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Published: Sunday, 10/18/2009

St. George prepares for 64th Lebanese Dinner

Rhonda Meifert, left, and Andrea Bassett make arroon nut-filled cookies for St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral's annual dinner. Rhonda Meifert, left, and Andrea Bassett make arroon nut-filled cookies for St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral's annual dinner.
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Last week the women of the Ladies Benevolent Society of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral were baking those delicious date cookies and arroon, a nut-filled cookie. These will be among the Lebanese pastries sold at the 64th annual Lebanese Dinner held from noon to 7 p.m. Oct. 25 in the Church Hall at 3754 Woodley.

The volunteers started making the dough at 8 a.m., letting it rest before forming into balls and then resting it again. Each cookie is flattened individually, then a heaping spoonful of nuts flavored with orange blossom water or a spoonful of ground dates is placed on each round of dough. The dough is folded over the dates for an oblong cookie; the arroon is crescent-shaped.

"The date cookies have no sugar in them," said Andrea Bassett, president of the organization. "The nut cookies have sugar and then are dipped in a simple syrup. We make our own syrup."

I watched how Rhonda Meifert, cookie chairman, used a spoon to pick up the hot baked nut cookie and place it in the cool syrup. "One has to be hot and one has to be cool or cold," she said, noting how the hot cookies are dipped in the cool syrup and then drained. "It's the same way with baklava." The cookies are then drained on a rack and boxed for the dinner.

The pastries will be sold by the dozen ($15), by the half-dozen ($7.50), and by the piece ($1.25).

As for the annual dinner, members of St. George Cathedral will prepare stuffed grape leaves, baked kibbee, green beans, meat over rice, meat pies, salad, and baklava for dessert. There will also be coffee, tea, and milk. Cost is $15 for adults, $8 for children. A cash bar is available.

Raw kibbee will also be available at $6 per serving. Damee, which is put over the raw kibbee, is an additional $1.50. (Damee is coarser-ground lamb cooked with pine nuts and butter.)

Carry-out service is available. For more information, contact the church office at 419-475-7054 between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Growing Healthy Kids: Tips for Parents and Schools will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 5 at Owens Community College, 30335 Oregon Rd. The event, sponsored by Ohio Action for Healthy Kids Zone 1 Coalition, is a workshop featuring tips from Toledo pediatrician Dr. Joan Griffith plus Yummy Meals for Families food demonstrations by the culinary students of Owens Community College. In addition, Mary Chase of the Ohio AFHK will speak on how to start healthy school programs. Other "Healthy Information" will be featured including the Northcoast Fatherhood Initiative programs for dads and families.

To register, contact Jan Meyer at 419-474-8528.

Perrysburg native Stephanie Sodd has been named New York Restaurant Association's Employee of the Year 2009. The award was presented in a ceremony on Sept. 29 at Jack's Oyster House in Albany, NY. Ms. Sodd is general manager and catering director for The Artist's Palate, a Poughkeepsie, N.Y., bistro.

Ms. Sodd is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. She attended St. Ursula Academy in Toledo and Miami University in Oxford.

She is the daughter of Carolyn and Bob Bernhoft of Perrysburg and the granddaughter of Diane and Bud Rowe of Point Place.

The second-year culinary arts students of Monroe County Community College have opened the autumn season at Cuisine 1300 restaurant. The theme will feature the tastes of classic American-style bistros. Menu items will be priced lower than in previous years and include New England-style crab cakes, a half-pound Kobe beef burger, and Southwest chicken caesar salad.

Cuisine 1300 is an elegant dining venue run by the students and chefs Kevin Thomas and Vicki Lavelle. It is open by reservation only Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday on selected dates through Dec. 10. Seating is available at 11:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Call 734-384-4272 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Celebrate the holidays in classic Renaissance tradition during The Lodge at the Elizabethan Yuletide Feaste at Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio, Dec. 4, 5, and 6. Evening festivities begin at 6:15 p.m. A jester presents each course of the meal. A grand procession begins at 7 p.m., followed by a traditional hot wassail toast. The Elizabethan Yuletide Feaste package for two begins at $179 plus tax and includes overnight accommodations the evening of the performance, a four-course grand feast, and breakfast for two for the following morning. Without overnight accommodations, the event is $45 for adults and $30 for a child. For reservations, call 440-415-1597.

Kathie Smith is The Blade's food editor.

Contact her at:

food@theblade.com

or 419-724-6155.



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