25 January 2010

Joining the Nation Together with the Olympic Flame we Serve Up a Classic Greek Meal

Souvlakia with Avocado Tzatziki
The sacred Olympic Flame was lit in an ancient ritual in Olympia, Greece, site of the first Olympic Games. After a short run through Greece, the Olympic Flame arrived in Athens, where it was handed over to a representative from Canada. From there, the Olympic Flame made a trans-Atlantic flight and arrived in Canada, signaling the start of the longest Olympic Torch Relay to take place in a single country. The 2010 Olympic Torch Relay began in Canada on October 30, 2009 and will conclude at the Opening Ceremony signaling the start of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games on February 12, 2010.

Like many Canadians I have followed the Olympic Flame on its path as it has travelled more than 45,000 kilometres across Canada visiting key cities in all 10 provinces and 3 territories. During its journey towards Vancouver, the Olympic Flame will continue to pass by some of the most pristine and stunning landscapes in the world until it reaches its destination in a few short weeks. And at each turn and twist in the path to the Olympic Games, excited Canadians and visitors have gathered to share in the experience. Today the Olympic Flame passed through my city and I was there with the rest with a group of friends with my Red Mittens, Canadian Scarf  and waving the Canadian flag. A crowd, estimated at well over 10,000 packed into City Park to welcome the Olympic flame to Kelowna. The crowd was loud and boisterous all evening, but held the largest cheer for local Olympian Scott Frandsen who won a gold medal at the 2008 games in Beijing and  lit our city's community cauldron. The Olympic torch shines brilliantly as a beacon of hope, a symbol of the triumphant human spirit.  It is here, at the heart of another Canadian community, that our nation celebrates the 2010 Olympic Winter Games with glowing hearts.

The 2010 Olympic Torch designed by Bombardier takes its inspiration from the cool, crisp and modern lines that are left behind in the snow and ice from winter sports. The fluid, dynamic shape of the torch conveys a sense of youthful optimism and the size of the 2010 Olympic Torch shows not only that Canada is a country of bountiful size, but also has enormous potential and heart.

Small touches on the finished 2010 Olympic Torch design make it truly Canadian. A maple leaf on the back of the torch is not only a symbolic element, but has an important functional role as an air intake hole to ensure the Olympic Flame burns brightly. The 2010 Winter Games Motto “With Glowing Hearts/Des plus brillants exploits” is engraved on the torch opposite where the flame will burn.

Some Interesting Facts:

■Over 100 days in length.

■Over 1,000 communities and places of interest where torchbearers will carry the Olympic Flame.

■Nearly 200 celebrations hosted by communities in every province and territory.

■Approximately 90 per cent of Canada’s population will be within a one-hour drive of experiencing the Olympic Flame.

■Over 45,000 kilometres will be travelled.

■Extensive tour of the North including a planned visit to Alert, Nunavut, the northernmost permanently inhabited community in the world.

■12,000 people will have the honour of being an Olympic Torchbearer and will help carry the flame to Vancouver, a majority of who were selected through public programs.

■Each torch bearer runs 300 m.

■12,000 torches were manufactured by Bombardier, a company known worldwide for leading innovations in transportation and aerospace

■Each torch is signed by a Bombardier team member.

■The 300 m must be completed in 3 minutes or less.

■There is 5 minutes of gas stored in the flame.

■The flame is activated by a key which unlocks the gas cylinder.

