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June, 2009

Top It Off With Produce

By Mark Mulcahy

Doesn’t it seem like you want to buy more Melissa’s organic fruits and veggies when you stroll through your local produce departments this time of year?

Red Bell Pepper
SIt’s not surprising when you think about it, because produce makes every summer meal a little bit better. It’s true. For example, if you have a hankering to make Dad a grilled, grass-fed burger or veggie burger for Father’s Day, wouldn’t that burger be better with Melissa’s organic red and gold peppers grilled or roasted? Or topped with a fat slice of heirloom tomato and/or Melissa’s organic red onion? And let’s not forget the lettuce that can be shredded or placed on top like a crown. Or some sliced Hass avocado or guacamole for some healthy fat instead of cheese. Avocados contain Monounsaturated fats - heart-healthy fats proven to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and boost HDL (good) cholesterol. Perhaps some thinly sliced jalapeños to add a little spice. Now that’s a BURGER that could become a Father’s Day tradition. If you decide that burgers aren’t your fare, you could try some grilled lamb with organic spring mix for a savory salad. Sound good? Don’t stop there; why not top it off with some grilled eggplant or fennel? Or if you are looking for a new idea to get folks excited at your next gathering, take a gamble with this Eggplant, Yellow Squash and Tomato Casino from http://www.foodnetwork.com. It’s easy to prepare, fast to cook and yummy to eat.

Ingredients
2 small eggplant
2 pieces yellow squash, small to medium size
4 Roma tomatoes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Garlic powder
2 tablespoons real bacon bits
1 tablespoon red bell pepper, small diced
1 tablespoon green bell peppers, small diced
1 tablespoon red onion, small diced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the ends off of both the eggplants and yellow squash and slice in half lengthwise. Lay cut side up and close together on a small greased sheet pan. Then cut the tops and a very small piece of the bottom off the Roma tomatoes and stand them up next to the squash.

Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, bacon bits, peppers, and onions. Next, carefully sprinkle and pile high the Parmesan over every piece, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for about 12 minutes, or until they start to turn golden brown. Serve immediately.

Now, if your dads or grads aren’t big dinner eaters how about a nice breakfast to start their day? Wouldn’t those pancakes be just a little tastier with fresh blueberries in the batter? Or the egg scramble would be awfully bland if it didn’t have chopped green onions, garlic, Anaheim peppers, and cherry tomatoes added to it, right? Even cereal is better with fresh peach or nectarine slices swimming with your flakes in a pool of cool milk. And of course fresh squeezed orange juice makes any breakfast better! For those who like a refreshing afternoon drink, there would be no smooth in smoothie without the banana. Or spearmint leaves make any glass of lemonade seem a little fresher or, let’s face it, make a mojito.

That grilled chicken or tofu looks pretty lonely on the plate without corn on the cob and potato salad. Grilled fish is begging for some lightly steamed green beans and a tomato/cucumber salad. Switching out your kabob skewer with a rosemary sprig brings out the flavor of whatever you have on it. And without potatoes, peppers, corn, onions or tomatoes, let’s face it, it’s just meat. Even dessert gets into the act. After all, isn’t a dish of ice cream better with organic raspberries or blackberries on it? Of course it is! I think you get the idea… And I bet you have plenty of ideas yourself. So for the perfect summer breakfast, lunch or dinner, come take a gander at the wide array of fresh Melissa’s products available in your organic produce department this month. You will surely walk out inspired to make your next meal even better. I know I will.