No More Nuggets

Adventures of a self-taught home cook By Katherine Weber My children’s first memory of me using an oven is the time I “almost burned down the house” attempting to toast tortilla chips under the broiler. They caught fire and when I opened the door, flames leapt out. After a few shrieks, I pulled out the [...]

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The Two-Faced Pear!


Fruit can surprise even The FruitGuys By Miriam Wolf We all know that the fruit that comes through the doors of The FruitGuys for delivery to our clients is very special—hand chosen for flavor, uniqueness, and appearance. But this pear is more than special—it’s one in a million. Miguel Ascencio, Receiver and Quality Control for [...]

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Fabulous Figs


Delicious figs bring summer’s sweetness to fall By Stephanie Klassen On the West Coast, summer tends to linger. Back-to-school sales may cede shelf space to Halloween candy, but even as the days grow shorter, golden afternoons beckon, encouraging weekend picnics and last-chance outdoor dinners. Now is the time to make the most of the autumn [...]

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Think Outside the Fruit Bowl


Fruit Can Nourish a Face, Scour a Sink, Even Shine Your Shoes By Rebecca Taggart There is more to fruit than meets the taste buds. The vitamins, phytochemicals, and fruit acids that make fruit so healthy can also be effective ingredients in homemade beauty products, natural cleaners, and other household mixtures. We’ve scoured the web, hit [...]

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Clock In and Eat

There’s always time for breakfast – if you eat it at the office By The Lunch Lady The Lunch Lady is not dogmatic about breakfast. The Lunch Lady believes that if you eat breakfast and it works for you – i.e., you are maintaining your weight and health – that’s awesome. And if you’re not eating [...]

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Cook Once, Eat all Week

Beans cooked in slow cooker.

Slow Cookers Solve the Lunch Problem By The Lunch Lady The Lunch Lady sees so many of you heedlessly going out to buy lunch every day, overspending on both money and calories. This is concerning to The Lunch Lady. She wants you to spend your hard-earned disposable income on pedicures, green fees, or shiny new [...]

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Naked Lunch

Easy take away for a picnic salad

Layered lunches in a See-Through Jar By Miriam Wolf The Mason jar—that humble, old-fashioned glass canning jar—has taken the place of the Bento Box as the latest lunchtime accessory.  And why not? Using a quart-size jar as a container for salad is a great idea. The classic lines of the canning jar are the perfect [...]

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Seeing Red


Valentine’s Day Treats That Use Fruit to Say “I Love You” By Miriam Wolf Valentine’s Day may have been co-opted by greeting card companies, chocolate makers, and the romantic love-crowd, but there are so many different kinds of love that I’d argue for a more inclusive approach to this holiday. There’s the overwhelming, almost visceral [...]

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Cooking for Health


Stop Obsessing About What Not to Eat and Learn to Cook Instead By Mary Risley Now is the time for Americans to STOP denying themselves certain foods and instead concentrate on adding a variety of real foods to our everyday diet. Here are the facts: America is one of the richest countries in the world; [...]

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Citrus Christmas


Orange You Glad I Made You A Present? By Miriam Wolf Theoretically, I like to make big batches of yummy homemade treats to have on hand during the holiday seasons. That way, when I get a last minute invitation or when folks drop over for some holiday cheer, I have a little gift for them. [...]

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FruitGuys Favorites: Seeing Orange


Thanksgiving Side Dishes from The FruitGuys Staff We asked The FruitGuys staffers to pony up with their favorite Thanksgiving side dishes. And maybe we’re all watching a little too much Netflix, but all the recipes featured a main ingredient with a certain stand-out hue that just so happens to be front and center of a [...]

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Warm up with Chili


Beans have the Lead in Winter Chili Choices By Heather Boerner When the days get short and the cold and damp make me feel sniffly, I crave something hearty, something to warm me through the long nights and thick fog of San Francisco. Winter used to be a chance for me to break out my [...]

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Going Lactic


Fermentation Can Help Preserve Your Harvest and Your Health By Corinna Andrews Long before canning, before vacuum-sealed packets of tuna, before pasteurization, refrigeration, and other industrial food processing techniques, people used the power of fermentation to preserve their foods. Holes were dug, crocks were filled, and harvests were packed into brine (salty water) for future [...]

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50 Ways to Use Tomatoes

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

When the Tomato Harvest is Too Much, Get Creative 
By Miriam Wolf When every garden in town is exploding with tomatoes and even the Topsy Turvy tomato grower on your patio is producing Sweet 100s faster than you can consume them, it’s time to get creative with your tomato usage. Luckily, tomatoes are the Meryl [...]

