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Greek music and poetry on United Nations Day October 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News, Hellenic Light Americas.
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A concert by the National Symphony Orchestra of Greece will mark this year’s celebration of United Nations Day on Wednesday, 25 October 2006, at 7 p.m., in the General Assembly Hall.

United Nations Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Charter on 24 October 1945. Since 24 October 2006 is Eid Al-Fitr, an official holiday, the concert is being organized the following day.

The concert is sponsored by the Government of Greece and the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation.  The 62-member National Symphony Orchestra will present the poetry of Odysseus Elytis ( Nobel Literature Laureate, 1979 ), Georges Seferis ( Nobel Literature Laureate, 1963 ) and C. P. Cavafy, set to music by composers Manos Hadjidakis, Mikis Theodorakis, Spyros Samaras, Dimitris Laghios and Dimitris Papadimitriou.

The National Symphony Orchestra, since its establishment in 1938, has presented music by Greek and foreign composers in Athenian concert halls, radio and television broadcasts, as well as in cities such as Alexandria, Belgrade, Cairo, Cologne, Istanbul, Montreal and Paris.

The concert will be conducted by Steven White and Andreas Pylarinos, who is the conductor of the Contemporary Symphony Orchestra of the Greek Radio and Television.  Mr. Pylarinos has also conducted major Greek symphony orchestras as well as orchestras in Austria, England, Germany, Italy and the United States. 

The internationally renowned tenor, Rolando Villazσn, who will be accompanied on piano by Jonathan Kelly and perform as a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, has sung with the world’s leading operas; including the Bayerische Staatsoper, in Munich; the Metropolitan Opera, in New York and the Royal, in London.  He will be joined by three soloists from Greece; Foteini Darras; Tasos Apostolou and Andreas Smyrnakis.

In addition to the concert, an exhibition entitled “In Praise of the Olive”, emphasizing the mythology and history of the olive in the Mediterranean region and in Greek culture, is on display  until 25 October 2006 in the North East Gallery of the General Assembly Visitors’ Lobby. The exhibit explores the subject of the olive tree and its fruit at length, covering its role in daily life, habits, customs, social and economic relations, as well as its contribution as an inspiration in various forms of art and as an international symbol of peace.

Tickets to the concert will be made available to United Nations staff members through the Staff Union.  United Nations accredited correspondents can obtain tickets through the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit in Room S-0250A.  For further information on the concert, please contact Nancy Thio at specialprojects2@un.org.


Lessons learned from the Athens 2004 Olympic Games October 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Athens 2004 Olympics.
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Mayor Daley is compiling a list of lessons learned during his week-long trip to Greece. The mayor spent his second full day in Athens touring the Olympic Stadium, athlete housing and cultural attractions.

This week, the mayor of Los Angeles is in China. The mayor of San Francisco has already visited Beijing and London. They are joining Mayor Daley in racking up frequent flyer miles in an effort to make an impression on the world stage and learn from the successes and failures of other host cities.

Athens’ Olympic Stadium is a monument to civic pride and urban engineering. It’s also one of many reasons the 20004 Athens Olympic Games went $10 billion over budget. The covering is one of the heaviest coverings in the world, and most expensive! 
Greek politicians are said to have to tried to cram 50 years worth of infrastructure improvements in their ancient city into just 10 years, contributing to huge cost overruns. 

In 2004, Athens’ Olympic stadium was home to opening and closing ceremonies along with track and field and soccer matches. The stadium seats 72,000.

The mayor and his team learned Athens overbuilt some venues. The local population isn’t big enough to sustain events at all of the venues created for the Olympics. 

Daley’s delegation drove 30 miles from the center of Athens to the Olympic Village. They saw apartment buildings that were home to 22,000 athletes. They have now been converted to subsidized housing for 10,000. 

“We’ve been over to the Olympic Village. It’s very impressive, but it’s quite different than what we envision. Theirs is in the suburbs and it’s two and three story units,” said Patrick Ryan, Chicago 2016 chairman.

The mayor will meet Wednesday morning with the foreign minister of Greece. She was the mayor of Athens during the games. Mayor Daley will also present a slideshow about Chicago to local business leaders. 

