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Pathans partly descended from Greeks, claims research February 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Asia.
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Researchers in Pakistan have provided evidence in support of the Greek origins for a small proportion of Pathans.

The study was conducted by researchers from Biomedical and Genetic Engineering Division of the Dr A Q Khan Research Laboratories (Pakistan), Unit of Prenatal Diagnosis (Greece), Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (UK) and the Department of Genetics at Stanford University (US).

The research has been published in the latest edition of European Journal of Human Genetics as “Y-chromosomal evidence for a limited Greek contribution to the Pathan population of Pakistan.”

It investigated the origin and the genetic relationship of these three Pakistani populations with the extant Greek population. The research was done by typing a large set of markers from the male-specific region of the Y-chromosome in 77 Greeks and 875 Pakistani individuals.

The DNA samples of 952 unrelated males were analysed, extracted directly from peripheral blood mononuclear cells in the case of the Greek samples and from the EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines for the Pakistani samples.

The Pakistani samples included Burusho, Kailash and Pathan individuals whose informed consent was obtained. Values were estimated based on STR variation within haplogroups.

Population pair-wise genetic distances were calculated and median-joining networks were constructed using a five-fold range weighting scheme whereby weights assigned were specific for the haplogroup and took into account the Y-STR variation across the haplogroup in the Pakistani and Greek populations.

The network was also used to estimate the time to the most recent common ancestor (TMRCA) and a genetic distance matrix was used to construct phylogenetic tree by neighbour-joining method.

The combination of biallelic markers identified 12 Y-chromosomal haplogroups or lineages in the Greeks, 17 in the Burusho and 15 in the Pathan populations, while only eight Y lineages were found in the Kalash population.


Greek Easter cookies (Koulourakia) February 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Ingredients >
200g butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbs each of orange and lemon rind
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup milk
2 1/4 cups plain flour
3/4 cup self-raising flour
1 egg yolk
icing sugar to serve

Method >
Preheat oven 180°C. Beat 200g butter and 1 cup caster sugar until creamy. Add 1 tsp vanilla essence and 1 tbs each of orange and lemon rind. Beat in 3 egg yolks.
Beat in 1/4 cup milk, 2 1/4 cups plain flour and 3/4 cup self-raising flour. Bring together on a lightly floured surface. Roll 1 tablespoon of the mixture into a 20cm log. Fold in half, pinch ends together and twist 2 times. Repeat.
Place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Whisk 1 egg yolk with 1 tbs water. Brush over the biscuits. Bake 20-22 minutes or until golden. Cool completely. Dust with icing sugar to serve. Makes 28.

Annual Greek festival celebrates food, culture, friends February 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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Ten minutes before the start of the 23rd annual Greek Glendi on Thursday, Kosta Koutelias arranged replicas of ancient Greek art on a table covered with a white cloth.

Visitors already were entering the roped-off areas set aside for the Greek festival held on the grounds of Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, and Koutelias wanted to make sure he was ready for them. Some headed straight for the food, while others chose to check out the Greek marketplace, or agora, first. Koutelias set vases, bronze figurines, wall hangings and other pieces on the table, which was under a huge white tent in front of the church on North Lockwood Ridge Road.

His is one of about 20 booths featured at the four-day festival, which celebrates everything Greek: music, folk dancing and food. There’s even a special children’s area with games and activities for kids. Not far away from Koutelias’ booth, visitors sorted through items in Yiayia’s Attic, which resembled a flea market with finds that included books, dishes and children’s toys.

Carol and Bill Pierskalla admired silver jewelry in the agora, but what they really were looking forward to was the food. The couple have visited Greek Glendi every year for three years, and when asked about their favorite Greek food, the two looked at each other and said in unison, “The lamb.” With the smells filling the air, it was no wonder the Pierskallas had Greek food on their minds. The aromas of lamb shanks, shish kebabs and other dishes mixed in the air and wafted into the church, which was open for viewing and tours.

Inside, church sexton John Olenick answered visitors’ questions about the church, which has a ceiling dome with windows that seem to stretch to heaven. Olenick tries to answer questions, he emphasized with a smile, but there was one thing he knew for sure: “All I know is, the lamb shank is delicious.”

Back on the church grounds, the Peter Lambropoulos Band played for the crowd as a dozen or so festival-goers enjoyed an early lunch. Besides the traditional Greek dishes, Greek pastries, cookies and candies were available in the agora.

The bakaliko booth, or Greek grocery store, offered quite a spread, all of which was imported from Greece. There was coffee, tea, fruit juice, olive oil, tahini, pepperoncini, artichoke hearts, grape leaves, feta cheese and more. There was even the red dye that traditional Greek families use to dye Easter eggs.

This is Denise Chimbos’ first year working in the bakaliko, but she chaired the entire festival for three years. “It’s nice sharing our culture with everyone,” she said. “The nice part is we can share it with the community and help the church at the same time.”

Greek Glendi is a fundraiser for the church, and proceeds go toward expansions or renovations. Koutelias, the vendor of Greek art replicas, also likes meeting fellow Greeks and sharing his heritage with interested members of the community. With a heavy Greek accent, he said people will stop at his table and listen to him talk about the history behind his pieces, some of which date back to 1500 B.C. “It’s a very nice place ’cause you meet lots of Greek people,” Koutelias said. “But everyone’s nice, really.”

Great Greek eating year-round February 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals, Greek Taste World.
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Get a taste of Greece at the Greek Festival this weekend at Tempe Town Lake. Or get your fill of traditional dishes year-round at one of these southeast Valley Greek restaurants. 

