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The Country Cooking of Greece Hardcover – September 19, 2012
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"Diane Kochilas' knowledge of Greek cuisine and culture is encyclopedic and effusive and it shines forth in this great new book. She teaches us about the undiscovered treasures of the Greek table - artisan vinegar, regional spices, healthy greens - and the photography brings the countryside, the food, and its producers to life. It's a culinary tour through the country's immense wealth of country dishes, where the heart and soul of Greece still resides, and I loved that this book is filled with recipes I have never seen before. Country Cooking of Greece will inspire me in the kitchen for years." - Cat Cora, chef, restaurateur, and television star
"Most of what I always knew about Greek food was learned from my Mom and Yiayia. What makes Diane and her books so special is she has given me and many Greek Americans a true understanding of not only the amazing food throughout Greece but the traditions and stories that come with them. This book is like being in the kitchen with a 100 yiayias! Thank you, Diane, for all you have done for this magnificent cuisine."- Michael Symon , James Beard award-winning chef, restaurateur, and author
"Diane has, once again, proven why she is the world's leading cookbook authority on traditional Greek cookery." - Michael Psilakis, chef, founder and director of KEFI, FishTag, and MP Taverna
About the Author
Diane Kochilas is consulting chef at four restaurants, food columnist for Greece's largest newspaper, and co-founder of the Glorious Greek Cooking School on the Greek island of Ikaria. She divides her time between Ikaria and New York City.
Vassilis Stenos is a food and travel photographer, and co-founder of the Glorious Greek Cooking School in Ikaria, Greece. He lives in Ikaria and New York City.
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Greek country food is very vegetable- and bean-based. If you're trying to eat a more plant-based diet this book has tons of fantastic recipes. I love that it makes use of veggies that are less commonly eaten in the US -- lots of fennel and greens. It's given us some nice variety in our meals lately. The bean recipes are great, the salads are very tasty. Because this is country food the recipes are mostly pretty straightforward in technique and are, so far, hard to mess up, although I'm a very proficient cook. It's good for everyday food. (Same goes for French country cooking.)
Plus, the articles and photography are wonderful. The book provides lots of well-written information about Greek ingredients, from cheese to meat to bread to the various herbs, fruits, and vegetables that are used for food. Lots of fascinating info there.
The book does have two minor drawbacks. The first is once in a while some of the ingredients aren't quite made clear or there are no suggested substitutes for things not available in this country (or hard to find). One recipe calls for "sausage, preferably seasoned with fennel" and that's it. There are so many types of sausage it would have been nice to have more clarification (and sweet italian sausage works well in the recipe). While not a problem for experienced cooks, this might cause problems for people just starting out.
Throughout the book Diane highlights the various regions of Greece and the kinds of food that really shine when made there. There really is no amalgamous "Greek food" -- it's Ikarian food, or Cretan food, or Macedonian food. It's great to have a Greek cookbook that highlights and celebrates these regional strengths.
Greek food, when made properly, really thrives on the freshness and quality of the ingredients. Diane's guidance in this cookbook will not lead you astray, and definitely make sure you get the freshest and best quality you can if you want to get the most out of these recipes. As Diane mentions in the book, a lot of these dishes would be made with raw ingredients picked fresh from the trees or the garden in the backyard, so everything would be fresh as can be.
Mention must be made to the gorgeous photographs throughout the book, not just of the food but of beautiful Greek landscapes and of the wonderful people. The recipes are wonderful (of course) but it's also a fun book to curl up with and read through. I've purchased a few copies as gifts and a copy for myself, this is definitely one of the best cookbooks I've purchased in a long while and I highly recommend it.