In-Store Demonstrations

Posted on July 19, 2017 by Adriana Nelson | 0 comments

All demos are open to the public and free of charge.

Toque Blanche - Half Moon Bay

Toque Blanche - Santa Cruz

July 22nd11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Olive Oils and Vinegars

Taste all our local olive oils and vinegars.

July 22nd, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Pigs in a Blanket
We’re whipping up and American classic. Homemade dough takes them over the top.
July 29th11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Aeropress Coffee Maker

Our favorite way to make coffee, the Aeropress was designed and made right here in California!

July 28th, 29th and 30th
Santa Cruz Sidewalk Sale

The Downtown Santa Cruz Sidewalk Sale will be happening all weekend long! We'll have plenty of discounted Chamba and more!

August 5th11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Savory Corn Waffles

We'll cook up Savory Corn Waffles in the Breville Waffle Maker.

August 5th, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Lemon Curd Raspberry Madeleines
Silicone baking molds produce a tender crumb and easy release.
August 12th11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Chopped Salad

Saturday Farmer's Market is back! We'll make market fresh chopped salad in the Holland Bowl

August 12th, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Cauliflower Ragu
The Zyliss Easy Pull Chopper is great for chopping veggies. We be cooking a recipe in "From Root to Stalk Cooking"
August 19th11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Novis Vita Juicer

Novis Vita Juicer

August 19th, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Vegan Chocolate Pots

We're whipping up a sweet treat in the Vitamix.

August 26th11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Zucchini Noodles with Meyer Lemon Oil and Aleppo Pepper using the OXO Spiralizer

August 25, 26 and 27th
Santa Cruz Sidewalk Sale

The Downtown Santa Cruz Sidewalk Sale will be happening all weekend long! We'll have plenty of discounted Chamba and more!


Posted in Upcoming Demos

July Newsletter: A Birthday Party and Everyone is Invited!

Posted on July 18, 2017 by Adriana Nelson | 0 comments

Two Hundred and Forty-One years is a small number in the grand scheme of things, but it is still something to celebrate, so we thought we would do that by highlighting the vendors we carry whose products are made in the good ole’ US of A. Some are medium to large-sized companies that have been around for decades (or, for Blenko and Lodge, over a century!) and some are newer companies started by inspired craftspeople or entrepreneurs.

So, in no particular order:

EZ-DUZ-IT Can Opener – This is a story of rebirth. Many of you probably remember the old Swing-a-Way can openers, made in America since the 50’s in St. Louis by a family-owned business. In 2005, a couple of years after the nephew of the original owner passed away, the company was bought by a larger conglomerate. In 2009 the factory was closed and the production was moved to China. Later, John Steuby and Co. of Hazelwood, Missouri bought the machinery from the original factory and started producing the EZ-DUZ-IT here. 

Nordicware Started in the 50’s by a husband and wife team in Minnesota, Nordicware started out specializing in Scandinavian specialty pans, the most famous here being the Bundt pan, which was a slow seller at first, until it was used for the winning cake in baking competition and got national press coverage. 

McFadden Rolling PinsThomas McFadden is a furniture maker in Philo, CA. He turns these pins using a variety of American woods, including maple, black walnut and cherry. The long, untapered shape gives you plenty of room to work efficiently when rolling out your doughs. 

Blenko. Exquisite color, skilled craftsmen, and imaginative designs have made Blenko famous in the time-honored craft of hand-blown glass. Blenko Glass Company has been a family owned and operated company since 1893, creating hand-made possessions that are unique and inspiring.


Repast Ravioli Rolling PinsDesigned by Michael Finizio of San Rafael, these beautiful pins are a huge improvement over the old-school ravioli pin where you had to carefully space out the filling and the dough’s seams were prone to bursting when cooked. With the Repast pin, you just spread the filling evenly and the pin does the rest, leaving ample room for cutting and sealing the seams. Available in 7.5” length to use with a pasta rolling machine, or 17” if you are doing it by hand. 

Lodge Cast Iron PansMade in Tennessee since 1896, these pans have been handed down from generation to generation in many Southern families. Fried chicken and cornbread, not to mention any good Southern breakfast, would not be the same without cast iron pans. Until recently, they were the only cast iron pans made in America. 

