Mother's Day Gift List

Posted on April 26, 2017 by Adriana Nelson | 0 comments

With Mother’s Day around the corner, we wanted to give you a wee assist and let you know what’s popular right now in our stores. Some of the manufacturers are helping out, too, with special prices for this special day! See the whole list, here.

 It’s either on her kitchen counter or on her wish list! It’s the professional-quality machine that does everything. Now new models and on sale for Mother’s Day.

Le Creuset Casserole
This is a brand new color (marine), just released by Le Creuset, and our customers are loving it. (Supply is limited!) Normally $285, now $179.95. 

Larchwood Cutting Board
If you buy a gift for your mother that will last for generations, are you actually buying a deferred gift for yourself? These beautiful Canadian end-cut boards will never show their age and are gentle on your cutlery. Starting at $189.95.

Oxo Hand Spiralizer
Make healthy-eating fun with this simple tool that turns veggies into noodle-like strands. $14.95 - $24.95

Creo Mixing Bowl Set
Designed for ease of use from prep to pour, these sturdy yet sleek nesting bowls are the perfect tool to help start her next adventure in the kitchen. She can whip, mix and cream to her heart’s content. $79.95

Novis Vita-Juicer
Take $100 off this elegant 4-in-1 machine during the month of May. Great range of colors (but we’re still stuck on the red). Normally $499.95, now $399.95.

Chantal Kettle
Beautiful ergonomic design will make her whistle, too. $69.95. Perhaps some of our delicious, quality tea from Teapigs to go with it. $10.95

McFadden Handmade Rolling Pin
A one-of-a-kind gift for a one-of-a-kind mother! $149.95

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In-Store Demonstrations

Posted on April 14, 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

April 22nd11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Get your mornings started off right with Tea Pigs Matcha.

April 22nd, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
We’ll have samples of Spicy Cheddar and Green Onion Biscuits hot off the waffle iron.
April 29th11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
French Toast

Challah French Toast with Honey Butter made from Bariani Farms Raw Wildflower Honey.

April 28th, 29th & 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!

May 6th11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Tomatillo Salsa

We'll make homemade Tomatillo Salsa, using the Chamba Comal to roast all the ingredients!

May 6th, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Caramelized Red Onion Quesadillas with House-made Corn Tortillas made with the Norpro Tortilla Press and Chamba Comal then topped with Hernan Mole Pipian.
May 13th11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Chocolate and Beer Chili in the LUX Multi-Cooker.

May 13th, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Black Bean Dip
We'll cook up  Rancho Gordo Midnight Black Beans in the LUX Multicooker for a quick 3 Chili Black Bean Dip served with Corn Chips.
May 20th11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Chilaquiles with Fundidora Salsas.

May 20th, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Jicama, Mango and Corn Salad
Jicama, Mango, and Corn Salad with Cilantro-Lime Crema in the Breville Immersion Blender, all topped with Rancho Gordo La Paloma Hot Sauce.
May 27th11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Hot Sauce Tasting

Rancho Gordo Hot Sauce Tasting.

May 26th, 27th & 28th
Santa Cruz Sidewalk Sale

Santa Cruz Sidewalk Sale at ChefworksThe Downtown Santa Cruz Sidewalk Sale will be happening all weekend long! Stop by during your afternoon outing and see what’s on sale!


Posted in Upcoming Demos

Cooking Classes

Posted on April 14, 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, May 25th,  6:30-8:00 p.m.
Paella with Chef Stuart Cristol-Deman
Prepared by Stuart Cristol-Deman with assistance from Toque Blanche staff, the class includes a 4-Course meal cooking demonstration and small servings of each course. See More
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


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

Posted in Classes

April Newsletter: Breakfast Tips

Posted on April 14, 2017 by Adriana Nelson | 0 comments

The Most Important Meal of the Morning

It is the meal that gets our day going, and can determine if we feel sunny-side up, scrambled or fried. Having the right tools can help ease the stress, especially during the week when we are all rushing.

From eggs, to hash, bacon or making gravy, a skillet is an indispensable pan for breakfast. One of our favorites is the classic cast iron with a twist from Finex. Made in Portland, OR these thoughtfully-designed pans can turn out soft, custardy scrambled eggs or put a good brown crust on home fries. And clean-up is a snap.

