Monday, August 30, 2021
Eating from the Garden
Summer is bursting with bounty this time of year. A casual stroll down our produce aisle can lift your spirits—so much variety, flavor, and color!

Whether you are growing your own fruits and veggies at home or in a community plot or gleaning from the massive garden that is Northern California, now is a great time to expand your recipe repertoire and genuinely appreciate the season.

We are dedicating this issue to the fruits and vegetables of the garden. And, we begin with some of our favorite products to give you the best possible experience.
There is nothing better to top steamed vegetables with than fresh butter. We have a selection to suit any mood. Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter is what we reach for again and again. Its appetizing appearance, a golden-yellow color comes from dairy cows that graze on Ireland’s emerald-green grass 10 months out of the year. And, it is perfect for baked goods.

If you are looking for something more flavorful, try the Black, or White Truffle Butter from Fabrique Délices. Made from Beurre de Baratte it is the perfect and simplest addition to enhance any dish. Also, we always have Piedmont's Own Garlic Butter in our cheese department.

There are countless bottled salad dressing out there. And, two of our current favorites are from Stonewall Kitchen. Have you tried their Bacon Ranch or Buttermilk Cracked Peppercorn Dressing? They are delicious poured over steamed veggies, too.
Everything is more delicious en croûte (in a crust)! Whether you are going savory with garden veggies or sweet with seasonal fruit, a crust takes your dish to new heights. We have a nice variety to choose from.

We love Dufour Classic Puff Pastry because of its pronounced buttery flavor. It has a flaky texture and easy-to-shatter crust.

Christine's Upper Crust Unbaked Pastry Pie Shells are made lovingly, by hand, and from scratch. We have both wheat and gluten-free varieties.

The Fillo Factory makes fresh, organic Fillo (phyllo) Dough. The foods and pastries made with this fine, thin fillo dough are delicious.

Star Dough Artisan Pastry Dough is made in small batches from unbleached wheat flour, sweet butter, creme fraiche, baking powder, and sea salt. This frozen, prepared dough is a lifesaver. It comes already rolled out into rounds sized perfectly for making pies and galettes.

Pasta is the perfect vehicle for fresh, garden vegetables. And, the quality of the pasta you use really makes a big difference. Here are three that are in our current rotation.

Pastifico Marella from Puglia, Italy is artisan pasta that comes in a variety of shapes. The texture and flavor are spot on. And, if you are looking for couscous, we recommend Bob's Red Mill. It comes in both Tri-Colored Pearl and Traditional varieties. Nuvo Assorted Fresh Pasta (in the fridge case) is artisan-crafted in the tradition of those made for centuries throughout the Liguria region of Italy! We carry a selection of noodles.
Sometimes it is great to reach for packaged seasoning or sauce to spice up a meal—especially on a weeknight. Here are some of our favorites.

Better than Bouillon Seasoned Vegetable Base is a concentrated broth base that is perfect for starting a quick vegetable soup. It can also be added to sauces to enliven the flavor.

Jade Sichuan Peanut Sauce is a spicy-hot, sweet-tart, nutty sauce that is great over salad greens and hot cooked vegetables. And, you can make an instant Thai curry with World Foods Thai Red or Green Curry Paste—the red is a bit spicier. Maggie Gin's Traditional Stir Fry Sauce is a tangy blend of soy sauce, sherry wine, and oyster extract, with a hint of garlic and ginger.

Villa Jerada makes Moroccan spices. Their Harissa is produced from chili peppers, oil, and spices, great in sandwiches, soups, sauces, and dips. And, their Za’atar is made with hyssop, sumac, sesame, olive oil & sea salt, it's great in savory and baked dishes.

Whole Spice Napa Valley Rub is delicious dashed on vegetables and salads and used to make distinctive salad dressings and marinades. Their garlicky Adobo Seasoning is excellent for most cooking methods and can be used as a base seasoning for stews, sauces, beans, soup stock, and vegetables.

Don Chilio Chile Crisp is an infused oil condiment with crunchy, flavorful bits of peppers and other aromatics. They come in Sliced Serrano, Habanero, and Jalapeño Peppers. They are great in Mexica dishes and can make any type of food crunchy and hot.
For Dessert
Naia, this wonderful, local gelataria crafts a yummy variety of flavors that go well with fresh fruit on a cobbler. Try their Tangelo, Almond Orange Blossom, and Madagascar Vanilla,

Clover Sonoma Whipped Topping is both local and sustainably produced. Squirt a little whipped cream on your fresh fruit, cobbler, or shortcake.

Kendall Farms Crème Fraîche is made from rich, white cream for Holstein cows. It has a luxurious body that lasts when heated. It transforms sauces and is delicious in desserts.

