It's easy to get excited about baking again once the weather turns cooler. There is nothing like the way the house smells when something warm and spicy is ready to come out of the oven. So come on a little baking exploration with us and get some great ideas for all those things that taste like autumn!
Let's start with a list of our staff's picks for baking essentials. Because the best ingredients make the tastiest baked goods!
Let's start with the flour…over and over we reach for
King Arthur All-Purpose Flour
for our baking projects. It is consistent and dependable. And, for our gluten-free friends (and guests) you can't go wrong with
Cup4Cup Multipurpose Flour
. All you need to do is substitute it directly in a recipe, and it really works!
The freshest butter makes the best baked goods. And, our staff pick is
errygold Pure Irish Butter
. It’s creamy and sweet and tastes more like butter than any brand we know. And, the richness of pure butter flavor makes it cherished by home and professional cooks.
Visit our produce aisle for fresh sugar pie pumpkins, a wonderful variety of apples, and fresh walnuts in the shell. And, if hazelnuts make you think of fall (we do!) Delightfully Turkish Organic Roasted Hazelnuts are our staff pick.
If you are looking for out-of-season fruit,
Willamette Valley Frozen Fruit is the best. We carry peaches, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and marionberries. And, don't forget to pick up a few extra cans of
Farmer's Market Organic Pumpkin Puree to stock for the winter.
The spices you choose play a big outcome in everything you prepare, that is why we recommend
Morton & Bassett
for more dimensional flavor. They provide the best quality, most flavorful spices in the world.
For the best maple flavor, grab some
MacDonald's 100% Pure Maple Syrup
. And, for some specialty flavorings we like to use
Marzipan Almond Candy Dough and Almond Paste. It is made in Denmark using California Almonds. Also,
La Forestère Chestnut Purée
for its versatility and flavor.
Baking Wafers whenever a recipe calls for chocolate. It's rich mouthfeel, genuine chocolate flavor, and smooth texture come in in Milk Chocolate, Semi-Sweet, and Bittersweet. For cocoa powder, we reach for
every time. They have in both sweetened and unsweetened. And when you need a good, old-fashioned chocolate chip,
is the thing: 60% Cacao, Semi-Sweet, Milk Chocolate, & Classic White.
Halloween is coming, and in the Catholic tradition, it is immediately followed by All Saints Day on November 1st and All Soul's Day on the 2nd. (Hallow is the Old English word for Soul.) While many of us love the of Day of the Dead celebrations, these little Soul Cakes point to a tradition or remembrance with Celtic roots—where bonfires were lit at night in order to light the soul's way to heaven. Later, Soul Cakes were baked by the rich households and distributed to the poor of the parish.
These little cakes like a cross between a scone and a biscuit, and are so easy to make. They are loaded with currants and flavored with spices. We used a pumpkin pie spice for ease, but you can improvise with a mix of your own creation. (Just go light on the cloves!)
They are great for breakfast or brunch, or make yourself a cuppa in the afternoon and enjoy for "tea" to keep your spirits warm on a chilly afternoon.
Whether you’re grabbing a business lunch or food for a noon meeting, a luncheon with friends or after the game celebration, you can count on our chefs in our Catering Department to help simplify your entertaining, We’ve got you covered!
24-hours advance notice is requested for a minimum of 10 people. And, our delivery charge is a flat fee of $20.
To Order Call the Deli Department at (510) 653-8181
From our blog, The Cocktail Post
If you feel like lighting something on fire this Halloween, have we got a cocktail for you. The Flaming Pumpkin combines pyrotechnic entertainment with mixology and is certain to impress your guests.
Igniting your drink does go beyond the spectacle, it can actually enhance the flavor. Just be certain to blow out the fire before you drink it!
The Flaming Pumpkin Cocktail Recipe
Yields 1 cocktail
A Cookbook Recommendation
By Rose Levy Beranbaum
The latest and most comprehensive baking book yet from best-selling author and “diva of desserts” Rose Levy Beranbaum is a must-have for your cookbook collection.
Legendary baker Rose Levy Beranbaum is back with her most extensive cookbook yet. With all-new recipes for the best cakes, pies, tarts, cookies, candies, pastries, breads, and more, this magnum opus draws from Rose’s passion and expertise in every category of baking. As is to be expected from the woman who’s been called “the most meticulous cook who ever lived,” each sumptuous recipe is truly foolproof—with detail-oriented instructions that eliminate guesswork and plan-aheads. It is filled with ingenious tips and highlights for success.
Every recipe proves that delicious perfection is within reach for any baker. It includes simple, everyday crowd-pleasers like Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins, Gingersnaps, and Gooseberry Crisp as well as show-stopping stunners like Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Tart, Mango Bango Cheesecake, and White Christmas Peppermint Cake. These bakery-style pastries are developed for the home kitchen.
Berenbaum successfully bridges the gap between popular home baking collections and professional texts, and her recipes will endure long after novelty baking trends have tired.
