Greek Summer Festival 2009

The Greek Summer Festival 2010: June 29th to July 11th.

Suanne and I were invited by Amir, the Executive Director of the Greek Summer Festival, to the event to experience Living A Day The Greek Way.  Suanne and I had been having way too many invites these days but this was one event we could not turn down because we felt we had so much to learn.

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We met Amir and to our surprise, he had actually gotten the people behind the event together so that we could meet them.  Never in our imagination how much history there are behind this annual event.

The Greek Summer Festival had started as a one day event 23 years ago organized by the Greek Orthordox Community of East Vancouver.  The event’s main goal is to raise funds (this year they partner with Make a Wish Foundation) and to introduce to Vancouver the richness of Greek culture, traditions and FOOD!

They told us how this one day event grew from one-day event to an event that spans two weekends around Canada Day.  This year’s event runs from June 26th to July 5th.

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George Economous was our host of the evening who was gracious enough to spend two hours that day to bring us around the place and showed us the event behind the scene.  He he he … Suanne and I felt like we were on a guided tour of Greece!  We were so intrigued by the stories we are hearing we decided to learn more before digging in to the food.  But since this is a food blog, I gonna share with you the most important aspect of this festival … FOOD … especially …

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… LAMBS.   If there is only one thing we came away impressed, it was the lamb.  Being Chinese who generally finds lamb gamey, we ended up thinking of lamb in a much different light.

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The Greek Summer Festival sold a whopping 465 lambs within 10 days in the festival last year.  This year, they are on track to break last year’s count and I am not going to be surprised.  We met George “The Real Boss” (the person above is George “the Host”).  George “the Real Boss” is the man behind these lambs since the inception of the Greek Summer Festival.  Boy, he sure has lots of stories to tell and BBQ burn scars to show too!!

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They used to do this by hand and using charcoal but today they have a whole row of rotisseries imported from Greece that slowly cooks this.  It takes four hours of slow cooking to make each.  They use the very best New Zealand lamb because of the tenderness of the meat and of the consistent size.  They tried to use local lambs but gave up because it was best only during Easter period.

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They used to chop the lamb piece by hand.  It is impossible to keep up with the demands that they had introduced new ways and machines to do the job better and faster.

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Many people actually come to the Greek Summer Festival only for their lambs.  People would drop by the festival on their way home to pick the lambs on the spit up by the kilo ($32) or half-kilo ($16).

Some people even order the whole lamb.  That is $185 and is more than enough for 20 people.  They will cut it to your choice.  Sometimes there are customers who comes in a group and order an entire lamb to feast at the festival.  That would be fun!

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This is what Suanne and I had — the Lamb Dinner, Bone-In.  This is wonderful … perfecto in every aspect. Continue reading

Crisp Seedy Oatmeal Cookie

For the dessert, Minoo made some Crisp Seedy Oatmeal Cookies in the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen.

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This Crisp Seedy Oatmeal Cookie will satisfy anyone.  It has a variety of seeds like sunflower seed and water melon seeds.  The original recipe has pumpkin seeds instead of the water melon seeds. This cookie is great for snack or lunch box.  This recipe yields 42 cookies.

The puffed rice cereal in the cookies make them a bit chewier than my preference.  I would leave out the puffed rice cereal in these cookies as I find that the baked rice cereal kind of sticks between my teeth.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250ml) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (250ml) packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla
  • 2 cups (500ml) quick-cooking (not instant) rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) puffed rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (125ml)  whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup (50ml) unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup (50ml) water melon seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2ml) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2ml) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1ml) salt

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Continue reading