Lannae's Food and Travel

I hope you like my food and travel blog.

December 2, 2006

It's All Greek to me

OK, so this post is seemingly a little late, seeing that the 19th Annual Nashville Greek Festival was September 8-10. The Nashville Greek Festival is offered by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, on the south side of Nashville. This festival is as much a part of Nashville as wayward guitar players looking for a country music gig. We wait all year long for a taste of the Greek Festival food because the food made at the festival is made by expert cooks from the parish. Many cooks are little old ladies who have a hard time getting around, and really want to participate in their church and the festival, so they offer their family's old recipes and their expert culinary skills to make Greek food for this popular annual event. I dream of the Greek Festival Food all summer long, and I wish we could get this lovingly made food all year long. NOW, read on to the end of my blog entry, as my wish came true!

On September 9th, we got to the Greek Festival just at 5 pm for an early dinner. Look at the crowd, these people were thinking the same thing! Gotta get there early to taste all the yummy food!

We started with dolmathes, stuffed grape leaves with rice and mint leaf. These are made with olive oil and lemon juice on top. These 5 dolmathes basic flavors of grape leaves, rice, mint, olive oil and lemon are a classic combination that has worked through the ages. Perfect. I could eat a hundred of these and as happy as a pig in s**t.

We got to two types of fyllo pies: spanakopita and chees-akopita. These are hand made by the fantastic cooks at the Greek Orthodox Church, and these are NOT manufactured. The piled high layers of fyllo and olive oil are baked up crisp, and the filling of spinach, onion and feta is just enough to make one say "AHHH! Delicous!" The texture of the crispy fyllo dough and the soft and comforting spinach filling play off each other like Edgar Myer and Bela Fleck do for their duets. Again, I could eat a hundred of these too, and be happier than a pig in s**t.

The plates of dinner we usually get are moussaka and pastitsio. What is pictured above is the moussaka with a side of pole beans and flat bread. This moussaka is made with ground beef eggplant, cheese and beshamel sauce. Everything is always better with bashamel. The eggplant is very tender, and melted in my mouth. The pastitsio was made with inch or longer pasta tubes that look like hollow pencils. I was told that no good pastitsio cook would ever use elbow pasta because the elbow shape does not allow for the cooking heat and sauce to flow through the dish correctly, and the overall texture in the end will not be right. All I can say is that the moussaka and pastitsio at the Nashville Greek Festival defines the best of the Greek-American comfort food that you can get anywhere.

Dessert, well Baklava is always the one that is associated with Greek food. The Baklava is made with lots of butter, sugar or honey and nuts like pistachios, wrapped in butter and fyllo. There high energy and expensive ingredients must have been a special food offering by only the wealthy from 1000s of years ago. Interestingly enough, Baklava 's origin has been claimed by many regions from the Persian Gulf to far East Asia. What people would not want to claim this special, rich and scrumptious delight? No matter where the the origin is, the Baklava recipe is proof of the rich history of trade for 10,000 years from Eastern Europe to East Asia. Every time I eat Baklava, I feel the history in the core of my being.
I just added this photo of the Nashville Greek Festival petting zoo with a chicken, goose and bunny. I missed the chicken as it was running to the corner of the pen, trying to hide from the kids wanting to pet it.

This is a picture of my frozen mousska that I picked up on Saturday December 2nd! Yes folks, after 19 years of the fine people of Nashville calling all year round to the Greek Orthodox Church, asking for festival food to go, the Greek Orthodox Church has decided to make the food available all year long! YAY! Call 615-333-1047 to find out when the social hall is open, and all the food is frozen and waiting for the oven!

YIPPPEEE! I get to have the best Nashville has to offer and delicious moussaka, pastitsio, and spanakopita all year long! Thank you cooks of the Nashville Greek Orthodox Church! I love you and your food! I will be stopping by as often as I can!


At 12/5/06, 9:13 AM, Blogger Jackson said...

Dolmathes? what a special food!! i never try any food with grape leaves before simply because Malaysia do not hv those resources. How's the taste like? sweet? salty? I really enjoy reading yr blog coz i learn different culture and different food!

At 12/5/06, 6:40 PM, Blogger Lannae said...

Jackson, thank you for reading my blog! You are so kind to me! Grape leaves are also called vine leaves are fiberous green leaves like collard greens or mustard leaves. They have fresh, woody, and bok choy flavor. Very nice! Fresh grape leaves are from grapevines. There are jarred grape leaves in a salt brine that must be rinsed very well to get the salt off. If you are ever in Chicago, USA (one of the best Greek-American food places in the USA), go try some Dolmathes (Dolmades or Dolmas)! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog!

At 12/6/06, 8:04 AM, Blogger boo_licious said...

I wish we had more Greek places here - the dolmades look really good. Love the petting zoo too esp the cute ducky.

At 12/6/06, 6:02 PM, Blogger Lannae said...

Hi Boo! Come visit the USA and try these delicious Greek-American foods! The dolmades were delicious and flavorful. Yes, the petting zoo had very cute animals. You may want more Greek in your home city, but you do have some of the best food I have ever seen!

At 12/22/06, 6:05 PM, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Ohgod, I love Greek festivals! I always bring a cooler and ice, and buy too much.
Next Greek Festival isn't until Labor Day.
(Wait, I think there's a dinky one in June nearby.)

At 12/27/06, 5:59 PM, Blogger Lannae said...

Hey Cookie! Thank you for stopping by! Good thinking about bringing a cooler! I will need to do for the next Greek festival!


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