Rose's latest masterwork is full of precise measurements, fastidious instructions, and, most important, recipes that work. This book will walk you through the intricacies of a pastry chef's kitchen -- and out the other side with more than a few delicious tricks up your sleeve.
--Martha Stewart Living
Good news for the Muggles amongst us!
You don't need to travel to Hogsmeade to get your Harry Potter Candy. Now Muggles can enjoy the same candy Harry Potter and his friends eat. It's a perfect snack after a Quidditch game.
We've got a fantastic line of Harry Potter Candyin time for Halloween including Milk Chocolate Wands, Chocolate Crests, Gummy Creatures, Chocolate Frogs, Mystery Chocolate Creatures, and Bertie Bott's Beans.
This line of Harry Potter candies is made by our friends at Jelly Belly.
From our recipe blog,
The Kitchen Table
Spice is Nice
The other day I was doing my grocery shopping, filling up my cart with the usual this and that, when I noticed something strange. I was purchasing the same general items…bagels, cereal, coffee creamer…but when I looked in the cart I froze. It had happened again….
As September turns in to October you notice that the air smells different—and it’s not just a change in the weather or the fog rolling back in. There is a hint of spicy sweetness in the air that tickles your nose and makes you long for cozy sweaters, falling leaves, and warm fires. For many, there are no adverse reactions to this autumnal aroma. But for others, like myself, you can find yourself making unexpected stops for a grande latte or worse, you notice that you have filled your shopping cart with multiple items with the same theme. You can try to fight it but resistance is futile.
My friends, it is the Revenge of the Pumpkin Spice.
All kidding aside, I am one of those people who doeslike pumpkin spice (though I draw the line at candles and dog treats). My son’s love of The Spiceis even worse.
If I have one complaint it is that some of the products' flavor tastes way to fake. So, to combat the fake pumpkin spice, I load up on the organic canned pumpkin and make things like this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Scones or some straight up pumpkin bread. I have included the ingredients for my cream cheese frosting in case you wanna go crazy-decadent.
Happy Pumpkin Spice Season!
Spiced Pumpkin Scones with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yields 12 scones
From our blog,
The Butcher's Block
If you ask most people in the US if they would choose to regularly eat rabbit and you will most likely receive a negative answer. It’s hard for many to get past the fluffy cuteness which, though understandable, is unfortunate because rabbit can be very tasty. And, it is a much more sustainable source of protein than the other options out there.
Up until the early 1950s, rabbit was as common for dinner as chicken. Rabbit meat is what got many people through the lean times of the Great Depression. During WWII the government encouraged the raising of rabbits for meat in order to lessen the burden of the red meat shortage. After the war, the rise of big agriculture and government subsidies made raising rabbits for food less appealing fiscally.
Rabbit meat is very high in protein. A three-ounce serving of rabbit contains approximately 28 grams of protein. The same amount of beef or chicken contains 22 grams and 21 grams respectively. Rabbit is a great source of iron as well as being lower in fat and calories than chicken. It is also extremely low in cholesterol.
Another obstacle to the consumption of rabbit is their confusing anatomy—which can make rabbit difficult to eat if you are not familiar with their structure. Typically, a whole rabbit will break down into 8 pieces which consist of the front legs, hind legs, and the loin, or saddle. The saddle is the most tender part of the rabbit. The legs tend to be a bit tougher. Depending on your recipe, you might consider just buying specific parts of the rabbit instead of the whole animal. The saddle will be best for recipes with shorter cooking times. The legs are better for longer cooking times.
Purchasing a whole rabbit and cutting it up yourself is by far and away the cheaper option. Although, if you are trying it for the first time, it might be better to have your butcher do it for you. A tutorial on doing it yourself
can be found here on Saveur
A small rabbit will be enough to serve two people and a larger rabbit can serve three or four. The age of the rabbit can affect its size as well as the correct cooking preparation. A young rabbit is called a fryer and is usually 8 to 12 weeks old. They are very tender and are better prepared in a similar manner to chicken so as not to overcook them. A 15 to 20-week old rabbit is known as a roaster. These rabbits are better suited for slow cooking methods like braising or as the main ingredient in a stew.
In Europe, rabbit is eaten with regularity. And, if you are looking to try it, I would suggest recipes which reflect the great cuisines that can be found there. This recipe for Rabbit in Mustard Sauce is a perfect example.
Rabbit in Mustard Sauce Recipe
Yields 8 servings
A Staff Favorite
Now that's some exceptional vanilla!
Since vanilla shows up in almost every baking recipe, Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla is what we are using for our burst of fall baking. It is complex, sophisticated, and intensely-flavored. This extract adds depth no other vanilla can match.
Taking premium, hand-selected beans cultivated on the Bourbon Island of Madagascar, Nielsen-Massey uses proprietary cold extraction process to gently draw out and preserve the vanilla’s over 300 flavor compounds. The result is a sweet, creamy, mellow flavor with velvety after-tones, perfect for cooking and baking both sweet and savory dishes.