Baklava > recipe October 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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There are thousands of recipes for baklava, and, in spite of its daunting procedure, it is a simple and straightforward recipe that just takes organization and patience.

2 pounds finely chopped pecans
1½ tablespoons cinnamon
1½ teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1½ pounds unsalted butter, clarified
2 pounds phyllo dough, thawed for 2 hours if frozen

For the syrup:
5 cups sugar
3 cups water
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons honey

To make the sugar syrup
In a pan, combine the sugar, water, lemon juice, cinnamon stick and honey. Simmer it, stirring, for 10 minutes or until it is thickened and just reaching the soft ball stage. Strain the syrup and let it cool. The syrup may be made one week in advance and kept covered and chilled.

To make the nut mixture
1. In a large bowl, combine the nuts and the spices.
2. Brush the bottom of a 9×12-inch baking pan with the clarified butter. Lay two sheets of phyllo dough on the bottom of the pan and brush the top sheet with the butter. Continue this layering by two sheets at a time until you have a bottom layer of eight sheets. (Keep the unused phyllo dough covered with a damp kitchen towel while you work so it does not dry out.)
3. Sprinkle 1 cup of the nut mixture over the top layer of phyllo dough and cover the nuts with two more sheets of phyllo. Brush the top sheet with butter and sprinkle 1 cup of the nut mixture on top. Repeat the layering procedure like this until you have five or six layers. End the layering as you began with another eight sheets on the top, each second sheet brushed with butter.
4. Brush the top of the eight-sheet layer with butter. Let it stand for 10 minutes to facilitate slicing.
5. With a sharp knife, cut the baklava completely through into 15 rectangles (five strips on the long side and three on the short side) and cut each rectangle in half diagonally to make triangles.
6. Spritz the baklava with water to keep the edges from curling and bake it in the middle of a preheated 300-degree oven for 1½ hours, or until it is just golden.
7. While the baklava is still hot, pour the sugar syrup over the baklava, coating it well. Serve warm or cold.

Note: The baklava may be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week, covered and chilled.

Luscious layers of baklava October 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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Expect to find many Greek classics such as pastitsio, spanakopita, dolmades, Greek salad, gyros and kourabiedes at this week’s Greek Festival. But be sure to leave room for the baklava. Opa!

Prepare your taste buds for one of Savannah’s most beloved cultural and culinary family events: the annual Greek Festival hosted by St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church. Expect to find many Greek classics such as pastitsio, spanakopita, dolmades, Greek salad, gyros and pastries such as baklava and kourabiedes. There also will be combination lunch and dinner meals, including Greek-style chicken and lamb as a main dish.

One of the main draws of this incredible gastronomic adventure is the sweet, melt-in-your-mouth baklava. Every bit of it is made from scratch. And making enough of this desired dessert to feed the thousands of festivalgoers is labor-intensive and time-consuming. It takes up to 24 volunteers and nearly a week to organize and make the baklava without using any commercial ingredients.

The baklava crew grounds hundreds of pounds of pecans by hand rather than with a food processor. This makes the nut-and-spice mixture that goes on the phyllo pastry layers less heavy.

The volunteers also clarify up to 160 pounds of butter, turn 200 pounds of sugar into gallons of sugar syrup and arrange thousands of sheets of phyllo dough on baking pans. They brush each phyllo layer with butter and the nut mixture, creating one of the most beloved exotic desserts of all time.

In the end, each baking pan will contain almost 3 pounds of nuts and 3 pounds of phyllo dough, for a total of 110 pieces of baklava. St. Paul’s expects to sell more than 20,000 pieces of the baklava, which is individually cut into the classic diamond shape.

What: The Greek Festival hosted by St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church
Where: Hellenic Center, 14 W. Anderson St.
When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
Cost: Free admission until 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Requested $2 donation after 4 p.m. Food prices range from a Greek salad for $6, combo lunches for $7, combo dinners for $9, lamb and potatoes for $11. Pastries range from $1.25 to $2.50 and can be bought by the dozen.
Details: The three-day festival will feature Greek foods and pastries. There will also be a Greek marketplace and entertainment. Live music will include Nick Trivelas, “A Night In Athens,” with George Antonopoulos on the bouzouki. Three dance troupes will perform including Zoe, Ta Pethia, a children’s troupe, and the Zorba Dancers, a teenage group.
Take-out: Food can be ordered ahead for take-out during the festival. A drive-through pick-up service is available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday. To place an order or to have a menu faxed, call the Hellenic Center at 236-8256.
Church tours: The Rev. Vasile Mihail will host lectures on the Greek Orthodox religion, and other church volunteers will host hour-long church tours 5-7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. Saturday.
Parking: Ample parking in adjacent church parking lots. Parking guides will be on hand to direct traffic.
For information: Call 236-8256 or visit www.stpaul.ga.goarch.org/SavannahGreekFestival.html

