Archive | June 10th, 2011

Taste and Learn About Exotic Spices in Aliza Green Class

Taste and Learn About Exotic Spices in Aliza Green Class

As any dedicated foodie knows, the use of spices is one of the most important factors in our culinary expertise and education.

Spices take an ordinary lentil stew to new culinary heights. Find out about them in Aliza Green's class on June 20.

So, how familiar are you with ajwain, asafetida, Australian wattleseed, bird’s eye chile pepper, black cumin (kala jeera or shahi jeera) or cassia buds?

Or, how about Cubeb pepper, culantro, fennel seed, Lucknow and Mediterranean fenugreek, grains of paradise, mastic resin, sumac, Thai cardamom or Turkish urfa pepper?

If some of these are unfamiliar, you can taste them and learn how to use them from a spice expert at the Unusual Herbs & Spices Class on June 20, at the Art Institute of San Antonio kitchen.

Leading the class is Aliza Green, a chef, author and president of the Philadelphia chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier.  She will present in-depth instruction and do cooking demonstrations. The class culminates in a tasting of dishes that use some of these spices.

Here’s the menu: Moroccan White Bean Salad, Ethiopian Lentil Stew with Berberé, Yogurt Mousse with Australian Lemon Myrtle, and Turkish Sekerpare.

Becker wines will be served to complement the food, and there will be door prize drawings as well.

The class, presented by the San Antonio chapter of Les Dames, is from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Art Institute, 10000 IH-10 W., Suite 200.  The cost is $50.  To sign up for this class, you may link here.







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Ask a Foodie: Where’s the Orange Roughy?

Ask a Foodie: Where’s the Orange Roughy?

An easy recipe for whitefish is to sauté it in butter with dill and capers.

Q. Why don’t I see orange roughy in the supermarket anymore? — J.C.

A. Orange roughy, which got its name from its orange color and rough scales, was once the go-to fish for people who don’t like fish. It doesn’t have a fishy taste, the bones are usually missing, there’s no skin to deal with, and it can be cooked in minutes. Plus, it is both light and refreshing.

So, we’ve just about fished it out of existence. At least that’s what the seafood monger at my local H-E-B told me when I put your question to her.

One of the reasons is that the fish is slow to mature, according to Mar-Eco, an ecological group that focuses on the environment of the northern Mid-Atlantic. That means the supply won’t replenish itself quickly.

For people who want orange roughy, there are numerous substitutes.

Tilapia is a favorite with many for many of the reasons listed above, but it is usually farmed raised and that means it is not appealing to a growing number of people. (For one perspective on the issue of farm-raised fish, click here.)

In the seafood case, I found a wild-caught whitefish, Cape Capensis, which comes from the coast off Southwestern Africa. The frozen seafood section had barramundi, which was the seafood saleswoman’s other suggestion.

I sautéed the Cape Capensis in some butter with salt, pepper, dill and a few capers on top. It cooked in minutes and was delicious. The one drawback for some is that the fillets broke apart as they cooked, so it wasn’t picture perfect, though it tasted great.

If you need further guidance, get to know the people behind the seafood counter where you shop. They can be a big help.

Click here for a recipe for Cape Capensis baked with herbs. The cereal coating will help keep the fillets together.

If you have a question for Ask a Foodie, email or


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Texas Folklife Festival Begins

Texas Folklife Festival Begins

Today marks the beginning of one of San Antonio’s premier events, the Texas Folklife Festival. The biggest cultural celebration in Texas, the festival brings together more than 40 different cultural groups representative of the state’s population. Each year, more than 250 groups come together to celebrate their culture and heritage.

The three-day event showcases the Lone Star State’s diversity and rich heritage through more than 150 ethnic foods, music, dance, arts, and crafts. The fun begins this evening at 5.

For more information and tickets, call 210-458-2300, visit , or follow Texas Folklife Festival on Facebook.


The Institute of Texan Cultures is located on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. Durango Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Regular museum hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday.  Museum admission is $8 for adults (ages 12-64); $7 for seniors (ages 65+); $6 for children (ages 3-11); free with membership, UTSA or Alamo Colleges identification. For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit

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