Thursday, October 28, 2021
Apple of My Eye
When fresh, local apples hit our shelves in Autumn, it feels like something is right in the world. We love the display of colors and scents (not to mention flavors) that come with all the different varietals. And, there seems to be more selection each year.

Apples are versatile—delicious fresh and in both sweet and savory dishes. We understand what Thoreau meant when he called the apple "the noblest of fruits"!

This month's issue is all about apples and inventive ways to cook with them. So, let's get started by introducing you to some of our favorite products.
Boulangerie Solignac Puff Pastry Apple Turnovers are the perfect bake-at-home treat. This all-butter, puff pastry, apple turnovers are to die for. Try this warm to accompany a special breakfast or with ice cream for dessert. These frozen pastries have no equal. Plus they are local.

Sconehenge, a Berkeley company, makes Apple Cinnamon English Tea Scones that are delicious when sliced in half and toasted. Try some to enliven your breakfast!
E Waldo Ward Apple Butter is the stuff that brisk fall days are made of. We carry both regular and unsweetened. And, their Apple Cinnamon Jelly is wonderfully reminiscent of apple pie.

Vermont Village Unsweetened Apple Sauce comes in three varieties: regular, cinnamon, and peach. This superior applesauce is smooth and thick and would make a great addition to your baking. So good!
UMPQUA oatmeal packets challenge the tradition of over-processed, mushy oatmeal. They start with a higher-quality oat for a thick, al dente texture. Then they add real fruit, nuts, and seeds. The flavors we carry include apple cranberry.

And, if you prefer granola, Marra Bros. makes some yummy Apple-Blueberry Granola. Or try Grandma's Goodies Raspberry Apple Granola.
Laird’s Straight Applejack 86 uses seventeen pounds of fresh tree-ripened apples to produce each bottle. And, Laird’s Straight Apple Brandy–Bottled in Bond is made the same today as it was over 200 years ago. While both are perfect consumed neat or over ice, they truly shine when used in place of whiskey in traditional cocktails.

Golden State Cider comes right out of California wine country in Sebastopol. Inspired by their wine-making neighbors, their style is to showcase the great diversity of the apple and always shine a light on the unique fruit character above all else. The taste of these craft ciders speaks for themselves. Try their Mellow Green or Ginger Grass flavors.

Jones Soda Company Green Apple Soda made with cane sugar—because sometimes the best things are the simplest. The flavor is as crisp and as tart as a fresh granny smith, and the fizz is refreshing.

Jelly Belly Hot Apple Cider is a tasty mixture of Cinnamon and Red Apple jelly beans. They are great for a special Halloween treat or seasonal snacking.
A Staff Favorite

Meet the perfect apple pie!
Beckmann's Apple Pie doesn't disappoint. The apples are fresh and mildly spiced, the buttery crust is flaky, and it is the perfect amount of sweetness. We couldn't recommend it more.

The ingredient list reads like something right out of your favorite kitchen cookbook: apples, flour, unsalted butter, cane sugar, water, starch, egg, sea salt, cinnamon.

About Beckmann's
Beckmann's Old World Bakery honors the German commitment to traditional artisan baking. We love Beckmann’s baked goods and are always excited when they arrive at the store. Beckmann’s is an all-natural, from-scratch bakery making many kinds of breads and pastries. They are local, based in Santa Cruz, and use no GMOs, preservatives, dough conditioners, artificial colors, or flavors.

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Fallin’ for Pork
Fall is when pork shines. My family eats pork pretty much year-round—either as pork chops, or in tacos, or whatever. But, when the calendar flips to fall, I start thinking about juicy pork roasts. (Turning the oven on in the middle of July when it is 102º outside is a non-starter.) Fall flavors like apple and cinnamon pair perfectly with the mild flavor of pork.

But, the challenge with pork roasts is that they can dry out if you cook them too long. To solve that problem and to introduce the flavors of the season to the pork, I like to throw any roasts or chops that we’re having for dinner in a brine.

Brining is easy and you don’t have to do it for long periods of time. Pork chops, for example, only need to be brined for 30 minutes to an hour depending on how thick they are. (Double cut chops can go as long as 2 hours.) Over-brining will cause the meat to be mushy which is never pleasant.

There are so many brines to pick from. But, I am partial to any that include apple juice or cider. The end result is just a bit sweeter but not super apple-y. One of my all-time favorite brines for pork is our recipe for Thick Pork Chops with Spiced Apples and Raisins. I use it 90% of the time, as it’s relatively quick and can be managed mid-week.

