I am happy to announce that since my first tour sold out, I am organizing a second Morocco Culinary & Cultural Tour starting February 13, 2018 for a 11-night tour filled with culinary delights, cooking classes, market tours, tastings, and visits to farms. We’ll learn to make an array of the small Moroccan salads such as the ones shown above, whether eggplant, carrot, artichoke, zucchini or fava beans. We’ll enjoy wonderful flavor-packed food based on seasonal vegetables, local olive oil and rare argan oil, purple, green, black and violet olives, fresh local seafood, and a deft hand with herbs and spices. For this small-group tour (maximum 10 guests), we’ll be staying in riads (traditional inn with inner courtyard based on Andalusian style) and will even have one night in the desert where we’ll stay in a luxury camp and bake bread in hot sand fueled by an open fire.
Tour highlights include: Tasting tour of Fes (the Moroccan spelling of Fez, Spice Workshop with Master Blender, an Exploration of Moroccan-Jewish Cooking, and cooking classes in the Atlas Mountains, a visit to the spectacular Dades Valley where we’ll stay at the justly-famed Chez Pierre, Marrakesh, and Fes.
Beginning in Rabat, the historic, Atlantic Coastal capital of Morocco, we’ll travel next to the Imperial City of Fes. Next we travel south into the Sahara Desert, and then onto the Dades Valley. We continue to Marrakesh, the beautiful ochre city and then on to the charming, windy fishing village of Essaouira before heading to Casablanca for a final night before departing Morocco.
We’ll be drinking pots full of Moroccan mint tea made with nana mint (spearmint), traditionally poured from a great height to cool the boiling hot tea.
Only two spaces left!
Here are some images from the heritage-rich riads and hotels where we will be staying:
Window at Maison Arabe, Marrakesh
Poolside dining at Maison Arabe, Marrakesh
Court with pool, Palais Amani, Fes
Click on this link to get to the itinerary for the tour (I’ll upload a new file with the correct dates in the next few days but the itinerary will be the same as shown here with the tour starting February 20th): Itinerary for February Morocco Culinary Tour
Click on this link to get to the Payments page for pricing information: Aliza Green Morocco Cooking Tour Feb 18 Pricing
Any questions, please send a message to ChefAlizaGreen@gmail.com.
Have you been dreaming about a trip to Morocco? I know that I have since I love cooking Moroccan-inspired food from slender lamb cigari; fish, vegetable and meat tajines; and baked fish in chermoula to chicken b’stilla with cinnamon and almonds; m’hancha (the serpent)–pistachio, almond and rosewater filled coiled fillo pastry; and slow-cooked lamb shoulder with homemade ras el hanout and preserved lemons. I will be leading a small group culinary & cultural tour to Morocco departing January 3, 2018–just one year away! Eight to 12 guests will join me for a 9 night tour with an optional 3 night extension. Highlights include a tasting tour of Fes, a spice blending workshop with a master, an exploration of Moroccan-Jewish cuisine, bread-making in the Sahara and overnight in a luxury tent camp, a cooking class in the breathtaking Dades Valley, and a rejuvenating hammam (Turkish bath/spa) session in Marrakech. Cut and paste the Google Slides document below for detailed information:
AlizaGreen Morocco Culinary Tour
And, here is a link to the payments page
Please send a message to me if you have any questions and let me know if you’re interested even if you’re not ready to make a commitment.
Italian Maremma & Umbria: A Pasta & Wine Lover’s Culinary Tour with Aliza Green: October 3 –13, 2012
Join Aliza Green, Italian food expert and author of 12 cookbooks, including Making Artisan Pasta, for a 10-day small-group exploration of autumn culinary delights, fresh pasta, and wine in wild, ancient Etruscan Maremma and Umbria, “Italy’s green heart.”
