripen and spoil surrounding vegetables. (Think of the "one bad apple" adage.)
  2. Room Temp should be between 68-73 degrees
  3. Fridge Temp should be between 35-38 degrees

For Vegetables: 

Before storing, remove ties and rubber bands and trim any leafy ends. Leave an inch to keep the vegetable from drying out. Make sure the bag you store the veggies in has some holes punctured to allow for good air flow. Pack vegetables loosely in the refrigerator. The closer they are, the quicker they will rot. Leafy greens can be washed before storing by soaking them in a sink full of water, while soft herbs and mushrooms should not be washed until right before they are used.

For Fruits: 

Non-cherry stone fruits, avocados, tomatoes, mangoes, melons, apples, and pears will continue to ripen if left sitting out on a countertop, while items like bell peppers, grapes, all citrus, and berries will only deteriorate and should be refrigerated. Bananas in particular ripen very quickly, and will also speed the ripening of any nearby fruits.

Store in the Refrigerator:

Photo credit: Bosch

apples (> 7 days)
Asian pears (nashi)
Belgian endive
Brussels sprouts
cut fruits
cut vegetables
green beans
green onions
herbs (not basil)
leafy vegetables
lima beans
summer squashes
sweet corn

Store at Room Temperature:

Photo credit Pinterest

apples (< 7 days)
basil (in water)
dry onions*
sweet potatoes*
winter squashes

*Store garlic, onions, potatoes, and sweet potatoes in a well ventilated area in the pantry. Protect potatoes from light to avoid greening.
†Cucumbers, eggplant and peppers can be kept in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 days if they are used soon after removal from the refrigerator.

Monday, January 11, 2016

8 Good Luck Foods for Chinese New Year + Recipes

While the traditional United States New Year is more about drinking, the Chinese New Year is an opportunity to honor family and friends, and to enjoy some culinary traditions. We crafted a list of 8 foods you should have on hand, to ensure a prosperous and happy year to come, and recipes that will inspire you to use them.  

Our good friend, Chef Martin Yan, has a few things to say about Chinese New Year, this year: 

8 Foods that Symbolize Good Luck for Chinese New Year

1. Noodles
If noodles are being served, then you want to keep them as long as possible, representing long life.
Recipe from Melisa's 50 Best Plants on the Planet

2. Tangerines/Oranges
In Chinese, the words for gold and orange sound alike, while the word for tangerine echoes luck.  Also, displaying and eating these fruits is said to bring wealth and luck.  This Watercress and Orange salad is packed with nutrients and flavor.

3. Pummelo
This large citrus fruit is popular because it is said to bring status and prosperity. The tradition comes from the way the Cantonese phrase for pomelo sounds similar to the words for prosperity and status.

Sweet and young, or white and brown, coconuts symbolize togetherness for Chinese New Year.  Good thing everyone loves them!

5. Pineapple
Eating Pineapple during Chinese New Year is supposed to bring luck in gambling.  Enjoy some before the Big Game and you may come out a winner?!

6. Leafy Greens and Long Beans
Long Beans and/or Leafy greens, such as Chinese broccoli (aka Gai Lan), are served whole to wish a long life for parents.  Here is a tasty way to prepare Long Beans this year: Twice-Fried Long Beans

7. Whole Fish
The Chinese word for fish sounds like the word for abundance, says Lum*. It’s important that the fish is served with the head and tail intact, writes Gong, “to ensure a good start and finish and to avoid bad luck throughout the year.”
Photo: NY Times

8. Jai
This vegetarian dish is eaten because it’s “part of the Buddhist culture to cleanse yourself with vegetables,” says Lum*. It’s also packed with good-luck foods, writes Gong, breaking it down by ingredient: sea moss for prosperity; lotus seeds for children/birth of sons; noodles for longevity; lily buds to “send 100 years of harmonious union”; Chinese black mushrooms to “fulfill wishes from east to west”
Photo: Chowhound

* Reference: Chowhound

Resource: Visual Guide to Asian Vegetables

Click the photo above for the full article:

