Join Us for a Series of 4 Very Special Thursday Night Dinner Parties with Chef Aliza Green at Baba Olga’s Celebrating my new book, The Magic of Spice Blends
Click the link below for more details:
Tickets: $55 per person/per dinner
Limited Reserved Seating
7:00 to 10:00pm
Books are available for signing by the author.
I am happy to say that I will be guest chef in residence from January 7 to 9th at the gorgeous spa/retreat in the Poconos, The Inn at Woodloch. Follow this link for details: Aliza at the Inn at Woodloch. I’ll be doing a demo of a spice blend and a delicious vegan soup from my newest book, The Magic of Spice Blends, attending a reception and Q & A in my honor, and meeting with the chefs for a career discussion. Many thanks to my friend, Tina Breslow, of Breslow Partners for arranging this culinary get-away.
I attended the recent Philly C-CAP Gala honoring the major culinary contributions to the city of Philadelphia of Chef Jean-Marie LaCroix, longtime executive chef of the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia and mentor to a generation of chefs. With him is his colleague and sometimes rival, Chef Georges Perrier. I never worked with Chef LaCroix but know him as a fellow Philly culinarian from my days at A’Propos in the 80s where I worked with his lovely wife, Vivienne. And, I almost went to work for Chef Perrier but instead chose to go work at A’Propos where I cooked Mediterranean-inspired California-style cuisine with a wood-oven and mesquite grill. Although I was torn by it, I made the right decision because three months after I started, I got pregnant. A few years later, I was honored to be asked by Chef Perrier to co-author his cookbook–a wonderful opportunity for me and an experience that I will always treasure. Vive La France!
Spices are the foundation of flavor and are used in virtually every recipe in every home around the world, yet many cooks are intimidated by how to choose and use spices to enhance their cooking. My new book, The Magic of Spice Blends, is an authoritative, global overview of spice blends, including background information on individual spices and how to create and adapt classic blends to suit your personal taste without losing their essential character. Here I provide a fully-illustrated guide to spices, creating 50 spice blends and 50 recipes using flavor profiles from around the world. A pinch of this and a dash of that, and you’ll be creating distinctive and delectable flavors in every dish!
Today, more than ever, we have access to almost every spice and herb imaginable. But it’s the careful blending of herbs and spices that is the true art of the spice handler.
The Magic of Spice Blends reveals the secrets of creating and cooking with the world’s classic spice blends from seven regions: Africa, the Far East, Europe, India, the Middle East, North America and the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America.
I guide you through the principles of choosing, working with, and blending spices. Join the fun of creating personalized spice and herb blends and knowing just what goes into them—no ancient, bitter, musty dust here! Find resources on where to purchase great quality herbs and spices, even organic, non-irradiated. You can even grow your own and use them to make those wonderful spice blends.
Along with background information on the history, culture, and culinary uses of each blend, The Magic of Spice Blends includes recipes and variations for 50 spice blends and an additional 50 recipes featuring blends including: Spicy Moroccan Steamed Mussels with Charmoula (Africa); Vietnamese Chicken Bahn Mi Sandwich with Chinese Five Spice; Swedish Gingerbread Cookies (Europe); Grilled Vadouvan Salmon with Date Tamarind Chutney (India): Watermelon, Labne, and Mint Salad with Lime Advieh Dressing (the Middle East); Louisiana Spicy Boiled Crayfish (North America); and Jerk-Spiced Turkey Wings (the Caribbean).
The Magic of Spice Blends is available for pre-order on Amazon right now and will be in bookstores starting December 1st.
This spring, I had the pleasure of creating a Brazilian menu for the Painted Bride’s 46th Anniversary Celebration held at Material Culture in East FAlls. I prepared Feijoada, the iconic Brazilian dish of black beans, smoked and cured meats, sauteed kale, and sliced Navel oranges (native to Brazil). This rich and flavorful dish was accompanied by plentiful Caipirinha cocktails–like a daiquiri made with cachaca (Brazilian sugar cane spirits) that can be dangerously delicious and lead to spirited dancing. See the clip here: Painted Bride Celebrates its 46th Anniversary Brazilian Style!
I’m very excited to be hosting our first Community Seder at Baba Olga’s Cafe on the second night of Passover. Everyone is invited to this celebration of Sephardi and Ashkenazi food, freedom, and building community. Please join us for this delicious meal accompanied by the traditional (minimum!) four glasses of wine.