Visit Tarquinia and fifteenth-century Palazzo Vitelleschi with its fabulous winged horses. Stay at Ramerino in the heart of the wild Maremma in southwestern Tuscany. Dine at small, local restaurants and meet the chefs. Visit medieval towns Suvereto, Massa Marittima, and Campiglia-Marittima. Pasta demonstration by “mama” at tiny Taverna del Tiburzi. Chocolate and wine pairing workshop with cioccolataio Dominico d’Affronto. Relax at Terme Calidario, elegant Etruscan/Roman style spa.
Tour Barrati Archeological Park on the site of an ancient Etruscan iron-working village. Decorate with fruits, vegetables, and flowers with Fiorella Falavigna De Leo.
Walk the beautiful trails at Ramerino then enjoy a special meal prepared by master salumaio (cured meat specialist), Davide Fedele. Tour and tasting at hyper-local sheep cheese farm, Podere Paterno, powered by geothermic steam. Tour and tasting at renowned Super-Tuscan Winery Petra designed by star-chitect Mario Botto.
Guided tour of Pitigliano (“la piccola gerusalemme”) by local expert with visit to the old Jewish quarter followed by lunch of Jewish specialties.
In Orvieto, stay at the Hotel Palazzo Piccolomini in a restored Renaissance palazzo. Welcome reception at La Champagneria. Tour and tasting at Castello della Sala winery in a medieval castle. Dinner and hand-stretched pasta demo with Chef Valentina Santanicchio. Tour, tasting, and leisurely lunch overlooking the vineyards at Falesco Winery.
Visit to Monterubaglio with demo by three local pasta queens, then a hands-on class with Chef Velia de Angelis. Gala farewell dinner at La Badia, a restored 12th century abbey.
Land Package Price: $4,985.00* per person based on two sharing
Single Supplement: $895.00 limited availability, please inquire
*Price subject to revision at 90 days prior to travel date. Rate is based on a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 14 guests traveling together throughout. Price based on currency exchange as of March 2, 2012.
- Hosted throughout by Epicopia Experience Director, Aliza Green
- Transportation to and from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport
- All transfers and baggage handling
- 10 nights’ accommodation (as listed or similar)
- Daily breakfast, 8 lunches, and 9 dinners (total of 3 meals on own)
- Limited local wines (or non-alcoholic beverages) with included meals
- Transportation by deluxe mini-coach with an experienced, professional driver
- All cooking classes and demonstrations
- Licensed professional guide in Pitigliano and Barrati
- 3 winery visits & tastings
- Entrance fees to museums and sites according to the itinerary
- VAT and other taxes
- Signed copy of Aliza Green’s Making Artisan Pasta upon your return
- Welcome package
- Gratuities to driver and guides
- Two lunches and one dinner not included in the itinerary
- International airfares to/from Rome
- Travel Protection and Cancellation Insurance is recommended (must provide proof of coverage or signed statement)
|For reservations contact:||For additional information contact:|
|Epicopia Culinary Journeys5042 Rabbit Ridge Court
Rockwall, Texas 75032 USA
Tel: 972.771.3510 or 877.661.3844
You may have heard of Italian stallions (and I knew quite a few during my years of cheffing at Italian restaurants!) but how about Italian cowboys? The marshy areas of the Tuscan Maremma are home to Italy’s few remaining traditional cowboys, responsible for herding the enormous native Maremman cattle with their lyre-shaped horns, which may reach 2,500 pounds, over double the size of American Angus cattle! Read about the cattle and the revival of this heritage breed and the cowboys who work with them here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/world/europe/05italy.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=maremma&st=cse.
I’ll be taking a small group to visit this fascinating and non-touristy region on my Pasta Lover’s Culinary Tour, October 19 to 29. Just 4 spaces left (www.epicopia.com). You’ll learn to make your own hand-stretched pasta–the ultimate in flavor and texture. You haven’t tasted fresh pasta until you’ve experienced hand-stretched pasta, a specialty of the region along with game and wild mushrooms.
A dynamic one-day educational event highlighting local food, wine, and spirits in the Delaware Valley, open to everyone who wants to learn more from an array of lively experts.