Valfrais Fromage Frais is a fresh cheese that is similar to cottage cheese but processed so it is free from curds. It is delicious served with fruit and is also used to add a creamy texture and taste to savory dishes.
A Staff Favorite

Itty bitty fresh mozzarella
Belfiore Ciliegine are award-winning, bite-sized cheese balls, perfect for quick appetizers and to sprinkle on salads. Try them with cherry tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil for a mini Caprese salad. Or just enjoy them as a snack. (Little fingers love them, too.)

Belfiore Ciliegine is a fresh, cultured, semi-soft stretched mozzarella is made with live probiotic cultures and packaged in water. It has a creamy and milky flavor with a wonderful sponginess.

About Bellifiore Cheese Company
They say that when it comes to fresh cheese, it is better to import the cheesemaker than the cheese. And that is just what Belfiore did. Each of their cheeses is made true to tradition, and with the best ingredients.

The Bellifiore Cheese Company is one of the few remaining small, family-owned cheese-making oper­a­tions in the Bay Area. All Belfiore prod­ucts are made 100% nat­u­rally without any addi­tives or preser­v­a­tives. Their busi­ness was estab­lished in 1987 as one of America’s first pio­neers pro­ducing handcrafted Italian-style cheeses.

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Watermelon Sugar High
I have a melon patch that I planted with cantaloupes and mini watermelons. Both varieties have apparently been enjoying the warm weather as the number of melons on the vine has tripled in recent weeks. One of those watermelons looks like it’s ready to be picked. But, I am hesitating.

Just like knowing which watermelon to choose at the store is difficult, knowing when to pick a watermelon from the vine presents its own challenges. I have an unfortunate tendency to pick a number of the things I grow too early—much to the detriment of my crop yield as well as my family, who tries to eat said crop yield. Nothing worse than an unripe melon when you are expecting the taste of sweet ambrosia.

Since this is the first time in a few years that my melon growing venture has been successful, I don’t want to screw it up. So, I have been looking everywhere on the internet to get tips on how to know when your watermelons are ripe for the picking. And, I have found some interesting suggestions.

The first is the same thing they tell you when picking out a melon in the store. Look for the yellow spot on the bottom of the melon. This sounds easy enough. But, I have chosen too many yellow-spotted melons that weren’t great to trust that trick of the trade too much.

Another tip is to look for the tendril on the vine closest to the melon stem. If it is dried up and brown, the melon is ripe. If it’s not, you need to be patient. Patience is not one of my virtues. The tendril next to my melon isn’t quite dried out yet. So, now I’m on tendril watch. Hopefully, my tendril dries up and the melon is sweet ‘cause I’m looking forward to this recipe.

A Staff Favorite

Veggie is my vehicle.
When you are looking for something tasty to dip your cut-up summer veggies into, make a visit to our cheese aisle and check out our glorious display of house-made Piedmont's Own Dips for Veggies. We have something for every taste, so you just might need to pick up a few.

Here is a list of some favorite dips that are great for veggies:

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

Our Blue Cheese Dressing and Dip is a throwback to the kind of blue cheese you would see at an old-time steakhouse. Chunky, and a little bit spicy, it is great for hot wings, but try it with cut veggies apple slices.

Our Dill Dip is an amazing option for cut veggies. Goes really great with Jicama.

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.

Grab some Hella Hot Habanero Dip to spice things up!

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

French Onion Dip is the classic onion dip that you remember as a kid.

Pappy’s Pimiento Cheese Spread will add a little southern flavor to your vegetables.

Ranch Dip is perfect for dipping all things vegetable.

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.

Our Spinach Dip is a classic sour cream spinach dip—complete with water chestnuts.

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

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Pick A Peppa
It has become abundantly clear that the month of August will be all about cooking from my garden—with a little protein brought in to round out the meal.

At the moment, my challenge is to use all of the peppers and chilies that are growing like gangbusters. Sure, there are the obvious salsas and salads, but that will only take you so far. The good news is that you can dice up the peppers and freeze them for later. And, this will save you time and prolong the enjoyment of your garden long after the plants are gone.

Still, there is something about picking a pepper, taking it inside, and chopping it up for dinner that is satisfying. So, the other night I did just that. I picked all of the sweet Italian peppers that I could, sliced them up, and made them into sausage and peppers.

