January 31, 2020
Instant Pot Wonders
Don't think for a minute that the folks at Piedmont Grocery are immune to the Instant Pot craze! We have found it to be so convenient and time saving. We might just be in love.

And, since these cooler winter nights call for something warming and homemade. And, because it is a wonderful thing to come home from a long day at work to find your dinner simmering away and ready to enjoy. We dedicate this issue to the Instant Pot.

We all know that good ingredients make a huge difference in the quality of your meals. So, here are our staff picks to help you achieve you will need for great results!

You can begin in our produce aisle where we have a colorful array of fresh veggies--may are locally grown and organic.
Edison Granery always impresses us with their deliciousness, variety, and commitment to quality. And, they keep their prices reasonable. Plus, they are an Oakland-based company. What's not to love? Try their Organic Green Split Peas, Organic Yellow Split Peas, Organic French Green Lentils, Organic Garbanzo Beans, Organic Black Beans, or Organic Red Kidney Beans.

Bartolini Italian Pearled Farro is grown using the ancient agricultural tradition of Bartolini family in Umbria, Italy. Farro is a hearty grain that adds flavor and wonderful texture to your meal.

The Lundberg Family Farms rices are produced in an eco-friendly, sustainable manner. They cook up perfectly and are loaded with flavor. 
Muir Glen Organic Diced Tomatoes are grown in the rich soil of the Sacramento Valley. These juicy tomatoes are harvested at peak flavor, peeled, diced, and seasoned lightly with a dash of sea salt.

Katz Farm Organic Chef’s Pick Estate Grown Olive Oil is a staff favorite. It’s made up of three classic Tuscan cultivars. This unfiltered, small production, extra virgin olive oil is the oil of choice for many of the finest restaurant kitchens and their chefs. It has rustic charm with grassy, floral overtones, rich fruitiness and a lush mouth feel.
Wineforest Wild Foods Dried Porcini Mushrooms add delicious depth of flavor to your recipes. Wineforest Wild Foods holds a love and respect for the forest ecosystem from which the mushrooms grow. These Northern California based forrargers sell to top chefs in the Bay Area and beyond.

Pacific Foods uses nothing but real, simple ingredients in their broths. They are cooked ever-so slowly to bring out the rich, complex flavors that enhance any recipe. These broths taste like they have been gently simmering for hours. Which they have. Try their Free Range Chicken Broth, Beef Broth, and Mushroom Broth.
Niman Ranch Smoked Uncured Pork Keilbasa has local roots, the most humane protocols, fantastic flavor, and impeccable standards. Their Pork Keilbasa is combined with a special blend of spices and slow-smoked over real Applewood to produce a distinct flavor. Niman Ranch sausage is made with heritage pork and finished without a casing.

Fra'Mani Andouille Smoked Pork Sausage is some of the best sausage we've tasted! Fra'Mani's ingredients are from the highest-quality, sustainable sources. Their meat comes from small family-run farms. The animals are never given antibiotics and are fed 100% vegetarian diets with no animal by-products.
A Staff Favorite

If you are ever back in our Cheese Department, make certain you sample some of our famous house-made dips and spreads. They are great for any gathering—especially those that take place around the T.V. and have anything to do with football. Come on by, and pick up a few tubs!.

Pappy’s Pimiento Cheese Spread  will add a little southern flavor to your Superbowl. Great when spread on crackers or sliced baguette. It’s really good when melted on sliced sourdough.

And our  Fresh Bean Dip  is great hot or cold. We make it fresh so you don’t have to.

And you just have to try these others:
Spinach Dip  a classic sour cream spinach dip—complete with water chestnuts.

Our  Dill Dip  is the best option for cut veggies. Goes really great with Jicama.

Taco Dip  is soo good. It’s a ground beef taco with all the fixin’s, and mixed into sour cream.

Our  Blue Cheese Dressing and Dip  is a throwback to the kind of blue cheese you would see at an old-time steak house. Chunky, a little bit spicy and frankly the best Blue Cheese dressing you can find anywhere. We like to dip hot wings in it, and also apples.