If we can’t convince you how easy it is to care for your cast iron, then maybe you should go for our favorite non-stick skillets from Swiss Diamond, the best non-stick we have found. The also make great griddles in single or double burner sizes. 

Tip of the Month: 
Poach Pods

If poached eggs are more your jam but you have trouble making them at home, we suggest Fusion Brands Poach Pods. Have a sauce pan ready with water at a good strong simmer, but not boiling. Rub the pods with olive oil or melted butter. (Do NOT use a cooking spray! The propellants in them tend to gunk up on the surface of what you use, making them tacky, the opposite of what you want!) Drop the eggs in the pods and place them floating on top of the water. Cover the pan and cook 3-5 minutes depending on how you like your eggs and just scoop them out with a slotted spoon. Slip them out of the pods and right onto your English Muffin. For those of you that like to get technical, this is actually coddling, not poaching. 

Question of the Month:
What’s the difference between poaching and coddling?

Poaching is cooking something directly in a liquid below the boiling point. Coddling is almost the same thing, but the food is secured in some sort of vessel rather than directly in the liquid. The results for both methods are tender and gently cooked foods such as fish, eggs, chicken or even fruits poached in wine.

Morning Elixers

We can’t mention breakfasts without bringing up a morning cup! Whether it’s coffee, tea or juice we have you covered! We carry our own line of locally roasted coffees, incredible full leaf teas from England and the best juicer around for any kind of juice, as well as the best juice glasses to put it in.

For the mornings you need to get out quick, with a kettle and an AeroPress you can have a wonderful cup of coffee made directly into your travel mug and be out the door in under 10 minutes.  

Book of the Month:
The Perfect Start to Your DayTonia George

With sections on drinks (Pomegranate & Orange Sunrise), eggs (Eggs en Cocotte with Leeks and Tapenade), baked goods (Bagels!) and even making your own jams (Grapefruit and Cardamom marmalade), this book has everything you’ll need for making breakfasts for yourself during the week or entertaining a crowd for a weekend brunch.

Recipe of the Month:
Cornmeal Waffles with Strawberry Topping

 Facebook Giveaway:
Chef’s Choice Waffle Maker

With a dial for doneness and a switch to choose if you want it crispy outside/moist inside or cooked evenly all the way through this waffle iron will please everyone! And the high quality non-stick finish makes cleaning hassle free.

To enter the drawing, go to our Half Moon Bay or Santa Cruz Facebook page and comment on the giveaway post. 


Posted in Articles

Cornmeal Waffles with Strawberry Topping Recipe

Posted on April 14, 2017 by Adriana Nelson | 0 comments

This is Stuart’s waffle recipe that his family makes every other weekend. The Grains of Paradise really add a unique touch to the strawberry topping!

For the Topping:
2 pints strawberries, diced
1-2 T Vanilla Sugar 
A few grinds of Grains of Paradise

For the Waffles:
1 C Flour
1 C Stoneground Cornmeal
1 1/2 t Baking Powder
1/2 t Baking Soda
1 t Salt
2 Eggs
1 T Butter, melted
2 C Buttermilk

Cooking Instructions

Toss the berries with 1 tablespoon of the vanilla sugar and the grains of paradise. Let stand for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the juices are running.

To make the waffles, mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix the melted butter into the eggs, and then stir into the buttermilk.

Combine wet and dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix. Cook according to waffle maker instructions.

Breakfast. Not Just for Breakfast Anymore!
The waffle recipe above can be easily changed if you are having breakfast for dinner! Skip the topping, add a pinch of dried sage and a pinch of pepper flakes. Serve topped with sausage links and real maple syrup. (And butter, but that goes without saying!)


Posted in Recipes

March Newsletter: Crazy About Beans

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

Singing the Praises of Beans!

What food is high in protein, has virtually no fat and has more fiber than most whole grain foods? The answer is beans! Now a new U.S. dietary guidance message says that diets including beans may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers. See? They really ARE good for your heart! (We’ll deal with the other part of that equation in a moment!)

When it comes to beans, we are huge fans of Rancho Gordo Beans for MANY reasons. First and foremost is flavor. These heirloom beans pack a punch in that department that you just can’t get out of a can. Simply cooked with a little sofrito/mirepoix of vegetables and in water, you get an amazing pot liquor, or as Steve Sando calls it, free soup! We also love the fact that RG is a local company, and most of their beans are grown in California or Washington. They also work with small farmers in Mexico to protect both small family farming and specialty heirloom varieties of beans.