Date: Saturday, June 11, 2011, 8:00 am to 5:30 pm
Location: The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College
4207 Walnut St., Phila., 19104; www.walnuthillcollege.edu
Cost: Registration $85, includes breakfast, lunch and dessert provided by Dame restaurateurs and caterers, choice of four sessions, and reception (limited to 100 attendees)
Contact: Chapter President Aliza Green: email@example.com
Registration: Download registration brochure at www.lesdamesphiladelphia.com. Pay with Paypal, credit card, or check
This unique event features workshops, panel discussions, demonstrations, hands-on classes and tastings. Highlights include: keynote talk by Judy Wicks, international leader in the local living economies movement; talk by William Woys Weaver (Culinary Ephemera); cooking class with renowned chef/restaurateur Susanna Foo; and talk and tasting by Stephen Fried (Appetite for America.
- Meet farmers, bakers, chefs, and artisan food producers. Taste international and local sheep’s milk cheeses, locally-distilled spirits, baked goods made by Dame Pastry Chefs and Bakers, local meats including Linda Geren (HighView Farm), and Michel Cluizel’s bean-to-bar chocolate.
- Participate in panel discussions about food writing for print and electronic media. Learn how to get your artisanal food product to market in a valuable special double-session workshop.
- Explore African-American culinary history with Toni Martin (A Taste of Heritage: The New African-American Cuisine). Learn how local chefs keep their seafood sustainable and best ways of working with local meats in a panel led by local food systems activist Marilyn Anthony.
- Discover kitchen secrets of top culinarians like Cici Williamson (The Best of Virginia Farms), Rozanne Gold (Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease), and Ellie Krieger (So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week).
- Cook Bangkok street snacks with Moon Krapugthong (Chabaa Thai Bistro, Turkish regional food with Sheilah Kaufman (The Turkish Cookbook), and bread made from local wheat from Pete’s Produce Farm with Chef John Gallagher (The Restaurant School) in these hands-on classes.
- Chat with cookbook authors like Lari Robling (Endangered Recipes), Aliza Green (The Fishmonger’s Apprentice), Tara Desmond (Almost Meatless), Jennifer Linder McGlinn (Gingerbread), and Andy Schloss (Mastering the Grill). Buy personalized signed books. Bring home a special goodie bag.
Les Dames d’Escoffier International is a worldwide, invitation-only, philanthropic society of professional women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality in 28 chapters across the United States, Canada and Europe. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and contributions are tax-deductible according to US tax law. For more information, visit www.lesdamesphiladelphia.com.
I’ve been traveling all my life, starting at the age of five when I crossed the Atlantic on the Statendam (now a cruise ship) on the way to spend a year living in Holland. From there it was off to Italy through France and Switzerland and then onto a second year in Israel, where I first learned to read and write. In order to combine my love of travel and my extensive knowledge and passion for food, I attended the International Travel Management Institute Tour Guide and Tour Director programs in San Francisco. I am happy to say that I have successfully completed this excellent, though demanding course and am looking forward to leading culinary and other specialty tours in the United States, Canada, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Israel. I have also taken a Red Cross CPR / First Aid course to better prepare me for travel with groups.
For more information about ITMI: click here:
Cast-Aluminum Bundt Pans
I have two plain cast-aluminum Bundt pans, which I much prefer to the newer dark nonstick coated pans, which tend to yield cakes with an overly dark crust. My pans are at least 20 years old and show no sign of wear at all. Go to www.nordicware.com to see all their offerings. I use their Original Bundt Pan in the 12-cup size.
A 9-inch cast-iron skillet or (for a splurge) I prefer Wagner for cast-iron ware, simply because I find their shapes to be more elegant and useful. Go to www.wagnerware.com for more information and to order. I sometimes find good, seasoned (though usually slightly rusty) cast-iron skillets at yard sales and flea markets. After using a cast-iron skillet, rinse it out and then immediately wipe it dry. In the beginning, you’ll need to rub the pan with a thin coating of oil to protect it. After you’ve used it awhile, the pan will begin to get seasoned and won’t need this step.