Dixie’s Dippin’ Sauce  is an original creation from our cheese manager (and a well-guarded secret). It tastes tangy and sweet and is a great dip for sausages of all kinds, for barbecue, as well as a sauce for pulled pork.

Sancho’s Salsa Dip and Spread  is spreadable salsa made with fresh cream cheese. It is delicious with crackers and spread on your burger bun.

And if you haven’t tried our fresh  Guacamole , come into the store for a sample. It’s delicious!

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

I have had an Instant pot for a little over a year now. And, while I love it, I really hadn’t been using it more than one or two times a month. (I have friends who say they use theirs constantly. But, I always wondered what they were making because I always seemed to be making the same recipes over and over, mainly pulled pork or some sort of stew.) During the summer months, I didn’t use it at all figuring it was just as fast to grill and the whole point of the Instant Pot is to make stuff faster.

Lately, I have been leaving my Instant Pot out on my counter because I feel like I am using it every other night. Probably because I AM using it every other night…

My daughter gave me a couple of Instant Pot cookbooks for Christmas and I have been having a great time going through them and making all of the recipes that appeal to me. It is a testament to the power of a good cookbook because I have a number of Instant Pot cookbooks and none of them have lit a fire under me like these two. They have even inspired me to do my own experimenting. You can find them here is you are interested:

Most of my experiments have involved dried beans. I love cooking with dried beans but I really haven’t done much in the past because the old fashioned way is kind of a pain. First, you have to soak ‘em overnight then you have to cook them for long periods of time. That’s time I don’t always have and can be a roadblock when you’re craving a good bean soup for dinner. But, by playing around with new recipes, I have figured out how to make my own bean-filled creations happen in the span of an hour. Until recently, I was a bit intimidated by cooking beans in a pot because I didn’t have a recipe with beans intriguing enough to try it. I found one for a barley side dish with mushrooms that was great and that was all it took to get me going crazy with beans.

For example, I had a bag of the  Zürsun Paris Bistro Beans  that we sell here in the store in my pantry and I had been wanting to use them for a while. So, I got a ham shank from our Meat Department and threw it in the Instant pot with the dried beans, some sautéed onions, diced carrots, and fresh thyme along with a few cups of chicken stock. After about 30 minutes of cooking using the Multigrain setting, I had a very hearty hot bean soup that was fantastic. The meat on the shank fell off the bone and added some protein to the mix as well as great flavor. Served with some crusty French bread, it was exactly what I wanted for dinner on a chilly night.

I didn’t really follow a recipe but if you are interested in trying it out here’s the rough idea of what I did…

News & Events

Time to make your valentine's reservations now, while there are still tables available! Here is a short list of some of our favorite spots to eat out on the Avenue.

Commis  (3859 Piedmont Avenue)
Commis serves a cuisine driven by modern and classic culinary traditions and is composed of ingredients that are grown, harvested, and foraged from the land that surrounds us. A restaurant by chef James Syhabout.

Dopo  (4293 Piedmont)
Seasonal Italian dishes with organic and locally grown produce.

Homestead Oakland  (4029 Piedmont)
Enjoy a California farm-to-table experience at Homestead. Serving seasonal dishes in a cozy setting. Customers also love their breakfast.

Mägo  (3762 Piedmont near MacArthur)
Nightly dinner and drinks with a weekly changing menu cooked over a wood fire. Northern California cooking with an emphasis on affordable high-quality food using innovative and inventive techniques.

Mistura Rotisserie  (3858 Piedmont)
Mistura specializes in Peruvian fusion cuisine, varied in the flavors and colors of the native culture and influenced by the Japanese, Chinese, Italian and Spanish people living in Peru.

Ninna Restaurant  (4066 Piedmont)
A Different Taste of Thai food with eclectic styles from French, Japanese, and Californian cuisine.

The Wolf  (3853 Piedmont)
Modern interpretations of classic gourmet recipes, for lunch, dinner and life’s celebration

A Cookbook Recommendation

by Coco Morante
Authorized by Instant Pot and filled with beautiful photographs and more than 75 simple, well-tested comfort food recipes, this indispensable book is the ultimate collection of delicious weekday meals.

