August 14, 2008

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Weekend of festivals
1,200 lbs of lamb, 65 trays of spanakopeta
Eat big at the Assumpution Greek Orthodox Church’s Greekfest
By Linda A. Thompson-Odum food@hippopress.com

The Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Manchester will hold it annual Greekfest on Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17. The event will feature lots of food, live Greek music, and fun for the entire Manchester community, whether you’re Greek or not.

The church has held a special feast day around Aug. 15 each year since it was founded in 1936. This day follows a 15-day religious period of fasting and special worship services in celebration of the Virgin Mary. In the church’s early days, the congregation had a picnic for feast day. In 1991, they decided to hold a two-day festival instead and open it to the public.

“It’s a very happy atmosphere,” committee member Sophia Annas said. “We enjoy sharing our culture, heritage and faith. There has been such a growth in popularity of Greek music and food.”

Preparations begin days in advance. Volunteers will prepare a variety of food, including 1,200 pounds of lamb, 1,000 kourambiethes (butter cookies covered with powdered sugar), 270 dozen koulourakia (twisted butter cookies with sesame seeds), and 65 large trays of spinach peta (spinach pie). Just one peta tray contains three pound of filo dough, four and a half pounds of spinach, three pounds of feta cheese, a dozen eggs, one large onion and about one pound of butter.

“We are lucky that in our parish there are lots of people who own or work in restaurants. We cut and marinate the lamb during the week. A baking schedule is made for the other items. Everything is cooked on site,” Annas said.

The menu will feature dinners of barbecue lamb ($12), roast chicken ($10), pastichio, a lasagna-like dish of macaroni, meat sauce, and white sauce ($8), meatballs with sauce ($8), spinach peta ($4.50) and stuffed grape leaves ($8). Each dinner comes with Greek salad, rice and a roll, and the entrees are also available a la carte.

Besides the dinners, there will also be pocket sandwiches of lamb ($6), vegetable ($4), and a gyro ($6), plus a Greek sausage on a roll ($5). And don’t forget the desserts, such as baklava, kataifi (similar to baklava, but made with shredded wheat instead of filo), kourambiethes, koulourakia, loukoumathes (fried dough puffs), finikia and rice pudding.

Along with the terrific food, there will be church tours, raffles, and vendors selling imported Greek crafts, jewelry and religious items. There will also be a live Greek band both days. Annas said that people will often get up and dance to the music.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free. Last year, Annas said, about 4,000 people attended, though no one kept official count.

“A lot of people come back every year — Greek and non-Greek,” Annas said.

Fiesta en Nueva Hampshire
Eat, dance, eat more at Latino Festival
By Linda A. Thompson-Odum food@hippopress.com

A Latin vibe will take over Veteran’s Park at the ninth Annual Latino Festival on Saturday, Aug. 16. The event is sponsored by the nonprofit Latinos Unidos de New Hampshire, an all-volunteer group established to help support and spread awareness about the state’s Latino population.

“The festival started because a group of community members wanted to educate people about the different Latino cultures,” committee member Wanda Castillo-Diaz explained. “Even though we speak one language, we are all very different.”

The proceeds from the day will go to the organization’s scholarship fund to help Latino students attend college. This year they gave out $7,000 in scholarships.

Castillo-Diaz said that between 5,000 and 8,000 people have attended the festival in the past three years. The day starts off with a parade down Elm Street at 11 a.m. Music and floats will be part of the parade. “People dress in costumes,” she said. “I know that the floats in the parade from Columbia and Mexico will have people in costumes.”

Food takes center stage at the festival, made by a combination of various restaurants and individuals. Guests can take a culinary tour of the Latin countries such as Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Columbia, and Mexico. Castillo-Diaz said the vendors’ offerings are still being finalized, but she noted some of the food highlights:
• From Puerto Rico — pasteles (similar to tamales, made with green bananas and pork wrapped in banana leaves); rice and beans
• Dominican Republic — Don Quijote restaurant in Manchester will offer some of their menu items, such as rice, beans, chicken and pork.
• Mexico — tamales, tacos, corn on the cob.
• Columbia — food from Rincon Colombiano in Nashua.

And at least one booth usually serves empanadas — a meat or cheese filled pastry that can vary in appearance and flavor depending on which Latin American cuisine is creating it.

There will also be lots of Latino music. The sounds will range from traditional to dance and popular selections. “People in the park hear the music and they dance,” Castillo-Diaz said.

