Boo! It's Halloween and you have a parade of cute costumed kids coming to your door tonight. To make sure you're ready to hand out treats, we have a dinner that can be made in 30 minutes. Check my blog, OrlandoSentinel.com/thedish, today for our test kitchen bonus menu. But first, let's dish:
It's all Greek to me. If the koulourakia (butter-based pastry), kourabiedes (light shortbread) and melomakarona (honey cookies) are stacked high in the kitchen of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Maitland, it must be time for the 35th Annual Greek Fest. The three-day celebration of heritage, the arts and wonderful ethnic foods is Friday-Sunday.
The menu here is authentic and home-cooked. Guests will savor almost 5,800 pieces of baklava (a classic nutty phyllo treat), 6,000 dolmades bundles (stuffed grape leaves), 1,800 servings of pastitsio (a Greek casserole of pasta, meat, cheese, tomatoes and bechamel sauce) and 1,200 braised lamb shanks.
And, I promise, before you leave the grounds you will correctly pronounce moussaka. Repeat after me: Moo-sa-KA.
The festival hours are 4-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $3. Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church is at 1217 Trinity Woods Lane, Maitland. For more information, call 407-331-4687 or check out orlandogreekfest.com and Facebook.
For cooks interested in exploring the Greek kitchen, check out OrlandoSentinel.com/thedish for recipes shared by festival planners.
Vegan Awareness Month. A vegan (pronounced VEE-gun) is someone who avoids using or consuming animal products. While vegetarians do not eat many of the same foods, vegans also avoid dairy and eggs. You can learn more by patronizing restaurants that offer vegan menus. One of my favorites in Central Florida is Ethos Vegan Kitchen at 601 S. New York Ave. in Winter Park (407-228-3899; ethosvegankitchen.com).
And a polite reminder: If you have newcomers at your Thanksgiving table this year, ask about special diet preferences at least a week before the meal so that the menu is a welcoming feast for all. It's the polite thing to do.
New farmers market revs up. The Mount Dora Village Market has taken up a permanent spot in Elizabeth Evans Park, where Donnelly Street dead-ends at Lake Dora (past the Lakeside Inn and the Lawn Bowling Club). Vendors sell fresh produce, herbs, crafts and more from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
What's in season. In the produce bin, look for Florida-grown avocado, bell pepper, broccoli, carambola, cucumber, eggplant, grapefruit, guava, lime, mushrooms, onions, oranges, papaya, passion fruit, peanuts, radishes, snap beans, squash, strawberries, sweet corn, tangerines and tomatoes.
At the seafood counter, add alligator, clams, flounder, grouper, mullet, oysters, snapper, shrimp, spiny lobster, stone crab claws, tilapia and tilefish to your menu planning.
The Foodies are coming! It's time to vote for your favorite restaurants in the Orlando Sentinel's 15th annual Foodie Awards. The online ballot has more than 45 categories, including fine-dining, wine list, breakfast, brunch, power lunch, food trucks, coffeehouses and bars that serve exceptional food. The final results — along with my picks — will appear in the Calendar section on Friday, Jan. 25. All votes must be cast by midnight Dec. 31. So put down that fork and vote today at OrlandoSentinel.com/foodies.
Heather McPherson can be reached at 407-420-5498, Twitter@OS_thedish and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow daily food news at OrlandoSentinel.com/thedish.
Get the dish
Check out the Morning Mix with Scott McKenzie recipe of the week, Orange-Glazed Turkey Meatballs, at OrlandoSentinel.com/thedish and Mix1051.com