Early fall is here and apples are throughout our market! So, we decided to dedicate this issue to the glorious apple. When we look around us, there is so much you can do make with apples. And, there are so many ways apple flavor shows up in our dishes.
So, we have assembled a list of our favorite products made from apples and also those that go perfectly with this humble fruit.
North Coast Organic Apple Sauce is made with an assortment of apple varietals, giving it the perfect balance of sweetness. Its homemade flavor and chunky texture make it stand out.
L'Epicurien Apple Cider Confit with Calvados combines sweet apples, crisp cider, and Calvados Apple Brandy in a French artisan jam. It pairs wonderfully with French soft cheeses like Camembert!
Stonewall Kitchen Caramel Apple Butter provides just the right snap and sweetness for topping your favorite ice cream, cake, or pastry. For a sumptuous breakfast treat, spoon Caramel Apple Butter on pancakes, waffles, or French toast.
If you are thinking about making a special meal, try
The Perfect Bite Co. Baked Brie Bite with Apple Chutney. These darling baked bries are dolloped with a rich apple onion compote and wrapped in flaky phyllo.
Nothing But Apples Organic Apple Rings Supersnacks are a delicious treat! These sun-ripened slices of dried orchard apples are naturally sweet, aromatic, and delightfully chewy.
Laird's Applejack is best described as an apple whiskey. It has a rich, deep flavor, a smooth balance, and retains the delicate aroma and flavor of tree-ripened apples.
Crispin Hard Cider
stays true to the fruit with the authentic flavors and unique aromatic notes that are only present in fresh-pressed cider.
Things that go with apples
The spices you choose play a big outcome in everything you prepare, that is why we recommend Morton & Bassett for more dimensional flavor.
Black Aged Canadian Cheddar Cheese has a distinct flavor and is uniquely delicious with apple slices, on pie, and in our Apple, Onion, and Cheddar Soup recipe (see below).
A favorite way to snack on apple slices is with old-fashioned
Koeze Peanut Butter. Koze is simply Virginia peanuts and salt crafted on traditional equipment.
Boar's Head Sausages
—think New York Delicatessen, 1933. This is the kind of authentic, premium sausages you can still find from Boar’s Head. They are perfect in our Sausage and Apple recipe (see below).
A Staff Favorite
Fall is baking season. And, one way to keep all the quality and flavor, but save yourself time and extra steps is with French Picnic Pastry Crusts. They are every bit as good as homemade.
Leadbetter’s French Picnic is the ultimate flaky, buttery pastry dough. Produced locally in San Francisco with organic flour and 100% pure butter, French Picnic pastry is perfect for both an elegant or rustic presentation. The dough comes frozen and thaws in just 10 minutes. Ideal for use in sweet and savory recipes such as pies, tarte tatin, galettes, quiches, pot pies, and vegetable or fruit tarts.
French Picnic Pastry Crusts come pre-rolled into circles that fit 9" standard, 9 1/2" deep-dish plates, and 9 1/2" French tart tins.
Rosh Hashanah begins Sunday, September 29th at sundown—marking the ending of one year and the beginning of the next. May you celebrate with honey and wishes for sweetness in the new year.
As the days shorten, and the weather softens, our aisles are stacked high with apples (Honeycrisp!), figs,
and pomegranates. We have the round challah loaves from Grand Bakery, brisket in the butcher department, and encourage you to pick up a fresh pot of local honey from the Bay Area Bee Company.
If you are cooking, here are two of our favorite Rosh Hashanah recipes:
Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake recipe
is adapted from the wonderful Smitten Kitchen blog, and with it is a funny story of skitting critters, Hollywood thriller screams, and fallen honey cakes. The blog is well worth a bookmark, and the post is a good read.
May you have a year that brings fulfillment and joy, peace and prosperity, and health and wisdom. Shana tova!
A Cookbook Recommendation
by Amy Traverso
The most complete cookbook for enjoying and cooking with apples.
The Apple Lover's Cookbook celebrates the beauty of apples in all their delicious variety, taking you from the orchard to the kitchen with recipes both sweet (like Apple-Stuffed Biscuit Buns and Blue Ribbon Deep-Dish Apple Pie) and savory (like Cider-Brined Turkey and Apple Squash Gratin). It offers a full-color guide to fifty-nine apple varieties, with descriptions of their flavor, history, and, most important, how to use them in the kitchen. Amy Traverso also takes you around the country to meet farmers, cider makers, and apple enthusiasts.
The one hundred recipes run the spectrum from cozy crisps and cobblers to adventurous fare like Cider-Braised Brisket or Apple-Gingersnap Ice Cream. In addition, Amy organizes apple varieties into cooking categories so that it's easy to choose the right fruit for any recipe. You'll know to use tart Northern Spy in your pies and Fuji in delicate cakes. The Apple Lover's Cookbook is the ultimate apple companion.
Amy Traverso is the senior food editor at Yankee magazine and co-host of the public television series, Weekends with Yankee. Her first book, The Apple Lover's Cookbook, won a 2012 Best Cookbook award in the "American" category by the International Association of Culinary Professionals and was a finalist for the Julia Child Award for for best first-time author. Previously, she was food editor at Boston magazine and an associate food editor at Sunset magazine. She has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show, Throwdown with Bobby Flay and Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.
This is a solid compendium that is as satisfying and reliable as its namesake fruit.
The handsome "Apple Lover's Cookbook" [covers] 59 kinds of apples...the challah baked with diced apples...falls into the category of "Why didn't I think of that?
--The New York Times
From our blog, The Kitchen Table
You may remember a few weeks ago I talked about going apple picking at my brother-in-law’s house. Well, fast forward till now and I am still trying to make my way through all of those apples. We’ve made a pretty big dent in our harvest but we still have a ways to go.
The problem is, we’re kinda getting tired of consuming apples in the usual forms. Eating them straight, as part of a pie, as applesauce, or using the applesauce to make muffins is getting boring. Apples and pork are a no-brainer dinner combination. But, you can’t eat that every night. And, let’s not forget that, recent rainy days aside, it’s still pretty warm out. So, a slow-roasted meal is not the first that comes to mind in 90-degree heat.
I came across this recipe in the New York Times cooking section and I was beyond intrigued. After doing a little research, I was surprised how common apple pickle is. Considering how often I eat and or prepare Indian meals, you would think that these pickles would have crossed my path before now. But, apple pickle is a first for me.
The biggest hurdle to making these was the asafoetida. While we do try to stock as much variety as we can here at the store there will always be things that we just don’t carry. In this case, it’s asafoetida powder. So, I made a trip to my favorite spice shop and picked some up. I love spice shopping so “having” to go is actually a treat.
I made some changes to the original recipe based on research I did with a number of the Indian cookbooks I have in my collection. It's pretty exciting to make these if only to get a break from the sweet side of apples…
From our blog, The Cocktail Post
Our Spiked Root Beer Float Cocktail is the perfect adult way to cool off this weekend with a nostalgic throwback to childhood flavors. There is nothing like a tall glass overflowing with root beer and vanilla ice cream.
We have elevated the root beer float by choosing our tastiest root beer (Yes! It does make a difference.) and a classic vanilla ice cream.
Spiked Root Beer Float also makes a great tailgate cocktail!
News & Events
Head to Golden Gate Park for the 19th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. This year, festivities are held near the Polo Field at Hellman Hollow (formerly Speedway Meadows), Lindley, and Marx Meadows. There is no cost to attend!
In addition to live music, there are more than 50 gourmet food and beverage vendors. You are also welcome to bring your own picnic.
HSB is not a bluegrass festival. There is an amazing range of music happening over the three days. Read our post to see the impressive 2019 lineup here and get the FAQs.
A Staff Favorite
At Piedmont Grocery, we see a lot of ice cream leave our freezer cases. It is a perennial favorite of both our customers and our employees. So, we asked around the store this week to find out what ice cream our staff recommend, and here are the results.
Wayne Davis, Store Manager:
Humphrey Slocomb Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee
Wayne is a lover of good food and wine. He loves all of the Humphrey Slocomb flavors and even has a picture with the man himself from the Fancy Food Show.
Humphrey Slocomb Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee is a complex blend of rich coffee, chicory root, and condensed milk.
Ray Jenkins, Night Crew:
Talenti Mediterranean Mint Gelato
Ray is a fool for mint chip, and in his opinion, the Talent is the best.
Talenti Mediterranean Mint gelato uses real mint leaves steeped for 45 minutes to get the perfect mint taste that is only amplified by the bittersweet chocolate flecks found throughout this iconic pint.
Al (Omar's bother) Dela Cruz, Warehouse Manager:
Mitchell’s Mango Sorbet
Al tries not to eat ice cream, but if he does it's this mango sorbet.
Mitchell’s Mango Sorbet is made from intensely flavorful Indian Alphonso mangoes.
Omar (Al's brother) Dela Cruz, Frozen Foods:
Haagen Dazs Rocky Road
Al says the Haagen Dasz is the best tasting of any Rocky Road...and he should know!
Velvety swirls of marshmallow, roasted almonds, and Haagen Dazs' legendary chocolate ice cream come together in this delight.
Amy Pence, VP:
Loard’s Marble Fudge
Loard's Marble Fudge is Amy's go-to 'cause the whole family likes it.
Loard’s Marble Fudge ice cream is made with creamy vanilla swirled with delicious chocolate fudge.
From our blog, The Kitchen Table
For most of the country, the Labor Day weekend signals the beginning of cooler temperatures and spiced flavors of fall (regardless of what the calendar says is the actual start of the season). Those of us here in California know that, despite the recent cooler weather, it is not yet time to guzzle pumpkin spice or bring the sweaters out of storage. Because, dear friends, the hottest days of the year are actually ahead of us. For Californians, fall doesn’t really start until around Halloween.
For the record, I had a chai latte this morning. Why should you care? Because chai spices are basically the gateway to pumpkin spice. I’m not quite ready to go there yet! But, I found myself in a bit of a fall mood brought on by the cooler temps this morning as well as the apple picking we did over the weekend. So, I compromised.
The apple picking happened because my brother in law’s apple tree runneth over at the moment and it is just
too much for one man no matter how many neighborhood squirrels there are. I think we picked at least 40 pounds of apples…maybe more which means now I have to figure out what to do with all of them. Upon arrival at home, I immediately threw some in my pressure cooker and made applesauce. That was a no-brainer. My daughter made a couple of Dutch Apple pies which the kids have been enjoying for breakfast. Of course, we have been eating the apples straight as snacks. And, the kids have been putting them in their lunches with a little peanut butter. But, I have to figure out what to do with the rest. Thus, I have been going through my cookbooks and re-examining some of my favorite recipes.
One recipe that jumped out at me was my grandmother's Cocoa Apple Cake. It is one of two that I always loved growing up. The second one was an applesauce cake that she made with her homemade applesauce. (I’m still trying to find it.) The chocolate in this bundt cake recipe makes it popular with the young as well as the old while the apples keep it nice and moist. It’s a delicious addition to a lunch box or as a snack for the PTA meeting.
Apple Recipes From Our Archives
The Kitchen Table
We love everything that has to do with apples, and have combed through our archive for some of our favorite apple recipes. With this season's apples arriving in the market, now is the perfect time to try them!
Soups & Salads
Perfect during the cool fall months, this soup incorporates apples and cheese, an old-fashioned pairing for a pie in New England.
The Cider vinaigrette alone here is straw worthy. This dish would make a great addition to a celebratory dinner table.
It’s perfect with a simple Roast Chicken—a weekly staple.
There is no better flavor match up than apples and pork. These pork chops are definitely tasty. (Brining is a must!) But, the star of this recipe is the warm compote.
Sautéed sausage with apples come from the Norman region in France, where apples and Calvados are abundant.
Serve them cut in half at home, and wrapping it in foil, burrito-style, is better for traveling lunches.
Condiments and Spreads
If you love pickles, try this spin on a favorite fermented food.
Gam’s applesauce was probably more of a compote that a sauce. It was pretty thick. The original recipe was lost, and this one is pretty close.
