Cookbook recalls Berkeley Market with recipes like spicy Persian stew and caramelized cabbage

Cookbook recalls Berkeley Market with recipes like spicy Persian stew and caramelized cabbage

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from “The Cook You Want to Be: Everyday Recipes to Impress” (Ten Speed ​​Press), by Andy Baraghani, who began his cooking career in the kitchen at Chez Panisse and later became a food writer and recipe developer at Saveur and Bon Appetit. Baraghani, an Iranian immigrant who grew up in Berkeley, introduces home cooks to new flavors, tools and techniques that will develop their skills. The book’s 120 recipes are interspersed with tips, pantry essentials, and reminders, including these:

When I was too young to drive, my mom and I went grocery shopping together every week. My mother was a Lancôme lady for over 20 years; I saw her as the Isabella Rossellini of the Macy’s counter. I am prejudiced, but my mother is beautiful, with a very small accent, like Trésor’s face, Isabella herself. In my mind, my mother spent her days off eating and searching for the best ingredients, just like me. Although, to her credit, she clearly had a lot more to worry about than just cooking.

On our shopping days, after Mom had picked up her coffee, we went to the Monterey Market in Berkeley, one of the largest supermarkets in the world. There you would find a half path of wild mushrooms; herbs that go well beyond basil and parsley, such as savory summer herbs and flowering chives. They are also said to have more than 20 varieties of citrus in stock. At the store we picked up a baguette with poppy seed sesame from Acme Bread. This started a silent race between us: who would be the first to twist and tear off the tip of the baguette? Whoever won would have it as a mini snack right there in the supermarket. We never, ever talked about it. And there was something else unspoken between us with our obsession with food that was so entrenched: the understanding that it would be almost irreverent to save the baguette for later. It was too good to ignore. It demanded our attention. Made me want to cook food with that kind of power.

We spent way too much time in Monterey Market, and even now I can’t go to a grocery store without walking down every aisle like my mom did. She bought bundles of herbs, onions, garlic, shallots, greens, and root vegetables. She also tasted quite a bit, which I’m pretty sure without asking. I blame her for my sticky fingers. She would take a bite out of a plum and hand it to me to take the next bite. It was very motherly. I was once kicked out of the Bowery Whole Foods Market in New York City for wanting to “sample” sushi (admittedly, I had a warning and the next time they asked me to leave). I unpacked and ate RXBars while shopping. I gnawed on sprigs of mint. I am my mother’s son.

The cookbook “The Cook You Want to Be” by Andy Baraghani.

Graydon Herriott / Lorena Jones Books

After shopping, Mom and I grabbed a few slices of Cheese Board, our favorite pizza place, and took a defiant seat in the median next to the sign that read KEEP OFF THE MEDIAN – all of Berkeley – to see the violinist or whatever ensemble was performing. Whatever the pizza of the day — red onion, Fontina cheese, charred poblanos with corn and feta, or Gruyere and Chicken Parmesan with thin slices of potato and rosemary — we’d have key limes to squeeze over our slices.

Every now and then my mother would spoil me and we would go to Masse’s Pastries, where I got a slice of passion fruit mousse cake. Or thumbprint cookies with fruit jelly. Or a dramatic tiramisu with large curls of chocolate, fringed with a wreath of lady fingers. It felt delicious, delicious and always made me want to taste more, order more.

I don’t take it for granted that I grew up in the East Bay, which is concentrated with people who have a deep love for food. Even though I didn’t come out of money, I was spoiled. Access to that food, those moments of eating pizza with my mom, laid the foundation for me to cook professionally and perhaps lead a life of crime.

Reprinted from “The Cook You Want to Be.” Copyright 2022 Andy Baraghani. Photos copyright 2022 Graydon Herriott. Published by Lorena Jones Books, an imprint of Random House.” Email: [email protected]

Spicy Pomegranate Chicken

Foodwise Class at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market presents a cooking demo with Andy Baraghani showing the seasonal bounty of the market, followed by an autograph session hosted by Book Passage at their shop in the Ferry Building Marketplace. Afternoon-12:45 pm Saturday 28 May. 1 de Embarcadero, San Francisco.

omnivore booking is hosting a signing from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1, at Tofino Wines, 2696 Geary Blvd., San Francisco. Wines available by the glass and by the bottle. The event is free; guests must be 21 years of age or older.

