Wednesday, July 23, 2014

10 Hatch Chile Recipes from Melissa's Kitchen

For the past two years, we have hosted a number of food bloggers at our Los Angeles test kitchen. We’ve gotten so much great feedback on our Hatch chile recipes that we wanted to give you a little taste from the test kitchen. 

All of these recipes are in our Hatch Chile cookbook, and if you’re up for it, you should give them a try. 

A quick tip before we show you the dishes, Hatch Chiles are the only chile that you can buy in Mild, Medium, and Hot. If these dishes like they might be too hot for your taste, the mild chiles still have that great Hatch Chile Flavor. We hope you enjoy! And, for a little history on the Hatch Chile, click HERE.

Without further ado, here are 8 of the recipes we featured at this years Hatch Chile Summit...

...and 2 that will have to wait until next year!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Aguas Frescas (PHOTOS)

8 Refreshing Aguas Frescas to Keep Cool this Summer

Agua fresca, Spanish for fresh water, is the best beverage choice for the hot Summer months. In Mexico and all over Latin America, agua frescas are sold by street vendors throughout the cities and towns during the spring and summer months, because of the availability of fresh fruits during these months.

Typically made with fruits, grains and seeds, agua frescas also include water, sugar and sometimes herbs or spices -- but that's pretty much it. They're simple to make at home and you can easily tweak a recipe to your liking by adding soda water or even alcohol, like rum or tequila.

Here are some of our Agua Frescas, now show us some of yours!  Post a link or photo in the comments below.

Orange + Cucumber + Mint Agua Fresca

Strawberry + Lime + Mint Agua Fresca

Mango Agua Fresca and Watermelon+Basail Agua Fresca

Orange + Blueberries Agua Fresca

Orange + Lime + Parsley Agua Fresca

Refreshing Orange + Mint Agua Fresca

Basil + Raspberry + Lemon Agua Fresca

Raspberry + Lemon Agua Fresca

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bhut Jolokia vs. Scorpion Peppers | Super Hot Pepper Review

The stage has been set for an epic battle between two of the hottest peppers in the world.  Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper) vs Scorpion Pepper

Contestant #1 - Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper, Naga Jolokia)
The Bhut Jolokia (Ghost pepper) was introduced to the western world in 2000. In that 
same year, a report was published stating it's level of heat almost doubled that of a Red 
Savina Habanero, which was believed to be the world's hottest pepper. In 2007 The Ghost 
Pepper was certified as the hottest pepper on the planet in The Guinness Book of 
World Records. Since then, the Infinity chili, Naga Viper pepper, Trinidad Scorpion Butch T 
pepper, and Trinidad Moruga Scorpion have surpassed the Bhut Jolokia's Scoville rating
Appearance: Shiny, red in color, with orange, yellow and chocolate (seen below) as rarer varieties.  About the size of an adult thumb.
Flavor: An intense sweet chili flavor, the heat does not kick in for 30 - 45 seconds
Heat: 575,000-1,000,000 SHU
Season: July-October
Uses: Toasted or soaked and blended into sauces, often combined with vegetables
Bhut Jolokia Salsa

Buy Bhut Jolokia Peppers (click here)

Contestant #2 - Scorpion Pepper
The Scorpion Pepper is believed to have originated in Trinidad where it has been studied since the mid 1990’s at the University of the West Indies. On February 13, 2012, New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute identified the Trinidad moruga scorpion as the hottest chili in the world, with a mean heat of more than 1.2 million Scoville heat units (SHUs) and individual plants with a heat of more than 2 million SHUs.  The chilies grow best in warm to hot climates and are at their highest heat when the plant is stressed. 
Appearance: Small and round, about 1 inch in length and width.  Comes in a variety of colors from red, green, yellow, and chocolate
Flavor: Has a tender fruit-like flavor, which makes it a sweet-hot combination
Heat: 1,400,000 - 2,000,000 SHU
Season: Year Round
Uses: Toasted or soaked and blended into sauces, often combined with vegetables
Asian Scorpion Pepper Jelly Wings

Buy Scorpion Peppers (click here)

And the winner is....

Well, if you really want to burn your tongue off, both of these peppers will do the trick.  The Scorpion Peppers have been know to have more flavor than the Ghost Pepper, but make sure to use sparingly.  Have you ever had a Scorpion or Ghost pepper?  Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Baby Bok Choy

Whether this is your first encounter with Baby Bok Choy, or you are an expert in Asian Veg, we hope this is a handy reference piece that you could use to educate others on the wonders of Baby Bok Choy and it's versatility.

How to Eat Baby Bok Choy:
You can Grill, Sear, Sautee, Fry, Steam, and Stir Fry Baby Bok Choy

Get more great ideas on Pinterest:

Other essential Asian items:

Why to Eat baby Bok Choy:
This bright green member of the cabbage family brings flavor, vitamins, and a delightful crunch to recipes -- including our Sesame Asian Bok Choy Salad. states, “Bok choy is a low-calorie, zero-fat food that also has lots of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. In fact, one cup of shredded raw bok choy contains about half of your daily requirement for each of these nutrients. Plus, you'll get healthy levels of folate and vitamin B6, as well. All these benefits come in a light tasting leafy vegetable that can be easily prepared as part of a quick saute of Asian-style vegetables.”

Keep it Fresh:
For the best freshness, don’t wash Baby Bok Choy until you’re ready to use it. Unused parts can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to six days.

When it is In-Season:
Baby Bok Choy is harvested Year-Round
Baby Bok Choy - Melissa's Produce

Who is the Grower:
Tom Lamb Farms in Central California
As a boy in Hong Kong, Tom Lam dreamed of a better life. He came to America with only a few dollars and lots of determination. As he says, "I landed [in Los Angeles] at midnight and by 6:00 AM the same morning I was picking cucumbers" at a local ranch. Tom's wit and hard work helped him rise through the ranks at produce companies, and by 1986 he was able to purchase a plot of his own. Since then, Tom has been responsible for many innovations in the produce industry, including creating the ever-popular broccoli crown. In his own words, "Quality is the most important thing."

