Visiting a Greek agora, right here in...


Visiting a Greek agora, right here in Baltimore

Think about a trip to the Greek isles . . . the warmth, the marvelous food, the music and the dancing, the tavernas . . . Only a dream? It's closer than you think. You can sample the traditional delights of Greece without getting on a plane or taking a cruise, when the Cathedral of the Annunciation holds its annual Agora Festival this coming weekend.

There will be Greek cuisine and pastries, live music from the Zephyros band, dancers in traditional garb, a taverna, a Greek "grocery store," a pastry shop, crafts, cultural displays and bTC activities for children. There will also be tours of the Greek Orthodox cathedral and chapel.

Dishes include pastitsio (a baked pasta dish), roasted lamb shanks, cheese and spinach pies (tiropitas and spanikopitas) and souvlaki; pastries include baklava and butter cookies (koulourakia and kourambiethes).

The festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday at the cathedral, 24 W. Preston St. Taverna hours are 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is free; most platters cost between $6 and $8; single food items cost $4 or less. For more information, call the cathedral office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at (410) 727-1831.

Among the foods for sale at the festival will be marinated chicken. Here's the recipe volunteer cooks will be using:

Marinated chicken

Serves 4

1 cup olive oil

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup white wine

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon ground oregano

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste (see note)

4 chicken halves

Mix first six ingredients. Place chicken in stainless steel or glass container, pour marinade over. Cover and marinate overnight in refrigerator. (If desired, before pouring over chicken, reserve some marinade to baste chicken while cooking). Broil chicken halves over medium coals until done (juice runs clear and there is no trace of pink in the meat).

Note: White pepper is preferred. If you substitute red wine for the white, the marinade is also good with lamb or pork.

This is a cookbook that also provides food for thought: The "Open House" cookbook is a compilation of recipes and essays, stories and poetry that will benefit the National Alliance to End Homelessness and its 1,750 affiliated agencies across the nation.

The book features recipes contributed by 50 of the country's most noted food personalities, along with dishes from alliance members. Contributing chefs include Paul Prudhomme, Mark Miller, Jeremiah Tower, Joyce Goldstein and Barbara Tropp. Other recipes are contributed by noted food writers such as Lora Brody, Marion Cunningham and Flo Braker.

Besides the recipes, the book has "Food Memories," recollections of profound moments involving food by noted food writers; stories from volunteers about how they became involved in the fight against homelessness; poetry by homeless people; "human dignity" photographs of the homeless by California photographer Terrance Wimmer and a list of 25 things individuals can do to help end homelessness.

The book is published by Tradery House, of Memphis, Tenn., with seed money from Hillshire Farm and Kahn's, divisions of Sara Lee Corp. It costs $15.95 and is available at selected bookstores. It is also available from the publisher, with an additional $3 charge for shipping and handling (MasterCard, Visa, check or money order). To order, or for more information, call (800) 362-MEAL. In addition, the book is available from members of the alliance. For names of member organizations in your area, call the alliance at (202) 638-1526. More than $10 of every purchase goes to alliance projects.

Steve Rouse can't remember exactly how he discovered the item that's been lighting up the switchboard at WQSR radio during his early morning-drive time show. "In my nightly reading somewhere," he says, he found a recipe purported to be a favorite with rock star Prince (who has been trying to change his name to something unpronounceable, which is certainly why it isn't taking): Pot roast a la Pepsi.

"People say it's un-be-liev-able," Mr. Rouse says. "People have tried it and they say it's great."

It's a simple recipe. One pot roast. One package dry onion soup mix. One can of Pepsi. One can of water. Add potatoes and carrots to the pan if desired. Cook as usual. The soup mix gives a nice caramel glaze to the meat, and the liquid cooks into a rich gravy.

"People say the gravy is wonderful," Mr. Rouse says.

Coffee by the bag

No doubt about it, coffee is the hottest of hot beverages right now, with boutique brands and espresso bars all over town. But what if it's early Saturday morning and you just want a nice hot cup of coffee fast? Or evening, after a romantic dinner for two? Or it's mid-afternoon and you're stuck at your desk?

Cafe de Todd to the rescue, with its Gourmet Singles, an array of exotic coffee blends and flavors in convenient bags -- like tea bags. Cafe de Todd, which doesn't contain any instant coffee, comes in Colombian Supremo, Hawaiian Kona, Jamaican Blue Mountain and Kenyan AA blends, as well as flavors of amaretto, chocolate almond, cinnamon, Irish cream and vanilla hazelnut. The Colombian Supremo and vanilla hazelnut are also available in decaf versions.

Cafe de Todd costs about $3 for a box of 10 bags, and is available at Graul's and Mars markets in the Baltimore area.

Consumers who'd like to sample Cafe de Todd singles can get a free sample by calling (800) 392-TODD.

Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad