March 31, 2022
Fresh Like Spring
It has been a long winter.

Spring is here and our produce aisle is buzzing with fresh ingredients for you to turn into wonderful meals. Peas, fava beans, artichokes rhubarb, strawberries, spring greens, and asparagus are arriving from farms all over California. And, it will only get better in the coming weeks!

Let's start with some of our favorite product recommendations.
Star Dough Artisan Pastry Dough is made with crème fraîche. It's perfect for pies, galettes, appetizers, quiches, tarts, and empanadas. This local company makes top-notch dough that is cold-pressed for minimal rolling.

GeeFree gluten-free puff pastry dough makes creating GF meals easy. Use it in both sweet and savory dishes from pizza pockets to pies.

Taste of Denmark is a wonderful, cooperative bakery located nearby in Oakland. Their Angel Food Mini Cake is perfect for strawberry shortcake, trifles, and other desserts.

You can't go wrong with Stonewall Kitchen Traditional Scone Mix. And, the addition of fresh fruit and berries to the mix brightens the flavor.
We love using flavorful oils as a simple way to heighten the flavor of fresh veggies. And, the quality of the oil that you use can make all the difference in how your dishes turn out. Here are some of our favorites.

O California Olive Oil in Meyer Lemon and Fresh Basil flavors. They are bright, aromatic, and unique. And add a delicious touch to sliced tomatoes, shaved asparagus, and broccoli. Drizzle over flatbread with baby arugula and goat cheese—or a perfect finishing oil over veggies.

La Tourangelle Artisan Made Roasted Hazelnut Oil has a rich, nutty flavor. They handcraft this Roasted Hazelnut Oil in Woodland, California, strictly following 150-year-old French traditional methods. And, their delicate Avocado Oil is a beautiful, emerald green oil that will bring a delicious, light buttery flavor to your dishes.

Bariani California Balsamic Vinegar has a complex and semi-sweet flavor which makes it a favorite in salads or as a vinaigrette. Try it drizzled over fresh strawberries.

O California Orange Blossom Vinegar is captivating & fragrant. Gently crushed orange blossom essence is steeped with naturally sweet muscat juice—simply delicious in every way. It's like drinking flowers and sunshine.
Looking for some fantastic dressing, these are some of our top picks.

Bariani California Balsamic Vinegar has a complex and semi-sweet flavor which makes it a favorite in salads or as a vinaigrette. Try it drizzled over fresh strawberries.

Stonewall Kitchen Champagne Shallot Walnut Dressing is great on salads, steamed or roasted veggies, or even splashed on pasta.

Café Karla specializes in their Burmese Tea Leaf Salad Dressing. This is one Berkeley-based company to love.
Villa Jerada Harissa No 1 is a spiced, herbed chile paste from North Africa. This Moroccan version is less intense than others. It balances warming heat with spices, the brightness of preserved lemons, and the richness of fine olive oil.

Casablanca Market Preserved Lemons are made with Beldi Lemons, an indigenous lemon used to make authentic preserved lemons. They are mildly sweet and fragrant. They will add flavor to everything from tagines, stews, braises, sauces to vegetables, salads, pasta, sandwiches, meats, poultry, and seafood.

Maggie Gin's Traditional Stir Fry Sauce. This tangy blend of soy sauce, sherry wine, and oyster extract, with a hint of garlic and ginger, was created specifically for stir-frying.

Piedmont's Own Dips and Spreads—If you are ever back in our Cheese Department, make certain you sample some of our famous house-made dips and spreads. Our Spinach Dip a classic sour cream spinach dip—complete with water chestnuts. Our Dill Dip and Tzatziki Cucumber Dip are the best options for cut veggies. And, while you are there, pick up some of our Garlic Butter. It goes great on veggies and of course, garlic bread.
A Staff Favorite

Piedmont's Own 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, and also try it with cut veggies apple slices. It is fantastic on a wedge salad.
It is delicious as a dressing for sandwiches or wraps and is a delicious topping on a burger or grilled steak. You can find it in our Cheese Department.