Heinen’s produce team in the field with Tom Lamb

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Ultimate Guacamole Cheat Sheet

Click on the graphic to tweet:

The success of your Guacamole dish, like many dishes, depends on the ingredients you choose in the store.  You want to make sure you choose fresh ingredients and use them when they are perfectly ripe.  Click HERE for a reference for choosing the perfect Avocado.

If this is your first time, your Guacamole would probably look something like this; mash ripe avocados with chopped white onions, a minced garlic clove, a squeeze of lime juice, then salt to taste... as seen in our "Base."

For those of you are more experienced in your Guacamole endeavors, here are a few suggestions that will take your Guac from a 5 to a 10 and a few extra tidbits from Cooking 101:
Temperature: Use room-temperature avocados. Don't try to make guacamole with cold avocados. Also, serve guacamole at room temperature, not chilled.

Stretching: Avocados can be pricey, so a lot of restaurants will "stretch" or bulk out their guacamole with things like chopped tomatoes. I'm not a fan of this. The tomato addition in particular.

Beyond this - trust your taste buds to balance things out.

Try this:
Make it Exotic by adding Pomegranate and Red walnuts or Yuzu and Shishito Peppers

Make it Fruity by adding Pineapple and Finger Limes or fresh Mango and Veggie Sweet Peppers

Make it Veg-y by adding corn, beans, and tomato or cucumber and Jicama.

Guacamole is so versatile and tasty, you almost can't go wrong.  Trust your instincts and make sure you are preparing the freshest ingredients.  We hope this Guacamole cheat sheet and don't forget, an easy way to start your Guacamole is with our ready to make Guacamole Kit.

P.S. For more ways to inject flavor into your life, check out 
the ultimate guide to choosing and cooking with peppers

Friday, May 2, 2014

Health Benefits: Organic Pepitas (No Shell Pumpkin Seeds)

17 Super Stats about Pumpkin Seeds

WOW!  Did you know that Organic Pumpkin seeds are the only seed that is alkaline-forming?  

With the highly acidic diets sweeping across the US, alkaline diets are becoming all the rage.  Not to get too deep into the alkeline diet, but most fruits and vegetables, soybeans and tofu, and some nuts, seeds, and legumes are alkaline-promoting foods, so they're fair game.  On the other hand, dairy, eggs, meat, most grains, and processed foods, like canned and packaged snacks and convenience foods, fall on the acid side and are not allowed. (via WebMD)

Now, on to the stats:
1. Pumpkin seeds were discovered by archaeologists in caves in Mexico that date back to 7,000 B.C.
2. Pumpkin seeds are called pepitas in Mexico and they are a trademark of Mexican cuisine.
3. Pumpkin seeds were very popular in ancient Greece.
4. The nutrition in pumpkin seeds improves with age; they are among the few foods that increase in nutritive value as they decompose. According to tests made at the Massachusetts Experimental Station, squash and pumpkin seeds stored for more than five months show a marked increase in protein content.
5. Pumpkin seeds are high in calories, about 559 calories per 100 g.
6. Are filled with lots of minerals including phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron and copper.
7. Are a good source of vitamin K.
8. Contain phytosterols, compounds that that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.
9. Contain L-tryptophan, which helps with good sleep and lowering depression. Tryptophan is converted into serotonin and niacin. Serotonin is also very helpful in helping us to have a good night’s sleep.
10. Are a good source vitamin E; they contain about 35.10 mg of tocopherol per 100 g.
11. Are the most alkaline-forming seed.
12. Are an excellent source of vitamin B group (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and folates).
13. Contain good quality protein. 100 g seeds provide 30 g.
14. According to studies, pumpkin seeds prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation.
15. Reduce inflammation for arthritis without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.
16. Are used in many cultures as a natural treatment for tapeworms and other parasites.
17. Are good for prostate health! The oil in pumpkin seeds alleviates difficult urination that happens with an enlarged prostate.

Also, Melissa’s organic line of products are grown with no chemical pesticides or fungicides and third party certified as being Organically Grown in accordance with the guidelines mandated by the USDA's Organic Foods Production Act of 2002.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A New Season Brings New Menu Items at Dodger Stadium

Eating Well at Dodger Stadium with #HealthyOptions

The new season brings new food options for Dodgers fans who have several choices beyond the traditional ballpark Dodger Dog, including the Italian-inspired fare at Tommy Lasorda's Trattoria, Healthy Options at the Clubhouse Marketplace, and 5 star dining in the Dugout Club.

Yes, It’s true the more you pay, the better your options. As seen here in the Dodgers Dugout Club, where you can just have a hunk of meat hacked off and served up to you on a plate, fresh fruits and vegetables grilled to perfection (right in front of your face), and an array of salad and drink options.  WOW! 

Even if you find yourself in the cheap seats, you can head to the Club level where the Marketplace offers gluten-free snacks as well.  The Clubhouse Marketplace is located on the Club Level at the top of the escalators.  Here you will find fresh cut fruit, coconut water, whole fruit/packs of grapes and other healthy options.

While this isn't a totally gluten free menu, you can get a Dodger Dog without the bun if you’re really hankering for the experience, and possibly even a Frito Pie Dog without the bun, although I’m not sure about the chili situation. I thought there were also gluten-free buns available at Dodger Stadium, but the lady running the food show said they just brought those in for special events. ! But still, there is that lovely gluten-free beer.

Have you eaten well, and gluten-free, at Dodgers Stadium?