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Build Your Own Winter Soup   

With this much rain (and don't even say it...blizzards on the East Coast!) we have soup on the brain. This issue is filled with great soup recipes, however sometimes you want to whip something up from ingredients you already have on hand.

Just follow these basic steps, and you can design your own soup. Also...pay attention to some of the great product recommendations we love to keep stocked in our pantries.

Choose an oil...this could be a high-quality olive oil, or you can start with Fabrique Délices Rendered Duck Fat.

Choose a base...we love Kitchen Basics stocks. Another staff pick is Better than Boullion concentrate. Cream or milk can be added at the very end. A piece of Parmesan rind adds great flavor.

Choose a meat...ask our butcher for the best cut, or start with already cooked leftovers.

Choose some vegetables...the options are abundant. We like to begin with aromatics (chopped onion is available in our produce department).  Beans (pre-cooked), or smaller lentils (We love Zürsun!), greens are fantastic, or if you want sweetness you can add winter squash, fennel or sweet potatoes. And dried mushrooms from Wine Forest Wild Foods adds a touch of earthiness.

Grains...the optional addition of grains such as farro (our favorite is Bartolini) pasta, or rice will help thicken the broth.

Choose some herbs or spices...we always reach for Morton and Bassett--they're the freshest!

Something acidic...soups benefit from the addition of acid. It could be a spoonful of good vinegar, crushed tomatoes, mustard (yes, it contains both spice and vinegar), or squeeze a little fresh lemon or lime just before serving.

  1. Place a large soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Sauté your aromatic vegetables (onion, garlic, celery, carrot) in your fat.
  3. Cook your meat (if desired).
  4. Add your base and herbs or spices (milk or cream is added at the end),
  5. Add the beans, grains, and veggies paying attention to cooking time. For example fresh greens, fresh herbs, and pasta should be added toward the end-lentils will take longer to cook.
  6. Season, taste, and adjust.
  7. Allow to simmer for an hour or two.
  8. Taste before serving and adjust seasoning.
That's it! In the end, you can choose to puree all or a portion with a stick blender. And soup always tastes better with a piece of crusty bread.

A delicious addition to your warming stews and soups.

Trout beans have a striking maroon and ivory coloring. Their smooth, creamy texture and mild flavor making them ideal for soups.

They are originally from Germany, and are also know by the name Jacobs Cattle in the Northeast.

This delicious, ultimate eco-friendly food is grown on small-scale farms in a region of Idaho known as the Magic Valley Growing Area. It boasts of ideal environmental conditions for growing pure, distinctly flavorful beans.
Heirloom beans are untouched by genetic science or modern technology. Discovering and enjoying heirloom beans helps preserve traditional varieties.

Feed Your Inner Foodie
January 14 through 24, 2016-that's two weeks of great meals.

A great opportunity to eat out, and try some new places!

For 10 days Oakland restaurants will offer special prix-fixe lunch and/or dinner menus at $20, $30, $40, and $50 price points.

Find out what restaurants are participating, and make reservations.

Get the link...

Authentic, delicious, and dead-easy to prepare.
This classic risotto dish of Milan has excellent flavor and texture, and is a versatile base for any risotto-just add mushrooms, asparagus, herbs. And if you want a main dish, add shrimp or cooked chicken...wonderful risotto without standing over the stove and stirring!

We love keeping a few packages stocked in the pantry for raining evenings. We also carry Alessi's Porchini Risotto.


We are in for a wet winter...
and nothing warms the heart like a cup of spiked, hot chocolate. Chris, in our Wine and Spirits department, made a few suggestions for what to spike it with:

Brandy is delicious, and so is a woody Bourbon. He recommends Elijah Craig Kentucky Straight Bourbon or a spicy one like Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey. You might also want to try this Bottom Shelf Gem, Old Granddad Bonded Whiskey.

As for the cocoa?
Here is our favorite recipe, or you can opt for a Silly Cow Farms Hot Chocolate Mix, they come in a variety of flavors, and mix up beautifully.

Spiked Hot Cocoa
Serves four

Get the Recipe...

Get out of the house, and into the community on a rainy Saturday.
Here is a list of some of our staff's favorite places to take the kids (or a date), rain or shine.

Oakland Museum of California
Quilting exhibit will be on display through February 21st along with their galleries of California Art, History, and Natural Science.

Chabot Space & Science Center
A leading center for science and space education, and has a long list of events and activities including an Observatory.

 Albany Bowl
Bowling, billiards, arcade, and games...

Piedmont Theater
And of course, there is always the movies with a stop afterwards at:

Fenton's Creamery
For great ice cream.

Museum of Children's Arts
For children and their families to create and connect through art-featuring exhibitions and drop-in open studios to do projects.

Lawrence Hall of Science
UC Berkeley's world-renowned science center that includes a planetarium, 3D Theater and hands-on Design Quest.

Housewives Market (Swan's Market)
Historic market showcase for some of the best food and wine in the Bay Area.


Italian Soul Food for a Rainy January
In the hills of southern Umbria, the Bartolini family have been growing olives, grains, and legumes since the 1850's.