Sometimes though, you wanna go bigger.

This recipe for Brined Pork Loin with Molasses-Mustard Glaze and Apple Butter is not a quick weekday whip-up. It is better left for a lazy Sunday dinner with friends and family watching the leaves fall from the trees. Serve this with some roasted sweet potatoes and/or Brussel sprouts and maybe our Barley and Pine Nut Pilaf for the best representation of Fall on your plate…

A Staff Favorite

Spooky Sweetness
We have a sweet selection of fun Halloween treats for your favorite spook or spirit. Yes, we have plenty of bagged Halloween candy for the little monsters. And, our gourmet section has some beautiful, seasonal boxed chocolates and candies.

Long Grove's Smiling Jack O'Lantern makes an adorable and tasty Halloween treat. It is 4 ounces of solid milk chocolate measuring 3.5 inches high. Long Grove makes handcrafted, gourmet chocolates the old-fashioned way. They are delicious!

So, come by the store for your trick-or-treating supplies.

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

When you find a recipe that piques your interest, your mouth starts to water in anticipation of what could be. But, there is always the possibility that the picture you have in your mind is not the reality. Sometimes that is due to user error and other times it is because of the way that recipe is written.

My problem is, when I get excited about a recipe, I want it to be perfect and I am really bummed when it’s not. One of the hardest things to do is to write a recipe that is clear and concise for a reading public that includes cooking talents that span the spectrum. It is almost impossible to get it perfect for everyone.

Therefore, when I find a recipe that I want to try, I always read through it a few times before I start the process. That way there are usually no surprises, and it usually comes out the way I expected. There are a few occasions when even armed with knowledge, it doesn’t work right. It can be very disappointing and disheartening especially when you can’t figure out what went wrong. Baking is notorious for this…

Case in point, I recently tried to make a cinnamon apple twist bread that I found from King Arthur. With the little chunks of apple and the cinnamon dressed up with a sweet glaze, this recipe appealed to my need for some indulgent fall flavor. And, I thought it would be a fun treat for a lazy Sunday breakfast.

Things started out just fine. The dough came out beautifully. But, things went sideways with the filling. I opted to go the Clear Gel route and that may have been my mistake. Or, maybe I just chose the wrong apples—because there was so much juice that the filling went everywhere. I managed to get the bread braided and ready to rise but I knew that the result was going to be gooey sticky. (Which could actually be a good thing, am I right?)

At the end of the day, the bread sorta worked. It tasted great but looked terrible. This weekend, I am going to try it again going the cornstarch route. I will not let this recipe defeat me!!
I’ll let you know how it goes…

News & Events

Come by this Saturday, October 30th for the Piedmont Avenue Halloween Celebration and Parade. And please stop by Piedmont Grocery for Trick-or-Treating.

Costume Parade
Led by bagpiper Fred Payne & Friend
11 AM start at Piedmont Avenue and Montell Street by Pet Food Express and ends at Linda Avenue

Pet Costume Contest
12:30 PM at Pet Food Express
Top 3 Gift Card Prizes $25, $50, & $100

Craft Table
Friends of Piedmont Avenue Library
At Key Route Plaza

Pumpkin Patch
Between Ken Betts Car Wash & J. Miller Flowers

Trick or Treating
Following the parade at designated shops displaying "Candy Station" signs
For children under 10 years old accompanied by an adult

Trunk or Treat
Piedmont Avenue Elementary School
11:30 AM to 1:30 PM
$5 entry supports the school PTA

A Cookbook Recommendation
by James Rich

Who doesn't love apples? Grown, harvested and eaten for centuries, apples play an important role in everyday life and are enjoyed in a huge variety of ways.

Author James Rich hails from apple country in Somerset, England, where his family owns a cider farm. Apples, it could be said, are in his blood, this is a collection of over 90 of his best-loved recipes. Try your hand at a summery Crunchy apple, cherry, and kale salad, a comforting Slow-roasted pork belly, and pickled apple, and an Ultimate apple crumble, all washed down with a Cider and thyme cocktail. James uses whole apples as well as cider, apple juice, cider brandy, and cider vinegar to add depth to his dishes

Apples can be delicate and complimentary, floral and simple or they can be bold, sharp, and stand out from the crowd. Set to the backdrop of his is family's stunning apple, Apple is a celebration of this humble fruit.

