Recipe: Local Ingredients at Cafe Estelle

Taste the homestyle flavor at this open-kitchen eatery
by Stephanie Singer

On the evening that his grandmother, Estelle, passed away, Marshall Green told her that he would open a restaurant and name it after her. That promise was fulfilled on November 1, 2007, when Café Estelle opened its doors. Located between Spring Garden and Callowhill Streets, the restaurant is set back off of 4th Street in the 444 N. 4th condo building.

Its menu features locally grown and organic vegetables, free range organic brown eggs, and house-smoked and -cured meats and fish. “Philadelphia is such a rich agricultural area,” Green enthuses. The restaurant’s owner and head chef isn’t just talking about Jersey tomatoes and corn, but “local cheese, eggs, lamb, coffee and so much more. I want to serve the best, freshest ingredients because it tastes better.”

Green grew up in a house that his family rented on a corn farm outside of Philadelphia. From a young age, he and his mother canned tomatoes and pickled beets with produce harvested from their garden. “I grew up around homemade food,” says Green. And that’s what he serves.

Every August and September, Green also grows peppers in front of his South Philly home in containers from his father’s business, Primex Garden Center in Glenside. After he harvests his peppers, he creates a spicy Thai style chile paste (see recipe on right). “Peppers are easy to grow, and I love heat,” he exclaims. Enjoy this tasty topping with salt cod fritters and poached egg or a small salad at Café Estelle this month!

Thai Style Chile Paste
recipe by Marshall Green, Cafe Estelle

  • 1 lb. mixed ripe chiles washed
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cup white vinegar
  1. Wash and dry chiles. Roughly chop, removing and discarding stems. Add all ingredients to a medium non-reactive pot.
  2. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring to prevent scorching. Turn heat to low and simmer for 20-30 min. until chilies are soft. Remove from heat.
  3. Add contents to the bowl or a food processor and pulse until smooth but chunky; taste to adjust seasonings.

Cool completely and store covered in refrigerator for up to three months.

Note: Chiles should be of mixed varieties. Chef suggests: Jalapeño, Habenero, Cayenne, Serrano, Italian hot, or any other hot ripe pepper, depending on personal tolerance for heat.