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Sugar & Spice

We have an especially flavorful array of opportunities on this week's menu. Scroll down to explore all the spices and sweets.

Oaktown Spice Shop owners Erica Perez and John Beaver (with daughter Luisa) recently moved their popular shop to a larger space on Grand Avenue. Photo: Erin Scott.

In this newsletter:

●  Oaktown Spice Shop thrives in its new home
●  Get the dirt on hops at Ploughshares Nursery - July 4
●  Peek behind the scenes at Three Stone Hearth - July 12
●  Book Review: Cool cakes for hot days
●  Recipe: Persian Lime Curry Chicken
Don't miss our Summer issue, where you can read about the Spice Whisperer.

Cover photo by Robin Jolin.

The new shop features separate sections for a spice market and a bazaar.
Photos courtesy of Oaktown Spice Shop.

A Sweet New Space for Spice Lovers

Oaktown Spice Shop is a favored haunt for curious foodies and adventurous home cooks as well as famed chefs and chocolatiers. In fact, demand for the shop's high-quality culinary herbs and spices has been so great since John Beaver and Erica Perez opened in December 2011 that they have had to expand. With the help of local businesses Arcsine Architecture, White Owl Woodworks, and JBM Construction, they created a new space just a few doors down on Oakland's Grand Avenue and made the move about two months ago.

The new store’s graceful archway delineates two sections: the spice market, where you’ll find thoughtfully organized spices, herbs, chiles, salts, peppercorns, and the shop's coveted handmade blends, and the bazaar section, where displays feature cooking tools, books, tonic kits, and gift boxes. Shoppers enjoy selecting whole and freshly ground spices while getting lost in the infusion of intoxicating smells and colors. The store also hosts cooking workshops in collaboration with local chefs and food entrepreneurs.

Read more about the Oaktown Spice Shop in Beyond Salt and Pepper in our Spring 2014 issue.

Scroll down for a recipe from Oaktown Spice Shop.

Grow Your Own Hops

Spend Fourth of July with Ploughshares Nursery manager Jeff Bridge learning how to grow your own hops for homebrewing. The Nursery is a social enterprise of Alameda Point Collaborative, which offers permanent housing and on-site services to formerly homeless individuals and families. Other July workshops at Ploughshares feature sessions on fruit tree care, the art of growing berries, and a presentation by on turning a thirsty lawn into a drought-tolerant garden. All workshops are free. Info: here or

How to Grow Hops
Saturday July 4, noon–1pm
Ploughshares Nursery
2701 Main St, Alameda
Three Stone Hearth co-founder Jessica Prentice offers nutrient-dense dishes to enjoy at home.
Photo: Foster Wiley.

The Inside Scoop at Three Stone Hearth
Join Jessica Prentice, co-founder of Three Stone Hearth, for a behind-the-scenes look at their community-supported cooperative kitchen. If you’re up for a double header, stay for Jessica's afternoon class on the basics of traditional diets. Founded in 2006, Three Stone Hearth is a worker-owned cooperative, a teaching kitchen, and an education center. Their weekly seasonal menu of ready-to-eat, nutrient-dense foods includes soups, stews, sauces, desserts, and more. The dishes rely on ingredients like organically farmed produce, pasture-raised meats and dairy products, and unrefined sweeteners.

Jessica Prentice also writes about her favorite seasonal foods in every issue of Edible East Bay. Her latest piece, Seven Stars of Summer, highlights elderberries, cherry tomatoes, water kefir, and other summer treats.

Sunday July 12, 10–11am
Tour of the Kitchen: Note that the hands-on portion of the Sunday event is not happening this month, but will be available again in August.

Sunday July 12, 2–4pm
The Nutritional Wisdom of Traditional Diets 
Three Stone Hearth
1581 University Ave, Berkeley
A Cool Book for Hot Days!

Review by Kristina Sepetys
The best Fourth of July celebrations call for cold, sweet desserts. Icebox cakes, which require no baking, just a good chill in the refrigerator, are an easy option for cooks and a delight for lucky eaters!
Charlottes and trifles– simple cake desserts made with fruits, custards, or cream layered between bread, cookies, or sponge cake and set to chill– have been around for a couple of centuries. The icebox cake in particular made its way to the United States around the time of World War I. It was embraced by cooks when several cookie companies (most notably Nabisco with their Famous Chocolate Wafers) began including recipes on their boxes for “icebox cakes.” The recipes called for the packaged cookies and other shortcuts like instant pudding or whipped cream. The name reflects the fact that the cakes were left to set in an icebox, since refrigerators were just beginning to make their way into homes.

Jean Sagendorph, a literary agent and author, has resurrected the icebox cake in her new cookbook Icebox Cakes: Recipes for the Coolest Cakes in Town (co-written by Jesse Sheehan), using a variety of creative, colorful, and toothsome combinations. Start simple with the Old School, a classic pairing of chocolate wafers and whipped cream, or opt for other combinations like Luscious Lemon with its lemon curd filling and ladyfingers or the Black Forest's cherries and mounds of chocolate-kirsch whipped cream. Other cool treats include Mexican Chocolate Spice, Red Velvet, White Chocolate-Orange, Espresso Chip, Salty Milk Dud, Marshmallow-Peanut Butter, or Raspberry Ganache. You’ll also find suggestions for store-bought substitutes for the from-scratch cookies used in these recipes for the days when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen or don’t have time to bake. Assemble the cakes a day or two before your Independence Day celebration to let them set and for the flavors to unpack.

Icebox Cakes: Recipes for the Coolest Cakes in Town 
by Jean Sagendorph and 
Jesse Sheehan 

(Chronicle Books, 2015) 


Persian Lime Curry Chicken 

Oaktown Spice Shop co-owner Erica Perez wrote this recipe to use with their Persian Lime Curry Rub. She recommends serving the chicken with rice and salad or roasted veggies.

1–2 tablespoons Persian Lime Curry Rub
4 bone-in chicken thighs
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup water
4 cloves garlic, minced

Sprinkle chicken with the Persian Lime Curry Rub and salt, making sure to coat both sides. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When it’s hot, brown the chicken on both sides, about 6 minutes per side. Add the water and garlic. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and braise for about 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. 

The Persian Lime Curry Rub in this recipe features dried lime (omani black lemon), fenugreek, shallots, and ginger. Photo: Erica Perez.

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