Chicago Metallic Loaf and Muffins Tins
For loaf pans and muffin tins, I prefer the heavy-duty ones made by Chicago Metallic in many sizes. These pans never wear out, they don’t warp, and are an all-around pleasure to use. I mostly use a standard, medium, or 1-pound loaf pan, 81/2 x 41/2-inches and prefer one that is light aluminum not dark. This company’s 13 x 9-inch baking pans are also excellent. Go to www.cmbakeware.com for a complete listing. Their products are available online from www.amazon.com and from www.chefscatalogue.com.
Culinary Butane Torch
It’s a whole lot easier to brown a meringue topping or glaze a crème brûlée with a culinary butane torch. I used to use a larger propane torch of the type found at hardware stores. Now, I go for the smaller, easier to use and control torch that uses the same can of butane fuel made for the portable burner called a Cassette Feu. Buy the top, which fits on to a standard can from www.surfasonline.com.
Disher or Ice Cream Scoop
I use several sizes of universal stainless steel dishers, available at many good cookware stores, to quickly scoop even-sized portions of cookie batter. Look for a complete line of beautifully made Vollrath universal dishers at www.surfasonline.com, which lists the size (based on the number of scoops per quart) and the actual contents of each scoop by the ounce. Because I am left-handed, I avoid the type of disher where you must use a tab built for righties to squeeze the scoop. There are knock-off inexpensive scoops for sale that I’ve found break much too quickly to be worth their lower price.
Disposable Pastry Bags
I have a 100-bag roll of plastic disposable pastry bags that I find quite useful. In Europe, for good reason, it is illegal to use cloth reusable pastry bags, because they are almost impossible to clean thoroughly. You can buy a roll of 100 (12-inch) disposable bags from www.surfasonline.com for about $15.00. An alternative is to use a quart or gallon-sized ziplock freezer bag (heavier than the storage bags) and cut out the corner to the correct size.
Enameled Cast-Iron Dutch Oven
An enameled cast-iron pot, such as a 51/2-quart Le Creuset casserole, is really useful for baking crusty bread. I love the 6-quart Italian Essentials pot made by Copco for Mario Batali. For product information go to at www.italiankitchenstore.com. It is available at www.chefsresource.com for about $100, quite a bit less than the equivalent made by Le Creuset. I found the persimmon color irresistible as I’m a sucker for all things orange (also Batali’s signature color, although I’d been wearing orange clogs for years before I saw his). See the recipe for Greek Country Barley Bread on page 000.
Foley Food Mill
For straining fruit purees, I use a 20-year-old Foley food mill that never seems to wear out. For finer straining, such as removing the seeds from a raspberry puree, I put the purée through a fine metal China cap (of a kind and quality that is hard to find nowadays) or a fine wire sieve.
The larger the capacity, the better. I have both an older commercial R2 model and a smaller home Kitchen Aid food processor. I’ve seen the R2 for sale on E-Bay for about $800, which is admittedly a lot of money. With its powerful motor, it will, however, last a lifetime. I find the food processor to be indispensable in baking, for making doughs, grinding nuts, chopping chocolate to fine bits for easier melting, smoothing out pastry creams, mixing fillings like frangipane almond filling, and for chopping praline chunks into small bits.
French Composite Plastic Cutters
I have switched from the old-time tinned cookie cutters, which tend to rust, stainless cutters, which tend to stick, and copper cutters, which are great but high-priced, to the newer Exoglass cutters from France. These strong, sharp, and rigid composite plastic cutters produce even cuts and prevent rust and bacteria growth. They are also heat resistant and dishwasher safe. Buy the cutters from Previn in Philadelphia, a great resource for serious chefs looking for the best in European and American cookware and bakeware (www.previninc.com)
This is a handy tool for smoothing out lumpy pastry cream and pureeing fruits to sauce. Buy the largest one you can find. Mine is a Kitchen Aid model that also comes with a handy whisk attachment, useful for beating small amounts of heavy cream or egg whites.