Please join me and a group of food lovers at my series of three international spice-based cooking classes at Baba Olga’s Cafe. The first class is coming up in just two weeks and will include cooking demo, a take-home packet of spices for each guest and lunch featuring dishes that we have made and other recipes from my forthcoming book, The Magic of Spice Blends. Please visit http://materialculture.com/cooking-classes-at-baba-olgas-cafe/ for more information and to purchase tickets.
Unique retail store and auction house Material Culture has truly become a destination that treats all five senses with the opening of its new restaurant, Baba Olga’s Café and Supper Club. The café marries global flavor with the most locally-sourced, sustainably-harvested ingredients.Aliza Green is the proud Chef Manager of Baba Olga’s Café & Supper Club at Material Culture http://materialculture.com/baba-olga-cafe/where lunch is served Wednesday through Saturday in a menu of made-from-scratch soups, salads, sandwiches, and sweets. Every Sunday, she prepares a prix-fixe Grand Seasonal Buffet with an array of seasonal, local, and international culinary creations. The store and cafe space are available for rentals for catered events and Green works directly with customers to create a custom menu.
An enthusiastic life-long traveler, Chef Green has spent time working with chefs and food artisans around the world, learning the local customs, methods and tastes to achieve mastery of her craft. Her bold and flavorful cuisine finds an apt home in Material Culture, amidst the art and home decor that was similarly imported from locations across the globe. The café’s space is decorated with custom hand-crafted furnishings and one-of-a-kind art and artifacts discovered in the field, creating an experience that enlivens and transports from the moment guests cross the threshold.
The menu at Baba Olga’s prioritizes fresh, seasonal ingredients from local farms and suppliers wherever possible. Some of our suppliers include Heritage Farm in Philadelphia, Green Meadow Farm in Gap, PA and Fruitwood Orchards in New Jersey. Our commitment to using fish that is sustainably caught and meat and poultry that is humanely raised has an impact on the environment—and an impact on the rich, succulent flavors of the dishes. At Baba Olga’s the water is filtered five times for clean, clear flavor and no wasteful plastic water bottles. Food scraps are composted by Bennett Compost, take-out containers, and paper napkins are biodegradable, and little to no processed foods are used.
If you’ve got far too many chives–and they’re doing so well with all the rain we’ve been getting, see my tips for using chives which appear in this article in the Washington Post Food Section: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/herb-dilemmas-solved-by-the-bunch/2013/06/11/e130e822-cca5-11e2-8845-d970ccb04497_story.html.
Of all the books I’ve written, Field Guide to Herbs & Spices is still a personal favorite that I turn to again and again. I include the names of each herb and spice in 15 to 20 languages, depending on where in the world it is used most, their scientific names, common uses around the world, characteristics, how to choose, store, and use them, flavor affinities, and simple preparations and recipes. The book has been translated into French and Spanish. I had to come up with 240 (!) different herbs and spices to do the photos and had shipments arriving from Australia, Sri Lanka, Wellsweep Farm–an amazing herb farm in New Jersey–Mexico, the Caribbean, Italy, Greece, and Turkey. So much fun! My dream is to write another spice book, this time focusing on spice blends.
How to store herbs and spices from an article I was interviewed for in Real Simple Magazine: http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/herbs-spices/best-way-store-herbs-00000000015652/index.html.
Here’s a link to the World Spice Merchant’s page about my book: http://www.worldspice.com/wares/field-guide-to-herbs-spices. Check out the gorgeous blossoming chives on the cover from my own herb garden. The white blossoms from Chives chives are also delicious–just make sure to pull the blossoms off the tougher calyx for both types before using.
I’ll be teaching a workshop on making chilled no-cook summer soups this Saturday at the fabulous Greensgrow Farms in Kensington. No need for cooking, just a blender, bowl, knife, and board–and LOTS of seasonal vegetables, fruits, and herbs. We’ll be making these three soups:
Green Gazpacho with Grapes, Garlic, Almonds & Spinach
Golden Tomato Gazpacho with Smoked Paprika
Melon, Ginger & Yogurt Soup with Jalapeno
The recipes come from my newest book, The Soupmaker’s Kitchen, which will be published on July 1st but is available now on Amazon for preorder.
All the soups are vegetarian and two are vegan.
Click on this link for details; http://www.greensgrow.org/event/chef-aliza-green-and-the-soupmakers-kitchen-workshop/
(I have changed the program to make it a cold soups workshop so the description may not be accurate until it has been corrected. Location, pricing, and registration information stays the same.)
Participants will also receive a handy information card showing how to make delicious, full-bodied vegetable stock using kitchen scraps.
If you’ve never visited Greensgrow Farms, this is a perfect opportunity to taste their produce and get some new recipes you’ll make again and again in the hot summer months to come,