Glorious Foods of Greece: Traditional Recipes from the Islands, Cities, and Villages

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The Glorious Foods of Greece is the magnum opus of Greek cuisine, the first book that takes the reader on a long and fascinating journey beyond the familiar Greece of blue-and-white postcard images and ubiquitous grilled fish and moussaka into the country's many different regions, where local customs and foodways have remaained intact for eons.

The journey is both personal and inviting. Diane Kochilas spent nearly a decade crisscrossing Greece's Pristine mountains, mainland, and...

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Overview

The Glorious Foods of Greece is the magnum opus of Greek cuisine, the first book that takes the reader on a long and fascinating journey beyond the familiar Greece of blue-and-white postcard images and ubiquitous grilled fish and moussaka into the country's many different regions, where local customs and foodways have remaained intact for eons.

The journey is both personal and inviting. Diane Kochilas spent nearly a decade crisscrossing Greece's Pristine mountains, mainland, and islands, visiting cooks, bakers, farmers, shepherds, fishermen, artisan producers of cheeses, charcuterie, olives, olive oil, and more, in order to document the country's formidable culinary traditions. The result is a paean to the hitherto uncharted glories of local Greek cooking and regional lore that takes you from mountain villages to urban tables to seaside tavernas and island gardens.

In beautiful prose and with more than four hundred unusual recipes — many of them never before recorded —invites us to a Greece few visitors ever get to see. Along the way she serves up feast after feast of food, history, and culture from a land where the three have been intertwined since time immemorial.

In an informed introduction, she sets the historic framework of the cuisine, so that we clearly see the differences among the earthy mountain cookery, the sparse, ingenious island table, and the sophisticated aromaticcooking traditions of the Greeks in diaspora. In each chapter she takes stock of the local pantry and cooking customs. From the olive-laden Peloponnesos, she brings us such unusual dishes as One-Pot Chicken Simmered with Artichokes and served with Tomato-Egg-Lemon Sauce andVine Leaves Stuffed with Salt Cod. From the Venetian-influenced Ionian islands, she offers up such delights asPastry-Cloaked Pasta from Corfu filled with cheese and charcuterie and delicious Bread Pudding from Ithaca with zabaglione. Her mainland recipes, as well as those that hail from Greece's impenetrable northwestern mountains, offer an enticing array of dozens of delicious savory pies, unusual greens dishes, and succulent meat preparations such as Lamb with Garlic and Cheese Baked in Paper. In Macedonia she documents the complex, perfumed, urbane cuisine that defines that region. In the Aegean islands, she serves up a wonderful repertory of exotic yet simple foods, reminding us how accessible — and healthful — is the Greek fegional table.

The result is a cookbook unlike any other that has ever been written on Greek cuisine, one that brims with the author's love and knowledge of her subject, a tribute to the vibrant, multifaceted continuum of Greek cooking, both highly informed and ever inviting. The Glorious Foods of Greece is an important work, one that contributes generously to the culinary literature and is sure to become the definitive book of Greek cuisine and culture for future generations of food lovers — Greek and non-Greek alike.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
I haven't been to Greece for 15 years, but I remember the food pretty clearly: From the Peloponnese to the islands, we were offered the same tired dishes over and over again: moussaka, shish-kebabs, tyropita, and yogurt.

After reading Diane Kochilas's The Glorious Foods of Greece I now understand: the good cooking (and there's lots of it) goes on behind closed doors, reserved for the residents. Her thoroughly researched, very readable, and beautifully produced book will be the touchstone for any Greek cookbooks that dare to follow. She does for Greece what Waverly Root did for France in The Food of France and what Paula Wolfert does for almost any country whose cuisine she researches.

Kochilas, a native New Yorker whose father was Greek, married a Greek artist and moved "back" in the early 1990s. In addition to reviewing food and restaurants for a large Greek daily paper, she has spent the last decade researching the country and its regional culinary traditions.

The roots of Greek cooking become clear as Kochilas distinguishes the three main cooking traditions of the country: the shepherd's cuisine (portable, dairy-dependent creations such as savory pies), the fare of the arid islands (simple dishes born of scarcity, based on grains, grapes, and olives), and the Byzantine-based cooking of Thrace and Macedonia (influenced by Persian, Turkish, and French cuisines).

The book is divided according to region, from the Peloponnese to Athens, with more than 400 traditional recipes -- from appetizers to spoon sweets -- from the islands, cities, and villages. Many of these regional recipes have never been recorded; many have not changed for centuries. What looks good? Just about everything, but cooks will want to note the dozens of recipes for savory pies, unusual greens, and the overall abundance of vegetarian dishes, a happy offshoot of the many no-meat days in the Greek Orthodox calendar. (Ginger Curwen)