The best-selling Instant Pot has been a runaway hit, with an almost cultlike following and users who swear by it. But finding delicious, well-tested, weekday-friendly recipes that are both inspiring and trustworthy has proven difficult, until now.

The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook covers each meal of the day, offering plenty of tried-and-true classic recipes, such as spicy beef and bean chili, a whole roasted chicken with mushroom sauce, and decadent New York cheesecake, alongside a hearty array of contemporary meals, such as Greek-style Gigantes beans with fresh feta, braised pork loin with balsamic vinegar and caramelized onions, buttery cauliflower mashed potatoes, pork adobo, and more! Whether you're looking to expand your pressure cooker recipe repertoire or seeking the ultimate gift for the Instant Pot aficionado, this is the book to have.

Coco Morante is a recipe developer who runs the popular Instant Pot Recipes Facebook page and Lefty Spoon blog. Coco’s recipes are featured in many publications, including Simply Recipes, The Kitchn, and Edible Silicon Valley. 
A Staff Favorite

We are not certain at what point it became impossible to separate chicken wings and football. But, we have no objection! They are the perfect finger food for game-day buffets. And, with Super Bowl Sunday upon us, you can find chicken wings on special at our meat counter this week.

So, if you are looking for some rocking' chicken wing recipes for the game this weekend, here are two of our favorites. You just can't go wrong!

Our recipe for  Spicy Baked Chicken Wings  is adapted from the Brown Sugar Kitchen Cookbook. And,  Alton Brown Style Buffalo Wings  come out perfect.

And, if time is not on your side we always have delicious, ready-to-eat hot chicken wings in our Hot Bar at the store. So, just come on down and grab a bunch. And, maybe pick up some of our famous Blue Cheese Dressing and Dipping Sauce!

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Plant Food
In what has become an annual tradition, I spent my Martin Luther King holiday walking the aisles at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco looking for and tasting the latest and greatest that the culinary world has to offer. As per usual there was plenty of gorgeous chocolate and cheese from around the world—including a guacamole cheese that was divine despite being a dark green not usually associated with cheese in a positive way.

There were teas, there were coffees and there was an extraordinary number of waffles, both of the regular and of the Stroop variety. I like waffles as much as the next gal. But, do we really need that many? And there was bottled pickle juice…because, of course, there would be bottled pickle juice. (I brought one home for my kids to try. My pickle loving son tried it and said it was too intense yet he keeps going back for another sip. Kind of like a bad accident. You can’t help but look.)
There was no missing the one big take away from this show: The future of food is plant-based.

From beverages to snacks, to frozen foods, each and every grocery category had multiple vendors showing their plant-based products. There were plant-based frozen desserts being offered down every aisle either by the pint or as bars. Plant-based meat alternatives have grown way beyond the Impossible Burger. The snack category was huge including puffs made out of avocado that were a big hit at my home, as were the butternut squash pretzels. While I expected to see more plant-based noodles than I did, they were still well represented as were the Asian cuisines they support.

Staunch carnivores should not fret too much, though, as there were still plenty of offerings for them. Duck Sausage anyone? Small family-owned ranches held their own amongst the plant-based surge by offering natural, humanely-raised alternatives to beef like venison, bison, elk, and even wild boar. And while the jerky revolution has died down some, there were still plenty of meat and salami sticks to be sampled.

While plant-based foods comprised a large percentage of the products being shown this year, it was very obvious that we’re just scratching the surface when it comes to plant-based innovation. This is not a food trend that will just fizzle out. The possibilities are endless and the masterminds are just getting started…

Tahini Noodles with Green Beans and Carrots Recipe
Yields 4 to 6 servings

From our blog, The Cocktail Post

We all know a hot toddy can be a miracle worker if you are coming down with a cold or sore throat. It is also a delicious warming beverage on a cold night. Our recipe for the Rooibos Toddy omits the sweetness of honey and hits the spot with extra spice and bitters.

Rooibos Toddy Recipe
Yields one cocktail

News & Events

The Academy Awards are coming up soon on February 9th and there is still time to catch up on your movie watching so you are ready with an informed opinion in time for the Oscars. So, if you have a list of movies that you haven't seen and want to get in before the big day, there are quite a few available for streaming as well as several still in the theaters.

