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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mediterranean Cooking In Alaska

We went to the local Greek Festival last weekend. It's a cultural event as well as being a fund raiser for the local Greek Orthodox Church, Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church.
There was dancing, there was perfect cups of syrupy thick coffee with a gorgeous crema on top. There was feasting.
So many kinds of food, so we all ordered different things so we could try as much as possible. Salads with marinated olives, kabobs served on pita breads with a tangy tzatziki on the side and baklava. Oh I do love the sweet, nutty layers of a real good baklava. Not the kind that all you taste is sweet, but the sort with sweet and spicy and nutty all encased in flaky layers of filo. *moans*
In a uniquely Alaskan moment (remember, Anchorage is an urban community), an announcement was made to be careful. "A pair of black bears has been seen in the area. If you see them when you are walking back to your cars, wait and let them leave the area."
Part of the raising funds is to try and build a new church, and towards that goal, they did what a lot of churches did and printed a cookbook.  Tastes Like Home- Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska has lots in common with other church cookbooks. It's filled with just tons of family favorite recipes. Hundreds of recipes separated into appetizers, salads, main courses, desserts, etc. A difference though is that all these recipes are checked. They've all been tested, organized, edited and checked for availability of ingredients by one woman. Laurie Constantino. (link is to her cooking blog, well worth checking out)
It's a cookbook filled with traditional recipes, tips on variations contributed by members of the church, and adaptations to traditional recipes to ingredients that can be found in the US and Canada more easily.
The cookbook has some Alaskan variations, halibut and salmon for example which are so easy to get fresh here. But comparable substitutions can be made. If you have an interest in Mediterranean cooking, this is a great resource.
You can find the cookbook for sale here. I really recommend it.
Oh yeah, and it has the recipe for that baklava.

1 comment:

  1. Shala, so glad you made it to the festival, tried the baklava, and avoided the bears! It's also great to hear you like the cookbook! As you saw, we've started constructing the new church, so our fundraising efforts are more important than they've ever been. Thanks so much for your support!!


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