Joyce Goldstein
The Glorious Foods of Greece is plainly a labor of love and intelligence. You will be amazed by the incredible regional diversity of Greek cuisine. Diane's passion for Greek cuisine and her attention to detail make the recipes come alive with their vibrant sense of place.
Joyce Goldstein
The Glorious Foods of Greece is plainly a labor of love and intelligence. You will be amazed by the incredible regional diversity of Greek cuisine. Diane's passion for Greek cuisine and her attention to detail make the recipes come alive with their vibrant sense of place.
Mort Rosenblum
Diane Kochilas sheds warm, wonderous light on the Mediterranean's best-kept culinary secret: the range and flavor of real Greek food. From the hubbub of Athens' market to old stone kitchens on forgotten islands, she lets us savor what we have been missing.
Nancy Harmon Jenkins
This is a splendid achievement—beautifully written, dense with information, and offered with a rare warmth and generosity of spirit.
Nancy Harmon Jenkins
This is a splendid achievement—beautifully written, dense with information, and offered with a rare warmth and generosity of spirit.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With this massive and masterful collection, Kochilas (an American with Greek roots who works in Athens as a food reporter for a Greek newspaper) brings Greek cooking front and center in American kitchens. Region by region (the Ionian Islands, the Cyclades, etc.), she provides over 400 appealing Mediterranean recipes. Fine seafood dishes such as the Fried Mussels of northern Greece and Spiny Lobster Cooked with Spring Onions and Herbs from Lesvos abound, as do interesting meat preparations, including the many lamb and goat dishes of Roumeli and Quinces Stuffed with Ground Lamb from the north, as well as poultry standouts like One-Pot Chicken with Broth-Simmered Noodles and Ground Walnuts (upholding the tradition of cooking noodles in broth because water was scarce). Many dishes use common ingredients in surprising ways, like an earthy Pasta with Yogurt and Caramelized Onions from Kassos and Chard-Stuffed Turkey from Nazos. Kochilas doesn't skimp on savory pies (Fresh Cheese Pie with Fennel from Kalavyrta, Pumpkin and Carrot Pie from Cephalonia), bread (Raisin-Stuffed Lazarus Bread from Lesvos), or desserts (Pancakes with Yogurt and Currants), and she presents numerous appetizing vegetable dishes. The text sections are of uniformly high quality, with indispensable pages on regional cheeses. Kochilas writes lovingly and insightfully about her adopted country, profiling the many Greeks (mostly women) who generously shared recipes with her, and displays a deep grasp of history. (Apr.) Forecast: Kochilas's eight years of research show in the book's thoroughness. A landmark for Greek cooking in the U.S., it's a likely candidate for cookbook awards and can be confidently billed as the definitive source. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Kochilas is the author of The Food and Wine of Greece and an acknowledged authority on Greek food. After traveling extensively throughout the country, she moved there in 1990, partly to begin research on this ambitious work, which is obviously a labor of love. She includes more than 400 recipes from all regions, starting with the Peloponnesus and the Ionian Islands, moving on to Macedonia, the islands of the Aegean, and Crete, and finishing up in the city of Athens. Many of the recipes will be unfamiliar to Americans indeed, some are unknown in Greece outside of their particular provenance. Kochilas also provides extensive historical background, cultural as well as culinary, along with detailed descriptions and explanations of ingredients, from "the last barrel fetas" to Macedonian peppers. While her book does not have quite the charm of Aglaia Kremezi's lovely, more narrowly focused The Foods of the Greek Islands (LJ 10/1/00), its scope and range of recipes make it an essential purchase. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688154578
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Series: Cookbook Library Series
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 512

Meet the Author

The author of five cookbooks, including Meze and the IACP Award-winning The Glorious Foods of Greece, Diane Kochilas writes for Saveur, Gourmet, and the New York Times; runs the Glorious Greek Kitchen Cooking School on the Greek island of Ikaria; is the consulting chef at Pylos, an acclaimed Greek restaurant in New York City; and is the food columnist and restaurant critic for Ta Nea, the largest-circulation daily newspaper in Greece. She divides her time between New York City, Athens, and Ikaria.

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Read an Excerpt

Roasted Eggplant Salad with Capers and Onions

Melitzanosalata Me Kapari Kai Kremmydia

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Roasted eggplant spreads and salads come in many variations throughout Greece and are usually embellished with local flavor. In the North, yogurt is often added to the eggplants, for example, throughout the Cyclades, it is the ubiquitous caper and tomato that season this delicious dish.

Ingredients:
3 large eggplants, roasted (see page 461)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1/4 cup small, preferably Greek capers, rinsed and drained
1 large firm, ripe tomato, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions:
  1. Wash and pat dry the eggplants. Roast them whole over an open flame on top of the stove or under the broiler, turning, until the skins are charred on all sides. (This may also be done on a grill.) Remove and let cool slightly.
  2. Have a large bowl with the olive oil ready. Cut the eggplants open lengthwise and remove as many of the seeds as possible. Scoop out the roasted eggplant pulp and place it in a bowl with the olive oil. Salt lightly. With a fork and knife, cut the eggplant so that it is chunky. Add the onion, garlic, capers, tomato, and parsley and mix with a fork to combine well. Add the vinegar and adjust the seasoning with additional salt, pepper, and vinegar if desired.

