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 oaktownspiceshop.com 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. Toast 1½ teaspoons coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, and 1 teaspoon caraway seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant. Grind in a spice grinder. Set aside. Place soaked chilies, 1 roasted bell pepper, ground spices, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons water, and pinch of salt in a food processor. Blend into a smooth purée. Store in fridge. Use this North African condiment in shakshuka, chermoula, dressings, soups, pasta, and on veggies, fish, eggs, and meats. 

Spiced nuts

In a bowl, mix 1 cup raw nuts (pecans, almonds, etc.) with 2 teaspoons maple syrup, ½ teaspoon finely ground salt, ½ teaspoon ground chipotle chili, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon light oil (grapeseed, etc.). Toss to coat. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spread nuts evenly. Bake in preheated 300°F oven for 40 minutes until they have a nice roasted flavor. Cool and serve as a snack or chopped on desserts, ice cream, etc.

Exploring Dried Chilies with John Beaver
Tuesday September 18, 7:15pm-8:45pm
Oaktown Spice Shop, 546 Grand Ave, Oakland

Join Oaktown Spice Shop owner and chili expert John Beaver for a workshop on using whole dried chilies to make delicious spicy condiments. You’ll also learn about some of the amazing properties of dried chilies and how to control the level of heat. Cost: $50. Tickets: here