We also carry a variety of other Nielsen Massey extracts and flavorings
From our Blog,
The Kitchen Table
Squashes, Pumpkins, and Gourds,
One of the things I love most about the Fall, and October in general, is all of the displays with various pumpkins and gourds. They are so pretty and interesting. True, not all of them are edible like gorgeous Goose Neck Gourds but the better majority are.
Granted most of the larger pumpkins and squashes purchased around this time end up on your front doorstep with fangs carved out of them. Not much you can do with them after they have been out there for a while. At least nothing edible…
My question is what do you do with the ones that have been inside and are still good? If we’re talking about a cute little Sugar Pie pumpkin the answer is obvious. Bring on the pies and breads baby!
But there is more to pumpkins than pie…
Acorn and Delicata squash are fantastic to eat and easy to prepare. A giant Cinderella pumpkin is perfect for stuffing with cheese, cream, and other decadent goodness. Pretty green Kabocha squash is used in all sorts of cuisines from Mexican to Moroccan. Of course, Spaghetti squash can be a nice change from your usual pasta. Butternut squash is by far the most well known and eaten of all of the squashes and is great as a soup, in a casserole or on its own.
To help you figure out what to do with your squashes, pumpkins, and gourds, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite dishes for you to try.
By far a most favorite thing to do with one of these beautiful pumpkins is to stuff it full of bread and cheese and heavy cream and bake it. No, it’s not something you should eat every day, but it is a super yummy way to use the beautiful pumpkins you see appearing in the store and at the farmer’s markets for something other than decoration.
This is part of our wonderful Halloween tradition of Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Pumpkin Soup. It’s a favorite no matter who’s knocking on the door—and there’s no better way to get ready for Trick or Treating.
An all-time top autumn dish. We prefer to use the pecans rather than the pumpkin seeds to make it taste more like fall.
This curry recipe is heavy on the pumpkin. Not just a little thrown in, here’s some big-time pumpkin flavor. It’s all about the orange, baby.
This is a typical Italian fall dish: one you will see often grace our autumn table. It’s easy to make, and oh so satisfying.
In this recipe, the tender, nutty farro is accented by the sweetness of squash, fresh herbs, and some ever-delicious crispy bacon. Fresh-grated Parmesan completes the flavors.
If you want to make a truly fabulous dessert, it is well worth the extra steps to make this one. It starts with baking your own pumpkin bread for optimal freshness. And, that is a step you could do a day in advance.
Vendor of the Month
A taste is worth a thousand words.
Our love of local and sustainably-sourced food has inspired us to begin carrying Rancho Llano Seco Pork this month. This is pork like we have never tasted. Llano Seco has created a sense of place an terroir that is unique in the U.S. They have been raising their hogs how nature intended. And, they have a superior and tastier product to show for it.
For years, Rancho Llano Seco has been providing world-famous restaurants, like Chez Panisse, with some of the best-tasting pork in the world. This family-run company is now focusing on building on its existing relationships with high-end Northern Californian retailers like Piedmont Grocery.
Llano Seco responsibly raises their pigs.
Llano Seco pigs are insulated from harsh weather, allowed to root and socialize freely, encouraged to feed on a specially-grown, high-quality diet, and humanely slaughtered at a more mature age. This the meat to develop and mature naturally into an exceptionally flavorful pork.
About the rancho
Operating since 1861, Rancho Llano Seco is an original and in-tact Mexican land grant parcel on the banks of the Sacramento River that has been in Charlie Thieriot’s family for six generations. They preserve the richness of 17,000 acres of wild Californiasus while maintaining gentle land stewardship and a holistic approach to ranching.
In a fortunate twist of fate, their land has been kept remarkably similar to its original condition. Thierot's ancestors weren’t farmers and didn’t live on the property, so they never exploited the resource to the degree of most farmland in our country. This evolved into intentional conservation until recent generations.
Now, over 50 percent of the ranch is under conservation easements with The Nature Conservancy, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and The Northern California Regional Land Trust.
Why pay more for pork?
We vote with our dollars. And, by purchasing pork from highly-sustainable producers like Llano Secco, we are supporting clean meat that has been farmed with the highest of sustainability standards out there.
If you care about the quality of life of the animal that became your meal, the land we all share, or the health of yourself and your family then you'll consider the awesome deliciousness that is Llano Seco pork!
Currently, we are carrying these products:
This is the center cut of the animal. We love cooking this slow and low to add extra complexity and flavor to your roast while it cooks.
The Llano Secco pork chop is the shining star of their cuts: tender and flavorful. Whether on the grill, in the skillet, or in the smoker, you can't choose a wrong way to cook it. The pork's fat is supple and full of just as much, if not more, flavor than the meat…be sure not to cut it off before cooking!
Cut into 2-inch squares, sear the fat, and finish slowly in the oven. Or dice into small pieces and add to the base of a tomato sauce. Or cut big cubes and quick cook over an open flame in a cast iron. Or add some spice and salt and cure your own Pancetta. However you fix it, pork belly is...an indispensable part of the larder.
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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.