Did you know that the first recorded evidence of the blue cheese dressing (or Roquefort Dressing) was in the Fannie Farmers cookbook that was published in 1918? The recipe for the dressing appeared again in the Edgewater Hotel Salad Book which was published in 1928. And, by the 1930s, Blue Cheese dressing was known all over the world.

Substitute Piedmont's Own Blue Cheese Dressing instead of making your own in our recipe for Heirloom Tomato Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing.

The Kitchen Table

Thistle Do!
I have always had a thing for steamed artichokes. It started when I was a kid. My grandmother was a huge fan of artichokes and she passed that love on to me. My sister and my mother weren’t as crazy about them. So, it was a connection that was just between me and my grandmother. It was ritualistic.

She would get so excited for the Spring because it would mean that artichokes would be in season. And, she would take a trip to Watsonville just to get the freshest ones. At home, she would steam them, and we would devour them with a dollop of mayonnaise on the side. Always mayo. Never butter, vinaigrette, or anything else. I have since embraced other options like chipotle aioli to aid my obsession. But, I admit that the mayo is still my favorite way to eat the leaves of a choke.

It never occurred to me growing up that the love my grandmother and I had for artichokes wasn’t universal and that other people wouldn’t have the same fondness for artichokes. I was completely shocked when I went away for college and encountered friends who hadn’t even heard of an artichoke—let alone eaten one. But my grief at the lack of artichoke reverence was lifted by the lovely woman who was the house manager for my sorority.

Ms. Church lived on the premises and managed more than just the kitchens and the grounds. She was an invaluable resource for anything we needed. She didn’t have any kids of her own. So, Ms. Church considered us all hers. She was classy as hell and didn’t take any crap. But, she was also a lot of fun. Ann Church liked her cocktails, smokes, dirty jokes, tv shows, drove a hot little Cadillac, and she was as crazy about artichokes as I am. (She was basically my hero).

Every Spring Ms. Church would order cases of artichokes that would be steamed to eat for dinner for the whole house. There was nothing else to go with them. Just the artichokes. No chicken. No potatoes. Just chokes. It was fantastic. I spent most of my first artichoke dinner explaining to others how to eat them. But, every artichoke dinner after that I sat next to Ms. Church, and we happily gorged ourselves while others looked on and thought we were nuts.

My daughter has inherited my love of artichokes, although her enthusiasm may not always match mine. We did enjoy our first giant choke of the season the other day though. It was glorious…

News & Events

Weekly Classes
Rhythm & Motion Fusion Workout (R&M) is an addictive follow-along class that is inspired by vocabulary and a soundtrack of songs from across the globe. Classes are taught by experienced dancers and performing artists—each emphasize the joyful spirit and open expressiveness of dance in its many forms. All levels and abilities are welcome to join.

R&M Fusion is the original fast-paced, follow-along format. Classes begin with a warm-up that emphasizes techniques from many dance forms—and builds to high-energy dancing to increase stamina and strength.

Preregistration on Eventbrite is required. There is no cost to dance!

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Rhu the Day
I am not really sure when I realized that I was a fan of Rhubarb. It’s not a plant you see a lot in Bay Area gardens, mainly because it prefers colder climates like in Washington and Oregon. That being said, I lived in Oregon for four years. There were plenty of berries but not a lot of rhubarb.

It’s only been in the last ten years or so that I have gone crazy for rhubarb. It took one great strawberry rhubarb pie to get my family hooked. For that reason, I feel compelled to try any rhubarb recipe that comes along.

Over the weekend we held a get-together for a friend who was in from out of town. This meant I was feeding a decent-sized crowd. The main course was easy to put together. Then, I went looking for something for dessert that was fresh, tasty, and said spring but would still feed a lot of people.

When I found this Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp recipe, I knew the search was over. This crisp was a big hit. My son said it was like crack…he couldn’t stop eating it.