Also known as bun pans, these heavy-duty 18 x 13-inch pans are a standard in my kitchen. They bake evenly, don’t warp, have a bigger yield, and hold a standard silicone baking mat. I couldn’t bake without them. Buy them at any restaurant supply store or from many online suppliers. Note that some older ovens may not be large enough for this pan. Frustratingly for this baker, my old ovens were too small for this size pan. Luckily, my newer standard American oven is fine, as are most ovens produced today for the home.
For mixing, I use my trusty 5-quart Kitchen-Aid mixer, the NSF-approved Pro Model, which has a somewhat more heavy-duty motor. For back-up and for my wonderful assistant, Betty Kaplan, we worked with my 25-year old Kitchen-Aid K5A mixer, which takes a licking and keeps on ticking. I also invested in an extra bowl, making it much easier and faster for separated egg cake batters. I use the meat grinder attachment to grind the fruit and nut filling for cookies like the Cuccidati (page 000) and for chunky salsas. It is a better choice than the food processor, which tends to chop things into a paste. Instead, the mixture grinds into small, evenly-sized chunks.
I use my heavy-duty (that word again) red scissors for all sorts of tasks in the kitchen, from cutting parchment paper to fit to trimming off the ends of disposable pastry bags or ziplock bags to fit a pastry tip.
Although many professional chefs prefer using an old-fashioned three-sided stone for sharpening, I’ve found that I’m not particularly skilled at doing this, so I’ve become a big fan of the knife sharpener made by Chef’s Choice. Go to www.chefschoice.com to see their different models. I have the top-of-the-line electric pro model, but then I sharpen a lot of knives. The smaller, electric home model 120 that comes in different colors will probably work fine for you.
Magic Line Cake Pans
For cake pans, I prefer the removable-bottom spun aluminum pans made by Magic Line rather than springform pans, because there is nothing to break or lose here. I mostly use 9-inch cake pans though there are a few recipes that call for 8- or 10-inch pans. The pans are nice and heavy-duty so they bake cakes evenly and never wear out. They are available from many online retailers, including Amazon and Target.
This is an indispensable tool for me, because I use aromatic citrus zests in so much of my baking. See page 000 for more information.
Natural Bristle Brushes
It is best to have a few sturdy brushes. While those made with silicone bristles are easier to clean and don’t break, they don’t work nearly as well as the old-fashioned brushes made with natural bristles. Avoid brushes with nylon bristles, which will melt instantly if they get too hot. I find that a 11/2-inch brush size is the most useful.
Parchment and Wax Paper
Both these baker’s aids are useful in the kitchen, although now that I’ve been using my Silpat silicone mats, I don’t use nearly as much parchment paper. It is useful for baking things like bar cookies that you’ll want to cut into individual portions, because you can’t cut on the silicone mats. Wax paper is an old stalwart that works for many of the same applications.
Ring or Tube Pan
Some dense cakes bake up better in a ring or tube pan that is 10-inches in diameter. If you use a standard round pan, the outer portion will get overdone before the inner portion is ready. As always, I recommend buying the heaviest, best-made pan you can find. Cheap pans, especially those with spring clips will break all too quickly. Because it seems that plain tube pans are not that common anymore, you may substitute a 10-inch Bundt pan, an angel food pan, or a Turk’s head mold traditionally used to make Kugelhopf cakes.
Make rolling doughs easier and more effective by choosing a heavy rolling pin. I prefer my well-seasoned straight French wooden rolling pin to the standard American ball-bearing rolling pin with handles on the ends, because I get a better feel of the dough being worked. This is purely a matter of taste. Use whatever works best for you. For an inexpensive 201/2-inch French pin similar to the one I use made from hard birch or maple, go to www.fantes.com, which has a large selection of rolling pins with useful explanations of the different types.
To roll out dough, I invested in a 24 x 18-inch Roul-Pat, a large fiberglass-strengthened silicone mat perfect for rolling as absolutely nothing sticks to it. It is the same material in a larger size as the Silpat silicone baking mats so popular among professional pastry chefs and now available in half sheet pan size for home use. The only drawback here is that you can’t cut the dough on the mat.