About the Author
James Rich is a Somerset-born and bred, cider-maker's son, and his family has been making a living from apples for centuries. James grew up helping his dad at work: planting the orchards, pressing the apples to gather the juice, and even helping to clean the giant oak vats that are used during the fermenting process.

A passionate home cook, as a child James was encouraged to explore food and flavor in the kitchen by his grandmother, who showed him the basics and helped develop his cooking. He now divides his time between Somerset and living in London, working as a food writer and brand consultant.
A Staff Favorite

Stonewall Kitchen created this Old Farmhouse Chutney by combining apples, cranberries, peaches, apricots, and raisins with a variety of spices for a genuinely delightful taste experience. A famous Indian mainstay, chutney is a spicy, fruity condiment that is loaded with flavor.

Old Farmhouse Chutney can be used in many ways—with meats, fish, curried dishes, or mixed into rice or couscous. Try it with cheeses or as a sandwich spread. It goes great on shrimp, on pork, and gives chicken salad a whole new personality. Not to mention it makes the best homemade turkey burgers ever! Surprise your guests with a savory bread pudding, or puff pastry baked with chutney and brie.

We love Stonewall Kitchen because their products taste great every time we use them. And we carry a lot of their products!

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

October Fest
Last weekend some friends hosted their annual Oktoberfest celebration. It was perfect. The weather was crisp and fall-like. The beer flowed and many pretzels were consumed. There were tasty brats and my favorite bockwurst. There may also have been lederhosen but it’s a visual that I’m trying to ignore.

I was in charge of bringing a dessert. But, what does one bring to a beer party? Chocolate seemed wrong. So, I figured a harvest-y flavor like apples would pair nicely. And, since the group was mostly adults, I knew something boozy would also work well. I went with this Apple Bourbon Cake, and it didn’t disappoint.

Don’t be afraid of the bourbon glaze. The flavor is not as overpowering as you might think. Some lightly sweetened whipped cream is a must, though…

From our blog, The Cocktail Post

The Apple Martini is a sweet and delicious cocktail with a vodka base. Many variations on the apple martini exist. The origin of this cocktail is the Appletini that was made with apple schnapps and vodka. A combination of sweet and sour, this cocktail has a subtle kick.

We have modernized it with calvados and fresh apple juice. A splash of lemon juice, and simple syrup highlight the green flavor profile of this once-popular drink.

News & Events

This year, the DĂ­a de los Muertos Festival's theme is Curando Corazones (Healing Hearts). Festivities include the jaw-droppingly athletic Aztec dancers, the sleek lowriders, and the moving and intricately assembled ofrendas.

This annual Oakland festival is a free, outdoor event that brings over 100,000 people to the vibrant, culturally rich Fruitvale neighborhood to enjoy world-class live music, family-friendly games, rides, and activities, traditional Latin American artisans, and the stunning altar artistic installations created by community members paying homage to los Muertos.

The performances and displays will just be spread out throughout the district to prevent crowds from accumulating at any one place. COVID vaccines and testing will be available on site.
There will not be food trucks this year. But, rather the effort is to support local restaurants all week long. As it was last year, this is Fruitvale Restaurant Week,

The 2021 Oakland Dia de los Muertos will take place on Sunday, October 31st from 10 AM to 5 PM on International Boulevard between Fruitvale and 42nd Avenues in Oakland.

Fruitvale Restaurant Week
In celebration of Oakland’s Dia de los Muertos Festival, participating restaurants will offer a $20 menu and include a beverage from October 24th through 31st. Enjoy your tried-and-true, or discover a new favorite along our International Blvd. corridor. However you choose to dine, you will be supporting a Fruitvale small business during this much-needed time.

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Salad Queen
My sister is the Salad Queen. No matter what the occasion, she can be counted on to bring a bowl of greens in any of a thousand iterations. It’s a good thing, as everyone could use more greens in their life. But, her leafy predictability has also become kind of a family joke. She can also be counted on for a rockin’ good cake. But, I digress….

One thing I have noticed over the years is that while she loves to experiment, she does have her favorites. And, they change with the seasons—as you would expect. A couple of weeks ago, when the weather actually started to feel like Fall, we were at her house for dinner. We enjoyed a lovely pork tenderloin along with some spicy sweet potatoes and this Endive, Orange & Bleu Cheese Salad. It is one of my favorites as well. And, it is a more accurate signal that the seasons have changed than anything else I know…as one or both of us will make it as soon as we have a reason too.

This salad is a great side for any fall-themed dinner. But it is also good the next day for lunch—especially with some sliced cooked chicken or whatever is left over from the night before. This also works for Thanksgiving if you’re someone who is thinking ahead.

