Baking for Brunches and Celebratory Breakfasts
There is nothing like freshly-baked goodies at the brunch table—they show you have done that extra bit to create a special occasion. Home baked goods fill up the house with amazing and inviting scents that greet your family and guests.
We have put together a list of some of our staff's best picks for making your baking come out right.
Let's begin with the basics.
We cannot overemphasize how wonderful
King Arthur All-Purpose Flour
is for baking. It is consistent and dependable. And, for our gluten-free friends (and guests) you can't go wrong with
Cup 4 Cup Multipurpose Flour
. All you need to do is substitute it directly in a recipe, and it really works!
Dufour Classic Puff Pastry
because of its pronounced buttery flavor with a flaky texture and easy-to-shatter crust. It is the best quality pastry we can find, because it is made using only butter. It is crisp, flaky, and especially light.
And, our favorite for baked goods is
Clover Sonoma Butter
. They have been doing it right for generations and we can trust their products are consistently delicious.
The spices you choose make a difference, that is why we recommend
Morton & Bassett
for more dimensional flavor. They provide the best quality, most flavorful spices in the world.
And we always use
Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla in our baking. But, did you know about their other flavorings? For that taste of springtime, we love adding their Rose Water or Orange Blossom water for floral notes. They also make stellar Lemon and Orange Extracts.
is a local craft chocolatier obsessed with creating amazing chocolate. TCHO Baking Discs are made from this award-winning chocolate. They will elevate your recipes. In milk chocolate, bittersweet baking chocolate, and unsweetened baking chocolate.
If the need for expediency trumps doing it from scratch, have you tried
Miss Jones Organic Baking Mixes
? They will fool people into thinking you've been up half the night baking. We have their Chocolate Cake Baking Mix, Fudge Brownie Baking Mix. And their Vanilla and Chocolate ready-made frostings are made with coconut oil and no trans fats.
’ fresh and wholesome products because they taste like nothing else. The Traditional Scone Mix, Traditional Popover Mix, and Cornbread Mix are great additions to any brunch menu.
A Staff Favorite
One a penny, two a penny…
These yeasty, spiced, English sweet buns associated with Good Friday were originally made in honor of the Anglo Saxon goddess of Spring. They are loaded with traditional goodness including milk, butter, eggs, flour, sugar and currants, and candied fruit.
Taste of Denmark, a favorite Oakland bakery, offers Hot Cross Buns seasonally. And when they arrive at our store, they fly off the shelves. Include them as part of your traditions—for breakfast Easter Morning, or to celebrate the arrival of Spring.
A Cookbook Recommendation
Legendary New York City baker and restaurateur Sarabeth Levine shares her most beloved breakfast and brunch recipes. The only thing better than brunch at one of Sarabeth’s restaurants is brunch in her home. In this must-have collection of more than 130 classic morning recipes, Sarabeth delivers the comforting dishes she makes for family and friends, from fluffy scrambled eggs to warm sticky buns. Over thirty-five years ago, she launched her first restaurant’s wildly popular weekend brunch. Today, morning lines still snake around the block at her New York City locations, as well as at her Florida and Japan outposts. Her fans will be thrilled to re-create the warmth and joy of brunch at Sarabeth’s with recipes designed for home cooks.
A comprehensive guide to morning meals, this beautifully photographed book covers the dishes everyone desires. Sarabeth’s signature pancakes and muffins are quick enough for weekdays, while her quiches and coffee cakes are guaranteed to impress weekend guests. In addition to her sophisticated twists on the standards, Sarabeth surprises with such innovative breakfast treats as morning cookies. The foolproof recipes come with technique tips and make-ahead instructions to make entertaining effortless.
From our blog, The Kitchen Table
Chicken and a Biscuit
Next week is Spring Break. And, while we don’t have an elaborate vacation scheduled, we are planning on a few small trips here and there to get us away from the daily grind. There are a few open days with nothing planned except to sit around and drool. I am hoping there will be at least one rain-free day to allow for a little laying in the hammock laziness. (Of course, I am writing this as it is absolutely pouring outside. I mean seriously, will it never end?)
Hammock laziness is fantastic. But, it can lead you to daydreaming, which in turn can lead you on some pretty random mind journeys. Case in point, as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed the other night in search of a few minutes of mind-numbing escape, I saw a video that a friend of mine shared showing a chicken running in her pasture while wearing a pair of blue pants. I almost wet myself. I have been laughing bout it for days. It’s cracking me up as I write this now. I don’t know why I find the video so funny. But, it gets me every time. My kids think I am certifiable. They’re probably right!
And now for the random mental journey…
While watching the video, I was reminded of when we first moved into our house. There was a lot of work we had to do including building a fence around the property plus a long list of repairs that needed completion before we could even move in. Strangely, we decided to build the chicken coop first—probably because we were so excited to have the room to have chickens.