I ended up doubling the recipe. But, even keeping the original proportion yields a decent-sized crisp. Don’t worry about leftovers. Even if you do end up with some, this makes an excellent breakfast.

A Cookbook Recommendation
by José Andrés and Matt Goulding

A New York Times Bestseller
From the endlessly inventive imaginations of star Spanish-American chef José Andrés and James Beard award-winning writer Matt Goulding, Vegetables Unleashed is a new cookbook that will transform how we think about—and eat—the vast universe of vegetables.

Andrés is famous for his unstoppable energy—and for his belief that vegetables are far sexier than meat can ever be. Showing us how to creatively transpose the flavors of a global pantry onto the produce aisle, Vegetables Unleashed showcases Andrés’s wide-ranging vision and borderless cooking style.

With recipes highlighting everything from the simple wonders of a humble lentil stew to the endless variations on the classic Spanish gazpacho to the curious genius of potatoes baked in fresh compost, Vegetables Unleashed gives us the recipes, tricks, and tips behind the dishes that have made Andrés one of America’s most important chefs and that promise to completely change our relationship with the diverse citizens of the vegetable kingdom.

Filled with a guerilla spirit and brought to life by Andrés’s globe-trotting culinary adventures, Vegetables Unleashed will show the home cook how to approach cooking vegetables in an entirely fresh and surprising way – and that the world can be changed through the power of plants.

José Andrés, the chef, restaurateur, and philanthropist, sets off on an extravagant vegetable journey in his dazzling new cookbook.
—The New York Times
A Staff Favorite

Organic triple cream with a heart.
Cowgirl Creamery Mt Tam cheese just flies off our shelves. It is well-loved by both our staff and our customers. It has all the lusciousness you expect from a triple cream, with a unique core that upholds its texture. We like to think of it as Brie’s quirky Californian cousin.

Mt Tam is named for our Northern California landmark—the majestic Mount Tamalpais. Made from Straus Family Dairy’s fresh organic milk, this elegant triple cream was Cowgirl's first foray into aged cheeses. Mt Tam tastes of cultured butter with hints of white mushroom.

Flavor Profile
Bloomy rind ranging from pillowy to birch bark in appearance with a delightful contrast in textures: At room temperature, Mt Tam features a dense fudgy core enveloped in an evolving pudgy creamline.

When young, notes of creme fraiche & cultured butter. At all ages, luscious, salted butter, cream, fresh pasture, & white mushrooms.

Sparkling Wine (Champagne, Prosecco, Cava)
California Chardonnay
Sparkling Dry Cider
Drinking Chocolate
Sweet Snacks (preserves, honey, etc.)

News & Events

Oakland First Fridays is a monthly celebration of arts, culture, food, and community.

Come to downtown Oakland on April 1st from 5 to 9 PM on Telegraph Avenue from West Grand to 27th Street.

Oakland First Fridays is a free event open to people of all ages. And, they keep vendor fees low to create opportunities for Oakland’s small businesses and artistic entrepreneurs. Each month has a theme.

This month, we come together to better understand how we can make eco-conscious decisions that will have a lasting impact on our environment.

From our blog, The Cocktail Post

The Bloody Mary is the quintessential brunchtime staple—salty, savory—and delicious. This variation with tomatillos and Tequila puts a south-of-the-border spin on this classic cocktail. And, you can make a batch ahead of time if you are expecting company for brunch or getting ready to watch the game.

Green tomatillos add great color and tart flavor to this Verde Bloody Mary. Be sure to use blanco Tequila, which will work nicely with the tomatillo mix.

A Staff Favorite

This means strawberry season is finally here!
So, get ready for making jam, and flavoring pancake syrup, for strawberry shortcakes and pies, smoothies and daiquiris, or drizzling them with honey to eat with a spoon.

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Loving The Tall Grass
It’s been a bumpy road to discovering my love of asparagus. As a kid, I would live in fear of the dinners where I would walk through the door and smell it steaming. If we were at my grandmother’s and I saw the hollandaise on the table, I knew it would be a rough night.

