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Published: Saturday, 8/10/2013

Craving Indian Food? Or just curious? Dig in at the Hindu Temple in Sylvania

BY DANIEL NEMAN
BLADE FOOD EDITOR

Do you know how you can tell Indian food is great? More than a billion people eat it every day.

That’s more than the number of people who eat a hamburger or a hot dog. That’s more even than the number of people who, on any given day, eat french fries.

The number of Indian restaurants in the northwest Ohio/southeast Michigan region is still fairly small, but it is increasing. Nevertheless, if you crave a baingan bharta, say, or a rogan josh, one of your best (and most fun) opportunities to find it is this weekend at the 24th Festival of India, Jalwa 2013.

The festival will be held at the Hindu Temple of Toledo, 4336 King Rd. in Sylvania, beginning with a religious ceremony at 5:45 p.m. Friday. It will run through a lunch at noon next Sunday, Aug. 18, although most of the activities will be held Saturday from noon to 9 p.m.

Throughout that day, there will be music, dancing, Indian movies — you’ve got to love Bollywood — and other undetermined-at-press-time cultural events. But it’s a festival in the Toledo area, and we all know that festivals in the Toledo area are all about the food. In this case, the food will be available from stalls representing many of the more than 30 distinctly different regions of India.

Disclaimer: There is no guarantee that baingan bharta or rogan josh will be available. Those just happen to be two of my favorites.

Admission to the festival is free, and so is the parking. It can’t get any more enticing than that.

Can-Can

Canning, preserving, or otherwise putting up your own food at home can be fun, economical, and delicious. On the other hand, there can be that wee little problem with botulism.

If you would like to start canning your food but are afraid to try, or if you already can your food and would like a refresher course, the Ohio State University Extension, Lucas County branch, is here to help.

Well, not precisely “here” to help. They will hold a class on canning, freezing, and drying fresh produce at different branches of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. The class will be repeated five times, on this schedule:

Thursday, 7-8:30 p.m., Oregon Branch Library meeting room, 3340 Dustin Rd., Oregon. To register, call 419-259-5250.

Aug. 20, 6:30-8 p.m., Sanger Branch Library, 3030 W. Central Ave. To register, call 419-259-5370.

Aug. 28, 6:30-8 p.m., Holland Branch Library, 1032 S. McCord Rd., Holland. To register, call 419-259-5240.

Sept. 10, 6:30-8 p.m., Birmingham Branch Library, 203 Paine Ave. To register, call 419-259-5210.

Oct. 2, 6:30-8 p.m., Waterville Branch Library, 800 Michigan Ave., Waterville. To register, call 419-878-3055.

A raspberry

Bad news on the raspberry front.

Although this summer’s enormous amount of rain has been good for mosquitoes, it has been bad for raspberries, one of the choicest regional crops. Everything was going great until late June, say the folks at Whittaker’s Berry Farm in Ida, Mich. But then, as the song puts it, down came the rain and washed the berries out.

Not all of the berries, of course. But this year’s pickings will be relatively slim, and the u-pick berry farms are reporting that their hours this season might be unusually variable. In other words, if you want to go out and pick your own raspberries, you might want to call your favorite farm first, to make sure they will be open when you want to go.

The good news is that the raspberry season generally lasts around six weeks. It should begin in about two weeks or so.

Cooking class

This month, Williams-Sonoma is looking internationally for its culinary classes.

At least, it’s international if you still consider pizza an ethnic dish.

Today’s free technique class — you’ll have to hurry, it begins at 11 a.m. — is about how to make a perfect pizza, a goal people having been striving for for decades.

The class next Sunday, Aug. 18, focuses on how to use wine in cooking, and that course is also free. So, too, is that Aug. 25 class, which will show how to make fresh pasta and a few simple sauces with which to top it.

This month’s weeknight dinner is also international: Instructor Mary Blaisdell will prepare a meal out of the Williams-Sonoma cookbook The Weeknight Cook. The menu includes citrus-marinated olives, lentil, bacon, and frisee salad, pan-seared chicken with mustard sauce, and apple tart. Held Aug. 28 beginning at 6:30 p.m., this event costs $50, which includes dinner and the recipes to take home.

Meanwhile, the Cookbook Club is going gluten-free this month, featuring a dinner made from the Williams-Sonoma cookbook Weeknight Gluten Free. Made entirely without wheat, rye, and barley (and made withe pans and utensils that have never touched them), this meal will feature soft socca with summer squash, basil, and gruyère, turkey and white bean chili, skillet cornbread, and ginger-cherry oatmeal cookies. The cost is $75, which also includes the cookbook.

Space is limited for all the events, so call the store to reserve a space at 419-475-6368.

Heartwarming

Last week, Bonnie Gallagher received a birthday present she never expected.

It was the day before her birthday, Monday, and Mrs. Gallagher decided to treat herself to a late breakfast at the Bob Evans restaurant at Levis Commons. She got the works: Belgian waffles with whipped cream and strawberries on top, bacon, and coffee. The tab came to more than $10 — or it would have.

When she was finished eating, she told her waitress, “I’d like my bill.” The waitress replied, “Oh, you don’t have a bill. A customer paid it for you.”

“I have no idea who it was,” said Mrs. Gallagher, a widow who turned 84 the next day. “I didn’t know anyone at the restaurant at that time.”

“I wish I knew who it was so I could thank them,” she said. And if you’re wondering, she did leave the tip herself.

Mrs. Gallagher said, “There are still good people in this world. The waitress told me, ‘You have an angel.’”

Items for Morsels should be submitted up to two weeks before an event to food@theblade.com.



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