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Cutting Corn from the Cob

Corn kernels on the wooden board

If corn on the cob doesn’t suit the menu, or you’d simply like to add corn (fresh, sautéed, or steamed) to salads and other dishes, here’s how to get it off the cob: Remove husks and silk from fresh ears. Trim off pointed tip and stand flat end in a wide, shallow bowl, on a [...]

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Grilled Pizza Secrets


The Easy and Less Easy Way to Your Own Pizzeria By Miriam Wolf For a long time, I dreamed about building an outdoor wood-burning pizza oven. What could be more conducive to outdoor seasonal entertaining than pulling perfectly crisp pizzas, their crusts marked by char, from your very own wood-fired oven on a warm summer’s [...]

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Tools of the Fruit Trade

melon balls

Kitchen Gadgets to Wrangle Summer Fruit By Miriam Wolf Summer’s bounty of fruit brings out the intrepid pioneer wife in all of us. When cherries go down to a buck a pound and ripe wild berries perfume vacant lots, we dream of canning, pie baking, and dehydrating fruit to hold on to that summer feeling [...]

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Heavy Metal

Cast Iron Skillet

When the heat is on, cast iron cookware performs By Miriam Wolf My frying pan is as much at home on a campfire grate as on a burner of my glass-top electric stove: I can slide it into the oven to put the finishing touches on a dish, cleaning is easy, and the food always [...]

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Elizabeth’s Festive, Flexible Lasagna


Pesto Adds Zip to Family Favorite By Elizabeth Weinstein Everyone needs a go-to dish, one you can throw together for last-minute guests or take to new neighbors, or to bleary-eyed parents during their first days at home with a new baby. For my family, that dish is what we call our “festive, flexible lasagna.”There’s nothing [...]

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Five Workweek Lunch Ideas


The Mediterranean Diet By Pia Hinckle and Rebecca Taggart With a new study showing that eating a Mediterranean-style diet reduces the incidence of heart disease by 30 percent, it is a good time to rethink lunch. The main components of the Mediterranean diet are veggies and fruits, whole grains, and legumes; a moderate amount of [...]

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Soup for Cold Season

chicken noodle soup

Mom’s Chicken Soup Still Best Remedy By Eileen Ecklund This year’s flu season has been worse than usual, and even if you got your shot and have been taking care of yourself, a bug can still knock you down. Although there’s no real cure for viral colds or flu, certain foods can help bolster the [...]

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Nonni’s Biscotti


Classic Italian Cookies for the New Year By Pia Hinckle Biscotti are twice-baked biscuits, cookies but not too sweet, that originated in Tuscany, in the town of Prato, to be exact. My Italian great-grandmother Pia was from Convalle, a tiny hilltop town outside of Lucca, and brought her version of biscotti to America when she [...]

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Using Cilantro In The Kitchen

fresh cilantro

Courtesy of Capay Valley Farm Shop Although cilantro is often eaten with summer crops like tomatoes, it is a cool season crop available from the Capay Valley in the fall, winter and spring. It goes especially well with lemon or lime juice, Mexican dishes, and pan-Asian food. Here are a few ways to enjoy this [...]

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Winter Solstice Feast

roasted goose

Roast Goose is European Holiday Classic By Rebecca Taggart December brings many celebrations including Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the Dongzhi Festival (Asian). But my favorite is the lesser-known Winter Solstice. This day marks the shortest day (and longest night) of the year, falling on December 21 (in 2012). It has been celebrated for thousands of [...]

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The Big Soup: Minestrone

Minestrone Soup

Hearty Minestrone Soup Has Many Forms By Pia Hinckle In Italy there are as many ways to make minestrone (literally “big soup”) as there are ways to make pasta. Each region has a variation, and each town has a local twist inspired by what’s in season. The only rule is to use what’s on hand. This is [...]

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How to Can Perfect Pears


Nonagenarian Marie Seppa Cans it Like it is By Pia Hinckle SANTA ROSA, CA– Marie Seppa knows her way around a canner. A spry 92-year-old with bright blue eyes, Marie has been canning since she was a child growing up on a farm in Eastern Oregon in the ‘20s. Her specialty: pears. “All pears can, [...]

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Stay Sharp

chef's knife

Which Knives do you Really Need? By Tanya Milosevich I love shopping for kitchen stuff but the truth is you don’t need much to have a well-stocked kitchen. Possibly the single most important tool to have is a small but decent set of knives for slicing, cutting, and chopping. Though I have owned many kinds [...]

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A Canning Primer By Pia Hinckle Harvest time always brings an embarrassment of riches to your table. What to do with 25 pounds of zucchini? Tomatoes finally came in last week? Can’t eat another pear tart but ready to try making preserves? Using this basic primer on canning — or jarring, really — anyone can do it. [...]

