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Okanagancook

Welcome "tea" for our Syrian Refugee Families

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Do you have a probe thermometer? With the chicken just go low and slow, and remember about carryover cooking, pull it when it's about 5 degrees lower than your target temp. You'll do great!

 

Do you have a Restaurant Depot anyplace within driving distance? The two in Phoenix carry halal whole goat and halal whole lamb.

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I don't think we have any Restaurant Depot stores in Canada at all but I am fairly sure that if there is one, it won't be anywhere near Naramata BC.

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thanks Lisa.  I do have a thermapen so will do what you said.  Sadly no RD near here.

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@Okanagancook, would you post for us an address where we can send donations to add to the fundraiser's total?

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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That is totally awesome kayb.  Every little bit helps.  Here is the treasurer's address.  

Cheques can be made out to NCSRI which stands for Naramata Community Syrian Refugee Initiative.

Cheques can be mailed to:  Renee Matheson, Box #125, Naramata, British Columbia, Canada V0H 1N0

:wub::wub:

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Thanks liuzhou.  A heart warming read!  Amongst the first things the family asked for were kitchen related:  a meat grinder; a blender; and now she wants a mortar and pestle...a large one.  The mother can cook quite well considering she is only 20 years old and already has two sons:  a 3 1/2 year old and a 2 1/2 year.

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Well, we have a sold out fund raising dinner on Wednesday!  Filled two shopping carts full of groceries today.  Asked another volunteer to help me, thank goodness.  It is a lot of work.  

 

Applied for a community grant at the local Superstore and were turned down.  Very disappointed.  We bought all the food there and we bring the families to shop there every week. Pooh.

 

did four hours of mis en place today. Tomorrow I have three additional helpers including the wife from the family.   Loads of chopping, etc to do. The local wineries have generously donated wine for raffling off and other donations from local businesses have been acquired.

 

i will try and take some pictures at the dinner.

all very exciting.

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Are you cooking whole chickens (and then carving them on site?) or using pieces (breasts? thighs?)? How much chicken did you buy (for about 50ish people I would guess)? I know you said you will roast it, but will it all fit in your oven at the same time or are you having to farm out the chicken cooking to other volunteer homes? And with all that mis en place being done in advance, do you have sufficient refrigerator space or is that proving a bit tricky?

 

Good luck with the dinner. I am sure it will be a grand success but I know you will be very tired come late tomorrow evening. Take it easy.

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Deryn:  sorry for the late reply...was busy cooking.  We ended up cooking whole chicken breasts and keeping them warm.  We had 25 breasts and we ended up slicing them in half as we plated them.  There is a picture coming up:  topped with yogurt sauce.  We cooked them in three batches and checked them frequently.

 

We ended up doing all the prep at my house.  I have a large kitchen.  Monday I asked another volunteer to help me shop.  Thank goodness.  We had two large trollies full of groceries.  Monday afternoon I made the dressings and spices; Tuesday three volunteers came over at 9 am and we worked until around 2:30 then drank wine :-); Wednesday we cooked the chicken, fried the onions for the Mojadara; fried the meatballs and cooked in the sauce; cooked the carrots most of the way through then we took it all down to the hall and set up.  All in all I think 50 or so man-hours was spent on shopping and food prep.  Then another 10 or 15 man-hours selling tickets, making posters; setting up, etc., etc.

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The dinner was a resounding success.  Everyone was raving about the food and when the plates come back licked clean you know they were sincere.  Someone asked if this could be a monthly affair!

Financially it was very successful and we have enough money now to bring the family's relatives here from Regina in a couple of weeks.  That will make an enormous difference to their mental state of mind.  The local wineries/distilleries and businesses were very generous in their donations with one winery donating a whole case of wine.  Here is what we made:

 

We made hummus (taking the skins off the chickpeas method);Ezme (a spicy tomato and Pepper dip); donated bread (we were going to make pitas so thankfully we did not have to)all that was put out on the tables. My husband's wine making group donated 20 bottles of wine which were ALL GONE by 46 people.  For mains we made tamarind meatballs in a tomato sauce;Baharat roasted chicken with yogurt/mint/sumac sauce topped with pomagranate molasses/lettuce/red onion/pom seeds; Fattoush salad; Mojardara (rice with lentils and crispy fried onions….lots, and lots of onions…it took us 3 hours just to fry the onions); Cumin Roasted Carrots with honey lemon dressing and goat cheese and fruit platters for dessert.
 
Below is a picture of our set up for the chicken dish which we plated for people to take and proceed down the salad line.  There is a picture of all the fried onions.  They get mixed in with the rice and lentils with 1/4 saved to sprinkle on the top.
 
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Forgot to mention that the wife came to help serve.  She plated the hummus and ezme then served people their meatballs.  She was a little shy but we insisted and it all worked out well.

Deryn:  We put most of the food in plastic bags undressed in my fridges...I have an all fridge and a regular fridge.  It all just fit.  The fruit I took down to the hall in the am and put it in their fridge.

