The (chefs) secrets are out
For a fall food fest with a touch of luxe, try "Secrets of the Great Chefs" at Owings Mills New Town's Hometown Harvest Weekend. In what is billed as an "edible seminar," chefs from six area restaurants will offer samples of seasonal fare, plus tips on preparation and menu coordination from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The chefs are: Harold Marmelstein of the Polo Grill; Nancy Longo of Pierpoint; Dean Batlas of Harryman House; Linwood Dame of Linwood's; Michael Gettier of Peabody's; and Ron Leese of the Westminster Inn. A free recipe book of all the dishes served will be available.
Other events on Saturday include a farmer's market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., where fresh cider will be pressed and scarecrow artist Mark Barron of Bethesda will be demonstrating his craft and offering lessons; a Comfort Food Cook-Off about 2:30 p.m.; and Harvest Moon Sock Hop from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., featuring the Platters. On Sunday, the festival wraps up with a folk music concert at 1 p.m. featuring Maura O'Connell and Helicon.
All events take place at Owings Mills New Town. (Take I-795 to Exit 4, Owings Mills Boulevard west, turn right onto Lakeside Boulevard and follow signs to tented area near the sports center.) All events are free except for the sock hop, $12 per person, and the folk-music concert, $10 per person, $2 for children under 12.
From Russians, with love
Borscht and balalaikas, walnut cakes and chicken Kiev, icons and sacred music will all be part of the Russian Festival from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church, 1723 E. Fairmount Ave. The festival will offer traditional Russian food, including a wide array of breads, plus a Russian "boutique" with religious articles, recordings, books, lacquerware and collectibles from the Soviet Union.
There will also be tours of the church, sacred music concerts each afternoon and live music throughout the festival. Last year's festival attracted about 1,000 to the church, which is near Church Hospital in east Baltimore. Entry to the festival is 50 cents a person. Call 276-6171 for more information.
Katherine Plaskowitz, festival co-chairman with Mary Mickel, offers her recipe for the famous Russian beet soup, borscht:
2 bunches beets (see note)
3-4 large onions, sliced
1 clove garlic
4 tablespoons butter (see note)
1 rib celery, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
2 quarts chicken stock
1 cup tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a heavy pot, saute garlic and sliced onion in the butter until golden. Add celery and carrots, stir and cook for a few minutes, covered.
Add the chicken stock, salt, pepper, tomatoes and sugar and simmer for about 15 minutes. Check the flavor, adjust seasonings.
In another pot place the scrubbed, unpeeled beets with water to cover and cook until tender. Cool, peel and cut up. Add beets to chicken stock mixture and heat. Do not boil because red color of the beets will be lost.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and fresh dill and plenty of rye bread.
Note: If fresh beets are unavailable, use two cans of beets, chopped. When fresh beets are available, young tender leaves can be chopped and added to the soup. Margarine or corn oil can be substituted for the butter.
Wine tasting while you eat
Having trouble selecting a wine to go with dinner? Why not sample them all? Hersh's Orchard Inn offers diners a chance to sample a variety of wines from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on two Wednesdays and two Fridays this month. People knowledgeable about wine will be on hand to discuss the characteristics of each wine.
Tonight and next Wednesday will feature wines from Kendall-Jackson, Robert Mondavi, and Beringer. This Friday and next Friday the wines will be from Stags Leap, Kendall-Jackson, and Robert Mondavi.
Wine sampling will be free with each dinner entree. The restaurant is at 1528 E. Joppa Rd., just west of Loch Raven Boulevard off Beltway Exit 29. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 823-0384.
'Frugal Gourmet' to visit
Food for body and soul will be on the program when the Rev. Jeff Smith, a Methodist minister who is also known as "The Frugal Gourmet," appears at Lovely Lane Church Nov. 3. There will be a cooking demonstration from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., followed by conversation and book signing until 4 p.m. From 3:15 p.m. to 5 p.m. musicians will perform in the Emora T. Brannan Chapel and desserts, coffee, tea and apple cider will be on sale. At 5 p.m., the Rev. Mr. Smith will lead the Vespers Service.
Ticket prices range from $8-$50 for the balcony and $20-$100 for the sanctuary. Half or more of the price of each ticket is tax-deductible. To order tickets, or for more information, call 366-7648.