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Summer Drinks


Fresh herbs and fruit dress up summer beverages By Nicole Claro-Quinn What do you imagine when you think of summer drinks? For a certain generation it might be Hi-C and the “bug juice” you drank at sleepaway camp—then, years later, it’s frozen strawberry daiquiris (and shoulder pads, of course). The sweetness is what we remember, [...]

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Our Top 5 Kitchen Gadgets


Kitchen tools we can’t do without By Gretchen Bay When it comes to cooking, whether you’re a daily devotee, a weekend warrior, or a part-time putterer, good kitchen tools can and will make your life easier. We recently polled The FruitGuys contributing recipe writers and cook-happy staff members to find out which kitchen implements they [...]

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The Crunchy Craft


 Making your own granola is fast and easy By Pia Hinckle I’ve been on a breakfast granola kick for the last year or so. Every morning I have a handful of granola mixed with nonfat Greek yogurt and a banana, strawberries, blueberries, or a nectarine. I was spending a small fortune on granola (which is [...]

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Lunch is the Gateway


9 Lunch Ideas to Improve your Diet By Rebecca Taggart Breakfast is touted as being the most important meal of the day, but lunch—be it a homemade sandwich or a restaurant meal—gives us the energy for the afternoon’s work as well as an often-needed break from the computer, sales floor, or meetings. Lunch is also [...]

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My Garden 2.0: Time is Right for Spring Cleaning and Planting


By Rebecca North  It finally rained in the Bay Area and I’m ready to attack the garden with full force.  This little plot of backyard was a dustbowl when I moved into the house last June. Over a month of weekends and eventful evenings, I added lots of new soil, pulled out a couple trees and [...]

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When Good Food Goes Bad


By Roxanne Crittenden, courtesy of Capay Valley Farm Shop Even in the care of the most conscientious cooks, produce occasionally goes bad. That said, there are a few things that will help limit the spoilage. A little knowledge and some extra recipes go a long way in avoiding lettuce soup or bendy carrots. Some simple [...]

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Taking Canning to the Next Level

Just orange and red jelly

Using Pectin is Key to Jams and Jellies By Erin Mittelstaedt Canning helps us make new family traditions and memories. This year it was a kitchen covered in splashes of red pomegranate juice; mashing batches of persimmons to music; and making massive amounts of spaghetti sauce with my brother’s family, kids and all. I often [...]

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Orange Soup Warms Heart


Butternut Squash is Comfort Food By Pia Hinckle When the weather turns damp and chilly, a heart-warming butternut squash soup is one of my favorites. This is one of those soups that will turn people who don’t have much experience with squash into true believers. It is a perfect dipping soup for sandwiches or toast, [...]

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Apple Turkeys

apple turkeys

Thanksgiving Crafts you Can Eat By Pia Hinckle Thanksgiving when I was a kid was always a massive affair. My mother would roast a monstrous turkey that barely fit in the oven; friends and family would bring side dishes of all stripes and sizes; and my sister and I would ride with my dad in [...]

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Egyptian Hospitality Made Soup Special


Lentil Love By Rebecca Taggart Egypt’s revolution and the ouster of President Mubarak has kept it in the news this year while Egypt the tourist attraction, the home of Tutankhamun and the pyramids, has been placed on the back burner due to the political unrest. But it was that Egypt, the ancient ruins and pharaoh [...]

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Sonoma County Grape Harvest is Family Tradition


The Crush By Pia Hinckle COTATI, CA — My mother’s family has been making wine since before she was born. My great-grandfather Giocondo Benedetti, who we called “nonno,” brought winemaking from Convalle, the tiny hilltop village near Lucca, Italy from where he immigrated to California in 1912. Jeff Libarle, one of my uncles, learned from [...]

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Coco Ranch Apple Storage Tips


Coco Ranch in Davis, CA grows beautiful organic apples. More about Coco Ranch here. Here are their tips on apple storage: High-tech home storage: Empty crisper bin in your refrigerator. Fill with apples. Our dense, long-season varieties such as Fuji, Granny Smith, and Cripps Pink, picked at full maturity, will keep for months. The earlier, shorter-season [...]

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Now and Latah Tomatahs

Tomato in a wooden spoon

Fresh or frozen, tomatoes make great sauce! By Gretchen Bay During last year’s tomato season, we had a surplus of organic Early Girl tomatoes in The FruitGuys office from a local farmer, and I was lucky enough to head home with a very big bag of them. Organic Early Girls are some of the sweetest, [...]

