Author Archive | Edible East Bay

Tomatoes at the Station


Kassenhoff Growers takes
root at Oakland landmark

By Cheryl Angelina Koehler • Photos by Andrew Ellis

In May, when Kassenhoff Growers invited a group of devoted customers to a debut plant sale at their new West Oakland digs, owners Helen Krayenhoff and Peggy Kass weren’t quite prepared for the frenzy that would ensue over Krayenhoff’s newly minted tomato trading cards*.

“People started trading them right after they came through the gate,” Krayenhoff says, explaining how she gave each visitor two copies of the same card as a signal to start swapping. The surprise was that some people talked others out of their cards entirely in an effort to amass all eight “stars” of the tomato-lover’s garden.

Helen Krayenhoff  gets seedlings ready to take to the farmers’ market.

Helen Krayenhoff gets seedlings ready to take to the farmers’ market.

But of course, the fans didn’t come to this sale for the cards: The actual stock in trade at Kassenhoff Growers is organic seedlings. After nearly two decades in the biz, Helen and her life partner Peggy Kass are now known fondly as the “tomato gals” or “tomato ladies” of the Grand Lake and Temescal farmers’ markets. They also have a loyal following for their full array of vegetable, flower, and herb seedlings, which get high marks for growing up to be healthy and productive members of many an East Bay home garden.… Read More

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Vegan Virtuoso

Bryant Terry dishes up food with heat and heart
— and music for good measure

By Sarah Henry

Bryant Terry is literally a poster child for Oakland: You can find him alongside the likes of chef Tanya Holland and urban farmer Novella Carpenter as part of a campaign celebrating this city’s diverse residents designed by the creative folks at Oaklandish.

He’s a good fit for a hometown hero: Terry’s a self-described eco-chef, a food justice activist, and the author of four cookbooks, three of them vegan, and all of them celebrating locally sourced, sustainable food that’s healthy and flavorful. He’s married to Chinese-American community organizer Jidan Koon, and they live with their two young children in a bungalow in the Laurel neighborhood, complete with a produce plot where they grow collards, mustards, and bok choy. They cook what they call Afro-Asian cuisine. He’s vegan, but his wife and daughter eat meat.

Terry is a man who cares deeply about his personal roots and his political convictions. On Twitter his moniker is, aptly, @afrovegan. Place is also important to him. Under his Twitter handle he’s crafted what could be his six-word memoir: “TN raised. BK made. OAK Saved.”

So it was no accident that the launch for his latest cookbook, Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed (Ten Speed Press, 2014), was held at Impact Hub in Oakland, a new co-working space with a social justice side.… Read More

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A Valley Hotspot

Christopher Corey outside Underdog Wine Bar

Christopher Corey outside Underdog Wine Bar

Underdog Wine Bar at Concannon Vineyards

Story and Photos by Deborah Grossman

The historic Concannon home adds to the beauty and interest at this property.

The historic Concannon home adds to the beauty and interest at this property.

The Restaurant at the Wente Vineyards event center is the alpha dog of winery dining in Livermore Valley with its half-acre organic garden and 25-year history of white-tablecloth cuisine. But Underdog Wine Bar at Concannon Vineyards has established its own fan base for casual social gatherings, happy-hour noshing, and full-on, tapas-style meals.

Photos of James Concannon, founder of the first Irish winery in America, and labels depicting the winery’s 131-year history adorn the walls of the corridor leading from the tasting room to the lounge area. The wine bar, with its casual seating, exudes an urban ambiance, which invites guests to share savory or sweet bites and wine flights from over 30 wines by the glass. The atmosphere on the patio is pure wine country with views of the vineyards, picnic lawn, and historic Concannon home.

Chef Christopher Corey is responsible for the food and menu at Underdog. An East Bay native, with culinary school and many professional posts under his belt, Corey is now the site chef at Underdog with the winery’s culinary partner, On the Vine Catering of Livermore.… Read More

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Erin Scott

Maker of delicious dishes, no caveats attached

By Sarah Henry • Photos by Erin Scott

erinscott_yummysupper_bioshot-8244Here’s what you need to know about Erin Scott up front. She loves eating, cooking, and photographing food. Period. Sure, she has this pesky (okay, more than pesky) problem called celiac disease, a chronic digestive disorder that can damage the small intestine. So she’s gluten free because she needs to be. And her two children are gluten-intolerant, so theirs is a gluten-free home.

Beyond that, she doesn’t want people to get hung up on the GF next to her name. Got it?

Scott is understandably sensitive. Gluten-free folks have been taking some hits lately. Is it a medical necessity for a minority? A food fad for those who just want to cut carbs and shed some pounds? A bona fide culinary trend? Or all three?

While a band of consumers is embracing a gluten-free life, others find the new wave of gluten shunners an irritation. Case in point: A New Yorker cartoon this year with the caption, “I’ve only been gluten-free for a week, but I’m already really annoying.” Mocking GFers has become a punch line on late-night TV too. Watch Jimmy Kimmel’s skit asking health-obsessed Southern Californians who have jumped on the gluten-free bandwagon to describe what gluten is.… Read More

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Contents Fall Harvest 2014


Bay Bucks Means Business
Tomatoes at the Station
Bryant Terry, Vegan Virtuoso
Erin Scott’s Yummy Supper
Berkeley vs. Big Soda








Read about Celia Wedding, how this print was made and the recipe for Celia Wedding’s Gluten-free Goat’s Milk Pear Cake.

 On the right: “Turkey Hen” a three plate etching/aquatint by artist Celia Wedding.


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Wild Turkey


Celia Wedding’s turkey hen image came from the same key plate the artist used in creating the three-color print on this issue’s cover. Learn more about the artist and her process click here.