Fesenjan is a controversial Persian stew. (Maybe, I guess, are they all?) Whether you make it sour or sweet is the biggest point of contention. For me it should not be sour and not sweet. It should be perfect both, and with a little tingle. Walnuts, pomegranate molasses, and chicken make up the core trio (hundreds of years ago, meat would have been peacock). My fesenjan recipe will one day be in my Persian cookbook, along with all my other Persian secrets, but for now here’s more of a chicken stew with a fair amount of atypical lime juice, all inspired by fesenjan but definitely not a version of it – not at all.

Serves 4

4 whole chicken legs with bone, with skin, or 2½ to 3 pounds with bone, drumsticks, and thighs with skin

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon neutral oil (such as grapeseed)

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped

teaspoon ground turmeric

teaspoon ground cinnamon

cup of water

cup pomegranate molasses

cup of fresh lime juice

1 large handful of herbs (such as basil, coriander and/or dill)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, season with salt and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the salt to absorb.

Pour the neutral oil into a large ovenproof frying pan and place over medium heat. Place the chicken legs in the pan, skin side down, so they are firm and flat. Cook, using tongs to press the chicken down so the skin contacts the bottom of the pan to promote browning, until the legs are surrounded by their own fat and the skin underneath is a deep brown, 5 to 7 minutes . Place the chicken on a plate, skin side up, leaving behind that golden chicken fat.

Let the skillet cool for a few minutes, then return it to medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring and scraping any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, until the onion is lightly charred around the edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the walnuts and continue cooking until they smell nutty and the onion is deep golden brown in most places, 3 to 5 minutes more. Sprinkle in the turmeric and cinnamon and stir to allow the spices to bloom.

Pour the water, pomegranate molasses and lime juice into the pan and season lightly with salt. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side up, and ladle some sauce over each leg. Transfer skillet to oven, uncovered, and cook chicken legs until sauce has thickened and meat begs to be ripped from bone, 50 to 60 minutes. Scatter the spices over or on the side of the chicken legs and serve.

Fall-Apart caramelized cabbage smothered in anchovies and dill

My love for cabbage runs deep, as deep as my love for Diana Ross’ iconic 1983 Central Park concert in the rain (it’s a YouTube must-watch). And yet this recipe should never have been in this book. I was doing a pop up dinner one night and decided at the last minute to add this dish to round out the menu. The cabbage is seared hard on the stovetop before going into the oven to soften to an almost mealy texture. While the cabbage is still warm, it is topped with an intense garlic-anchovy sauce made with so much dill. The sauce will drape the cabbage and sneak into each layer.

Serves 4

1 main basic green or purple cabbage or fancy savoy cabbage

cup of extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

4 anchovies in oil, drained and chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely grated

1 cup coarsely chopped dill

cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees†

Cut the cabbage in half through the core. Cut each half into three wedges, leaving the core intact.

Place a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Add ¼ cup olive oil and heat until hot and shimmering. Season the cabbage with salt and place in the pan. Cook, using tongs to press the cabbage so that it is deeply charred and slightly tender (it will soften in the oven), 3 to 5 minutes per side. If your skillet isn’t big enough to brown all the pieces at once, do it in batches.

Remove the pan from the heat and cover carefully with aluminum foil (the pan will be hot!). Transfer skillet to oven and roast until cabbage is very tender, 30 to 40 minutes. When done, a paring knife should slide in and out of the cabbage core like butter.

While the cabbage is in the oven, in a medium bowl, stir together the anchovies, garlic, dill, walnuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining ½ cup olive oil. Season with salt and plenty of pepper. Letting it sit for 10 minutes will soften and meld the flavors.

When the cabbage is done, arrange the pieces on a platter and spoon the sauce around and between the melty layers. Sprinkle with more pepper and serve.


Green and purple cabbage are interchangeable here; they are both firm and dense, intensely crisp, consistent when raw, but even better grilled or roasted to death. And cheap! Love them. Napa cabbage has a longer ovoid shape with a crispy base and soft leaf tips; I like it for quick stir-fries, or shredded, lightly massaged and eaten raw. It’s juicy and light, not as compact as those other guys. Savoy is harder to find – it’s the cabbage from the Cabbage Patch Doll – with dramatic beautiful leaves straight from a painting by Caravaggio. I use it the same way as regular cabbage, like in this caramelized cabbage recipe. It makes everything you cook worthy of a still life.