Craft vendors will sell items from the represented countries, and there will be table displays from different organizations with information about their services. Since it is a family event, balloons and face painting will also be part of the fun. “Children have a lot of fun and get to learn about the different cultures,” Castillo-Diaz said.

The festival will run from noon to 8 p.m. in the park. To learn more about Latinos Unidos de New Hampshire, visit their Web site, www.latinosunidosnh.org.

“Come and have fun,” Castillo-Diaz said. “It is not only for Hispanics. We have open arms for everyone to come and learn about our culture.”

Time for a Mahrajan
Lebanese food and more at Middle Eastern festival
By Linda A. Thompson-Odum food@hippopress.com

Our Lady of the Cedars Melkite Greek Catholic church will offerf specialties from Lebanon and the Middle East at its annual Mahrajan on Saturday, Aug. 16, and Sunday, Aug. 17.

Father Thomas Steinmetz, a Manchester native, said the church has held the festival for 35 years. It was once just a small Sunday afternoon parish celebration, but it was soon expanded to a two-day open-to-the-public event as a way for the community to experience the church’s culture and beliefs.

“We have all kinds of Lebanese-style food and Middle Eastern food, plus hamburgers, hot dogs, and ice cream,” Father Steinmetz said. “It’s a blast.”

The Mahrajan (the Arabic word for festival) marks the yearly feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, the patronal feast of the parish. It follows a two-week sacred period of prayer, fasting and good works devoted to Mary, the mother of Jesus. The church itself is Eastern Catholic, which means it is under the authority of the Pope, unlike Orthodox churches.

Featured foods will include lamb, beef and chicken kabobs, falafel (seasoned ground chickpeas shaped into balls and deep-fried) and tabbouleh (a salad of bulgur wheat mixed with chopped tomatoes, onion, parsley, mint, olive oil and lemon juice.) There will also be a pastry table with traditional Middle Eastern desserts.

The congregation prepares the food and runs the entire festival. Father Steinmetz’s favorite dish is the lamb kabobs. “They’re fantastic,” he said, and then noted that the festival is a great way for the public to try these regional specialties. “The food is much cheaper here than in a restaurant.”

There will also be Arabic music and dancing, a wine tasting with varieties from Lebanon and other world regions, a penny sale, and religious artifacts for sale. People are free to tour the church. For the kids, there will be lots of games and an inflatable slide.

The proceeds go to the church’s building fund. This year the money is earmarked to help with mortgage payments.

Admission and parking are free. Father Steinmetz estimated that about 2,000 people attend each year and guests may spend as much or as little as the wish. “If people just want to come in and enjoy the music, that’s fine with us,” he said. “Of course we want to make money for the church, but we are happy to put on the festival for the city’s people to come and have a fun day and learn something about the parish. Just come and have a good time.”


Greekfest 2008
Where: Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, 111 Island Pond Road, Manchester, 623-2045, www.assumptionchurchmanchesternh.org
When: Saturday, Aug. 16, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 17, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

Eat greek
Finikia (Honey-Dipped Cookies)
Recipe courtesy of Assumption Greek Orthodox Church
For cookies:
½ lb. unsalted butter
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
2 egg yolks
1 ounce Metaxa or brandy
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
7 to 8 cups flour
Cream butter and sugar. Add remaining ingredients. Knead until mixture forms a ball and leaves sides of bowl, adding enough flour to make a soft cookie dough. Pinch off small pieces of dough, flatten in the palm of your hand, and roll into oval shapes. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Let cookies cool.
For syrup:
4 cups sugar
4 cups water
1 cup honey
For topping:
1½ cups ground walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
To make syrup, boil sugar and water for 10 to 15 minutes. Add honey and cook for 5 more minutes. Dip cooled cookies into hot syrup. Remove cookies with slotted spoon and set aside. Roll cookies in topping mixture of walnuts, cinnamon and sugar.

Latino Fest
Where: Veteran’s Park on Elm Street in Manchester
When: Saturday, Aug. 16, from noon to 8 p.m. More info: Admission is free. See www.latinosunidosnh.org.

Mahrajan
Where: Our Lady of the Cedars, 140 Mitchell St., Manchester (corner of Calef Road), 623-8944, www.ourladyofcedars.org
When: Saturday, Aug. 16, from 1 to 10 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 17, from 1 to 7 p.m.