Finex Cast IronJust five years old, Finex was started by two guys in Portland, Oregon who were looking to recreate the quality of antique cast iron with their super smooth finishes. Initially funded on Kickstarter, they hit the big time when they were featured in a New York Times article about cast iron cookware. They also put the shape through a redesign for better functionality (see Q of the Month, below) and gave it a lifetime warranty (“Guaranteed Good Forever”). 

Epicurean A story of transformation: Two young guys making skate parks out of environmentally safe wood composite. With scraps from jobs, they would take the food safe and non-porous material and make cutting boards for friends and family. Demand got so high, they made it into a main job. They still follow the same ethic of sustainability by using the scraps for other items, such as spoons and chopsticks. 

USA PanOur favorite non-stick bakeware, with a PFOA free silicone coating, and a good, heavy weight for even baking.  

Holland BowlStarted in Holland, Michigan in 1926, their main product originally was wooden shoes. The bowls are turned from one piece of wood, from trees that are 100 years old. The strength and durability make them something to pass down for generations, and the chopping bowls we carry are perfect for summer chopped salads! 

Vita-Mix – Revolutionizing the concept of health through whole foods, Vitamix is now on the fourth generation of a family run business that started in Ohio in the 1930’s and now employs hundreds of workers there to make and design thousands of Vita-Mix blenders every year. They truly are the gold standard in the industry, and they have just come out with a whole new line of blenders designed for ease of use, and to fit under the standard home cabinet. 

Foods-- Many of the foods we carry are made here, and most of them are from California! Rancho Gordo beans and other New World products, INNA Jams and Shrubs, Almost all our Oils and Vinegars (Sherry Vinegar being the one exception.)    Palo Alto Fire Fighter Hot Sauce Sauces, California Honeys,  and Chocolates from Poco Dolce and Neo Cocoa!  

Question of the Month:
What’s the difference between Lodge and Finex cast iron cookware?

Mike Whitehead, a Founder of Finex, visited us in Half Moon Bay recently. We asked him who he considered his customers to be. He said that he’d spent a lot of money doing demographic studies, etc. and basically came to the conclusion that his customers were people who simply wanted to own the best cast iron available.

And what makes Finex the best? Mike began on this journey to make a healthy alternative to standard non-stick cookware. So to start with, the cooking surface of a Finex pan is polished to a point that “eggs slide right off.” Then, you have the extra weight that leverages the chief advantage of cast iron—its great heat retention. Add the cool (literally) ergonomic handle, plus the octagonal shape of the skillet for easy pouring and easy spatula access and wrap it all in a beautiful design—we’d have to agree that it is the best.

But is Finex worth 5 times what you’d pay for a comparable Lodge skillet? We’ll leave the answer to that question up to you. In the meantime, we’re more than happy to stock and recommend both Lodge and Finex cast iron!

Recipe of the Month
3, 4 or More Bean Salad
Tip of the Month:
Dressing Bean and Grain Salads

When dressing a bean or grain salad, put some of the dressing on when they are still a little warm, it will absorb the dressing better. Cool and refrigerate, and then dress more if needed before serving.

Book of the Month:
Vegetables on Fire: 50 Vegetable-Centered Meals from the Grill (Chronicle, 2017) 

The grill is for more than just meat. Expand your repertoire with amazing vegetable sides and main courses from San Francisco’s Brooke Lewey. With recipes like Squash Tacos with Black Beans, Pickled Onions and Pepita Salsa; Mushroom-Farro Veggie Burgers; Brussel Sprouts with Herbs and Fried Shallots in a Fish Sauce Vinaigrette; and Carrots with Miso Butter, Chickpeas and Cilantro this book will definitely up your grilling game. While there really is no substitute for the flavor of real charcoal grilled food, the book does include instructions for both outdoor and indoor grilling methods for each recipe.


Facebook Giveaway


Posted in

3, 4 or More Bean Salad Recipe

Posted on July 18, 2017 by Adriana Nelson | 0 comments

We thought we would give you our take on that classic summer side, the 3-bean salad. But instead of the standard kidney beans, green beans and canned garbanzos we substitute Rancho Gordo Dried Beans. For the red kidney beans we subbed the Domingo Rojos which we love for their smooth texture and slightly smoky flavor. We replaced the canned green beans with Flageolet beans for the slightly “green” flavor they have. We keep the classic Garbanzo. Of course, if you wanted to blanch some fresh green beans and put those in as well, we promise not to complain. Recipes are just guidelines, after all.