Ask any Italian American they will tell you that Sausages & Peppers is some of the best comfort food. And, served in a crusty Italian roll or alongside some cheesy polenta, it’s a mouthful of straight-up yum. I opted for the roll because, for whatever reason, that seemed more like summertime to me. Save the polenta for a chilly evening in the fall…

A Staff Favorite

There are no shortcuts to handcrafting vinegar.
KATZ Trio Red Wine Vinegar is richly flavorful without the vinegar bit. It mirrors the classic Meritage wines where small lots of red wine varietals are blended to create wines with great structure and character. KATZ Trio blends carefully selected lots of Merlot, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The finished blend is well balanced and full-flavored and retains the varietal characteristics of the grapes with nuances of cherry, raspberry, and oak.

Vinegar is one of the original slow foods. In millennia past it was used as a beverage, in cooking, and as the basis of many sauces.

KATZ Trio is an authentic vinegar made nearby in the Suisun Vally that can be used to enliven your favorite dishes and create distinctive dressings and sauces. Trio is a favorite of many of America's top restaurant chefs. Try reducing it for sauces for meats or grilled peaches or figs, and use it in dressings.

Although scientific advances have made large-scale production of vinegars fast and easy, it is the handcrafted Orleans Method that allows for the most full-bodied and nutrient-rich wine vinegars.

Unlike most modern vinegar making, which is based on rapid, forced fermentation, the Orleans Method requires the vinegar to age for months in small oak barrels. As a consequence of this extensive process, very little commercial production of vinegar exists in the US.
—Slow Foods Ark of Taste

About KATZ
Kim and Albert Katz commit themselves to supporting and participating in the evolving sustainable food movement and as individual growers, and to the continued good stewardship of the land they farm.

News & Events

Bring a blanket and a lawn chair to BAMPFA's outdoor LED screen on Addison and Oxford Streets and enjoy the show!
This summer BAMPFA is thrilled to present three inspiring documentaries on their big, outdoor screen. They welcome audiences to celebrate the grit and vision of an array of artists, activists, and public servants from the Bay Area and beyond.

Next up is Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
Thursday, September 9th at 7 PM
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution celebrates the importance of Berkeley’s Center for Independent Living, and the work of disabled activists like Judith Heumann and Denise Sherer Jacobson whose heroic efforts continue to make America more accessible for everyone.

A Cookbook Recommendation
by Hetty McKinnon

No matter where you live in the world, it is the daily rituals of food that bind and connect us.

Neighborhood is a must-have collection of show-stopping yet simple vegetable-packed recipes, delivered against a backdrop of charming stories of food, family, and friendship. These delicious main-meal salads are filled with exciting flavors from around the world, journeying from Brooklyn to the greater Americas, the Mediterranean, Asia, France, Australia, and many other neighborhoods.

Incorporating vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, herbs, and spices in exciting combinations, the recipes here redefine what a salad can be. From Shredded Collard Greens, Baked Sweet Potato, and Pinto Beans with Paprika-Buttermilk Dressing to Cumin-Spiced Cauliflower with Fried Lentils and Spinach Yogurt and Thai Carrot and Peanut Salad, the sixty hearty salad recipes represent plant-based goodness at its very best, with recipes you’ll want to make time and time again. A collection of dessert recipes leaves the book with a sweet finish.

Hetty’s Neighborhood explodes with vibrant food that I want to make. This book is filled with healthy and delicious recipes and beautiful photographs, and it pays homage to the people Hetty admires in her community in Brooklyn. An absolute stunner.
—Aran Goyoaga, author of Sweet Treats and Small Plates and creator of the blog Cannelle et Vanille
From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Blended Summer
I am not a fan of hot weather. I am okay with warm weather which in my world means anywhere from 70 to 85. Anything above that is, as my daughter would say, so gross. And I don’t subscribe to the “At least it’s a dry heat” notion. Hot is hot. Though, I admit, hot with humidity is just…I can’t. I’ve experienced some of the worst heat and humidity this world has to offer from Atlanta in July to Mumbai at any time and I will tell you straight up no way can I live in that environment.

Heat can be a good thing. For example, the recent hot days we have been enjoying and the somewhat cooler nights mean that my tomatoes are literally ripening overnight. The flip side of that is we’re having a hard time keeping up. And there might be some tomato fatigue as far as what sounds good for dinner.

So, as a way to use a bunch of tomatoes at once as well as have something tasty yet cold for a light lunch or even just a mid-afternoon snack, I made this gazpacho from one of my favorite cookbooks, Curate by Katie Button. I like this particular recipe for Chilled Tomato, Cucumber, and Pepper Soup because it is smooth. Some gazpachos are a bit chunky which I find difficult to drink. Also, the soup uses the other veggies in my garden. It pairs well with a side salad for lunch or works as an appetizer before dinner. It’s also great for the beach. Just keep it cold in the cooler.

From our blog, The Cocktail Post

he Tom Collins is a classic highball that has held the test of time as one of history's most enduring cocktails. It appears in the first bartending book, "Von Vivant's Companion" printed in 1877, but was likely popular before the book was printed.

