Cooking Fresh and Light for Springtime
The weather is changing—the sun is finally making an appearance—and we are thinking about lightening up over here at Piedmont Grocery. Time to toss off our raincoats and think about all the amazing produce that is straight to make its way to the store.
In this issue you will find lots of spring recipes and some ideas for products that support this warm weather trend.
LaCroix Water helps you to step away from sweet soft drinks and hydrate with some sparkly, fruit-flavored goodness. LaCroix is fresh-tasting and there’s nothing artificial about it.
Grab n Go Salads, fresh from our deli, come in a delicious range of flavors and can serve up a light meal with zero preparation. Stop by and see what we have today.
Drew's Organic Salad Dressings are inspired by flavors from around the globe. Their dressings make your daily veggies interesting. Drizzle them on steamed vegetables or try them as a marinade for grilling. We love that they are fresh-tasting, made with canola oil, and organic. There are also gluten-free and vegan options.
JayOne Crunchy Rice Rolls make a satisfying snack when you're reaching for some carbs. They are baked (not fried), lighter than bread, and guilt-free. This tasty treat comes in a variety of flavors.
Taste of Denmark Angle Food Cake with a touch of whipped cream and some fresh berries is an almost instant and elegant treat. Taste of Denmark delivers fresh from their bakery nearby in Oakland.
Talenti Sorbetto is a dairy-free treat that is much lighter than ice cream. It is also the perfect compliment to the tastiest fresh fruits and berries.
From our blog, The Cocktail Post
This refreshing, springtime cocktail is perfect sipped at a brunch or outdoors on the deck. It is bubbly and refreshing with a splash of citrus. Consider buying mom a bottle of St. Germain Elderflower Liquor for Mother’s Day and giving her this recipe handwritten in a card.
Saint Germain is a delicate, balanced liqueur made from elderflowers. It delivers hints of pear, apricot, lychee and grapefruit zest—plus a bit of tartness to balance it out. Elderflowers have a unique, sweet fragrance reminiscent of honey spiced with a little clove and ginger. It’s no wonder that bees (and humans) find them irresistible.
Elderflowers grow abundantly in California, and you can pick their blossoms and berries in gardens and in the wild throughout the summer. Be careful to separate them from the stems, as other parts of the plant are toxic.
A Cookbook Recommendation
By Eva Kosmas Flores
Eva Kosmas Flores finds inspiration in her Greek heritage and the bountiful produce of her garden in Oregon. She uses both to craft her seasonal and approachable recipes, each paired with a mouthwatering image.
The bounty of fresh, vibrant produce overflowing from her garden comes through on every page, and Flores undertakes rigorous recipe testing to share her most creative, delicious ways to make use of these foods.
Showcasing her unforgettable, atmospheric photography style, First We Eat is a gorgeous reference on seasonal cooking that celebrates the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, Mediterranean influences, effortless and stylish presentations, and simple preparations, all designed to share with friends and family.
With a bumper crop of long weekends just around the corner, now's the time to gather your nearest and dearest for serious feasting. Serve up dishes worthy of celebration with this fresh collection.
—Food and Travel
Come see Downtown Berkeley transformed into a literary utopia where readers of all ages and interests can find kindred spirits.
Tens of thousands of book lovers meet hundreds of acclaimed authors over an exciting weekend filling downtown Berkeley. One of the premier literary events in the nation! If you love books, this is the place to be this weekend.
Whether you’re a fan of science fiction or history, of fiction or memoir, of poetry or food writing, of children’s literature or science, come experience our favorite book festival!
This two-day event is complete with literary sessions presenting top authors from this region, the nation, and the world. There is also an outdoor fair with hundreds of literary exhibitors. They will have events for kids and writing contests, and even a mini film festival (a series of ten films on literature) with Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.
We all know there are health benefits to drinking green tea. But, that is not why we keep reaching again and again for Teas’ Tea. We do so because it’s as delicious as it is convenient. And with the weather getting warmer, who can deny themselves a refreshing tea?
Yes, Ito En is a great company who has worked tirelessly to reduce their environmental impact and uses organic ingredients, filtered water, and no additives. They are a true leader in the market.
It just goes to prove that simplicity is enlightening.
News & Events
Discover the under-recognized story of how Hip-Hop changed the world at the Oakland Museum.
Hip-Hop is one of the widest reaching cultural and social movements of the last 50 years. Starting from its roots on the streets before rap, DJing, graffiti, breakin’ (breakdancing), and street fashion launched into mainstream popular culture.