A Staff Favorite

Magically capture the intense, robust flavor of just-picked apples.

Everything Wood’s touches tastes more like apples. It lends wonderful apple intensity to muffins, cakes, pies, tarts, and crisps. Wood’s is 100% concentrated cider—one gallon of cider is evaporated down to one pint of boiled cider. Wood’s has been making Boiled Cider since 1882. They grind and press apples on the farm’s original screw press to make sweet cider, and evaporate it over a wood fire.

Once you open a bottle, you’ll want to try it in many recipes including drizzling it on top of a cake, ice cream, yogurt, pancakes, or oatmeal. And mix it with confectioners’ sugar for an apple glaze. Or glaze meats with whole grain mustard. Or just use it by the teaspoon full in any recipe, like you would vanilla.

News & Events

Fall is not Fall without apples.
Once the local varieties begin showing up in the store we can start to get excited about apple season and the string of holidays that follow. A great thing about the Bay Area is the access we have to so many types of apples—both heirloom and more recently cultivated.

Here is a list of what is available this week—they are all great for eating, baking, and adding to recipes.

  • Organic Ambrosia Apples
  • Organic Rosalynn Apples
  • Organic Envy Apples
  • Organic Jazz Apples
  • Organic Dazzle Apples
  • Organic Smitten Apples
  • Honeycrisp Apples
  • McIntosh Apples
  • Crab Apples

Enjoy apple season!

From our blog, The Cocktail Post

If you are looking for a delicious fall-themed cocktail, this Middle Eastern-inspired beverage uses Calvados, boiled cider, and arak to present the tart-sweet flavor of apples with an anise accent. It is simple to prepare and absolutely delicious!

News & Events

The Piedmont Turkey Trot is Back!
Unleash a preemptive strike on those Thanksgiving Day calories and run/walk/stroll the 5K Piedmont Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. It’s an event the whole family will enjoy!

The Trot has grown to be a treasured event for many families, friends, and neighbors. Run to win or walk to enjoy the brisk morning air and good cheer. And all those finishing the 5K course will have bragging rights at their Thanksgiving table that evening! The Turkey Trot is a nonprofit organization supporting local charities and organizations.

Piedmont Grocery is one of the Turkey Trot's sponsors.

Thursday, November 25th at 8:30 AM
Piedmont Exedra
Highland and Magnolia Avenues

A Staff Favorite

Immensely drinkable
This light and lovely cider, with a purple blush, blends heirloom and organic dessert apples with the tart mysteries of organic black currant. A contemporary craft cider made in small batches Finnriver Black Currant Cider has light bubbles and a subtle sweetness.

Finnriver Cider is fermented on their farm using 100% organic apple juice pressed from Washington apples. The apple juice is fermented in stainless steel tanks, then blend with black currant and unrefined organic cane sugar for additional depth, sweetness, and flavor. The cider does not contain gluten.

Tasting Notes
Bright apple fruit balanced by berry complexity with sweet and sour notes—a light sparkle and purple blush. Light to medium-bodied. Medium length finish. The alcohol percentage is 6.5% abv.

Serve Finnriver Black Currant Cider chilled in the glass. It is lovely paired with salads, salmon, fragrant cheeses, and other light fare. Gorgeous in the glass on its own, this sassy cider invites experimentation with cocktails and other recipes. Use in a vinaigrette or cooking glaze.

Apple Recipes from Our Archives
From our blog, The Kitchen Table

We must love apples—because we have a lot of apple recipes in our archives. Fall is the perfect time to start cooking with apples. The flavor is right for the season and local apples are so tasty!

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.

Brining the pork keeps in its moisture while the maple syrup adds depth of flavor and richness of color.

Serve them cut in half at home, and wrapping it in foil, burrito-style, is better for traveling lunches.

Sautéed sausage with apples comes from the Norman region in France, where apples and Calvados are abundant.

This extra-decadent version of French Toast will brighten any weekend.

You can assemble it the night before and leave it covered in the fridge. Then, all you have to do is pop it in a warmed oven about 45 minutes before it is time to eat.
Sauces and Condiments
From Amy: "For me, Gam’s apple chutney is the best. But I had to read through her recipe a few times to make sure I understood her thought process. There were a few important pieces of information missing, but I managed to channel my inner Mary Jane, and figured it out."

Gam’s applesauce was probably more of a compote than a sauce. It was pretty thick. The original recipe was lost, and this one is pretty close.

