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Whoopie Pies

Recipe excerpted from Rose’s Baking Basics © 2018 by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Photography © 2018 by Matthew Septimus. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. (Adapted by Edible East Bay.)
This recipe is said to have originated in the Pennsylvania Dutch country. Although it is called “pie,” it is actually a cake. The batter is stiff enough to scoop and bake free-form on a cookie sheet, but the results are light and moist. Whoopie pies are usually filled with an airy vanilla buttercream such as mousseline, but neoclassic buttercream, chocolate mousse ganache, or any whipped cream would also be great choices.
Makes six 3½-inch whoopies (510 grams batter)

Baking equipment: Two 15×12 inch cookie sheets, coated with nonstick cooking spray or with shortening; Optional: 2 inch diameter cookie scoop

2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
1 large egg (or if measuring, 3 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon, 50 grams, or 47.5 ml)
1.5 ounces (42 grams) dark chocolate, 60% to 62% cacao, chopped
1 cup (lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off) plus ½ tablespoon bleached all-purpose flour (125 grams) 
¼ cup (sifted before measuring) unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder (19 grams)
½ teaspoon (2.2 grams) baking powder
½ teaspoon (2.7 grams ) baking soda
½ teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt
½ cup (121 grams or 118 ml) low-fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons (27 grams or 30 ml) canola or safflower oil
½ cup (120 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar, preferably dark Muscovado
1⅓ cups filling of your choice (see headnote)
Preheat the oven to 400°F for 30 minutes or longer before baking.… Read More

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Family Fun at Two Olive Festivals

Eat, Dance, and Play in an Olive Grove

Photo courtesy of Mission San Jose Chamber of Commerce.

Bring the whole family to this lively fest to enjoy food, wine, live music and dance, and special activities for kids. Shop for olive oil and olive wood products, specialty foods, and honey. The Olive Festival is an annual event presented by the Mission San Jose Chamber of Commerce, with funds raised used for MSJ Chamber activities to benefit the community. Free admission. Info: here
17th Annual Olive Festival
Saturday & Sunday, October 6 & 7, 10am–5pm
Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose Olive Grove
Mission San Jose
43326 Mission Blvd, Fremont


Sample Local Olive Oils and Explore the Nature Area

Photo courtesy of Wagner Ranch Nature Area.

Come out to the historic Wagner Ranch Nature Area, where you can taste delicious olive oils from local growers and enjoy live music and arts and crafts. Kids will have fun exploring the pond, and toddlers are invited to a special garden scavenger hunt. The Olive Spit Pit contest is a highlight, as are the friendly pet goats. Bring your own picnic or visit the food tent and picnic in the county’s oldest-producing olive grove.… Read More

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Oakland Spirits Beckon

Feel the Halloween spirit on Local Food Adventures’ spooky walking tour filled with tricks and tasty treats. This 90-minute tour highlights some of the Piedmont area’s hidden gems, including the final resting places of famous and infamous Bay Area residents. You’ll get to taste La Farine’s eerily red velvet cupcakes, visit the Chapel of the Chimes, and view historic family vaults and grave sites. A highlight is the final resting place of “Trader Vic” and a chance to toast his life with a Mai Tai (or non-alcoholic option) at the nearby Kona Club. Cost: $30 or $25 for the non-alcoholic option. Info and registration: here 

Oakland Sweets, Spirits and the Beyond
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in October, 4pm
Local Food Adventures (see link above for details)

Photos courtesy of Local Food Adventures.

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Bring on the Pumpkins!

The harvest season is in full swing each October weekend at Orchard Nursery. Come enjoy pumpkins galore, a local makers’ market, activities for kids, and live music, and be sure to meet the friendly farm animals. This year’s scarecrow theme is Día De Los Muertos, especially timed with favorite staff movie Coco. Events vary each weekend day. Free. Info: here

Orchard Nursery’s Harvest Festival
Each weekend, October 1–31, 11am–3pm
4010 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Lafayette

Artwork by Pam McCauley.

Photo courtesy of Orchard Nursery.

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Build Strength in Community at the Gill Tract Farm

Join friends and neighbors for a day of fun, good food, farm chores, and reflection at the Gill Tract Community Farm. Help out with farm work, clean up the creek, and take part in the seminar “How Urban Agriculture Can Cool the Planet.” The event promises activities for kids, a lunch featuring farm-fresh veggies, and conversation on sharing resources and supporting radical social movements and environmental justice. Info: here
Harvest Festival 2018: Sharing Roots, Growing Resilience
Sunday October 14, 10am–4pm
UC Gill Tract Community Farm
1050 San Pablo Ave, Albany

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Learn to Farm in Community

The CoCo San Sustainable Farm is based on Paul and Elizabeth Kaiser’s Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastapol, pictured above. Photo courtesy of CoCo San Sustainable Farm.