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5 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

Forgot to mention that the wife came to help serve.  She plated the hummus and ezme then served people their meatballs.  She was a little shy but we insisted and it all worked out well.

Deryn:  We put most of the food in plastic bags undressed in my fridges...I have an all fridge and a regular fridge.  It all just fit.  The fruit I took down to the hall in the am and put it in their fridge.

Well done!   Did not doubt for a moment that you could pull this off.  It all looks delicious and I am sure your efforts are appreciated.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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@Okanagancook  Everything looks delicious! What a warm and practical welcome you have provided for this family who are so far from home in such a different culture. I'm sure that their experience would have been VERY different without you as their guardian angel. 

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If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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Oh, they have several guardian angels here in Naramata.  One gal in particular has been amazing.  She lived in Turkey for a number of years teaching English as a second language.  She has been very helpful educating us about their culture which is so different than ours.  She has been at their house pretty well everyday for the past six weeks.  We now have about seven people who volunteer to drive them into town for their appointments, etc...a 15 km drive each way.  They just really need to learn English so the husband can work.  Their government money has been delayed so the money from the event will really help us while we wait for the other funding.  Even buying food has been an issue.

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15 hours ago, Okanagancook said:

The dinner was a resounding success.  Everyone was raving about the food and when the plates come back licked clean you know they were sincere.  Someone asked if this could be a monthly affair!

 

I am totally bowled over. Congratulations and thank you. In a world that sometimes feels full of hate and ignorance and prejudice, what you, and the people with you, have done is joyful. It gives me some belief in humanity again. 

 

It isn't easy to welcome strangers into your community, which is your home, and too often strangers are turned away. Or worse.

 

And that just addresses the morality involved. There is also the sheer hard work!

Although I don't know you, I feel sort of proud to be even tenuously linked through eG. Good luck with whatever comes next.

 

14 hours ago, Anna N said:

Forgot to mention that the wife came to help serve.  She plated the hummus and ezme then served people their meatballs.  She was a little shy but we insisted and it all worked out well.


Glad to read that, too. I'm sure they don't expect or want to be "hand out" victims. Ultimately, they need to take control of their own lives. And your work seems to be helping them set up for that, too.


 


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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What a heroic effort you all put out to get that amazing dinner on the table for so many people! I am glad it all went as planned and I am definitely not surprised that the plates were licked clean. Wish I had been there. :) Bravo - job well done!

 

I once catered a wedding for almost 200 people, out of a small hotel room, alone - so I know exactly what kind of planning and execution nightmares there can be when one undertakes such a venture.  Took me months to get over that one. Be proud but don't succumb to the 'let's do this once a month' thing, even if it feels good to hear it, but I am sure it feels wonderful to know you CAN do this and DID do it!  

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Thank you all for your kind words.  I'm still recovering.

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No doubt you help make this Syrian family's arrival to the US a bit more comfortable.  Kudos to you and your humanitarian reach out to those in need.   Your food looks delicious.  Me, I'd hit that big plate of mujadara.  Love that stuff. 

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Well, we are at it again.  The Syrian Family has been here in Naramata, British Columbia, Canada for just over a year.  They are doing very well.  Their English is improving.  The husband has a job with a stucco company and the wife is going to be making falafel to sell at our local weekly farmers market.  The two kids are MUCH calmer and settling in.  

 

They need a vehicle because the bus service here is not that good and the husband needs to get to work.  So, we are doing another dinner.  But this time we have a larger venue and have sold out, 60 tickets in less than 10 days.  What great support our locals provide.  I am doing most of the cooking and all the organizing.  The wife is making her falafel and baclava!  We are having a meze and then two meat dishes, rice and fattoush.  There will be a silent auction as well.  All in all we are hoping to raise $3000.  I will keep you posted.

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Here are the 'pink' and 'green' homemade pickles for the dinner!  Easy, easy and a nice crunch.  Just water, vinegar, salt and chili flakes....garlic addition for the 'green' pickles and a few slices of beets for the 'pink' pickles.  This picture was taken just after I made them.  They were rested in the dark for 24 hours and are now in the fridge until Thursday.  A really economical dish to maximize taste and PROFIT. :D

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@Okanagancook  I had to chuckle because I have both of those pickles in my fridge that I made a few weeks ago.  The pink pickles are turnip which are very traditional 

 

 

 

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Nice.  The pink pickles are small turnip sliced, cauliflower, beets and cabbage.  The green pickles are garlic, cauliflowers, green pepper, carrot, celery and the rest of the small turnip.

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G&M (Globe & Mail) had a nice article on some of the Syrian refugees in Vancouver and how their cuisine is gaining popularity with a pop-up dinner.

 

Quote

On the eve of Ramadan, when most devout Muslims in Vancouver were at home preparing for the holy month of fasting, seven enterprising Syrian refugees were ladling out a massive feast for a party of 150. It was the latest edition of Tayybeh: A Celebration of Syrian Cuisine, a monthly pop-up dinner that has become a local sensation with tickets selling out faster than the average rock concert – some in mere minutes.

 

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I think our tickets sold so quickly because everyone heard how good the first one was!:D

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