Through photography, video, art, music, dance, fashion, and interactive gallery features, explore how Hip-Hop provides a platform for creative self-expression, activism, positive social change, youth development, entrepreneurialism, and education. Created in collaboration with and participation from numerous members of the Hip-Hop community, RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom tells a fresh story of the evolution of this global phenomenon and includes a spotlight on Oakland and the San Francisco Bay Area’s influence on Hip-Hop culture.
RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style and Wisdom is on view at the Oakland Museum through August 12th.
From our recipe blog,
The Kitchen Table
I planted my summer garden the weekend we got back from our Spring Break trip and already the plants are getting big.
I chose to move my garden closer to the house this year for a few reasons. The first is that with our busy schedule it is easier to remember to water the plants if the droopy garden is staring you in the face.
The second reason is chickens. My chickens will eat my entire garden if I let them—not just the bugs.Tomatoes are their favorite with peppers a close second.
The last and probably the most important reason is that having my veggies in a planter box by the side of my patio forces me to only grow the stuff that we will actually eat. I have a tendency to over-plant because I find it fun to share the wealth with others who love home grown veggies but don’t like to garden (or can’t because of space). My husband doesn’t see it the way I do. He just sees waste—and he may have a
very tiny point. So I limited myself to four tomatoes, a bell pepper, green beans, cucumbers, and snap peas.
However, our plans went sideways because I took my daughter with me on the trip to the nursery. She is my gardening partner-in-crime and a bit of a bad influence. When she gets excited about growing something, I have a hard time saying no. This is how I ended up with two square planters full of strawberries…
Assuming I can keep the kids from devouring them off the vine, the potential for a lot of strawberries means that I have been looking for something other than shortcakes, jams, or pies as a way to use them.
This recipe came up in two different searches on two different websites. I couldn’t escape it. So I had to try it—if only because I was intrigued by the rye flour. The original recipe called for vanilla sugar in the mascarpone. I decided to use regular sugar and the seeds from one vanilla bean because I love that vanilla flavor. I also substituted honey for the sugar in the mascarpone because it tastes like spring.
Springtime Recipes from our Archives
Mashed favas and an exotic mix of spices give the familiar egg salad sandwich a makeover. The Tunisian spice blend called tabil is easy to make with ingredients that may already be in your pantry.
Hawaiian Tuna Poke Bowl
is a a raw-fish salad that is ubiquitous at family gatherings, parties, tailgates, and supermarket delis across the islands. It is extremely simple to make—like tossing a salad—and uses few ingredients.
Spring Pea Soup with Burrata
—when you do get your hands on some fresh peas, grab as many as you can. And try this cream-free soup as a perfect spring lunch or light dinner.
Asparagus and Leek Risotto
is a great way to kick off the season. In the mood for a little indulgence? Add sautéed shrimp at the end. So, if you’ve never made risotto before, it’s not difficult; just make sure you add the broth in stages, letting it get completely absorbed before adding more.
Asparagus Bread Pudding Layered with Fontina
is a staff favorite from the Tante Marie cooking school in San Francisco. This makes an excellent brunch dish on its own or topped with poached eggs. We also love it for dinner.
These Berrylicious Sweet Rolls
are not as sweet as you would think. But, they are definitely worth the work for a holiday morning treat. They can be made with any seasonal berries.
Fresh Blood Oranges with Lemon Honey Syrup
recipe presents itself gorgeously for a special brunch. Whole, peeled blood oranges are simmered in lemon-honey syrup. Serve the oranges chilled with Greek yogurt. You can make them the day before and store in the fridge overnight.
We like to serve this
Crispy, Crackly Apple-Almond Tart
at room temperature so it can be made ahead of time. It is the perfect addition to any spring brunch table. And, it makes for a wonderful breakfast the next day when paired with a cafe au lait…
Cocktails and Drinks
Spring Thyme Sparkling Cocktail Recipe
is fancy enough for a holiday brunch, and delicious enough to drink on its own. We love the herbal flavor the thyme syrup imparts to this simple, sparkling cocktail.
Bee’s Breakfast Cocktail
is the perfect Easter brunch cocktail with fresh berries, lemon, honey and a bit of Greek yogurt. Honey syrup is a delicious spin on simple syrup, and you will enjoy experimenting with it in other cocktails, and even your tea.
Pink Sunshine Cocktail
is a beam of sunshine featuring the Owl’s Brew craft cocktail mixer called The Classic— it’s made from English Breakfast tea, lemon peel, and lime juice. And, it adds a delicious light flavor to this drink.
is a slushy, Israeli lemonade and the perfect non-alcoholic brunch drink. It is simple to make, and you’ll get raves from your guests.