Melissa's Asian Essentials

Vegetables are not only fundamental to Chinese New Year but also to Chinese cuisine as a whole. People love to eat green, leafy vegetables at each meal because they’re not only incredibly healthy but also versatile in a vast number of recipes. When it comes to popular green Asian vegetables, we at Melissa’s have the best of the best from top quality growers. Let’s take a look at some of the Asian vegetables we’re offering that would be perfect for Chinese New Year and other Chinese-inspired dishes. We also have a wide variety of essentials for Chinese New Year including vegetables, tropical fruits, noodles and other great items to make tasty dishes for the holiday. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holiday Recipe Roundup

We are so incredibly blessed to be a part of an amazing community, the food blogger community!  The passion and creativity is unbelievable, as well as the combinations of flavors and unique recipe ideas.  We recently hosted a SoCal Food Blogger event in our test kitchen, where everyone brought their favorite holiday dessert.  Not only did they share with us, but now they are sharing their recipes with you!

Hopefully some of these will inspire your holiday festivities.

Here is our Holiday Recipe Roundup

Best Dessert Recipes for the Holidays

Here's what's on our Holiday Menu:

Delight your family with the perfect Christmas Dinner recipes

Don't forget about your favorite Foodies!  

Here are the gifts that any food lover will appreciate:

Skip the ugly sweater this year and give the foodie in your life something they really want

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Melissa's 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Skip the ugly sweater this year and give the foodie in your life something they really want: housewares that are both practical and pretty, tools that will take cooks of any level up a step in the kitchen, or unique eating experiences.

Melissa's 2015 Gift Giving Guide for the Food Lover

Diamond Blender - $129.99

50 Best Plants on the Planet - $35

by Cathy Thomas

Eat Cleaner Fruit and Veggie Wash - $59.99

Oxo Green Savers - starting at $14.99

Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron - starting at $12

iPhone Photography Light - $26.99

Spiralizer - $99.99

Michael's Woodcraft Cutting Board - starting at $38

Tropical Gift Baskets - $67.25

Exclusive Wines - starting at $24.99

Do you have a favorite Foodie gift?  Tell us in the comments below

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving is a time of gathering with the loved ones and sharing an abundant meal with one another. While turkey is usually the star of the show, it’s the side dishes and accompaniments that often steal the spotlight. Anyone who’s put together a Thanksgiving dinner knows that time is of the utmost essence. After all, there’s only so much time in the day to make sure each dish comes out a smashing success. The last thing any dinner host wants is a crazed rush while trying to get everything onto the table in time. In between the mad dash of making sure each dish is finished cooking in a timely manner while keeping guests entertained before the main event, Thanksgiving dinner can be one challenging time for the cook.
Getting a head start on the holiday feast is the key to ensuring that you’ll have enough time to get everything ready without the hustle and stress. While there’s nothing like a roasted turkey or ham fresh from the oven, many side dishes can be made a few days before Thanksgiving or even on the day of. From mashed potatoes to soups to stuffings, we’ve got plenty of delicious time-saving recipes that’ll give you plenty of time to enjoy the festivities of the holiday.
Soup’s on! If there’s one menu item to make ahead of time for Thanksgiving dinner, it’s definitely soup. Our warm, creamy autumn soup is made with mildly sweet Asian pears and nutty butternut squash. Plan for this recipe a day or two before and allow it to cool before placing into the refrigerator. Simply reheat on the stove and toss in a few croutons into each bowl right before serving. Comfort food at its finest, there’s nothing like a bowl of this fall dish to kick off Thanksgiving dinner!
Roasted brussels sprouts are a welcome addition to any Thanksgiving table spread. Ours get an extra kick of heat from a little red chile flakes. A simple yet delicious side dish, brussels sprouts, once roasted, are incredibly fragrant with an unforgettable caramelized flavor. These brussels sprouts can be made up to one day in advance and reheated in the oven at 350 degrees. Or if you prefer to make this dish on the day of Thanksgiving, you could also season the brussels sprouts, store in the refrigerator until cooking and pop into the oven before serving.
Thanksgiving just isn’t complete without a hearty helping of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes, is it? When it comes to preparing Thanksgiving dinner on the day of, we’re sure you have other things to do rather than sweat over mashed potatoes. This recipe for mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes with spicy grated horseradish can be prepared up to a couple of hours in advance and left at room temperature or refrigerated up to one day in advance. To reheat, simply place the potatoes covered into a saucepan over medium heat and add a bit of milk to bring the consistency back to your preferences.
Nothing says comfort food like a roasted vegetable gratin fresh out of the oven. Instead of having to use separate dishes to house your roasted vegetables, serving them as part of a gratin keeps things organized yet delicious on Thanksgiving day. This gratin offers all your vegetable favorites such as sweet potato, eggplant, zucchini and more and can be prepped up to one day in advance. When you’re ready to make this recipe, allow for the dish to come to room temperature and then roast in the oven as directed. Make sure to give an additional 5 minutes to your cooking time.
Our Chestnut Stuffing is one of those recipes we find ourselves coming back to each Thanksgiving. This holiday stuffing is made with our Steamed Chestnuts, which are so full of flavor and ready to eat or use in various recipes. Stuffings are very easy to make ahead of time and can be made all at once and refrigerated for up to three days. Or you can also take care of the prep work beforehand by sautéing the chestnuts and vegetables ahead of time and combining with the bread and chicken broth when you’re ready to cook.
From turkey to pork tenderloin to salmon, our Pomegranate Blueberry Sauce makes one incredible accompaniment at the dinner table. This fruity sauce is very easy to prepare and is bursting with fresh blueberry flavors along with glittering pomegranate arils. To save on time, prepare the sauce a few days before your Thanksgiving feast and store it in the refrigerator until it’s ready for serving. This sauce can be served either chilled or at room temperature.
One of the best things about Thanksgiving dessert is how easily they can be made in advance. While we can all appreciate a good pumpkin pie, there are many other pumpkin-based desserts that are just as scrumptious. Take our Pumpkin Flan for example, which is made with a decadent gingersnap cookie crunch for an extra touch of holiday flavor. To get dessert out of the way, prepare this recipe up to two days in advance and cover with plastic wrap in the refrigerator until it’s ready to be sliced and served.

