May 14, 2009

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Gyro, pastichio or spanakopeta?
Can’t decide? Try one of everything at this weekend’s Greek food festival

By Linda A. Thompson-Odum food@hippopress.com

St. Philip Greek Orthodox Church will hold their annual Greek Food Festival in Nashua on Friday, May 15, and Saturday, May 16 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on both days.

This church community of 350 families continues a 36-year tradition of delicious food for a cause.

 “More than 12,000 people came to last year’s festival,” event co-chair Chris Houpis said. “That’s a lot of baklava. Gyros, marinated lamb and chicken, spanakopita [spinach and cheese pie], dolmathes [stuffed grape leaves], pastichio [Greek lasagna], and wonderful desserts are all on the menu again this year.”

Father Thomas Chininis, who has been with the church for the past 14 years, said last year’s attendees included “Greeks from the area, but the vast majority of the people are from outside the parish. They’re those who love Greek food and music, and those who are looking for something new to do on a weekend. They’re business men and women looking for a great lunch on Friday, and families out for a bit to eat following a sporting activity or for dinner.”

The festival benefits a number of church programs.

“The proceeds allow the parish to support her ministries to the faithful, to the community, and worldwide,” Chininis said. “Additionally, it allows us to share with the community at large the love the parishioners have for their Greek heritage. It is an opportunity for us to offer great Greek foods and pastries, as well as music, dance, and cultural items.”

An army of approximately 18 to 25 cooks begin the food preparation as far back as March. Pastries and meatballs are made within the last two weeks, and the lamb and chicken begin to marinate a few days before the event itself. Once again the meat will be barbecued on a customized open spit with eight-foot long skewers over charcoal and rotated by a motorized bicycle chain.

“Everything is made from family recipes passed down generation to generation with all the dishes made by hand from scratch,” Houpis said. “I still can’t believe we do it that way.”

Friday will once again feature an express lunch take-out line for business people in a hurry. The festival’s meals cost $6 to $8 depending on the order. (And they accept Visa and Master Card.) Live music and dancing will take place both days, and the Nashua Fire Department will put on demonstrations. Admission and parking are free. Overflow parking is available at Stellos Stadium.

 “We like to think we turn our parish facility into a corner of Greece,” Father Chininis said. “The music plays, the wonderful smell of the foods cooking fills the air, and the excitement of the volunteers bring Greece to Nashua.”


Greek Food Fest 2009
Where: St. Philip Greek Orthodox Church, 500 W. Hollis St., Nashua, 889-4000, www.stphilipnh.org
When: Friday, May 15, and Saturday, May 16 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on both days
Admission: Free but bring money for the food

Olga’s Pastichio
Recipe courtesy of Liamos Market, Nashua.

Step 1:
1 pound ziti macaroni
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon salt
4 quarts boiling water
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 cups grated Romano cheese
1/4 pound butter, melted

Step 2:
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 medium onion, minced fine
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons dry red or white wine
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper

Step 3:
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 pound butter
5 tablespoons four
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of white pepper
2 cups hot milk
1/2 cup grated cheese

Step 1: Boil water, add salt and oil, and drop in macaroni. Boil for 10 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place in large pan. Beat eggs with milk and flour. Add to macaroni with grated cheese and melted butter. Set aside.

Step 2: Sauté onion in butter. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Add remaining step 2 ingredients, cook until thick, and degrease. Set aside.

Step 3: Melt butter. Add flour and cook 1 to 2 minutes to blend well. Add hot milk slowly. Stir until thick. Remove from heat. Add hot mixture very slowly to beaten eggs and mix well. Return to double boiler or over hot water and cook until thick. Add salt, white pepper, nutmeg, and 1/4 cup of the grated cheese, reserving balance of cheese for top of casserole. Set aside.

Step 4: Grease a 10- x 15-inch pan well and place half of macaroni mixture in bottom of pan. Place meat mixture on top and cover with remaining macaroni. Spread cream sauce over all and sprinkle with the 1/4 cup reserved grated cheese. Sprinkle lightly with paprika. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Cool for approximately 15 minutes and cut into 3-inch squares.

Note: This recipe may be frozen after assembling, then baked when needed. Defrost. Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes.


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2/1/2007 Super platters for the Super Bowl
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2/09/2006 Biting into the burger with bling
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01/26/2006 Goodbye rooster, hello year of the dog
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A year of eats

All-you-can-read guide to breakfast
A bagel by any other l
abel
A picnic ó itís 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 ó 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
Itís 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 ó 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: itís whatís 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