Back then asparagus wasn’t as readily available year-round as it is now. So, the arrival of those fat green stalks always heralded the beginning of spring—and filled me with dread thinking about what would be for dinner. From the moment asparagus appeared in the produce section, the regular and preferred vegetable component of our dinners switched from broccoli and frozen peas to a steady diet of asparagus prepared the same way, every time.

I can trace my change of heart vis-a-vis asparagus back to one night when I was living in San Francisco and attending a six-week cooking course. One of the many recipes we made that night was this Ragout of Fava Beans, Peas, and Asparagus with Pecorino and Crispy Prosciutto.

It was a lightbulb moment for me. Until then, I had strangely only had asparagus that was, usually, over-steamed, and I am not sure how I managed it. That recipe opened my eyes and taste buds to what asparagus is supposed to taste like. It’s a totally different experience when it is grilled…or roasted.

After having now explored asparagus used in any number of ways, you might ask what my current favorite way to enjoy asparagus is. The answer: steamed but still crunchy.

Perhaps it’s the obvious link to Easter. But, I also really like asparagus paired with eggs. This Asparagus, Tomato, and Fontina Frittata recipe is a great example. It’s delicious for brunch or paired with a salad for a light lunch. And, it does work well for an Easter buffet.

A Staff Favorite

Creamy and versatile, Stonewall Kitchen Lemon Herb Aioli makes a wonderful sauce for all kinds of dishes. The bright lemon flavor of the aioli is enhanced with just the right touch of garlic, dill, and tarragon. It’s a perfect balance of lemon, herbs, and garlic without being overpowering.

Serve Stonewall Kitchen Lemon Herb Aioli with any fish dish including crab cakes and salmon. You can warm it and spoon it over sautéed asparagus and other vegetables. It is fantastic for dipping artichokes and sweet potato fries, it will transform any sandwich or burger, and it makes a delicious salad dressing.

About Stonewall Kitchen
Founded in 1991 by partners Jonathan King and Jim Stott, the two established themselves selling jams and jellies at local farmers’ markets, fairs, and festivals. Over time, they expanded their product line. And, today products are sold in wholesale accounts nationwide and internationally. Stonewall Kitchen is the winner of many prestigious awards from the Specialty Food Association and is a recipient of the coveted Outstanding Product Line award.

We love Stonewall Kitchen because their products taste great every time we use them. And we carry a lot of their stuff! Their jams, condiments, and sauces are superlative. We love their baking mixes, pancake mixes, and syrups. You just can’t go wrong…

The Cocktail Post

aking your own Homemade Irish Cream may at first seem excessive. Why spend the time to make something that you can so easily purchase in a bottle? However, let us change your mind.

This stuff is delicious!

It only takes about 5 minutes to mix up your own Homemade Irish Cream! And, you can tweak the degree of sweetness and other flavors to suit your fancy. It keeps about two weeks in the fridge and makes a fabulous gift. Or try it in our recipe for Hot Chocolate with Guinness, Whiskey, and Baileys.

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

A deep dive into our recipe archives has come up with some wonderful ideas for cooking with spring produce with a fantastic variety of flavors. Time to do some cooking!

Jam & Jelly

From our blog, The Butcher's Block

If you are cooking meat, chances are the first thing you will be told to do is salt it.

Have you ever wondered why? Sure, the obvious answer would be because it adds flavor, which is true.

Also true? Salt can make your meat taste meatier, juicier, and smell more appetizing. But that’s not the only reason for salting your meat before cooking so (Nerd alert!) dust off your middle school science textbook and let's get started.

Do you remember those cell diagrams we all did and the experiments to demonstrate osmosis? Well, here’s one of the reasons we learned those things. (Whether you retained that knowledge is a totally different issue).