International food festival in Stuart has Greek flavor October 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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The aroma of Mediterranean cuisine will be in the air on Saturday at the Blake Library’s fourth annual international food festival. Mangia Goes Greek! will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event orchestrated by dedicated volunteer Connie Bass starts with an outdoor market in the library’s courtyard offering fresh vegetables, fruit and bread from local vendors. For that Greek touch, women from St. John’s Chrysostom Greek Orthodox Church in Stuart will sell pastries and Greek combos they have made.

Indoors celebrity chefs Daphne Nikolopoulos, Ross Kyriacethys and Pam Anderson, USA Weekend food columnist, will demonstrate the art of Greek cooking. You can’t help but get in the mood for falafel, kebabs and all those aromatic Greek spices when you hear bouzouki music and take a gander at the belly dancers. After seeing those flat tummies, you might prefer a Greek salad to pastry.

The festival is free and cookbooks from local nonprofit organizations will be on sale. Duck in the Truck will entertain the kids with a puppet show at 1:30 p.m. in the Children’s World. The Blake Library is at 2351 S.E. Monterey Road, Stuart.

Want to have baklava? Go to the Greek bake sale October 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora.
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Plenty of people are gearing up for the holidays already, offering baked goods to tempt your sweet tooth and feasts for your table.

If you’re craving homemade baklava, there is still time (until Monday) to order it from Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church during the annual holiday bake sale sponsored by the Daughters of Penelope and Philoptochos Charity.

Sweet bread is $3.50, a small pan of baklava (20 pieces) is $12 and a large pan (40 pieces) is $21. You can also get tyropitta or spanakopitta (cheese or spinach pies) (12, frozen and ready to bake) for $7.50 and a Penelopian cookbook for $18. 

To place an order, call Bess Printzos at 490-1009 or Teddy Harmon at 745-7246.

Pickup times are 9a.m. to 7p.m. Nov. 17 and 9a.m. to noon November 18. The church is at 110 E. Wallen Road.

Euless’ Greek Festival October 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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In Northeast Tarrant County, there’s almost nothing that’s been around for 15 years. That’s why this weekend is so important. Euless is hosting its 15th annual Greek Food Festival.

Before Southlake had a square, before Grapevine stores sold wine, Northeast Tarrant County gathered in Euless every year for wine, gyros, Greek chicken and fresh-baked baklava.

Officially, the event is hosted by the suburb’s Greek Orthodox church, St. John’s. But this festival draws from across the northern suburbs.

This year’s festival includes not only Greek lunches and dinners on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon, but also cooking demonstrations by chefs from Chicago. An “Olympic Sampler” dinner of chicken, souvlaki, dolmades, spanakopita and tiropita with salad costs only $15. A four-piece sampler of handmade desserts sells for $10. Wines sell for $20 by the bottle or $4 per glass, so a family can share a homemade Greek feast for $50-$60. The festival also has music, dancing and a large children’s play area.

A special “Taverna Night” charity benefit Thursday opens the festival. Part of the $60 ticket price goes to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas.

Admission and parking are free Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Hours are 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. The festival is at 303 Cullum Drive, Euless, three blocks south of Euless Boulevard (Texas 10). Info: 817-283-2291 or www.stjohn.tx.goarch.org/2005_festival.htm.

Fort Worth’s own Greek festival will mark its 39th year next month.

The north-side festival near Rockwood Park begins at 10 a.m. November 10; the $14 dinner menu will include leg of lamb; a $9 lunch menu also will be served November 10-12.

The Fort Worth Greek Festival is at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 2020 N.W. 21st St. at Texas 199. For information: 817-626-5578; www.fortworthgreekfestival.com.