To celebrate the torch arriving in our city I decided to invite a few friends over for some delicious Greek food with an early dinner before we headed down to the festivities. What better way to celebrate than to get back to the root of the Olympic Games where they all began in ancient Greece and serve up some delicious Greek foods. It was a quick and simple menu and a standard and familiar meal reminiscent of what you find in Greek restaurants in our area. Of course when in Greece the people have way much more to offer in the way of exciting dishes and ingredients but this menu mirrors what my friends would find familiar...with a few twists of my own. To begin our foray into Greek cuisine I was tempted by photos on Facebook from fellow Canadian Peter Minaki for "Kolokithokeftedes” or pumpkin fritters. I twisted one of his original recipes to make use of some grated pumpkin which I served alongside the dolmades for a tasty starter. I was hoping for leftovers but there were none. To my guests I offered homemade Vefa's Pita Bread  which I made the previous day with another delicious recipe I found on Peter's site Kalofagas -Greek Foods and Beyond .  I served the pita wrapped around  Souvlakia. Instead of preparing the traditional tzatkiki I ressurected a recipe for Avocado Tzatziki that I love for an extra boost by renowned Iron Chef Cat Cora. The acidity of the lemon juice and of the Greek yogurt seems to stabilize the avocado and it lasts several days without turning that characteristic off-putting colour.  To top off the meal I served all with a side of Aglaia's Greek Lemon and Oregano Potatoes which are always a favourite and a homey Greek Spinach Horiatiki Salad. 

See you at the Olympics on February 12th!!!Celebrate the Olympics in your own home with a classic Greek menu. Yammas!!

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. You have gone all the way Val! Love the spread...and Peter's creations are fantastic! Enjoy the arrival of the sacred flame.

  2. You put so much time and effort in you posts, Val!! I admire that!! I would love to tuck into that delicious meal!!!

  3. Ooooo what time is dinner. I'll come along even if I have to run two torches!
    Must try that Avocado Tzatziki!

  4. This is so much fun. What a great idea for a themed party! All of the recipes sound amazing. I am off to stare at those pumpkin fritters and drool...

  5. Val, I'm curious... How does the avocado hold up in the tzatziki sauce? You know how guacamole turns brown? Does this sauce to that too? I like making batches upon batches of taztziki to last me a week or so, and I so want to try this, but I don't want to make it too far in advance, ya know?

  6. Great overview, Val, and a delicious looking souvlaki sandwich you have there!

  7. In answer to your question about the avocado in the tzadziki Niki it seems to hold up. I have made Cat Cora's recipe before and do not remember how long it lasted but this time around I made the sauce in the morning and served it at 5. Looking in the fridge the next day it still looks the same. It has lemon juice and the Greek yogurt also has a certain acidity so it is all good:D

  8. Delicious and nice post!
    Vall If you want try I add some liquid milk to the avocado paste and dont be brown by hours, is nice to sandwchich and others, I think my mother shw me. I add some milk and salt and some people add lemon juice too.

    huggs gloria

  9. A really great way to welcome the torch by honouring its roots. I love that. The meal is really befitting and totally works for me. Isn't it totally the "chills" seeing the torch go through town? Now all we need is snow on the hills.

  10. A great read Val and I'm delighted the Pita bread and fritters were well received.

    You've always been a big supporter of Greek food and Greece...a Philhellene!

  11. What a great spread. I'll skip the Olympic (not a sports fan) and just eat, eat, eat! Your photo alone has me drooling.

    Kind of scary to think of a torch on a plane. They must have to take some extreme precautions.

  12. Great idea- a Greek dinner.
    Loved the pumpkin fritters- they were my favorite.
    Bring on the Olympics!

  13. all right, now i love me some tzatziki--i can eat it by the spoonful. however, this notion of AVOCADO tzatziki, well, it makes me weak in the knees. so much awesomeness. :)

  14. You are the cat's meow, the bee's knees, and the flame's torch with this post. Bravo!

  15. This is an awesome meal Val! You must be excited for the winter olympics!

  16. Very cool, I always love seeing the torch when it comes to town!!

  17. All I can say is WoW. Another meal I should be making at home.

  18. A great post Val (as always) and I love the plate of Greek food you made - YUM!

  19. I had so much to write ... then I read this comment "You are the cat's meow, the bee's knees, and the flame's torch with this post". Don't think I can ever sum it up better! GORGEOUS spread....and just what we would find at Petah, the Greek God of Good Food!!

  20. Lovely spread! I've always loved Souvlaki but I havent had it in years!!!

  21. Val,
    Looks like a great Greek meal. I can't wait to watch the winter Olympics from Canada!


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