From our blog, The Butcher's Block
If you have ever been to one of those fancy steak restaurants, you have probably seen a T-Bone steak or Porterhouse steak or both on the menu. They are both great tasting steaks that are full of flavor. I’m going to let you in on a little secret though. A T-bone and a Porterhouse are basically the same steak. The only difference between the two is the size of the tenderloin attached to the bone. Let me explain…
Both steaks are cut from the short loin located in the middle of the back of the animal, which gets very little exercise. This lack of exercise means the meat is much more tender than say a flank steak which comes from an area that gets more work. The short loin has a T-shaped bone that runs through it that separates the tenderloin from the larger top loin (New York Strip).
Steaks that are cut from the short loin that have a small amount of the tenderloin attached to them are called T-Bone steaks. The steaks that have a larger amount of the tenderloin attached are called Porterhouse. A Porterhouse steak can be pretty darn big and those big steaks are what you see in places like the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo.
No matter where you slice ‘em (ha ha ha), these steaks are great on the grill and with grilling season just starting, now is a good time to try one.
A Staff Favorite
Radishes are one of spring’s first vegetables, and we encourage you to enjoy them many ways this season.
Normally, we use this little jewels to highlight a salad with crunch and the zing of spice. There are many more ways to enjoy them.They can be added to all kinds of salads (not just green) like chicken, potato, or egg salad.
The French eat them with a thin slice of butter and salt…
! Your bunch of radishes will vanish in a flash. Or, try them atop a slice of crusty, buttered bread sprinkled with salt. Or coat that bread with aioli instead of butter.
We don’t often think to cook radishes, but they are a root vegetable, and versatile this way. When cooked, their spicy flavor diminishes, and they become juicy.
Radishes can be included whole on a sheet pan of roasted vegetables to add another layer of flavor and texture. Note that they do cook quickly, so you might want to toss them in about ten minutes before the other veggies are done.
And, they are delicious sautéed in a combination of butter and olive oil with a little salt and pepper. After they are tender and slightly caramelized, sprinkle them with chopped mint just before serving.
We even find they are great on the grill! Toss halved radishes with some oil or butter, and place them on the grill until nice grill marks appear. You might just love the smokey flavor.
You can also make a radish relish in a flash that is ready to eat immediately.
Instant Gratification Radish Relish
can be used as a salsa, as a dressing, and in as many ways as your imagination allows.
From our recipe blog, The Kitchen Table
It’s week two of the let’s lighten up menu. I’m not saying I have been totally good about it but I will say I have been doing better than usual. There may have been pizza for dinner one night ‘cause we had to do some laundry and straighten up the house as things had gotten way out of hand. There may also have been a hot dog at the softball game because I was hangry. (Youth sports is no place for hanger.) For the most part, we’ve been eating better.
Saturday’s fantastic weather prompted me to head outside and do some grilling. Per usual, we had a packed schedule. Thankfully, I was able to make a marinade out of stuff I had on hand. I poured it over some flat iron steaks that needed to be used, tossed them back in the fridge, and left for the afternoon. I threw the steaks on the grill when we returned for a quick dinner with some steamed rice and broccoli.
As it turned out, there were a lot of leftovers—which was a good thing if not unusual. For lunch on Monday I was able to slice up some of the meat and put it on a salad I tossed together with some spring mix, peppers, sliced red onions and whatever else I found in the crisper. What a light and tasty meal! Salad is not usually my first lunch choice but topped with the sliced meat it was the perfect meal.
Vietnamese Steak Marinade
This marinated and grilled Vietnamese flank steak is fantastic over a simple salad or steamed rice bowl with broccoli. It also is delicious with our recipe for
Vietnamese Cucumber Salad
Vendor of the Month
With Jamnation Jams, authentic French cooking meets fresh California fruit in the best possible combinations of flavors. Their jam is intensely flavorful because they don’t use any pectin and use 20% to 40% less sugar than traditional jam companies.
They cook seasonally in small batches and produce fresh flavors with lots of fruit chunks. Jamnation takes the best Northern California varietals of seasonal fruit and pairs each with an exotic flavor that enhances the fruit without overpowering it. Talk about bold and bright combinations.
This SF based company uses the finest local fruits crafted with fair-trade sugar and spices to make bold jams that support developing countries. Local fruit meets global persist.
So, help yourself to some damn good jam.
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Visit our recipe blog to learn what Amy, our VP and resident foodie, is cooking up in her home kitchen.