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Pino’s Pasta

pino's pasta

By Pia Hinckle My Calabrian friend Pino made this dish during a visit to California in 1999. This is a traditional southern Italian pasta made with fresh tomatoes, olives, capers, and basil. Now I make it every summer during the height of tomatoes season. INGREDIENTS 1 pound spaghetti or linguine 10 medium ripe fresh tomatoes [...]

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Pickling Summer


By Heidi Lewis Capturing fireflies in a jar, recalling the smell of sweet peas or the sensation of jumping off a rope swing into a cold river. When it comes to summer, we seem to want to bottle the sense memories – just to keep ‘em for a little longer. Pickling has long been such [...]

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Cooking is Child’s Play


By Roxanne Crittenden, courtesy of Capay Valley Farm Shop About twice a year my 8-year old cousin Arlo comes for a “stay-over” at my house. In lots of ways, Arlo is typical young boy—he has been fascinated with large machines since before he could walk, he likes to build things, and he loves playing outside. He [...]

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Simple Steamed Broccoli

Fresh Organic Steamed Broccoli

So good even kids like it! By Pia Hinckle Mother always said to eat your broccoli, one of the most nutrient-packed veggies in the list of Food That is Good For You. But I have heard many sad stories about broccoli from both kids and grown-ups who hate it. Not don’t like it, but HATE [...]

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Summer Salad: Fresh Berries and Thyme Make a Roman Favorite


By Pia Hinckle Once upon a time, B.C. (Before Children), I lived in Rome, in the early nineties. Besides fresh pizza bianca from the Fornaio at Campo de’ Fiori, one of my favorite food memories is a summer salad made by my friend Francesca on her family’s rooftop terrace. Italian food tends to be simple: [...]

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Roll Your Own: How to Make Vegetarian Sushi

Avocado Sushi

By Karla Milosevich Whether it’s a birthday, a Japanese-themed New Year’s Day party, or just for a lunch or dinner party, I like to celebrate with sushi. It’s fun to make hand rolls with friends and to experiment with taste combinations. You may be surprised at just how easy it can be to roll your [...]

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Moroccan Hospitality: Couscous is Comfort Food

moroccan stew couscous

By Rebecca Taggart I first visited Morocco on a shoestring budget in the fall of 1984.  The country was stunning, as was the national dish Couscous. I quickly fell in love with the city of Fez for its beauty, its hospitality, and its amazing food.  Nonetheless, I was looking for adventure, and soon hit the [...]

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Dinner by Candlelight: Making Your Own Beeswax Candles is Fun & Easy


By Heidi Lewis We were in the mood for mellow. There is nothing like a home-cooked meal on a table set with care and illuminated by candles. So at the latest little social gathering, I broke out the beeswax. Not for waxing our surfboards, but for making candles. Dipping beeswax taper candles is a really [...]

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Paella, or Spanish BBQ: A Classic Spanish Family Holiday Dish


Paella originates from my mother’s hometown of Valencia, Spain, and harkens back to the 13th century when the Moors brought rice to the Iberian Peninsula. Cooked in a shallow round metal pan first introduced by the Romans, paella is still traditionally reserved for family gatherings and special occasions. I think of Paella Valenciana as Spain’s [...]

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Chicken in the Pot: Get Three Meals Out of One Bird

roast chicken with potatoes

There’s nothing better than a great home-cooked meal. Except one that can turn into two or three home-cooked meals. My favorite three-fer is roast chicken. For many years I bought wonderful roast chickens from a neighborhood rotisserie. When it closed, I decided to learn how to roast my own. Now I find it easy – [...]

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The Season of Soup: French Country Soup is Family Favorite

french country soup

I love soup. Fall and winter is the perfect time of year to enjoy healthy soups that can be made for one meal and then eaten again for lunch or frozen for later use. One of my favorites is Jackie Soup, a French country vegetable soup named after my French cousin Jackie who always makes [...]

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Pumpkin Eaters: An All-Pumpkin Feast

Making pumpkin ravioli from scratch.

My family has many birthdays in October and November. Luckily these involve pumpkin pie. Inspired by the pumpkin pies gobbled up by ten-year-olds at my twin girls’ birthday party, my stepmother Linda Corso (creator of Delilah’s Farm Report cooking blog) suggested a pumpkin dinner to celebrate the collective birthdays. The menu: Pumpkin Ravioli Braised Pork [...]

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Care to Can?


By Pia Hinckle Peaches! Tomatoes! Blackberries! Oh my! The peak of summer harvest brings an embarrassment of riches to your table. Why not preserve some of your favorite summer tastes for later in the year? Here’s a basic primer on canning, or jarring, that anyone can do. You can jar fresh tomatoes, fruits, and vegetables, [...]

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