2 C Rancho Gordo Domingo Rojo (cooked and cooled)
2 C Rancho Gordo Flageolet (cooked and cooled)
2 C Rancho Gordo Garbanzo (cooked and cooled) .
2 Stalks celery, finely diced, OR 2 small cucumbers, medium diced. (Stuart hates celery!)
½ C Apple Cider Vinegar 
¾ C Olive oil 
2 Tablespoons fine sugar or honey
2 Medium shallots, finely diced
1 Small clove garlic, crushed
1 Teaspoon salt
½ Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

To make the dressing: place the shallot, garlic, salt and sugar (if using) and vinegar in a jar or dressing shaker. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add the oil, mustard, pepper and honey (if using). Close the jar and shake vigorously.

Place the beans and vegetables in a large bowl. Add some of the dressing and stir together. Add more dressing as needed; you want the beans well coated, but not swimming in the dressing. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

Posted in Recipes

Cooking Classes

Posted on June 08, 2017 by Adriana Nelson | 0 comments

Toque Blanche offers evening cooking classes in the beautiful courtyard at La Piazza. The class includes a 4-Course meal cooking demonstration and small servings of each course. One child 16 and under can accompany an adult at no charge (just let us know). Class size is limited.

Wine pairing is optional and can be purchased separately, here.

Thursday, July 20th,  6:30-8:00 p.m.
Summer Picnic Dinner with Chef Ellie Angelini

Impress at your next summer cookout with Ellie's Salmon for a Crowd and Sweet Corn Salad. Chef Ellie Angelini has a passion for food, cooking and teaching others so she decided to put them all together and share her passion. See More

Thursday, October 5th,  6:30-8:00 p.m.
Italian Cooking Class with Stuart Cristol-Deman

Savor the flavors of Italy in this four course Italian Cooking Class with Toque Blanche's own Stuart Cristol-Deman. Plus the flavors of Italy won't stop at the food, the optional wine pairings will also be Italian! See More


Have a Question? Call (800) 936-1055 10am - 6pm PST or email us 24 hours a day

Posted in Classes

June Newsletter: For Dads (or Other Outdoor Cooks) Anywhere!

Posted on June 08, 2017 by Adriana Nelson | 0 comments

Time to stoke your fires and get your rubs on. It’s prime grilling season, people, and we are here to help. We’ll guide you through some tools and other accoutrements for grilling and barbecuing (plus explain the difference!) as well as some gift ideas for Dad. But first, a little safety lesson: never use the pan or tools you used for raw proteins to take the finished dish off the grill, and make sure food is cooked fully to the proper temperature. 

Les Bonnes Temps…

Here is a quick guide to proper minimum cooking temperatures:

145° –Fish, and solid cuts of meat like steaks, chops and roasts.
155° – Ground beef or pork, and anything that is stuffed.

165° – All poultry and anything that is being reheated.

These temperatures are your target temperatures.  With poultry and larger cuts like roasts you will have what is called “carryover cooking.”  As your food rests, (resting allows the juices that have come to the outside parts of the meat to recede back in, giving you a much juicier dinner!) it will continue to cook about 5° before starting to cool a little.  Therefore, if you want your turkey to cook to 165°, take it out of the oven or off the grill when it hits 160°.  That could be the difference between a juicy, tasty turkey and one that is dry and overdone. 

Essential Tools

Since we just talked about proper temps, let’s talk how to measure them! Here are some of our favorite thermometers: 

For a quick check of many items, we love the CDN Digital Insta-Read for its easy-to-read display and quick response time. It also works with thinner cuts of meat.

If you want to keep a close eye on larger cuts and leave the probe in what you are cooking, we recommend the CDN Dual Sensing Probe Thermometer
 that allows you to monitor the temperature of both the meat you are cooking, and that of the oven or grill. 

