Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It's All Greek to Me

Okay.  I admit it.  I overindulged.  But who could resist?  It’s a good thing our annual Greek-American Festival only happens once a year.  Well, not really. 

My Greek Salad sans lettuce - dressing ingredients below
We are blessed with a wonderful Greek community that coordinates the fest each year with their goal being to share and teach the community about its culture through music, dance, and of course, food. 

This popular festival draws thousands of visitors over the weekend beginning on Friday with a luncheon for the downtown business community and ending on Sunday with a family day celebration.  There is no shortage of folks who love this festival, and there is no shortage of food.
Pastichio, Tiropita and green beans
Trays and trays of foods are prepared for the festival including marinated chicken oregano, Moussaka (baked eggplant and beef), Dolmathes (grape leaves), Tiropita (cheese and phyllo pies), Spanakopita (spinach pie), and the ever popular Pastichio (baked macaroni and beef topped with a rich and creamy béchamel sauce).

Saganaki or flaming cheese made with Kasseri cheese
New to the fest is Saganaki or flaming cheese.  I was told that the cheese is doused in brandy before it is ignited.  Opa!

And then there are the pastries… Baklava, Macaroons, Koulourakia (butter cookies), and my favorite - Galaktoboureko (custard wrapped in phyllo crust with honey syrup).  I was smart this year and bought my Galaktoboureko on Friday instead of waiting until Saturday.   I’ve been burned before as they always sell out early.   

Cooking class demo - stuffed eggplant prior to baking
I also made it a point to get to the festival early this year so I could attend the Greek cooking class. The demonstration was Melitzanes Papoutsakia or stuffed eggplant.   The finished product was very tasty.  I think it would work well with zucchini too.

Greek ingredients to stock up on
The festival is also a great place to stock up on Greek ingredients – olives, fresh potted herbs, oils, vinegars and specialty pastas.  You can also purchase the award winning cookbook Olives, Feta, Phyllo & More! This cookbook contains the best Greek salad recipe ever - see below for ingredients.    

So as another Greek fest is history, as is my binge on Greek food and culture, I am comforted by the fact that I have a whole year to recover until the next one.  Well, not really.  No regrets here. 

Greek salad dressing in the works
Greek Salad Dressing
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder


  1. The cooking demonstration was fun until I was showered with lamb, tomatoes and herbs. On the plus side, I smelled delicious. Oh, and the pastries...

  2. Bad things can happen when free food is involved...