The ingredients are simple—gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda. If you don't have club soda, any sparkling water will do. Its simplicity is why this drink has been around for generations.

For a variation, check out our Cucumber Collins cocktail recipe.

News & Events

Tzatziki is a refreshingly creamy Greek yogurt dip with a strong garlic zing. It is one of our favorite combinations of flavors. And, its variations span the cuisines of the globe.

Tzatziki is a wonderful accompaniment for grilled meats and fish. It is classically used to dip kebobs and falafel. Tzatziki is delicious as a spread for sandwiches and burgers. And, it makes a great dipping sauce for veggies—especially dehydrated ones. Try it on a baked potato. You can even mix it into a pasta salad.

Ours is made with Greek yogurt, grated cucumber, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, dill, and plenty of garlic. It can be found in the Deli Department.

A Staff Favorite

Sundays in the park!
The Golden Gate Park Band presents free concerts on Sundays at 1 PM. The concerts are approximately ninety minutes in length. So, spend your Sunday strolling in the park and check out one of the band concerts!

All concerts that feature the music of specific
nationalities or cultures include costumed guest performers, dancers, singers, and speakers who will enlighten and entertain.

Here is the schedule
September 5-6, Labor Day Celebration
September 12, Movies and more
September 19, Irish Cultural Celebration
September 26, Jazz, America's Music
October 3, Season Finale

The Golden Gate Park Band has been presenting free concerts in Golden Gate Park for 139 years thanks to the generous support of San Francisco Grants for the Arts and public donations.

Concerts take place at the Spreckels Temple of Music in the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park.

News & Events

All residents of the nine Bay Area counties are invited to spend Free First Thursdays at SFMOMA. From 4–8 PM on the first Thursday of every month, Bay Area residents can enjoy SFMOMA’s galleries filled with lively and inspiring art. Tickets are free and reserving online is encouraged. Tickets go online two weeks in advance.

Limit two adult tickets per reservation. Children 18 and younger always get into SFMOMA free. Due to social distancing requirements, some exhibitions have limited capacity and use a virtual waiting list. We suggest checking in early at the exhibition to add your party to the list.

From our blog, The Cocktail Post

The addition of fresh watermelon and raspberries makes this spin on the mojito recipe hard to pass up. And, it is perfect for a hot, summer day or a backyard BBQ.

Definitely use fresh fruit and lime juice for maximum flavor. We are using light rum, but you can try a darker rum for a deeper flavor. Also, we strained our fruit and mint leaves after muddling for a smoother texture.

Garden Fresh Recipes from Our Archives
From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Our archive contains over 600 recipes that range from breakfast, appetizers, main courses, desserts, and cocktails. Included are many recipes for seasonal summer vegetables. While it would be wonderful to include them all here, we have chosen a more practical list of some of our favorites. Take some time and check out these gems!

Some use multiple garden fruits and vegetables like our recipes for a Classic French Fruit Tart, Fresh Fruit and Mascarpone Tart, Weeknight Favorite Grilled Mixed Vegetables, and Caprese Vegetable Kebobs. While others are more specific and highlight one type of fruit or vegetable.

Tomatoes & Tomatillos

Green Beans

Vendor of the Month

Truly delicious olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
They say the quality of the olive oil you use makes the dish. So, if you are looking for genuinely delicious olive oil and balsamic vinegar that is locally produced, Bariani is an absolute favorite. Bariani products raise the bar for flavor, production, and environmental standards. Bariani is family-owned and located just north of Sacramento.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Fall 2020
Olive oil is foundational in so many dishes. So, if you want to improve the flavor of your cooking, reach for an oil with rich, complex flavors like Bariani. Bariani Olive Oil is a superior-quality and authentic extra-virgin oil that is produced in limited quantities just north of Sacramento.

Because Bariani uses traditional extraction processes, the taste of the oils differs subtly from year to year. However, you will always find the same characteristics that create the signature Bariani flavor.

Balsamic Vinegar
Its complex and semi-sweet flavor makes it a favorite in salads, with peaches or as a vinaigrette. Bariani California balsamic vinegar is produced from the juice of just-harvested zinfandel and cabernet grapes grown in Yolo County. The juice is boiled down to create a concentrate, which is then fermented with a slow aging process that concentrates the flavors. The flavor intensifies for six years. The vinegar is stored in wooden casks made of different woods like chestnut, acacia, cherry, oak, mulberry, and ash.

The Environment
Environmental responsibility is fully integrated into every aspect of Bariani Olive Oil. They are always rethinking new ways to protect our planet and cut greenhouse emissions.

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.