Help to create a community farm as you learn bio-intensive organic farming and permaculture methods to use in your own backyard. Under the direction of master gardener Bethallyn Black, you’ll learn about urban soils as you lay out and build planting beds, install drip irrigation, and determine which seeds to plant. The farm is modeled on the Sebastapol project of Paul and Elizabeth Kaiser at their Singing Frogs Farm, where they use no-till methods, organics, inter-cropping, hedgerows, and integrated pest management. Wear comfortable clothes, a hat, and sunscreen. Bring gloves, shovel, rake, spade, and any other relevant tools if you have them. Please put your name on your tools. Youth are welcome with a parent. Free, but please register. Info: here

Free Class in Regenerative Urban Farming
Saturday September 29, 8amnoon
CoCo San Sustainable Farm
5500 Imhoff Dr, Martinez

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Emeryville Spotlights the Arts

M. Louise Stanley, “The Good Old Days,” acrylic on canvas, 2014, 44″ x 54″.
Photo courtesy of Emeryville Celebration of the Arts.

The arts are thriving in Emeryville, with eye-catching works on display at the city’s annual juried exhibition. Come enjoy paintings, sculpture, photographs, ceramics, textiles, glass works, and poetry by 115 artists and craftspeople who live or work in Emeryville. See new works by established artists and be among the first to appreciate emerging talent. The opening reception features live jazz and blues and a no-host bar to benefit the Emeryville Youth Art Program, which brings professional artists into Emeryville public schools. All works are for sale. Free admission. Info: here

32nd Annual Emeryville Art Exhibition
Saturday October 6–Sunday October 28, open daily, 11am–6pm
Gala Opening Reception: Friday October 5, 6–9 pm
5700 Horton St, Emeryville

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Cookies & Beer, Together at Last

Chocolate Dipped Madeleines taste just right with an amber ale’s rich caramel and hop notes.

You know you’ve secretly wanted cookies and beer together, but elegant desserts like madeleines, French almond cakes, and biscotti always get served with coffee, tea, or a glass of milk. Now’s the time to jump out of that rut. Alameda bakery Donsuemor has brewed up some inventive new couplings to help you celebrate Oktoberfest in style. Working with a Reno Tahoe–area brewmaster, these baking pros have identified ideal combinations of cookies and beer that span the seasons and translate across different brands. Enjoy this video from Donsuemor and the Brewer’s Cabinet, and try these pairings with your favorite local brews:
Pumpkin Spice Madeleines with a Brown Ale
Upgrade your pumpkin spice latte. When the soft accents of cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices start mingling with pumpkin in this fluffy, soft cookie, you’re going to want to reach for a creamy rich, big and bold brown ale. Just add an extra 30 minutes to your cardio workout at the gym and life will be in perfect balance.

Traditional Madeleines with a Blonde Ale
The buttery vanilla cake notes of the traditional madeleine are a great complement to a crisp, light, and refreshing golden ale, especially one in a German or Czech style.Read More

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Candidates’ Forum Focuses on Food

Access to healthy food, food workers’ rights, and the impact of agriculture on the environment will be front and center when District 15 State Assembly candidates Jovanka Beckles and Buffy Wicks come together on October 3 to discuss important issues related to food. The 15th Assembly District, the seat currently held by Democrat Tony Thurmond, includes Berkeley, Richmond, El Cerrito, San Pablo, Pinole, and part of Oakland. The moderator for this event is Nina F. Ichikawa, policy director of the Berkeley Food Institute. This event is free and open to all. Food, Spanish translation, and childcare for kids out of diapers are available. Reserve early for childcare. Tickets and info: here
Candidates’ Forum: Food in the 15th
Wednesday October 3, 6:30– 8pm (doors open 5:45pm)
Richmond Memorial Auditorium, Bermuda Room
2540 Nevin Ave, Richmond

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Feel the September Heat

In 2017, Edible East Bay artist Helen Krayenhoff created the third in her series of simple recipe books, 12 Pepper + Chile Recipe Ideas. It seems the dried chili ardor hasn’t cooled as she’s continued her collaboration with John Beaver at Oaktown Spice Shop to design and produce this handsome poster to celebrate Chili Month in September.

Both locations of the shop (one in Oakland, and the new shop in Albany) will be celebrating Chili Month with dried chilies from around the world: Featured recipes, workshops, chili recipe books, South American cloud forest perennial pepper plants from Kassenhoff Growers, posters, and much more.

Cooking with dried chilies literally opens up a whole world of flavor. Every continent hosts cuisines that depend on the varied flavors and heat of this condiment. Drying chilies extends their usefulness beyond their growing season and their light weight and long-term storage ability enables us to partake all year round. So whether you are a ‘hotter the better person’ or prefer the nuances of flavor in the milder varieties, come to the Oaktown Spice Shop in September to celebrate and learn about this versatile spice.

Visit for up-to-date event information. Find Helen’s recipe books: here

Try these recipes from the calendar:


Soak 4 ounces dried chilies like ancho, guajillo, etc.… Read More

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