There is also the CDN Bluetooth Dual Probe Thermometer & Timer
 which has 2 probes if you are cooking for a crowd and have a couple of roasts or birds on the grill, and connects with your smartphone to alert you not only when it IS ready, but will give you an anticipated time when it WILL be ready! 

Pick it up!

We have fallen in love with the new Kitchen Grips Glove set, available in small or large sizes, for both the grill and the oven. They fit snugger than most big grilling gloves, and the non-slip material is safe to handle things up to 500 degrees!

For picking things up to turn, we love the Rosle 16” Grill Tongs for the length, comfort (no sharp edges!) and the one-handed locking mechanism for ease of use when holding something in your other hand.

Put it down.

For delicate or small items, try the Outset Grill Grid, easy to clean thanks to the silicone non-stick coating, and perfect for smaller items

The Emile Henry Plancha is great for fish, small potatoes or anything that might roll away or slip off, thanks to the lips on the back and sides, as well as a juice well and pour spout on the front.

Emile Henry also makes our favorite Pizza Stone, which will work on any grill; Stuart uses it on his Big Green Egg, getting it up around 800 degrees! Speaking of which…

The Ultimate Grilling Tool!
The Big Green Egg

The Big Green Egg does everything your grill can do; and more…and better. From smoking at low temps (around 180 degrees), barbecuing, grilling, baking (the most amazing chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever had! Crispy outside and cakey inside. It’s cookie nirvana…) and the above- mentioned pizza.

The ceramic body holds the heat, making the efficiency of the real lump wood charcoal even more efficient and recovery time from opening the grill about 2 minutes. With a little practice it is easy to regulate and control the temperature.

It is easy to light, as well. It basically has its own built-in chimney due to its shape and takes only 10-15 minutes to get to 350 degrees. The shape also helps it cook efficiently, especially when cooking indirect.

This is truly the ultimate cooking tool for the outdoor cook. Stop by either of our stores and our staff can walk you through the process and answer any questions you might have.

Question of the Month:
What’s the difference between smoking, barbecuing and grilling?

The differences between these methods can be broken down into time and temperature. The first two fall into the “Low and Slow” category. Smoking is cooking at around 150° to 180°for a long time. Barbecuing is a smoking method, cooking at 200-300° for a long time and usually with a rub and/or a sauce. The sauce is basted on several times during the process. These methods are always done with indirect cooking and using real charcoal or wood as the smoke source.

Grilling is done either direct or indirect depending on the food and the outcome you want, between 350-550° and done quickly. 

Tip of the Month:
Moist Burgers

For a great, moist burger, try cooking it the indirect method. Sear your burger (seasoned right before putting it on the grill!) for 2-3 minutes on each side over direct heat, then move to indirect heat and cook, with the lid closed for more flavor, until the desired doneness is reached. If cooking on a Big Green Egg, setup for indirect and cook at 400° with the lid closed and cook 2-3 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. The convection will give you a crusty exterior and a moist interior.

Book of the Month: 
Barbecue Sauces Rubs and Marinades (Bastes, Butters and Glazes, too.)

By Steven Raichlen(Workman Publishing) 
Just what the title says, an amazing collection of over 200 recipes for anything imaginable you’d put on you your grill, with influences not only from America, but around the world. After all, cooking over flame is a universal thing.

Recipe of the Month:
Roasted Chirmol Sauce


Not much goes better with grilling than a nice cold (adult) beverage. If dad is the fancy type, he will love the beautiful copper shaker from Sertodo. This hand hammered beauty will get dad noticed. 

If dad is not the flashy type, this hammered steel shaker will still keep things fresh and classy.

Looking for a great addition to your mixed drinks? Inna Shrubs, a blend of fruit juice, sugar and vinegar is perfect for cocktails or even mock tails for the kids at the Q. If you are new to shrubs, we recommend the gift set with a small bottle of four seasonal flavors, all made in Emeryville from local, organic heirloom fruit.  

If dad’s idea of a mixed drink is putting an ice cube in his whiskey, then we have just the thing for him! Peugeot’s Whiskey Tasting Set will keep things cold without dilution thanks to the chiller base, and the unique shape of the bottom helps dissipate alcohol fumes so you smell the whiskey aromas instead of getting a nose full of ethanol! We know it works, because we have put it through some stringent testing.   

