Delicious Middle Eastern foods are the highlight of the 30th annual Middle Eastern-American Family Funfest to be held July 27-30 at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, 3754 Woodley Rd.
Many of the foods are being made by cathedral embers. Among the baked goods, the Lebanese pastries include kaaick ib haleeb, a cookie dipped in milk syrup. To get the design on the flat yeast-dough cookie, the dough is pressed on the back of cut-glass bowls and trays.
"You want a nice deep design," says Malake Ansara, president of the Ladies Benevolent Society. Co-president is Miriam Goldyn. "Otherwise when they bake and puff up, you loose the design." The cookie is flavored with mahlab and finely ground anise seed. After the cookies are baked and cooled, each is dipped in the syrup of milk, sugar, and butter.
The kaaick ib haleeb are ready, as are the nut cookies, date cookies, and baklava. The meat pies are ready to be baked. In the coming days, the grape leaves will be stuffed (there will be five big barrels), and baked kibbee and the green beans and meat over rice will be prepared. Also served will be salad and french fries, chicken tawook, Lebanese gyro, falafel, hummus, kafta burgers, fattoosh and rice pudding, zalabee (fried dough), fresh-squeezed lemonade, and other foods.
On Sunday afternoon there will be food demonstrations.
Middle Eastern music, dancing, a Camel Town, amusement rides, pony rides, a petting zoo, and other entertainment will be featured. In addition there will be a Marketplace and a Coffee House serving Turkish coffee. Tours of the cathedral are available, including the Orthodox bookstore.
Hours for the event are July 27, 5 to 10 p.m. (free admission); July 28, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with carry-out and picnic lunches, and 5 p.m. to midnight with $3 admission; July 29, 4 p.m. to midnight with $3 admission, and July 30, noon to 9 p.m. with $2 admission. Children age 10 and under are free daily.
Information: call 419-475-7054.
Jeffrey Starr, culinary director and winery chef for California's Trinchero Family Estates, will create a dinner paired with wines from Trinchero at 6 p.m. Aug. 17 at Zia's Italian at the Docks in International Park in Toledo. He will be assisted by Chef Simon Pesusich, executive chef of Mainstreet Ventures and Zia's. Ticket price is $59 per guest. Reservations are required for this limited-seating event. Call 888-456-DINE.
For the couple who have everything, put together an unusual and practical spice rack. Here's a list of the Spice Hunter's top 12 basic spices every newlywed should have: oregano, basil, rosemary, sage, thyme, red pepper (cayenne), Saigon cinnamon, granulated onion, ground ginger, ground cumin, ground coriander, and chili powder.
If you are traveling or running kids to soccer practice, a convenient, portable package of snacks is ideal. Jif To Go peanut butter packaged in portable cups can be used as a dip for pretzels, celery, and fruit slices as well as a spread on crackers. It needs no refrigeration. Jif To Go is available in packs of six 2.25-ounce cups and retails for about $2.89.
Skip the marinades and rubs with Callison's new product, Seasoned Skewers, which won the Gourmet Gold Best of Show at the Las Vegas Gourmet Housewares Show this spring. Made by infusing wooden skewers with essential oils and fresh flavors, the skewers saturate meats, poultry, fish, and vegetables with flavor from the inside out in minutes. Six flavors include Citrus Rosemary, Mexican Fiesta, Honey Bourbon, Garlic Herb, Thai Coconut Lime, and Indian Mango Curry. The product, which is best if soaked (in water, beer, wine, or sake) for 10 to 15 minutes before using, is sold at Sur La Table and online through www.napastyle.com. Later this summer, they will be available in select Williams-Sonoma stores, Wild Oats, and select Whole Foods Markets. For information, go to www.seasonedskewers.com.
D'Artagnan, the leading purveyor of foie gras, pates, sausages, organic game, and poultry in the United States, has three bacons that are nitrate and nitrite-free: Wild Boar Bacon made with brown sugar for a caramelized flavor, Duck Bacon that has half the fat of pork bacon, and No-nitrite Pork Bacon that is dry-rubbed with salt and brown sugar and slowly smoked with hickory chips. All three are sold in eight-ounce packages. Prices range from $7 to $7.50. To order, call 800-327-8246.
While honey is better known as a delicious and all-natural food product, it has been used for centuries as part of a healthy skin and hair regimen. Pure honey is a natural humectant, which means it aids the skin and hair in retaining moisture.
From the National Honey Board comes honey-based beauty recipes such as Cucumber-Honey Toner to be used as a moisturizer and honey foot scrub recipes such as Peppermint Honey Feet Treat for a spa-like treatment. Recipes are available at www.honey.com.