A good choice for the
sustainability pilgrim’s Thanksgiving

By Erik “Daemon” Ferry
Illustration by Celia Wedding

For those who have what it takes to get ’em, there’s a flavorsome, healthful, thoroughly organic, and environmentally appropriate source of harvest-season poultry running amok in the East Bay hills.

We are of course talking wild turkeys.

Introduced as a game bird from the ecologically similar Texas Hill Country by our department of fish and wildlife beginning back in the 1950s, the birds have done very well here in the Golden State. So well, in fact, that they’ve become infamous for erupting from the leafy hinterlands to wreak minor havoc ranging from sturm und drang at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories to mugging miniature schnauzers for their kibble in swanky Danville backyards. There’s also some evidence that, in numbers, wild turkeys can erase certain native invertebrates and reduce the availability of acorns, a key seasonal food resource for indigenous wildlife.
The nerve. Something must be done.

On the other hand, wild turkeys probably didn’t ask to be brought here.… Read More

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August 10, 2014


Sunday, August 17, 4–7pm
Harvest of Shame
Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve
1595 Railroad Ave, Vallejo

California’s Institute for Rural Studies presents Edward R. Murrow’s 1960 groundbreaking documentary Harvest of Shame. The film, originally televised on CBS the day after Thanksgiving, offers a poignant exposé of the brutal conditions experienced by migrant farm workers. A discussion with anthropologist Dr. Seth Holmes and Department of Labor Investigator Paul Ramirez about current farm worker conditions follows the film.

The screening includes treats from Slow Food Delta Diablo and Slow Food Solano plus popcorn from POP Mama POP. The Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve is on the southern side of the island, with sweeping views of the Bay, hiking trails, picnic areas, and the oldest naval cemetery west of the Mississippi. The movie is shown in the visitors center, formerly a 1934 ammunitions bunker! This event is free and open to the public, though donations are gratefully accepted.

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Fibershed Recipes


Serves 8

1 to 1½ pounds fresh shell beans, shelled (about 1½ cups shelled)
3 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
1 leek, sliced and soaked in water until clean
1/3 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Bouquet garni with: 1 sprig thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig savory, 1 chile pod
Salt to taste
4 summer squash, sliced
2 cups of green beans, top and tail removed and cut into 1-inch lengths
4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

For the pistou
3 cloves garlic, peeled
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups basil leaves, chopped
½ cup grated parmesan cheese or ¼ cup gruyère and ¼ cup Parmesan
¼ cup olive oil

Place the shelled beans in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot with 3 quarts water. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and cook until tender.

Drain the leek. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat, add the onions and cook until tender (without coloring), about 15 minutes. Add the leek, 6 cloves garlic, bouquet garni, and salt and cook for another 2 minutes. Cover with water and bring to a boil.… Read More

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Summer Grilling: It’s all Fun and Flames!


Reviews by Kristina Sepetys


People have been cooking with fire for thousands of years. Wood fires suggest comfort, fellowship, and celebration, and many chefs think they’re the best way to coax flavor out of foods. Whether you’re planning to grill up some goodness at a campsite, in your fireplace, over the grill on your deck, or in a cob oven, you’ll find lots of inspiration in these titles.



Cooking with FireCooking with Fire: From Roasting on a Spit to Baking in a Tannur, Rediscovered Techniques and Recipes that Capture the Flavors of Wood-Fired Cooking
by Paula Marcoux
(Storey, 2014)

Marcoux, a food historian and wood-fired cooking enthusiast, shares 100 recipes for preparing all manner of dishes, from meat and fish to breads and beverages. She begins with simple techniques, like cooking with live fire and food on a stick, and progresses to spits, skewers, grills, planks, pots, pans, griddles, and other more elaborate structures that harness heat and maximize flavor.



The Great OutdoorsSunset’s The Great Outdoors Cookbook:
Adventures in Cooking Under the Open Sky

by the editors of Sunset Magazine
(Oxmoor House, 2014)

More than 200 step-by-step, well-illustrated recipes and instructions for out-of-doors cooking adventures, including foods for the backpack, plants to forage, and techniques for using campfires, grills, smokers, Dutch and solar ovens, camp stoves, cauldrons, fire pits, and outdoor and pizza ovens.… Read More

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Grill Time!

Grill Time!

Summer grills are sizzling hot, cooking up everything from pork ribs and burgers to squash, peaches, and figs. We’re featuring five books on outdoor cooking with equipment that ranges from backyard grills to cob ovens and camp stoves. Some include how to make your own condiments. We’ll also take you to a matsuri (that’s the Japanese word for “festival”) where you can sample grilled yakitori. Then it’s on to a farmers’ market celebration, where you’ll find plenty of organic edibles to grill at home.


Paula Marcoux, author of Cooking With Fire, plank-roasts a fish fillet over an open fire. Nineteenth-century texts and modern-day cooks favor smooth hardwoods like oak, hickory, and birch for planks. Different woods produce different smoke and flavoring. Photograph by © Keller & Keller Photography, Inc. from Paula Marcoux’s Cooking With Fire. All rights reserved.


Two Years in Oaktown for Umami Mart

Umami-Mart-festival Matsuri Festival Tuesday August 12, 6–9pm 815 Broadway, Oakland Umami Mart celebrates two years in Oakland with a tasty spin on the traditional Japanese matsuri (festival). An importer of high-quality kitchen and barware from Japan, Umami Mart also serves as a hub for events and conversations about food and drink. For their summertime birthday bash, they’re serving up burgers by Kronnerburger, Japanese-inspired ice cream scoops by Bootleg Creamery, grilled yakitori by Izakaya Trappist, fresh ceviche, tako (octopus) tacos, plus wine, Japanese beer, and tunes courtesy of DJ Chungtech.… Read More

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