Tuesday, March 18, 2014

An Amazing Breakfast Hash, A Delicious Potato Gratin and A Cocktail (A San Diego Food Blogger's Cooking Challenge)....courtesy of Melissa's Produce

Yvonne and I were excited to participate in the San Diego Food Bloggers Cooking Challenge featuring products from Melissa's Produce.

If you're not familiar with Melissa's Produce already, they are the largest distributor of specialty produce in the US. Not only do they provide a wide variety of produce, but they offer several great convenience produce items as well. Leeks already sliced and cleaned? Yes, they have them! Fava Beans already cleaned and steamed? Yep! Imagine the time you can save using these conveniently prepared products.

When we received our ingredients from Melissa's Produce, Yvonne and I actually felt like we were on an episode of Chopped, only we were lucky to have some really great ingredients to work with! 

And by great I mean high-quality, convenient to use and delicious! You should have seen the look on our faces when we bit into one of the Ojai Pixies. We were not anticipating how sweet it was. I have to say, it was the most amazing tangerine I have ever tasted in my life, and that's no exaggeration. I had to rush right out the next day and get more! Trust me, you NEED to try the Ojai Pixies!!
So what do you make with so many great ingredients? Well, 3 amazing dishes of course (ok technically one is a drink, but isn't every great meal finished off with a cocktail?).
We're really pleased with the recipes that we came up with. Using Melissa's Produce high quality products definitely made a difference. We hope you give them a try!!

Thank you Melissa's Produce, Nancy Eisman and barbaracooks for organizing this great challenge.


 Chanterelle Mushroom, Quinoa and Baby Dutch Potato Gratin
Serves 4

2 Spicy Chicken Sausage links (purchased from your grocery store meat counter), casing removed
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup cooked Melissa's Red Quinoa
1 cup Melissa's Sliced, Cleaned Leeks + 2 Tablespoons to sprinkle on top
3 cups thinly sliced Melissa's Baby Dutch Potatoes

Sauce Ingredients:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups half & half, room temp
1 small package of Melissa's Dried Chanterelle Mushrooms, reconstituted and chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded Sharp White Cheddar Cheese


To reconstitute the dried mushrooms - place the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain the water (save for another use). Remove the tough, woody stems. Chop the remaining part of the mushrooms.

Butter four ramekins and place on baking sheet. Preheat oven to 375f

In a small saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Brown the chicken sausage  over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup cooked quinoa and continue to cook until sausage is cooked through. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

While the sausage mixture is cooling, make the sauce

In a small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over med-low heat. Add the 2 tablespoons of flour and stir/whisk until light brown. Slowly whisk in half and half. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped Chanterelle Mushrooms. Bring to a boil over low heat to thicken, then remove from heat.

Layer the Gratin

1. Place a thin later of potatoes in the bottom of each ramekin
2. Spoon an even layer of the sausage/quinoa mixture over the potatoes (make sure the potatoes are covered)
3. Top with 2 tablespoon of shredded cheese
4. Top with 4 tablespoons of sauce
5. Repeat the layering process one more time
6. Sprinkle with sliced leeks

Bake uncovered at 375f  for approx. 35 minutes or until golden and bubbly and the potatoes are cooked through.

Allow to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm garnished with some chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Brussel Sprout, Baby Dutch Potato, Fava Bean and Pancetta Breakfast Hash
Serves 2-4

3 cups cleaned and halved Melissa's Baby Dutch Potatoes
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
4 ounces diced Pancetta
2 shallots, large dice
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups Melissa's Steamed Fava Beans
3 cups Melissa's Baby Brussel Sprouts, halved (blemished outer leaves removed)
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Chopped fresh Italian Parsley for garnish


Par-boil the halved Baby Dutch Potatoes in salted water over low heat for approx. 8 minutes or until just starting to turn tender. Drain and set aside.

In a cast iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the diced pancetta and cook until fat is rendered and pancetta is crispy. Remove the pancetta, reserving the fat in the pan.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the diced shallots to the pancetta fat in the pan and sauté just until tender. Reduce heat to low and add the garlic. Saute for about 30 seconds or just until fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the drained Fava Beans and carefully toss to coat and warm through. Remove to the bowl with the pancetta.

Add 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil to the skillet and increase heat to medium. Add the halved Baby Brussel Sprouts, season with salt & pepper and cook stirring often for approximately 1-2 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water and allow to cook off (this helps to ensure the Brussel Sprouts get cooked through). Add a tablespoon of butter and stir to combine.

Add the potatoes, seasoning again with salt & pepper if needed, and continue to cook for approximately 1 minute until potatoes are cooked through and Brussel Sprouts are nice and caramelized.

Add the fava bean-pancetta mixture and toss gently to combine the ingredients.

Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

To serve, cook a few sunny side eggs and serve the hash family style topped with the eggs or plate individually. The yolk from the egg creates a sauce for the potatoes. Or add a sauce (or salsa) of your own! There's a wide variety of great sauce and salsa recipes on Melissa's Website. Just click here for the Recipe Index.

Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and fresh cracked black pepper.

Beet and Tangerine Bloody Mary
Serves 2
* You'll need a juicer for this recipe

1 1/2 fresh tomatoes, juiced
2 Melissa's Ojai Pixies, juiced
2 ounces of Beet Juice (from 2 Melissa's Peeled and Steamed Baby Beets)
2 ounces Vodka
Juice from 1/2 Lime
1/4 tsp grated fresh Horseradish
Dash of Salt & Pepper


Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously to combine and chill. Pour into a glass and garnish with a few Ojai Pixie slices.


  1. You guys killed it! Three recipes :) Fun doing the challenge with you and huge thank you to Melissa's.

    1. Thanks Liz! We do tend to rise to a challenge haha

  2. Wow! Those gratins look amazing. I want one now. And that cocktail is so inventive. It sounds absolutely delicious! Great job on this challenge - you'd win Chopped for sure.

    1. Thanks for the compliments, Barbara! Those ingredients on Chopped can be pretty challenging, luckily Melissa's Produce hooked us up with some good stuff!! Thanks again.

  3. Great ways to use all of that great product!! And I really can't wait to recreate that drink!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks! We had a lot of fun making everything! The drink really is unique and those Ojai Pixies are the secret. So sweet!!

  4. I attempted brussels and potatoes but it didn't quite work for me the way I did it. I'll have to try your way instead next time! You girls are so creative and these all look sooooo good!

    1. Thanks Lynn! It's a great combination. Hope you give it a try!

  5. Great job completing 3 recipes! The gratin is my favorite :)

  6. Faye and Yvonne, omg and wow. Not 1, not 2, but 3 creative recipes! Thanks so much for participating in our 1st Melissa's/San Diego Food Bloggers Surprise Box Challenge - can't wait to see what you come up with next time!

    1. Thanks Nancy for the nice compliments! I think we may have gone a little overboard but we LOVED it. There was no way we couldn't use every single one of those wonderful ingredients. Thanks again for hosting! Can't wait for the next one!!