You can get the full list of nominations for all the categories on the Oscar website, but you might want to narrow it down to specific categories like  Best Picture  and Best Actor or Actress. The full list of nominees  can be found here .

Another watching strategy is to check out a curated list of nominated movies such as this one at  Cinema Blend . Everything on their list can be streamed at home.

So, pull up a comfy chair and your favorite snacks because it is time to get to business. Happy watching!

A Staff Favorite

Looking for a great plant-based, dairy-free dessert?
Look no further! 
Coconut Bliss Bars are so delicious, you won't miss the dairy. They are creamy and rich with excellent flavor—and just the right amount of sweetness. And, for those of you who don't care or need to worry about these things? These bars are still for you, because of their sheer deliciousness.

Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss prides itself on having a product that is rich and creamy just like ice cream. So, you can feel good about eating it and also feel good after eating it. They are dedicated to creating unique and exquisitely delicious desserts that are consciously prepared from the most nutritious and wholesome organic ingredients available.

Coconut Bliss is Straight up, the best non-dairy dessert we have tasted. And, we have the bars in these two flavors:

Sea Salt Caramel in Chocolate
Delicious caramel with a hint of salt dipped in fair-trade chocolate

Coconut Almond in Chocolate
Creamy coconut with an almond crunch dip din fair-trade chocolate

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Are You Ready For Some Football?
I am a football fan. I just love the game. I am generally more interested in college football than the Pros—mainly because the underdog has more of a chance in college football. I tell you this only as a warning that I will be sitting on my sofa on Sunday watching the 49ers in the Super Bowl and nobody better disturb me.

I am one of those people who wants to watch the game and doesn’t want to chit chat. I actually like the game more than the commercials or the halftime show. I will admit that the past few Super Bowl games have not held my interest, mainly because of who was playing in them. This year is, as they say, a whole new ball game. This year I have a vested interest in the outcome because the team I grew up watching in the 80s is back and it feels great, baby!

I am still working on what I am going to feed the fans that will be joining me, silently, on said couch. I do like to go with a theme. And, since the game is in Miami, I will most likely be making some nosh with a Cuban flavor as a nod to the host city. I might go for a tasty platter of Cuban sandwiches but the recipe below could work just as well. And, it’s easy to pull together because you use the InstantPot…which leaves you more time to scream at the refs about that holding call.

Instant Pot (and Slow Cooker) Recipes
From Our Archives
From our blog, The Kitchen Table

So many of our recipes can be adapted for the Instant Pot. And, quite a few are already written for your slow cooker. You can make anything from jams ( I CAN'T WAIT for Blackberry Jam!), to grains ( Asparagus and Leek Risotto), to soups and stews ( Lamb Curry), to meat dishes ( Beef Short Ribs Braised in Dark Beer with Bacon and Red Onions ).

If you are new to the Instant Pot, we strongly recommend getting a good cookbook to familiarize yourself with the process. And, once you get the swing of things, it is so easy to adapt your favorite recipes.

So, here are a few of our recipes that have footnotes for how to adapt them in the Instant Pot.

This classic dish is adapted from Emeril Lagasse and is perfect to make in big batches for freezing for future week night dinners. It can stand on its own or be the backbone of a delicious meal. You can save a bit of time quick-soaking the beans in the instant Pot.
Senate Bean Soup has been served every day in the Senate restaurant since it was introduced in the early 1900s. It is, simple but very satisfying. It’s great to have in your freezer for chilly nights, or for a tasty rainy day lunch. 

The nutty flavor of farro is delicious with roasted meats and it's an easy-to-prepare side dish. if you wanna try something  new  with dinner, we recommend a little farro…you’ll be glad you did.
What is great about this recipe is the ease of preparation. It is perfect to do in the morning, and find a simmering pot of mole when you get home from a day’s work.

The beef in this stew is falling-apart tender and the addition of red wine enhances the flavor. This might just become a favorite.
Crock Pot Oats are the perfect solution for weekday mornings. There’s nothing like waking up to a hot bowl of oat-y goodness. You can mess around with this recipe depending on your mood. Try adding dd raisins, nuts, cut-up apples, and dried cranberries. You can add vanilla or go with some combination of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. It’s a perfect way to make time consuming steel-cut oats during the week.