You didn’t think we’d have a Thanksgiving menu without pumpkin pie, did you? The quintessential Thanksgiving dessert, pumpkin pie embodies the warmth and comforting feeling we crave during the fall season and is the single most requested dessert during the holiday season. Save time on this recipe by making your pumpkin puree in advance. Once you have your puree ready, you can make this pie a day ahead of time and cool on a wire rack overnight. This pie is best served at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream.
Wine Recommendations
The 2011 Darioush Signature Shiraz boasts an exceptional depth of flavor with notes of juicy blackberries, cola, black tea and aromatic notes of dried orange peel and cinnamon–the perfect holiday blend. This wine is evocative, smokey and fragrant, making it wonderfully food-friendly for those who want to sip on a big, bold red wine during their meal. Drink this vintage with the savory, peppery dishes in your Thanksgiving spread.

Bring on the bubbly! Just because New Year’s Eve isn’t here yet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a refreshing sparkling wine during dinnertime. The bubbles pair beautifully with turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie and can act as a palette cleanser between side dishes. The 2011 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs is dry and crisp with fresh aromas of green apple, pear, grapefruit and lime zest. Its bright and citrusy flavors are riddled with grapefruit, lime and pineapple and is a light yet memorable choice for a Thanksgiving dinner.

What do you plan to serve for your Thanksgiving dinner? What are some of your tried-and-tested recipe favorites you like to have each year?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Pinterest Approved Thanksgiving Leftovers

It's never too late to start thinking about what you're going to do with all that leftover Thanksgiving food!  Here are 

25 Pinterest Approved Recipes for after Thanksgiving

If you're a bit bored with the traditional Thanksgiving leftover practices like reheating them or making a sandwich, this post is for you.  We've scoured the depths of Pinterest to find the most crave worth Thanksgiving Leftovers.  If you like this post, please click the image below to repin:

We are a HUGE proponent of re-purposing leftovers in creative ways. We all know, there are only so many times we can roll stuffing up in sliced turkey and call it lunch. We can be thankful for our ability to feast as well as our ability to be resourceful.

Let’s continue our Thanksgiving celebration by using our leftovers like champs! Here are 25 leftover Thanksgiving recipes for you to enjoy until all them leftovers have done been used up!





Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving Leftover recipe you want to share?  Tell us about it in the comments below!