Facebook Giveaway 

Our Giveaway this month is a Finex 1 Qt. Sauce Pan, perfect for keeping your mop-sauce hot on the grill! To enter the drawing, go to our Half Moon Bay or Santa Cruz Facebook page and comment on the giveaway post. 


Posted in Articles

Roasted Chirmol Sauce Recipe

Posted on June 08, 2017 by Adriana Nelson | 0 comments

From Barbecue Sauces Rubs and Marinades (Bastes, Butters and Glazes, too.) by Steven Raichlen

This sauce, slightly adapted from Raichlen’s book, is Guatemalan in origin but seems related to one of our favorite family of sauces: Chimichuri and Charmoula. This sauce, Chirmol, has all the herby, citrus mouth-watering flavors of the aforementioned sauces, with the addition of tomatoes and a little less oil. It is also made from items you probably already have on hand! There is a fresh version of this sauce, but go ahead and fire up the grill a little early so you can make this delicious roasted version. (If you aren’t using a grill, you can do the same thing using a cast iron pan on the stove.) This sauce is great on grilled steak or chicken, and even veggies like grilled cauliflower, potatoes or asparagus.


4 Plum tomatoes
2 Cloves garlic, peeled
1 Small onion, peeled and quartered
1-2 Jalapeño peppers, seeded or not.
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ teaspoon dried oregano
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon sparkling wine or apple cider vinegar
Coarse see salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Set your grill up for direct cooking and heat to high. Place a vegetable grate in the center. (If you don’t have a grate, you can skewer the vegetables.) Place the onions, tomatoes, garlic and chilies on the grate and grill until well browned on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes for the garlic and chilies, 10 to 12 minutes for the onions and tomatoes. Transfer the vegetables to a food processor or blender and purée. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet. Add the vegetable purée and the remaining ingredients except salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mixture will keep, cooled in a jar and refrigerated for several days.

Posted in Recipes

Chilaquiles Rojos con Huevos Recipe

Posted on June 05, 2017 by Adriana Nelson | 0 comments

from Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen by Gonzalo Guzmán

This is one of our favorite breakfasts. It's a great blend of flavors and textures: the spicy sauce, the creaminess of the scrambled eggs, the crunchiness of the tortillas and the coolness from the crema; it really gets your day going! Serves 6


5 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded.
2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded.
2 dried Morris chiles, stemmed.
2 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded.
2/3 cup (5 ounces) Anne diced tomatoes and their juice.
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup rice bran oil
3 cups water

2 cups rice bran oil
12 soft corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch squares (4 cups)
1/2 cup chopped white onion
6 eggs, beaten

For Serving:
1/2 cup crema or sour cream
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Thinly sliced green onions

To make the salsa, heat a large skillet or griddle to high heat and add all of the dried chiles; cook, rotating frequently with tongs, until blistered in places but not burnt, 1 to 2 minutes total. Transfer the chiles to a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water; let sit until softened, about 20 minutes.

Remove the chiles from their soaking water and transfer to a blender along with the tomatoes, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt; puree the salsa until smooth.

Heat the ¼ cup oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Pour the salsa into the pot quickly and all at once (be careful, as the oil may splatter), and bring the salsa to a boil. Stir in the water, bring to a simmer, and let cook for 20 minutes. Taste and add more salt as necessary. (Salsa can be prepared a day in advance.)

When ready to serve, fry the tortillas: Set a paper towel-lined platter next to the stove. In a large skillet, preheat the 2 cups oil until very hot, and then add half of the tortilla pieces. Cook, stirring with tongs to flip and submerge the tortillas as needed, until very crispy, 6 to 10 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon or tongs and transfer to the prepared plate. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Transfer ¼ cup of the frying oil (or use fresh oil if desired) to a large nonstick skillet. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the onions; lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour in the beaten eggs all at once. When the layer of eggs looks about halfway cooked, distribute the fried tortilla pieces in the pan, allowing the eggs to stick to the chips. Cook, stirring constantly to scramble and distribute the eggs among the tortillas, until the eggs are cooked through. Add the salsa and mix well to coat.

 To serve, transfer the chilaquiles to a large serving plate and top with the crema, queso fresco, cilantro, and green onions.

Posted in Recipes

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