Plan to attend St. George Cathedral's 29th annual Middle Eastern American Summerfest, where wonderful Middle Eastern foods and pastries are the highlight and fun activities are scheduled for the whole family.
The 29th annual event will be held July 14-17 at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, 3754 Woodley Rd. Parishioners prepare stuffed grape leaves, raw and baked kibbee, green beans and meat over rice, meat pies, salad, french fries, an All-American Hot Dog (with a Lebanese touch), chicken tawook, Lebanese gyros, falafel, hummus, kafta burgers, nachos, rice pudding, zalabee (fried dough), and Lebanese/Syrian pastries.
Among the pastries are a date-filled cookie called kaaik. "The filling is shaped and the sides of the pastry are drawn around it," says Malake Ansara, president of the Ladies Benevolent Society, which is responsible for preparing the ethnic foods.
A special cookie pincher is used to decorate the dough, making grooves. (The pincher can be purchased at Tiger Bakery and Toledo Market.) "Everyone has their own technique or pattern," says Zee Czerniak about the decorations.
Plain kaaik are round. After baking and cooling, these are dipped in sugar and warm milk. "This softens them and makes them sweeter," says Mrs. Ansara "They are awesome." She notes the baking expertise of the older women in the congregation.
Other cookies include the half-moon shaped arron filled with walnuts and baked and then dipped in a sugar syrup and baklava.
Cooking demonstrations will be at 4:30 p.m. July 16 and will feature cucumber yogurt salad, grape leaves, and hummus.
The festival also features lemonade, frozen drinks, smoothies, a beer wagon, and ice cream. There will be a coffee house with Turkish coffee, amusement rides, Camel Town, camel rides, pony rides, a petting zoo with a baby camel, Moonwalk, and other children's activities. Live entertainment and Middle Eastern dancing, the marketplace and tours of the cathedral will be part of the event.
A Middle Eastern ensemble Al-Layali of Cleveland will play July 15-17 . Featured dancers will be the El-Arz Dupkee Troupe from Cleveland at 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday.
Admission is free on July 14. Admission on July 15 and 16 is $3 (children 10 and under free); July 17 is family day and admission is $2 per person.
Festival hours are 5 to 10 p.m. July 14, 5 to midnight July 15, 2 to midnight July 16, and noon to 9 p.m. July 17. Information: call 419-475-7054.
Twenty of the nation's top chefs will be featured at the third annual Celebration of Vegetables from 1 to 6 p.m. July 17 at the Culinary Vegetable Institute in Milan, Ohio. The day will include a Grand Tasting, book signings with celebrity chefs, and a Star Chef Cook-Off.
Signing their cookbooks throughout the afternoon will be John Ash, Stu Stein, Sara Moulton, Sherri Vinton, and Marcel Biro. Each will also do cooking demos.
At 4 p.m. the Star Chef Cook-Off will be held with Sara Moulton as the emcee. She is a cookbook author, host of the TV show Sara's Secrets on the Food Network, and Gourmet magazine's executive chef.
Other participating chefs in the day's events include Chef Brad Thompson of the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Kenny Gilbert, corporate executive chef of San Marco Restaurant Group in Jacksonville, Fla., and Chef Laurent Gras, formerly of Alain Ducasse & Peacock Alley.
The Grand Tasting event ticket is $75. For information and tickets call 419-499-7500.
Free tours of Zingerman's Bakehouse will be given in July. Tours will include scone-making and bakers hand-shaping sourdough at 10 a.m. July 9, 16, 23, and 30 at Zingerman's Bakehouse, 3711 Plaza Dr. in Ann Arbor. For reservations, call 734-761-2095.
Fermentation Fervor, featuring Sandor Ellix Katz, author of Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (Chelsea Green Publishing Co., $25) will offer two fermentation workshops July 25, at 2 p.m. at La Rue Auditorium of the Monroe Street United Methodist Church at 3613 Monroe St., and at 7 p.m. in the Conference Center of the Toledo Botanical Garden at 5403 Elmer Dr. Toledo GROWs is organizing both workshops.
The author is on a cross-country tour giving workshops and talks at food co-ops, farmer's markets, health food stores, etc. The workshops are free but call to ensure at space at the event. Information: call 419-936-2975.