Apple pickle is common in Indian cooking. And, you would think that these pickles would have crossed our paths more often. They are a delicious addition to any Indian meal.

If you love pickles, try this spin on a favorite fermented food.
This salad brightens up the season. It’s perfect with a simple Roast Chicken which is often a weekly staple.

Perfect during the cool fall months, this soup incorporates apples and cheese, an old-fashioned pairing for a pie in New England.

A favorite salad with cheese is this Autumn Salad with Apples and Comte. The Cider vinaigrette alone is straw-worthy.
The perfect conclusion to a harvest dinner. Delicious!!

Baked apples are an easy and 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.

A perfect apple cake for a fall day! This recipe is a keeper.

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 presents beautifully on the dinner table, and is a delicious addition to a lunch box or as a snack.

If you want to go the super-traditional spice cake route, this delicious recipe is straight out of the history books.

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…

We fall for anything that involves apples, pastry, butter, and cinnamon so these are a no-brainer. This recipe is the bomb!

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.

This is dessert for the soul, especially when served with ice cream. But, the leftovers make for a very satisfying breakfast the following morning…

The secret ingredient in these caramels is Boiled Cider, which is apple cider that has been reduced to a concentrated syrup.

You could add marshmallows and chocolate chips or even some cute Halloween sprinkles. Wrap them up in Halloween cello bags and it’s a fun tasty treat. The bonus, of course, is that any extra caramel can be used to dip apple slices for a treat of your own….
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.

Shrubs have become a popular cocktail ingredient. The best way to experience shrubs is to experiment. You can start with this recipe. Shrubs are wonderful once you get the hang of it.

This is a delicious twist on a classic mule. And it’s great for entertaining. It is easy to prepare and (if you’ve got one) a copper mug makes a great presentation.
News & Events

A spooky garden party on Lake Merritt
This family-friendly Halloween celebration is at the Camron-Stanford House. In the Haunted Garden, you’ll find Halloween and fall-themed arts & crafts, lawn games, music, and food trucks. There will also be a shop with The Haunted Manor Boutique (a local vendor), access to the Morbid Desire Halloween exhibit, and plenty more spooky fun.

Halloween and/or Victorian period costumes for this event are encouraged!

From our blog, The Butcher's Block

You’ve probably seen Cornish game hens in the meat case or even in the frozen section and wondered what they were and even more importantly, how do you eat them?

Cornish hens are the smallest of the commercial chicken family. Normally weighing between one to two pounds, they have a great chicken flavor with meat that is fall-off-the-bone tender. And, because of their small size and affordable price, they are the perfect one-person portion for dinner. They are also a great alternative at Thanksgiving for those who don’t like turkey.

Cooking a game hen is as easy as cooking a regular-sized chicken—although you do have to adjust the time down. Roasting is by far the best way to prepare these hens. However, nothing should stop you from braising or throwing a couple on your grill. Check out our recipe for Lemon-Rosemary Game Hens in our archive.

How To Roast a Cornish Game Hen
Roast game hens in a 45Âş0 F oven until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest breast meat registers 155Âş F (about 20 to 25 minutes).

After you pull the chicken from the oven, tent it with foil and let it rest undisturbed for at least 10 minutes to let the temperature come up another five to ten degrees and enjoy!

Vendor of the Month

Spicely Organics makes cooking and baking easy because they have such a wide range of spices and seasonings in convenient sizes. Whatever you need to create and personalize your flavorful recipes, they've got it.

As we are coming into fall and holiday baking, it is time to ask yourself, How fresh are the spices in my cupboard? We all know that spices lose flavor over time, and autumn is a good season to refresh your selection. Spicely makes it easy with their small boxes and standard jars—because you can purchase the amount that you need and not have it linger in your spice drawer.

And, we love Spicely Organics as a company. They are eco-friendly and organic: non-GMO verified, 100% vegan, gluten-free, Fair Trade certified, kosher, and 100% renewable energy compliant.

We carry a wide variety of individual spice packages, and Spicely also makes delicious seasoning blends. Some of our favorites are these:

  • Cajun Seasoning
  • Chinese Five Spice
  • Greek Seasoning
  • Jerk Seasoning
  • Mexican Seasoning
  • Thai Curry Seasoning
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Taco Seasoning

Store Hours

Monday through Saturday from
9 AM to 8 PM & Sunday from
9 AM to 7 PM.
Free Parking 

4038 Piedmont Avenue
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.