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.

North Berkeley Farmers’ Market Turns Ten


Vendor Lisa Kashiwase of Kashiwase Farms sells organic stone fruits and almonds.

Vendor Lisa Kashiwase of Kashiwase Farms sells organic stone fruits and almonds.

Thursday, August 14, 3–6pm Shattuck Ave & Rose St, Berkeley Still going strong after ten years, the North Berkeley Farmers’ Market is a highlight of the Gourmet Ghetto. The Ecology Center invites you to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of this all-organic market, one of the few in the country. This special market event features live music by jazz and blues duo Dewayne Oakley and Christopher Lowell Clarke plus cake cutting at 4pm. Festive dress is encouraged.

The North Berkeley market draws 1,700 shoppers weekly, and is a “Zero Waste Zone,” where most plastics have been eliminated. Many shoppers bring and re-use their own bags or baskets as they peruse the splendid selection of produce, cheese, nuts, meats, seafood, tofu, pasta, and baked goods. Renowned culinary destinations in the neighborhood—including Chez PanisseMasse’s PastriesBistro LiaisonSaul’s Restaurant and Deli, and The Cheese Board Collective —source ingredients from the farmers at the market, as do food luminaries Alice Waters and Michael Pollan. All are invited to this free, wheelchair-accessible event. North-Berkeley-market2


Swap Your Crops!

crop-swap-photo Too much zucchini? Share your garden’s bounty and come home with someone else’s. Some swaps encourage trading of gardening tools and materials, recipes, baked goods, and tips on getting more involved in your community. Arrive on time for the best selection.

Mondays, 6:30–7:30pm
Ohlone Greenway
Sacramento & Delaware streets, Berkeley

Tuesdays, 6:30–7:30pm
Albany Community Center
1249 Marin Ave

Wednesdays, 5–6pm
Richmond Public Library, in the courtyard
325 Civic Center Plaza

Wednesdays, 5:30–6:30pm
El Sobrante
Lila’s House,2932 May Rd

Saturday August 16 (one day only), 11am–1pm
Dimond Branch Library
3565 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland
Info: 510.482.7844

Third Saturdays through October, 10–10:30am
Various sites in Maxwell Park, Oakland
Info: or

Saturdays through September
Times and locations vary
Playndirt Crop Swaps
Info: or

Sundays, 1–3pm
Pollinate Farm & Garden
2727 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland


Book Reviews

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.


Purchase this book

Purchase this book

Cooking 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.



Sunset’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.



Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen 
by Edward Lee
(Artisan, 2013)
Restaurateur and James Beard Award finalist Edward Lee shares 130 recipes mixing the flavors and techniques of his Korean roots, classical French training, and Kentucky home, with its garden and local farms. With one foot in the Southeast and one in the Far East, he says, “Smoke is the intersection that connects my two worlds…And where there is smoke, there is always a pickle nearby.”



From the Wood-Fired Oven: New and Traditional Techniques for Cooking and Baking with Fire 
by Richard Miscovich
(Chelsea Green, 2013)
Are you intrigued by wood-fired ovens, but looking to move beyond traditional pizza and breads? Live-fire expert Miscovich provides instruction and recipes for roasting fish and meats; grilling, steaming, braising, and frying; baking pastries; rendering animal fats and clarifying butter; dehydrating foods; and infusing oils.



Homemade Condiments: Artisan Recipes Using Fresh, Natural Ingredients 
by Jessica Harlan
(Ulysses Press, 2013)
If you’re investing time and effort to make specially grilled foods, you’ll want to flavor them with nice condiments. Use this guide to whip up 75 different barbecue sauces, mustards, tangy spreads, and infused vinegars to enhance and add flavor.


Roast Pork Loin (Cormarye)

Paula Marcoux Photograph by ©  Keller & Keller Photography, Inc.  All rights reserved.

Paula Marcoux
Photograph by ©
Keller & Keller Photography, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Although moving away from the comfort of a kitchen range or backyard grill might seem daunting, experimenting with equipment and environments to cook food over an open fire can be easier than you think. It’s very satisfying and enjoyable with a group of friends or even as a project to engage and delight children. As an alternative to our usual practice of including a recipe from one of the cookbooks, given the multi-dimensionality of wood-fired grilling, we thought you might find it helpful and inspiring to watch this short video of Paula Marcoux, author of Cooking with Fire. You’ll see how Marcoux roasts a deliciously succulent pork loin over an open fire in her fireplace using an easily, inexpensively constructed homemade metal spit. The simple, satisfying recipe, inspired by 14th-century English techniques, is featured in the book and available for download here.