That memory lead to another of my husband and a friend building the fence around our property. I can’t even tell you how many feet of fence they built in that single weekend. Our house sits on a little shy of an acre-and-a-quarter and the fence goes around three sides of it. So, feel free to do the math. It’s a lot of fence. And, I have never seen two men eat as much as they ate that weekend (and these are dudes that can put it away on a regular basis). I now have a healthy understanding of what it is like to feed people on a farm or working cattle ranch. Which reminded me of the biscuits and gravy I made for them on the second morning to make sure they had the energy needed to keep building.
See? All of this from a chicken wearing pants…
That’s how I found myself thinking about biscuits and gravy. Since we’re on break next week, I will actually be able to cook something time-consuming for breakfast instead of the rushed bowl of cereal or piece of toast. There will be no calorie-burning fence building. So, I had to find something gravy-less at the very least.
I was happy to come across this recipe for Sausage and Sage Biscuits. I may be delusional, but it seems a tad better for you than traditional biscuits and gravy. And, if not? It’s vacation. Calories shouldn't count on vacation. So, I am going to eat my biscuits in my hammock while pondering the benefits of pants on chickens…
Campari bitters and rich Jamaican rum mix with the fruity deliciousness of pineapple and strawberry in this recipe for a perfect brunch cocktail.
You need to start the fresh strawberry syrup a day in advance, but it is well worth the effort. You will be happy to have extra around to mix into other cocktails, mocktails, and soda water.
A Staff Favorite
TCHO, a local Berkeley company, makes some of the best chocolate we've tasted. And now three of our favorite flavors come in bite-sized pieces! They'd make a great addition to an Easter basket, too. Here's what we've got in the store: Almond + Sea Salt Dark Chocolate, Mokaccino Milk Chocolate, and Toffee + Sea Salt Milk Chocolate
TCHO, based in West Berkeley, works with cacao bean farmers and cooperatives to improve growing, fermentation and drying methods. To tour the factory,
visit the TCHO website
We’ve often said that we are more than just a neighborhood grocery store. Piedmont Grocery is very much like a family. And, if you have been in the store in the last week you may have noticed that our family is reeling from the sudden loss of one of our own—way too soon.
Allen Garfinkle was only 50 years old when he passed away on Friday, March 29. Allen, like so many of our employees, was part of a group who has been with us for decades and had worked hard for Piedmont Grocery for 33 years. During that time he found himself in multiple positions around the store with varying tasks (though few would dispute his unofficial title as The King of Oakland).
Allen, or Dr. G, loved his Warriors, his cars, and his Raiders. And, was always quick with an opinion about last night’s game. His interaction with co-workers and customers alike endeared him to the community on Piedmont Avenue and beyond.
It is a sad fact of life that people don’t truly know how many lives they touch and the impact they have while they are on this earth. But, if the spontaneous memorial in our parking lot and the reaction of many of our customers upon hearing the news is any indication, Allen brought a lot of light to a countless number of people’s days.
For those of us at the store, it will be hard to be here without him. We know that it will eventually get a little easier but in the meantime, it just feels like there is something missing.
Those of you who would like to pay your respects, here is the information about his memorial service.
Memorial for Allen Garfinkle
Sunday, May 5th at 10 AM
Chapel of the Chimes
4499 Piedmont Ave.
Oakland, CA 94611
News & Events
Please note that we will be closed on April, 21st, Easter Sunday so that our staff can celebrate the holiday with friends and family. So, get your shopping done before 8 PM on Saturday so you can take Sunday off.
Three Upcoming Events This Weekend
News & Events
Oakland Earth Day
Oakland Earth Day is the city’s largest community volunteer event. Volunteers may choose from a variety of activities and sites, including litter pickup, graffiti removal, weeding, planting, and habitat restoration in parks, creeks, and streets throughout Oakland.
There are lots of ways to celebrate Easter this weekend with the little ones. Here are some of our top picks for the East Bay.
SF Cherry Blossom Festival
The festival will be held within the borders of Laguna and Fillmore Streets between Geary Boulevard and Bush Street. There will be food booths, cultural performances, martial arts, live bands, the annual Queen Program, and more.
The Butcher's Block
Because there are literally thousands of varieties of shrimp in the waters of our world, seeing shrimp on an ingredient list in a recipe is not as straightforward as you may think. A cook in Vietnam will use a shrimp in their recipe that may look similar to the shrimp used by a cook in Louisiana but the flavor and texture will be different. Not better per se, but different.
When looking at a recipe that has shrimp as an ingredient, most people think of the medium-sized shrimp that can be found in your local meat case in varying forms: wild, farmed, frozen, and peeled & deveined. Most of the thousands of varieties of the world’s shrimp don’t ever make it to market. They are eaten by the larger occupants of the earth’s oceans. Of the hundreds of varieties that are eaten by people, only a few dozen are readily available for consumption in the United States.
To help you navigate these confusing waters, we’ve put together some brief information about the shrimp you are most likely to find in stores to help keep you informed.