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7/10/2008 Pupusas, cervesa y batidos
7/03/2008 3C's Cafe opens in Highlander Inn
6/26/2008 Oh, tartar sauce!
6/19/2008 From farm to grill
6/12/2008 450 pounds of lamb
6/5/2008 Travel the culinary world at BVI
5/29/2008 Chocolate throwdown
5/22/2008 Hit the road for some Yum-Yum
5/15/2008 Local, gluten-free and ready made
5/8/2008 The return of brownies and pasta
5/1/2008 Have a fiesta
4/24/2008 Noshing and shopping
4/17/2008 Celebrating with Greek eats
4/10/2008 Drive-ins open for the season
4/3/2008 Noshing for a cause
3/20/2008 The Easter Bunny brings dinner
3/13/2008 The Irish Spirit
3/6/2008 The sweet season
2/28/2008 Cambodian (or Italian) made easy
2/21/2008 Fresh fish comes to Nashua
2/14/2008 Hearts and fibers
2/7/2008 A romantic dinner for two
1/31/2008 Celebrate Mardi Gras
1/24/2008 Morroccan in Milford
1/17/2008 The chef is inn
1/10/2008 Italian street food in NH
1/10/2008 The contorni approach
1/3/2008 Like Disneyland for foodies
12/27/2007 More food and wine events, a menu for the bar
12/20/2007 Lots of dough
12/13/2007 Gifts for gourmands
12/6/2007 Making spirits really bright
11/22/2007 Just don't ask them to cook
11/15/2007 Easy as pie
11/8/2007 Italian eats, bistro style
11/1/2007 Bringing Italia to New Hampshire
10/25/2007 Trick or treat, the grown-up version
10/18/2007 Shop where the pros go
10/11/2007 Enjoy apple season from orchard to plate
10/04/2007 Tradition on the menu
9/27/2007 Meet your pig
9/20/2007 In search of the right meat
9/20/2007 Vegan blogger branches out
9/13/2007 Get ready to eat
9/6/2007 Fifty years of fair
8/30/2007 The buzz about peach fuzz
8/23/2007 Enjoy the Caribbean, sans hurricanes
8/16/2007 Festival weekend
8/9/2007 Still time to scream
8/2/2007 Perfecting a pound of pasta
7/26/2007 Gourmet Concord?
7/19/2007 Tart treats of a New Hampshire summer
7/12/2007 Reintroducing ratatouille
7/5/2007 Time to hit the grill
6/28/2007 Peanutty dinner delight
6/21/2007 Spicy meat, grilled meat and saucy meat
6/14/2007 Holy Barbecue
6/07/2007 A wine for Red Sox
5/31/2007 Pinot noir romance
5/24/2007 Josh Logan eats (not before shows)
5/17/2007 Baklava, spanakopita and souvlaki — a.k.a. dinner
5/10/2007 Cremeland celebrates 60 years of burgers and shakes
5/3/2007 New eats in bloom
4/26/2007 Pho sure
4/19/2007 Cakes, cow-free
4/12/2007 Serving up the first square
4/5/2007 More than just a chocolate bunny
3/29/2007 New 'nuches
3/22/2007 A taste of genuine sweetness
3/15/2007 From homemade to home business
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3/1/2007 Feeding Mama Kicks
2/22/2007 Keepers of the vino
2/15/2007 Noodly comfort food
2/8/2007 The luxury of osso bucco
2/1/2007 Super platters for the Super Bowl
1/25/2007 It's a wrap
1/18/2007 The writing foodie
1/11/2007 Where the beef is, piled high and hot
1/04/2007 The healthy foodie
12/28/2006 The return of pasta and fall of the diet: the year in eats
12/21/2006 Organic on the ice
12/14/2006 French but not fussy
12/07/2006 Southeast U.S. culture, in sandwich form
11/30/2006 Bites of comfort with chips of happiness
11/23/2006 Cityside adds class to conveniece
11/16/2006 Easier-to-enjoy Thanksgiving feasts
11/9/2006 The new classic
10/26/2006 Whip up a quiche
10/19/2006 A new way to crepe
10/12/2006 Comfort food for blokes and birds
10/05/2006 Smaller crop but still red and delicious
09/28/2006 The crunchier, lighter, healthier wrap
09/21/2006 City bagels in suburbia
09/14/2006 Cracking the custard code
09/07/2006 Eat your way down the block
08/31/2006 New flavors for an old summer dish
08/24/2006 Way down south in Hollis
08/17/2006 Frappe vs. milkshake
08/10/2006 Enjoy the bluest month
08/03/2006 Death of Toro
07/27/2006 Vacation on a plate
07/20/2006 Hitting barbecue big time
07/13/2006 Relishing the raspberry
07/06/2006 Are your edible souveneirs kosher?
06/29/2006 Fish, upscale
06/22/2006 Sweet rosey taste of summer
06/15/2006 When to pull out the EVOO
06/08/2006 What can you grill?
06/01/2006 Taste of downtown Nashua
05/25/2006 Deulge at farms
05/18/2006 Adorable and delicious
05/11/2006 Rub down
05/04/2006 Pinot to go
04/27/2006 A bit Italian, a bit egg foo young
04/20/2006 Meatier than breakfast...
04/13/2006 Let yourself eat cake
04/06/2006 Fear not the Risotto
03/30/2006 Making Friday a fishy delight
03/23/2006 The Thin Mints are here
03/16/2006 Divining your personality from pizza
03/09/2006 Cooking up a big bowl of comfort
03/02/2006 Dumplings demystified
02/23/2006 Carbs and comfort all the way
02/16/2006 She sells sushi by the sea shore
2/09/2006 Biting into the burger with bling
02/02/2006 Forget formal dining, head to the bar
01/26/2006 Goodbye rooster, hello year of the dog
01/19/2006 The secret lives of chefs
01/12/2006 Cooking up a pot of delayed gratification
01/05/2006 A sunny Italian side dish
A year of eats

