Food preparation underway for 35th annual St. Elias Food and Craft Bazaar

Mouthwatering aromas fill the air every Monday and Wednesday as 15 or more members of the Ladies Society of St. Elias, led by its president, Amira Darah, gather in the St. Elias kitchen and banquet room to prepare for the 35th annual St. Elias Food and Crafts Bazaar. The event will be held Nov. 6 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, 4940 Harroun Rd.

Amira Darah looks over a full sheet of baked sambusik. Darah is president of the St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church’s Ladies Society and is chairwoman of the bazaar.
Amira Darah looks over a full sheet of baked sambusik. Darah is president of the St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church’s Ladies Society and is chairwoman of the bazaar.

On one Monday, several volunteers, in assembly line formation, patted dough into traditional shapes, filled each cookie with walnut mixture, sealed the cookie and added a decorative edge.A second team oversaw the baking of trays and trays of sambusik, keeping close tabs to achieve the proper stage of doneness, then dropping each cookie, fresh from the oven, into a sugar syrup bath to glaze until all 1,500 cookies were complete, packaged and ready for eating.

L-R: Linda Yazji, Khawla Shidyak, Nancy Rezcallah, Joyce Kosmatak, Rania Eid and Laudy Nassar, Rosemary Zarick and JoAnn Nassar are part of the food preparation team that formed and filled the sambusik or nut-filled pastries before they were taken to the kitchen to be baked and finished.
L-R: Linda Yazji, Khawla Shidyak, Nancy Rezcallah, Joyce Kosmatak, Rania Eid and Laudy Nassar, Rosemary Zarick and JoAnn Nassar are part of the food preparation team that formed and filled the sambusik or nut-filled pastries before they were taken to the kitchen to be baked and finished.

The same process was repeated on different Mondays and Wednesdays until all of the dozens and dozens of pastries were finished, the 3,000 grape leaves filled, 60 pounds or more of green beans prepared, 700 pieces of kafta, the gallons and gallons of lentil soup, hummus, kibbee and more, are all safely packaged and ready for the sale.

Amira Darah, Mouha Rezcallah and Fadia Abyad remove the baked sambusik and drop them in the glaze while they are still warm from the oven.
Amira Darah, Mouha Rezcallah and Fadia Abyad remove the baked sambusik and drop them in the glaze while they are still warm from the oven.

In addition to the array of Middle Eastern food and pastries, there will also be a variety of handcrafted items available for sale.
According to Darah, proceeds from the event will be used for ongoing projects of the church as well as replacing the Ladies Society oven and many other kitchen tools. “Everything here is 35-years-old and we need to update many items, “she said.