Amazing spread think on a turkey sandwich. Also a delicious side for your favorite roast bird.
Baked apples are an easy an very yummy treat. We use a combo of dried currants, raisins, prunes, and pecans for the filling along with fresh spices. Serve with a little vanilla ice cream for perfection.
We fall for for anything that involves apples, pastry, butter, and cinnamon so these are a no-brainer. This recipe is the bomb!
This tart can be served warm or at room temperature so that you can make it ahead of time. And, it makes for a wonderful breakfast when paired with a cafe au lait…
This recipe gives some great tips for working the dough, and recommends lightly greasing the pie plate for easy serving—brilliant! We find that King Arthur Flour makes fantastic crusts—it is a staff favorite.
If you want to go the super-traditional spice cake route, this delicious recipe is straight out of the history books.
A perfect apple cake for a fall day!
The secret ingredient in these caramels is Boiled Cider, which is apple cider that has been reduced to a concentrated syrup.
A spiced apple cocktail made with bourbon, calvados and apple simple syrup.
This cocktail recipe is reminiscent of the flavors of apple pie.
Bursting with fall flavors, it calls for just three ingredients: apple cider, spiced rum, and lemon juice.
The flavors are perfect for autumn with the combination of sweet and spicy.
This recipe for The Apple Crisp Cocktail contains all the deliciousness of autumn. It is sweet with just the right amount of spice.
From our recipe blog, The Kitchen Table
The changing of the seasons is always a weird time food-wise, especially for us here in California. The calendar may tell you that it is fall but the 90 degree weather says differently. And, the thought of a succulent fall roast from a warm oven is off-putting. On top of that, we are blessed to be able to get whatever produce we want year-round unlike other areas of the country where certain produce can only be found seasonally. This means that there is less seasonality to our cooking and the chances of a cooking rut or ingredient boredom are high. Whenever I feel like I am in a rut or need some inspiration I head to the farmer’s market. And, if I can’t get there I camp out in the produce section and try to find something that sparks my interest.
I can’t quite explain it. There’s something about standing in the middle of botanic abundance that makes my inner farmer happy. The same thing happens when I am picking anything from my own garden. It’s the thought process that starts when you have to consider how you are going to use the homegrown wealth in front of you. It is also the same feeling you get when presented with beautiful examples of farmed art piled high in a vast array of colors beneath the tents of people who love working their land.
It’s been a while since I have been able to get to my Sunday farmers market and it is making me kind of itchy. I have also been struggling with the daily “What’s For Dinner?” grind. So, I know I am overdue for a trip. I need the therapy you can only find while loading more fruits than necessary into your market basket. I also need the thrill of the first squash sightings and the hearty greens that go with them. For me, that first taste of an in-season butternut captures more of fall than any pumpkin latte ever could.
As I sit here and write this I am beyond thankful for a responsibility-free weekend. I can already feel my creative culinary juices flow while the anticipation of a "fruitful" Sunday morning buzzes through my body.
Vendor of the Month
Premium farmstead cheeses that express the terroir of Marin County.The San Francisco Bay Area is fanatical about cheese, and so much of our local enthusiasm is owed to the two chefs who created Cowgirl Creamery, Sue Conley and Peggy Smith. At Piedmont Grocery, we are huge fans of Cowgirl Creamery. They were at the forefront of the American artisan cheese movement, and are still making award-winning cheeses in delicious variety, using milk from nearby dairies.
In 1997, Sue Conley and Peggy Smith opened Cowgirl Creamery in picturesque Pt. Reyes Station. They started with an old barn, made it beautiful, put in a small plant for making hand-crafted cheese, and bought organic milk from the neighbor, Straus Family Creamery.
In the past 12 years, they have grown and moved their operations to Petaluma. Cowgirl Creamery cheeses are sold to over 500 stores, independent cheese shops, farmers markets and restaurants, and national supermarkets. Still, Cowgirl Creamery makes cheese from organic milk supplied by three small farms in Marin and Sonoma Counties.
Sometimes you just need to try a new cheese.
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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.