Big Fat Greek Restaurant: Traditional Greek dishes are done well in this spot. The Fat Greek Combo with pita is a platter of epic proportions. Moussaka is made with layers of eggplant, zucchini, ground beef, lamb and bechamel. Completely authentic? Debatable. Enjoyable? Indeed.
Details: 525 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, (480) 966-5883; 3305 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler, (480) 726-3036; 900 S. 54th St., Chandler, (480) 705-4008; 6447 E. Southern Ave., Mesa, (480) 981-0010. www.mybigfatgreekrestaurant.net.

Neapolis Pizza & Pasta: The family-owned restaurant specializes in authentic Italian and Greek dishes. The menu features moussaka, lamb shank, seafood fettuccine and the signature pizza topped with spinach, feta cheese, pepperoni, sun-dried tomatoes and sunflower seeds.
Details: 1950 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler, (480) 821-0198.

Zorba’s: All the classics are here, including dolmades, spanakopita and feta cheese served with pita bread and olives. Salads, souvlakia, steaks, seafood, burgers, pasta and house specialties also are on the menu.
Details: 1964 N. Alma School Road, Chandler, (480) 821-2737

Niro’s Gyros: Freshly shaved and perfectly seasoned rotisserie gyro meat is piled on a pita and topped with a creamy yogurt and cucumber dressing, tomatoes and onions. Sides include plump fries, onion rings or a Greek salad, with a light, homemade oil-and-vinegar dressing.
Details: 10826 S. 48th St., Ahwatukee. (480) 753-6476.

Romeo’s Euro Cafe: This place is not a pure Greek restaurant, but the menu features Greek-influenced “eclectic food and large portions” and a special feta dressing/dip that’s delicious on everything from gyros to fries. It was a long-time favorite in Mesa before moving to Gilbert.
Details: 207 N. Gilbert Road, Gilbert. (480) 962-4224, www.eurocafe.com.

Greek Festival in Port Charlotte February 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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Advance about Greek Fest ’07, hosted by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Port Charlotte. The 14th annual event displays Greek culture, and will begin on Friday, February 16 and finish on Sunday.

Greek Fest is back for the 14th year at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Port Charlotte. Greek Fest ’07 will be held February 16-18 at the church, 24411 Rampart Blvd., Port Charlotte.

“What we do is present a wide assortment of Greek foods and pastries, dancers and vendors, and a lot of stuff,” said George Sklom, secretary and handyman with the Church. “We try to bring our Greek culture in front of people. Plus, there’s the opportunity to get some really, really good food.” Sklom said the Greek Fest utilizes local restaurant cooks and chefs.

The fest features church tours, food and pastry, a carnival and rides, a raffle, Greek wine and beer, and a live Greek band.

The Pride of Greece Youth Dancers Exhibition will be held at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, and at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday.

“You can come out and see what all is available,” he said. “It allows you to experience the Greek culture.”

The Greek fest will be at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 24411 Rampart Blvd., Port Charlotte, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. A $2 donation is requested. For more information, call 941-629-3888.

Greek pastries with orange-scented syrup February 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Ingredients >
10 sheets filo pastry
125g unsalted butter, melted
Icing sugar, to serve

For the Filling >
120g (3/4 cup) whole almonds
110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the Syrup >
1 orange
220g (1 cup) sugar
500mls (2 cups) water
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
400g (1 cup) honey
2 tsp rosewater (optional)

Method >
Preheat oven to 160°C. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper. To make the filling, place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and process until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the caster sugar and ground cinnamon.
Lay the filo pastry sheets on a work bench and cover with a clean dry tea towel and then a damp tea towel to prevent them from drying out. Brush 1 sheet of filo liberally with melted butter. Place another sheet on top and brush again liberally with melted butter. Repeat with 2 more sheets of filo brushing butter between each. Sprinkle half the almond mixture evenly over the pastry to cover. Continue layering the filo with another 4 sheets of the remaining pastry, brushing liberally with the butter between each sheet. Spread the remaining almond mixture over the pastry. Cover with the 2 remaining pastry sheets, brushing with the butter between the sheets.
Cut the rectangle of layered pastry vertically into 4 even portions to make 4 smaller rectangles. Roll each portion tightly from a long side into a thin log and then brush the surface with any remaining melted butter. Place on the lined baking tray and bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
Meanwhile to make the syrup, peel the rind from the orange using a vegetable peeler. Remove any white pitch from the rind with a small sharp knife then cut the rink into thin strips (alternatively, use a zester). Combine the orange rind, sugar, water, cinnamon stick and cloves in a heavy-based saucepan. Bring to the boil and boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes, or until reduced by about 1/3. Strain the syrup, reserve the orange rind and discard the cloves and cinnamon stick. Add honey and rosewater and mix well. Transfer syrup to jug. Stand for 30 minutes.
Remove the cooked pastries from the oven and stand for 15 minutes. Pour syrup over the pastries. Stand, uncovered overnight at room temperature to allow the pastries to soak up the syrup. (Do not cover or refrigerate.)
To serve, cut each pastry log diagonally into 5 equal lengths. Decorate with the reserved orange rind strips and sprinkle with icing sugar. Serve with coffee. Makes 20 (serves 8).

MU presents Greek mythology operas February 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Americas.
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The Marshall University Opera Theatre presents a double dose of the classics with “Fair Galatea” and “Dido and Aeneas,” on Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3, beginning at 8 p.m. in Smith Recital Hall.

Tickets are $10 for general admission, $7 for seniors and Marshall faculty and staff, those who are 17 and under or are Marshall students are admitted free with their identification.

More information is available by contacting the Department of Music at (304) 696-3117.