Any recipe involving meat, whether you are grilling, roasting, or sautéing, will instruct you to salt your meat and let it rest for a certain amount of time. The reason you let it sit for a bit is that during the time the salt is dissolving in the exterior moisture of the meat you are using and drawing even more moisture out of the meat and bringing it to the surface.

Now, if you remember, osmosis is the primary means by which water is transported into and out of cells with the main objective of achieving a balance of moisture. So, since the salt has drawn out moisture from the meat and dissolved in that same moisture, the nature of osmosis then draws that moisture back into the meat along with the dissolved salt. The salt then breaks down the structure of the meat fibers and proteins thus making the meat more tender.

The longer you let meat sit with salt on it, the more tender your meat. Keep in mind though, salting meat is how they make jerky so if you leave it on too long and expose it to the air…well, you get the idea.

Brining does essentially the same thing as salting but in reverse. When you make a brine for a piece of meat like a pork loin, you are making a salt solution that is more dilute than the liquid in the cells of the pork. Once again, the cells in the pork are going to want to balance so they are going to draw the brine into the cells of the pork. The salt in the brine then alters the muscle fibers and proteins of the pork allowing those cells to hold more moisture, usually about 10% more. Meat that is cooked will lose approximately 20% of its moisture during the cooking process. So by brining your meat, not only will the salt in your solution make the meat more tender, but you will also cut the moisture loss almost by half, the result being a juicier pork loin which is why brining is recommended for leaner cuts of meat.

See kids? All those evenings crouched over a poster board with your colored pencils were worth it!

Vendor of the Month

Greens that are easy to love.
We love Organicgirl greens. They are clean, crisp, and last a long time in the fridge—just like hand-picked greens from the garden. You can taste all the distinct flavors. These greens are so tasty that you'll end up eating more greens. And, they don't need extra washing.

About Orgaincgirl
Since 2007 Organicgirl has set out to change the industry, dedicating themselves to finding better ways to grow, package, and deliver a wide variety of premium greens—greens full of flavor and loaded with personality. Organicgirl is a community of people who love to live and eat well and share what they make with others.

All of Organicgirl's greens are grown locally in the Salinas Valley.

Here is what we have in the store
Super Greens
Organicgirl's most nutritious salad blend is a nutrition superstar—and it tastes great! Powerful dark leafy superfood baby greens are packed with minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals, and protective compounds.

Tasting notes
Organicgirl Super Greens is a delicious blend of five flavors: tangy red & green chard, hearty bok choy, and spicy arugula accented with mild sweet spinach.

Baby Kale Spring Mix
Spring mix just got more nutritious with baby kale! Young and tender baby kale leaves are blended into a classic sweet spring mix so you can enjoy the powerful nutrition of kale.

Tasting notes
Organicgirl has mixed tender and mild baby kale with sweet spring mix greens.

Protein Greens
Greens with protein? Organicgirl's exclusive sweet pea leaves are naturally higher in protein than other greens. Blended with other baby greens like spinach and kale, this salad brings 5 grams of plant protein for a nutritious mix. They are perfect for salads, smoothies, shakes, and cooking.

Tasting notes
Tender and triple washed, sweet pea leaves with other baby greens are delightfully mild and deliciously versatile.

Baby Spinach and Arugula
This perfect pairing of baby spinach and baby arugula combine to make a delicious blend with a flavorful kick!

Tasting notes
This blend mixes spinach, the original superfood, with the wild child of greens to make a tasty mix with a peppery kick that you will love!

Butter Plus!
Triple washed & ready to use, this organic butter lettuce is harvested whole, then gently separated by hand for a tender blend of red butter lettuces that you won’t find anywhere else.

Tasting notes
Butter Plus! is made from crunchy and velvety red butter leaves—plus packed with more iron than spinach.

Baby Arugula
This green can multi-task. It's great as a salad but even better for cooking. Spread some arugula on top of pizza straight from the oven, add it to your favorite pasta dish, or sauté it with spinach for a spicy side dish.

Tasting notes
Baby arugula is spicy, peppery & flavorful with a bit of attitude.

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.