Sharp Chef’s Knife
I use several different knives, all about 8-inches in length, although probably my favorite is made by the Japanese company, Mac Knives (www.macknife.com) and has an 81/2-inch blade. It is perfectly balanced, easy to sharpen, and not overly heavy. I find that for smaller hands, it’s easier to control a knife of this size than a standard 10-inch chef’s knife.
A sharp paring knife for paring fruits and vegetables with a 2- to 3-inch blade is most useful.
The rubber spatula is on the short list of indispensable tools invented in America (another is the swivel peeler). Note that rubber spatulas will melt when immersed in hot liquids, while those made from silicone will not. I have at least half a dozen in both the smaller and the larger size, which are perfect for delicate folding and to scrape every last bit of batter out of the bowl (although dedicated bowl-lickers may not be too happy about this).
Silpat Silicone Mats
These are the original silicone mats from France that fit a standard half sheet pan. You’ll never need to butter and flour a pan again! There are other companies making silicone mats but I haven’t liked any of the other ones I’ve used nearly as much. Buy the half sheet pan size mat from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Buy one that fits a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan at www.surlatable.com. Just be careful never to cut on the mat (as I found out the hard way the first time I used mine).
I prefer using stainless steel bowls, again, the heavier the better, and they’ll last forever. You can place a stainless steel bowl on top of a pot full of boiling water when making heated egg batters for sponge cakes. You can quickly cool hot fillings over a second bowl filled with ice and water. I have at least a dozen different sizes of bowls, though you can probably make do with three of four. My favorite is an old (at least 30 years) 13-quart rolled edge stainless steel bowl made by Vollrath, which is the perfect size and shape for folding together light cake batters like angel food cake. There are many cheap, light stainless steel bowls now coming in from China and India, which will tend to quickly get dented and warped, so I would avoid them. Go to www.vollrathco.com to see their listing of American-made heavy-duty stainless steel bowls. Buy a good selection of the bowls online from www.surfasonline.com.
Thermapen Instant-Read Thermometer
The Thermapen, a wonderful instant-read thermometer, can be used for custards, caramel, and deep-frying and to test whether bread is done. (See page 000 for more information or go to www.thermoworks.com).
I use whisks for many tasks when baking: whisking together the dry ingredients so they are evenly combined (this works as well as sifting unless you are combining very light cake flour, starches, or cocoa, which tends to form lumps); lightly beating eggs and sugar when making custards and pastry creams, where you don’t need to incorporate air but just need to combine them evenly; combining melted and unmelted chocolate bits so the hard bits melt evenly; beating air into sponge cake batter as it is heating over steaming water; and many other tasks. Invest in several different sizes of sturdy, well-made whisks. It is worthwhile to buy one large balloon whisk to incorporate as much air as possible when making sponge cakes.
Wire Cooking Racks
It’s best to buy several stainless steel wire racks for cooling pans of cookies and cakes. If you get the heavy-duty type, they will last a lifetime. I also use the racks to drain deep-fried foods, placing the rack over a pan to catch the drips. This way I can put the pan containing the drained foods right into a low (200°F) oven to keep warm while I fry up the rest of the batch. Because there is air circulation all around, the fried bits don’t get soggy as the bottoms do if they are drained on paper.
by Aliza Green
Starting with Ingredients: Baking is chef-author Aliza Green’s tenth book and a comprehensive sequel to her masterful, 1,000+page Starting with Ingredients (Running Press, 2006). Green’s books have garnered national attention and a devoted following, and her innovative structure – literally “starting with ingredients” – organizes the more than 350 recipes, so that readers understand the most important baking ingredients, their origins, how they’re used, and how they work. Starting with Ingredients: Baking and Green’s highly acclaimed books have established her reputation as a culinary expert, and she brings that expertise to bear here in her signature, approachable fashion.