This applesauce is chunky with a lot of cinnamon and raisins, plus a little ginger. It is more of a compote than a sauce. You might want to make a big batch!
From our blog, The Cocktail Post

Looking for a warming twist on a classic? Try our recipe for the Jalapeño Margarita. Feel free to play with this recipe, and make it your own. But, be certain to use fresh limes. Needless to say, it goes great with Mexican food.

This recipe makes 4 cocktails—so you can double (or triple it) for a game-day gathering or party with friends.

Jalapeño Margarita Recipe
Yields 4 cocktails

From our blog, The Butcher's Block

The colder months of winter are the perfect time for slowly-simmered soups to warm you up. One of the easiest and best ways to punch up the flavor of any soup is to add a ham hock or ham shank into the pot. While the soup simmers the smokey flavor of the ham permeates the soup while adding a little salt. A meatier shank can also be a perfect way to add extra protein by way of the cooked meat falling off the bone. But is one better than the other?

From a culinary standpoint, ham hocks and ham shanks are essentially interchangeable with just two differences between the two. Ham hocks tend to be bonier and have less meat on them because they come from the area of the leg that is closest to the foot of the pig. Ham shanks, on the other hand, are meatier because they come from the area just below the shoulder or the hip. Both contain a considerable amount of collagen which adds richness to whatever recipe you are making. And, both require long cooking times using methods like braising or stewing to break down the tough meat into something that can be eaten.

Ham hocks and ham shanks are widely available and inexpensive—though, the shanks tend to be a little bit higher priced. Both freeze really well. They are almost always available smoked but occasionally you will see unsmoked ham shanks. If you do, grab them and throw them in your freezer for another time. You can cook the unsmoked shanks the same way you would cook a lamb of beef shank. Served alongside some creamy white beans and sautéed greens, they make for a tasty satisfying winter dinner.

Gam’s Navy Bean Soup Recipe
Yields 6 to 8 servings

Vendor of the Month

Craft Mexican meals at home with ease.
Frontera's wonderful line of salsas, cooking sauces, and guacamole mix take the fuss out of cooking authentic-tasting Mexican food at home. Frontera's salsas and mixes elevate a weeknight dinner and are tasty enough to impress guests. We love them because they make cooking Mexican food so easy and flavorful.

The regional flavors of Mexico are as vibrant and unforgettable as its culture. And celebrity Chef Rick Bayless has spent his career exploring, cooking, and eating in Mexico for over 40 years. Owner of the Frontera Grill in Chicago, Rick launched Frontera Foods to bring the culinary richness of Mexico to kitchens everywhere.

Fresh-made guacamole is the perfect way to start a Mexican meal or make a delicious impression at any gathering. You can have that exciting, complex flavor by simply mashing together fresh avocados with Frontera's guacamole packets.

Frontera makes some of the best salsa from a jar that we have tasted, and it comes in 4 varieties to compliment your meal and suit your mood.

Made in small batches with the flavor and heat of authentic chiles like jalapeño, habanero, and guajillo, each of Frontera's Mexican salsas is a masterpiece. Enjoy Frontera salsa with tortilla chips, as versatile cooking sauces, or to add bold flavor to any dish.

Flavors include: Roasted Tomato Salsa, Roasted Habanero Salsa, Chipotle Salsa, and Chunky Mexican Salsa.

Cooking Sauces
Great Mexican cooking comes down to the right blend of seasonings and authentic ingredients. Frontera sauces come packed with bold Frontera flavor and make classic dishes easy to cook at home.

Flavors include: Classic Red Mole Skillet Sauce, Garlic Pork Carnitas Slow Cook Sauce, Red Chile Enchilada Sauce with roasted tomato and garlic, Green Chile Enchilada Sauce, and Steak Taco Skillet Sauce with chipotle and garlic.

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4038 Piedmont Ave.
Oakland, CA 94611

(510) 653-8181

Visit our recipe blog to learn what Amy, our VP and resident foodie, is cooking up in her home kitchen.