First things first, unless you live in the Gulf Coast or in areas where there are local shrimp, finding fresh shrimp will be fairly difficult. The good news is that, unlike other seafood, shrimp freezes really well without losing its flavor or texture. Buying frozen shrimp and keeping it in your freezer to use as needed, can be a convenient way to always have some on hand. Fair warning—shrimp will start to deteriorate even in the freezer so it is recommended that you store them for no longer than a couple of months.
Most of the shrimp sold and consumed in the US is part of a group considered to be Tropical Shrimp. They are found in the waters off the coast of the Carolinas and Florida as well as the Gulf of Mexico, Ecuador and Mexico’s West Coast.
Probably the most visually recognizable variety of Tropical Shrimp is the Gulf of Mexico Pinks. When raw they are a pinkish, pale orange-ish color and are usually labeled as Gulf Shrimp or Gulf Prawns. They are considered to be the premium domestic shrimp and their sweet flavor is the main reason.
Gulf of Mexico White Shrimp
The next best variety, and most popular, would be the Gulf of Mexico White Shrimp which is harvested in the same Carolina, Florida Gulf of Mexico area as the pinks but are also available as farmed shrimp. They are known for their full, nutty flavor and firm texture. These are the shrimp most likely to be found in your seafood case.
Black Tiger Shrimp
Giving the White shrimp a run for their money would be the Black Tiger Shrimp from the waters of Thailand, Indonesia, and Taiwan. These shrimp are more likely to be farmed, although wild black tiger prawns can be found in the waters from Japan to East Africa. These shrimp can grow to be up to 13 inches long but most of the tiger prawns found in the US markets are smaller than the Gulf shrimp. And, though they have excellent flavor, they can be a bit inconsistent.
This is just a drop in the bucket of all the information available should you want to do further research. (The classifications alone will have your head spinning!) Who knew that shrimp was this complicated?
From our recipe blog, The Kitchen Table
Easter is sort of a mixed-up holiday. First of all, not everyone celebrates it. For those who do observe Easter, not everyone does it on the same day. (Orthodox Easter is a week later this year). And then there is the Easter feast—some people do breakfast, some do brunch and some do dinner. And then some people just do chocolate…
We don’t really have a set celebration for Easter. We have done dinner and breakfast. But, for the most part, we default to brunch. Now that the kids are older and it’s harder to get them out of bed, there are no egg hunts to be concerned about. (The baskets still happen though. Lord help us if there are no baskets!However, now they are less about the chocolate bunny and more about things like movie tickets and clothes without stains…I still sneak a little chocolate in though.) No egg hunts mean we can sleep in and start the party a little later which is great on a Sunday. Nothing like enjoying a beautiful late morning and a lovely Bloody Mary while dining al fresco…
As for the food, we always have a ham which we like to serve with some sort of biscuit to make little ham sandwiches. We like a really good cheddar biscuit or one of our favorites like these
Sausage and Sage Biscuits
Easy Self-Rising Biscuits
And, of course, Easter baking wouldn’t be complete without the sweet stuff.
Hot Cross Buns
are a must. And, traditionally we have carrot cake or this
Carrot Cake Cheesecake
for dessert. But, I took a poll this year and the results tell me I should go in a different direction. This year is less about the carrot and more about the lemon.
I’ve been sort of on the bundt cake bandwagon lately. (They’re just so easy to do and there a so many fun pans!) So I think I am going to use a new tiered bundt cake pan set that I just got and make a show stopper of a lemon cake cause cake is good no matter the time of day.
Vendor of the Month
St. George Spirits is a beloved, local producer of some of the most delicious spirits we have tasted. And, we hope you get a chance to explore their exciting range of products. A craft distillery located in Alameda, California, they were started in 1982 by Jörg Rupf as an eau-de-vie distillery. Much has happened since those days, and they have grown into a large operation with a world-class distilling team in a massive, former Naval hangar.
St. George Spirits is passionate about what they produce—and everything they release is sublime. We cannot recommend their products more strongly.
Here is what we have in the store:
To make these three vodkas, St. George Spirits distills fresh produce and fruit on copper stills using the same artisanal methods relied on to make their flagship brandies and fruit liqueurs. We carry both individual 750-ML bottles and a set of three, 110-ML bottles.
All-Purpose Vodka, California Citrus Vodka, and Green Chile Vodka
For distillers with imagination and a creative bent, gin is a playground that begs for experimentation in both ingredients and technique. As St. George Spirits explored the edges of this delightful category, they realized they needed to make at least three gins to fully express their love for this spirit! We carry both individual 750-ML bottles and a set of three, 110-ML bottles.
Terroir Gin, Botanivore Gin, and Dry Rye Gin
St. George Spirits Fruit Liqueurs are naturally sweet and velvety on the palate. In cocktails, both liqueurs are fruit-forward without being cloying. They are incredibly well-reviewed in the foodie community.
St. George Raspberry Liqueur and St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur
Seven Days a Week
9 AM to 8 PM
9 AM to 7 PM
4038 Piedmont Ave.
Oakland, CA 94611
Visit our recipe blog to learn what Amy, our VP and resident foodie, is cooking up in her home kitchen.