Bartolini Farmer's Soup
The soup includes borlotti beans, red lentils, chickpeas, canellini beans, red azuki beans, yellow soy, occhio beans, broken green peas, San Matteo red beans and peeled broad beans.

Bartolini Quick Cooking Soup
This quick cooking soup mix includes: pearl barley, red lentils, occhio beans, azuki green beans, and broken green beans. A simple recipe is on the back of the bag and it cooks in only 30 minutes!

Read More... 

From Amy and our "What's For Dinner Wednesday" recipe blog 

Food Circus

The Fancy Food Show happened over the weekend. It's one of my favorite things about January. Same goes for my kids-because at no other time during the year do I bring that much salt water taffy and random samples home.

It's not just the taffy. I like to bring them interesting stuff to try. I unfortunately wasn't able to get any of the "bug" products (crickets, cricket flour, chocolate covered bugs, Bugitos...you get the idea) 'cause it would have been kinda fun to see their reactions. For the record, anything made out of bugs, chocolate covered or otherwise, is a no-go for me. Not saying they don't taste good, or that they are bad for you but, no thank you. Just like my father's philosophy on tomatoes, I will sell them but I don't have to eat them.

I was not able to bring home any samples of the 100 or so purveyors of jerky either. But know this-jerky is a big thing. There was jerky everywhere, and in many forms: beef jerky, chicken jerky, salmon jerky even bacon jerky with Sriracha. (Which by the way was so good.) If you can dry it, season it, and use it as protein, chances are it was being shown at the Fancy Food Show. Also, if your company could possibly get away with putting Sriracha on whatever you were selling? You did...Sriracha everywhere.

The bone broth trend is still going strong. I was able to sample a really tasty chicken bone broth (they have a variety of broths to choose from) that comes as a K-Cup for your Keurig. Just make sure you are awake enough to realize what you're brewing in the morning 'cause that could be an unfortunate surprise...

Read the rest of the article, and get the recipe for Quick Pickled Apples...
In This Issue
Featured Product
Featured Product
The Cocktail Post
Rainy Day Activities in the East Bay
Favorite Soup Recipes
Vendor of the Month
News from the Fancy Food Show
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4038 Piedmont Ave.
Oakland, CA 94611
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Visit our recipe blog to learn what Amy, our VP and resident foodie, is cooking up in her home kitchen.

Classic Beer Bread

Red Lentil Soup

Caviar with Blini

Pommes Dauphinoise (Potatoes au Gratin)

Sticky Toffee Gingerbread

Classic Scottish Shortbread

Barley and Pine Nut Pilaf

Spinach Gratin

Pie Month 2015

Bar Nuts

Caramel Nut Pie
Beef Short Ribs Braised in Dark Beer with Bacon and Red Onions

Apple Cider Caramels

Slow-Cooker Chicken Mole

Pecan Bars

Sausage and Apples

Senate Bean Soup &
Gam's Navy Bean Soup

Rizzo e Zucca (Rice and Butternut Squash)

Baked Farro, Bacon and Butternut Squash

Baked Apple Dumplings

Granola Bar Cookies 

Curried Chicken and Apple Wraps 

Streamlined Baked Manicotti

Chicken Tamale Pie

Easy Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream (No-Churn)

In Memory of Desmond Ritchie

Chiles Anchos Rellenos de Queso (Cheese-Filled Ancho Chiles)

Tian de Courgettes au Riz (Zucchini Tian)

Clam Chowder with Root Vegetables and Thyme

Lemon Meringue Pie

Jelly, Marmalade & Jam

Never-Fail Biscuits and Strawberry Freezer Jam

Black and Tan Sundae

Spinach Cobb Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese, Avocado & Derby Dressing

Singapore Sling

Summer Pannini

Peach Cobbler
Canal House's Chicken Thighs with Lemon

Spicy Beer Marinated Flank Steak

Grilled Pork Chops with Sweet Lemongrass Marinade

Mexican Bulldog Margarita

Classic Ensenada Fish Tacos

Amy's Roast Chicken

Old Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake
Crispy, Crackly Apple-Almond Tart

Cashel Blue, Spinach and Smoked Salmon Tartlets

Easy Self-Rising Biscuits

Classic Chicken Chow Mein

Julie & Julia's Bruschetta

Spicy Mushroom Tamales

Mush­room and Shallot Quiche

Amy's Gua­camole

Roasted Cauli­flower & Hazelnut Salad

Bach­elor Beef Stew

Crock Pot Oats & Amish Style Baked Oat­meal

Champagne Cocktail

Irish Coffee

Holiday Cookie Basket

Anise Cakes

Roasted Fresh Ham with Citrus and Rye

Christmas Butter Cookies

Gam's Apple Chutney

Pie Month

Autumn Salad with Apples, Comté, and Hazelnuts

Deconstructed Holiday Turkey with Sage Gravy

Cornmeal-Crusted Crayfish Pies

Old-Fashioned Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

Three Soups!
Bonus Recipes

Apple, Onion and Cheddar Soup

Traditional French Cassoulet

Endive & Fuyu Persimmon Salad with Pecans

Double Cut pork Chops with Garlic Butter

Inside Out Pumpkin Muffins

Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Crab and Corn Pies with Corn Crab Sauce

Amy's Hummus