 And the love is mutual! From Steve Sando's blog:

"Chamba was my first unglazed clay that I fell in love with. It's from Colombia and I first saw it in Half Moon Bay at a great shop that has since morphed into Toque Blanche. They've become the leaders in supplying  the fanciful cookware, in their store and over the internet. The website even has information about how the unique pots are made."

Tip of the Month: 
Dealing with those “side effects”

 There are a few types of multi-chain sugars in beans that are harder for us to digest, and when these start fermenting it causes gas. The benefit of this is that it helps create more good gut bacteria, so eating more beans (increasing gradually) will help these effects decrease, and more good gut bacteria has been shown to help with many other health issues as well.

Question of the Month:
Why does rice go with beans?

Personally, we think it tastes great and helps “lighten” up the dish. (A bean burrito without rice just seems a little heavy.) But there is a real practical side Beans contain most of the amino acids to make up a complete protein. The few they are missing are found in seeds and grains. While research has now shown that the two complementary items don’t need to be eaten at the same meal, certain things have been combined culinarily in the past such as beans and rice or chickpeas and tahini (sesame seed paste) to make hummus. Which leads us to….

Recipe of the Month
Classic Hummus

Stuart has combined recipes and techniques from Paula Wolfert’s Clay Pot Cooking book, Laura Pazzaglia’s Hip Pressure Cooking and depending on the result you want, an Alton Brown recipe to come up with his take on the classic recipe.

 Book of the Month
Supper at Rancho Gordo by Steve Sando

Take a very beany trip around the world in this wonderful collection of recipes from the kitchen of Rancho Gordo’s founder, Steve Sando. 



 Bean-Making Made Easier!
Fagor Multi Cooker-
Have it your way: beans in 40 minutes (pressure cooker) or 4 hours (slow cooker)! From $129.95
Chamba Medium Soup Pot-
It looks and cooks like a bean pot should! Great size for cooking 1 pound of beans. On sale, $49.95
RSVP Veggie Masher-
For making refried beans you'll love this handy tool. $9.95 
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet-
What's the best pan for frying those refried beans? Nothing beats cast iron! From $24.95
RG Deluxe Gift Set-
Let's get started right away with a great selection of beans and the  bean book. $58.95
March Facebook Giveaway:
Rancho Gordo Cassoulet Gift Set

This sampler box features two pounds of new-crop Cassoulet beans, grown in the USA from French Tarbais seed, and a copy of the new book, Cassoulet: A French Obsession by Kate Hill, published by Rancho Gordo Books.

To enter the drawing, go to our Half Moon Bay or Santa Cruz Facebook page and comment on the giveaway.

Posted in Articles

Classic Hummus Recipe

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

 Stuart has combined recipes and techniques from Paula Wolfert’s Clay Pot Cooking book, Laura Pazzaglia’s Hip Pressure Cooking and depending on the result you want, an Alton Brown recipe to come up with his take on the classic recipe.


1 C dried chickpeas
Course sea salt
¼ C tahini
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 t ground cumin
¼ cup lemon juice
1-2 T extra virgin olive oil


Soak the chickpeas in 3 cups of water and 3 tablespoons coarse salt for 12 hours. Drain and rinse. Use right away or freeze for later use.

Cook the chickpeas either stovetop (about 1-2 hours), pressure cooker (40 minutes dried or 20 minutes soaked or brined) or, for the smoothest texture, in the slow cooker (4 hours on high or 8 hours on low). Drain the chickpeas, reserving ¼ C of the pot liquor.

Stir the tahini in the jar to make sure it is well blended. Place the tahini, garlic, lemon juice and cumin in a blender or food processor  and blend until the mixture “whitens.”  With the machine running, add the reserved pot liquor.  Add 1 ¾ cups peeled chickpeas (reserving some whole ones for garnish if desired) and process until smooth and glossy.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and lemon juice.  Allow to mellow at room temperature for 1-2 hours.

To serve, place on a plate and flatten out the spread, making a small well in the middle. Pour in the olive oil and sprinkle with sumac or za’atar as desired.

Posted in Recipes

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