Category Archives: Bakeries

Of Lettuce, Muffins, and Grocery Stores

A Pete's Living Greens butter lettuce head wrapped like a bouquet. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

A Pete’s Living Greens butter lettuce head wrapped like a bouquet. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Pete’s Living Greens

We’ve grown so accustomed to the ease of pre-washed lettuce in bags and plastic tubs that it’s hard to make the effort to actually rinse and tear an actual head nowadays.

Pete’s Living Greens asks you to do that. But what you get in return is really fresh lettuce that keeps impeccably well for more than a week in your fridge.

That’s because the lettuce head is sold with its roots still attached. That means you can tear or cut off what you need, and keep the rest alive to ensure freshness. The non-GMO-verified lettuce is grown hydroponically in greenhouses in Carpinteria, CA. Each clamshell container contains one head, enough to serve four as a first course or two as an entree-sized salad.

One head in each package. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

One head in each package. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

I had a chance to try samples of the butter lettuce. I tore off the leaves from their roots, gave them a rinse, and spun-dry them before tossing with cucumbers, radishes, and avocado in a mustard vinaigrette. The lettuce had good flavor all on its own. What I really liked was that I was able to keep the rest of the lettuce in my fridge for 10 more days without the usual wilting that often results with plastic tubs of pre-washed spring mix.

Look for the Living Greens at Albertsons and Safeway stores for about $2.49 each.

Model Bakery Opens A Third Outpost

With its original St. Helena and its Napa locales still going strong, the ever-popular Model Bakery has opened a third location — this one in Yountville.

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The Goodness of Graham Crackers

If all you've had is store-bought, it's high time to try making your own graham crackers.

If all you’ve had is store-bought, it’s high time to try making your own graham crackers.


Sturdy, dependable, and always reliable.

That describes graham crackers. But it could also describe my late-Dad, and probably so many other fathers out there.

Having recently attended my first stadium concert in more than two decades, it got me to remembering how my Dad would drive across the Bridge, ferrying my friends and I to the Oakland Coliseum when we were teens to see this or that concert. He’d drive home, then patiently wait a couple hours before making the drive again to pick us up after the last note was played, weaving his way through traffic and a crowded parking lot to find us.

I took his chauffeuring for granted then. Now, of course, I realize what a royal pain that must have been for him. Yet he never complained or tried to talk us out of going to see our favorite band. He just happily obliged to help make it all happen for his little girl.

If he were still around today, I would thank him for that — and so much more. But since he’s not, I’ll just mix, roll out and bake a batch of these graham crackers that carry a taste of nostalgia with every snappy bite.

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Tartine’s Champagne Gelee With Strawberries

A Jell-O for adults only.

A Jell-O for adults only.


When sommeliers and Champagne producers admonish people to drink bubbly more often rather than just for the most special of occasions, they probably didn’t have this in mind.

In fact, when a publicist sent me a sample of the Taittinger Prestige Rosé, I was almost afraid of telling her how I planned to enjoy it.

Yes, in a grown-up version of Jell-O.

But when I spied the beautiful and super easy recipe in the new “Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes For The Home Cook” (Lorena Jones Books/Ten Speed Press), I couldn’t hep but want to try it.


The cookbook, of which I received a review copy, is by Elisabeth Prueitt, co-founder with her husband Chad Robertson of San Francisco’s beloved Tartine Bakery and Tartine Manufactory.

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The Joys of Boston Coffee Cake

Moist, buttery and full of cinnamon, it's hard to beat an old-fashioned coffee cake.

Moist, buttery and full of cinnamon, it’s hard to beat an old-fashioned coffee cake.


It’s a good day when cake arrives in the mail unexpectedly.

I have friend and loyal Food Gal reader Abby to thank for the sugary surprise that arrived on my doorstep last week.

Having spent a summer in Boston interning at The Globe many years ago, I was quite familiar with Boston cream pie, which of course, is not pie at all, but custard-filled cake smothered in chocolate glaze.

But Boston Coffee Cake was new to me. And it is indeed cake.

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Tahini — Going For A Sweet Spin

Tender, buttery shortbread made with tahini.

Tender, buttery shortbread made with tahini.


We use tahini liberally in hummus and salad dressings.

But why not take it for a spin in a sweet preparation?

After all, peanut butter swings both ways, in sweet and in savory dishes. With tahini being ground up sesame seeds, it has a beguiling nuttiness that also makes it quite versatile.

“Tahini Shortbread Cookies” does it justice in sandy, melt-in-your-mouth, buttery cookies that have the merest whisper of sweetness.


The recipe is from “Soframiz” (Ten Speed Press, 2016) by Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick of Sofra Bakery and Cafe in Cambridge, MA. Sortun, a James Beard “Best Chef in the Northeast” for Oleana restaurant in Cambridge, and Kilpatrick, who was named “Best Pastry Chef” by Boston magazine, showcase 100 recipes of both sweet and savory offerings at their popular modern Middle Eastern cafe.

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