November 2012

Congratulations Jacob Markowitz of the Golden State Warriors, winner of Ratto’s first-ever catering contest. Our neighbor Jacob will be hosting a party for his staff replete with all the wonderful platters that Ratto’s has to offer.  Jacob’s staff will be treated to deli, cheese, sandwich and salad platters, like the Mediterranean, below.

Herbaceous cheese, Hummus, Dolmas & olives

Bon Appétit!

Brining your holiday bird keeps it moist and delicious

We now have K.L. Keller Brine Mix in our bulk foods section, just in time for your holiday birds. Here’s what they have to say:

“Because we sell some of the best salts in the world and chefs really like us, it was easy to go to our favorite chef with our Spanish sea Salt and chat about the “Turkey brine vision thing”… and voila! and now we have it!!! The CLASSIC is pure Americana with a salted, briny subtext of sage, cracked pepper, bay and some ….umm… secret stuff. It is for the traditional bird. “

For a 14-16 lb bird:
Dissolve 2 cups of brine mix in 2.5 gallons of water. Add 1 head fresh garlic, smashed. Submerge bird in dissolved brine solution in a non-corrosive pot or food grade plastic. Cover and refrigerate for about 24 hours. When ready to cook, rinse off brine solution, pat bird dry with towel, stuff and cook your favorite way.

For chicken, use half the above recipe, and brine no more than 6 hours.

We know Panettone makes a wonderful hostess gift around the Holidays, as it makes a fruity, fragrant dessert.

Panettone makes a great gift: it’s a snack, dessert, or foundation for French Toast and Bread Pudding!

We also like it as French Toast! Let it dry out a bit, soak it in some eggs, and fry it up in butter. Top with real maple syrup for a hearty, delicious breakfast.

Panettone also makes a swell bread pudding!

This yummy soulful curry is easy- you just need to get your spices at Ratto’s

Chana (Chickpea) Masala

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Region Indian
This classic North Indian recipe has a combination of tips from Rajasthani and Gujarati friends. I make it weekly, as my go-to comfort food.


  • 1 heaped tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 heaped tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 heaped tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 heaped tablespoon cardamom seeds
  • 1 heaped tablespoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 heaped tablespoon tumeric (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes (to taste)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 heaped tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 Large onion (chopped)
  • 1 Large piece of fresh ginger (peeled and chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 cube jaggery (substitute a teaspoon of raw sugar or agave syrup if unavailable)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (soak and cook your own, or use canned)
  • 32fl oz good quality canned tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste (Substitute Cider vinegar if unavailable)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garam masala (ground)


This delicious recipe is a culmination of years of adjusting what I had learned in Udaipur, Rajasthan. With the help of a Gujarati friend in Washington DC, I added the fenugreek, plus the jaggery and tamarind to give it a sweet and sour kick.  The best thing is, once you have the pot simmering, you can leave it and work on other things. Just don't leave the flame too high.


Step 1
In your food processor, blend onion, ginger and garlic into a rough paste
Step 2
Toast spices in hot pan for a few minutes until they release a delightful scent. You may grind your spices or leave them whole for surprise bites of flavor.
Step 3
Sautee jaggery and spices (except salt and pepper) in coconut oil until jaggery melts. If using agave, wait until step 5.
Step 4
Add onion mixture, stir and saute for about a minute
Step 5
Add canned tomatoes, chickpeas, and reduce heat to a simmer. Add agave syrup, if using.
Step 6
Add tamarind or vinegar, and salt and pepper
Step 7
Simmer for about 30-45 minutes, covered, until flavors meld, adding water if necessary to keep moist,
Step 8
Remove from heat, sprinkle with Garam Masala. Garnish with fresh Cilantro. Serve over Basmati rice, with a nice chutney and raita.

Aren’t we lucky to get all this for under $20 at our Old Oakland Friday Farmer’s Market!

Farmer’s Market: Enough Said. Well, maybe not. I think I’ll preserve the Meyer lemons, Moroccan style, roast the Delicata squash with sage and Ratto’s olive oil, make a Turnip Gratin with Gruyere, serve the last of the tomatoes with fresh Mozzarella, and put the pomegranate seeds in an Arugula Salad. Yes, you can get the accompanying ingredients here. Yes, recipes are forthcoming.