All-you-can-read guide to breakfast
A bagel by any other l
abel
A picnic — it’s romance with ants
A sweet burst of summer, in stages
Beef, It's What's For Dinner, Lunch, And Dessert
Be it ever so humble, the burger rules
Blockbuster snacks for your movie
Box Of Chocolates
C Is For Cookie And Christmas And Cool Combo
Celebrating A Holiday For The Rest Of Us
Celebrate Easter In A Sugar Coma
Chat And Chew

Chinese soup is magic
Chocolate cake makes everything better
Chocolate, Part II
Competition flows like chocolate
Corn Flake Chicken, Honeycomb Salad
Dining at the "Your House Bistro"
Don't Dread The Bread
Dress Up Your Next Meal
Drinking Out Of The Box
Eating Your Way Back To Health
Empanadas
Enter Soup
Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
Feeding A Crowd The Morning After
Follow the cider house rules
Fresh Herbs
Go ahead — run silent, run deep
Goodbye corn syrup, hello organic oatmeal
Go Indian for Thanksgiving
Grilled Cheese Junkie

Halloween candy for grown-ups
Have a Happy Meal and a happier wallet
Holiday Cookies - The Easy Way
Holiday Potluck 101-Tips For The Kitchen Novice
Home-Based Date
How do you like them apples?
In-A-Pinch Love Feast
It's not easy to be cheesy
It’s not Christmas without tamales
Lest We Forget The Humble Squash
Keeping your cool while you eat
Living through your salad days

Looking Beyond The Hot Dog Stand
Lunching your way to a less toxic you
Meat's meat and a man's gotta eat

Moist and delicious chicken — no, really
Oatmeal Cookies, The Miracle Cure
Oscar Night, When The Stars Come Out To Eat

Offering Up A Slice Of Teriyaki Pie
Pot Pies Are Darn Tasty
Pumpkin-Flavored Treats
Small Plates Are The Next Big Thing
Speedy 'za not pie in the sky
Steak: it’s what’s for dinner, again
Summer coolers, just add sunlight
Summer Squash
Super Bowl Grub
Take A Walk On The Dark Side
Taste of Manchester Event
The Cosmopolitan
The joys of a simple oatmeal breakfast
The return of comfort food
The One-Note Cook Book
The New American Plate Cookbook
The Stickiest, Hottest & Sweetest Of Love's Labors
The taste of retro
The Unheralded Peanut Butter Cookies
The union of sweet and heat
The Weekly Dish (12-16-04)
The Weekly Dish (12-23-04)

The Weekly Dish [1-13-05]
There's a Barbecue Bonanza Next Door
Week Four: Adding Diet To The Mix
What Was Hot And Haute In 2004
When $$ trumps urge to dine out
When in doubt, go for the organic
When nothing else will cool, Slurp it
You Say Potato, She'll Say Potato,Too
You say tomato, writer says lunch