Semolina and Ground Almond Cake

Samali

Makes 24 pieces

One of the great sweets of Thessaloniki, made in pastry shops, at home, and hawked from small carts on the streets all around the Kapani market.

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups coarse semolina
2 scant teaspoons baking powder
1 cup finely ground blanched almonds
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
For the syrup
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
1 small cinnamon stick
4 to 5 whole cloves, to taste
One 1-inch strip lemon zest
2 tablespoons brandy
  1. With an electric mixer in a large bowl, whip the cup of butter until soft. Add the confectioners' sugar a little at a time and whip until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and continue whipping for about 5 minutes.
  2. Combine the semolina, baking powder, almonds, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Slowly add the semolina mixture to the butter and sugar, beating to combine thoroughly.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 12- by 18-inch glass baking pan. In a medium metal bowl, place the egg whites, salt, and lemon juice and whip with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold the meringue into the semolina mixture, working fast to combine, Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until set, 35 to 40 minutes.
  4. About 15 minutes before the samali is finished baking, prepare the syrup: Combine the granulated sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. As soon as the sugar dissolves, add the spices, zest, and brandy. Reduce the hear to medium-low and simmer until the syrup is viscous, about 10 minutes.
  5. When the samali is baked, Pull it out of the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300°F. Score it into 3-inch square pieces with a sharp paring knife. Pour the warm syrup over the hot samali and place back in the oven. Bake until the syrup is absorbed, another 5 to 7 minutes, and remove from the oven. Let cool and serve.
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Recipe

One-Pot Chicken with Broth-Simmered Noodles and Ground Walnuts -- Kotopoulo Me Hilopites Kai Karydia
Makes 4 to 6 servings

I don't know if the practice of cooking pasta in broth or pot juices is something that evolved as a way to economize on water, which has generally been scarce in arid Greece, or if it is because the soft, glutinous texture that results -- somewhere between a soup and a stew -- has always been agreeable to the Greek palate. Versions of this dish are savored all over the north of Greece, as well as in other parts of country, proof enough that there is something to be said for its hearty, soul-warming consistency. This is Greek comfort food.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large 4- to 4-1/2-pound-chicken, preferably free-range, cut into serving pieces
6 large onions, coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped, or 1-1/2 cups chopped canned tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1-1/4 cups small egg pasta, preferably squares or tubetini
1/2 cup finely ground walnuts

1. In a large, wide pot, heat the olive oil and butter together over high heat and brown the chicken on all sides until golden, in batches if necessary. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions to the pot, and cook, stirring, until wilted and translucent, about 7 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and pour in the tomatoes. Add enough water to barely cover the chicken. Cover and simmer until the chicken is very tender, about 1 hour. Add the mint about 10 minutes before the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside, covered, in a warm oven.

2. Add a cup or more of water to the pot -- you'll have to use your own judgment; there should be enough for the pasta to be able to boil, but once done the mixture should be thick and souplike. Add the pasta and simmer until ready. Serve the pasta in a deep platter with the chicken on top, sprinkled with the walnuts.

Semolina and Ground Almond Cake -- Samali
Makes 24 pieces

One of the great sweets of Thessaloniki, made in pastry shops, at home, and hawked from small carts on the streets all around the Kapani market.

1 cup (2 sticks) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups coarse semolina
2 scant teaspoons baking powder
1 cup finely ground blanched almonds
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

For the syrup:
2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
1 small cinnamon stick
4 to 5 whole cloves, to taste
One 1-inch strip lemon zest
2 tablespoons brandy

1. With an electric mixer in a large bowl, whip the cup of butter until soft. Add the confectioners' sugar a little at a time and whip until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and continue whipping for about 5 minutes.

2. Combine the semolina, baking powder, almonds, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Slowly add the semolina mixture to the butter and sugar, beating to combine thoroughly.

3. Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter a 12- by 18-inch glass baking pan. In a medium metal bowl, place the egg whites, salt, and lemon juice and whip with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold the meringue into the semolina mixture, working fast to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until set, 35 to 40 minutes.

4. About 15 minutes before the samali is finished baking, prepare the syrup: Combine the granulated sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. As soon as the sugar dissolves, add the spices, zest, and brandy. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the syrup is viscous, about 10 minutes.

5. When the samali is baked, pull it out of the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300°F. Score it into 3-inch square pieces with a sharp paring knife. Pour the warm syrup over the hot samali and place back in the oven. Bake until the syrup is absorbed, another 5 to 7 minutes, and remove from the oven. Let cool and serve.

Roasted Eggplant Salad with Capers and Onions -- Melitzanosalata Me Kapari Kai Kremmydia
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Roasted eggplant spreads and salads come in many variations throughout Greece and are usually embellished with local flavor. In the North, yogurt is often added to the eggplants, for example, throughout the Cyclades, it is the ubiquitous caper and tomato that season this delicious dish.

3 large eggplants, roasted (see page 461)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1/4 cup small, preferably Greek capers, rinsed and drained
1 large firm, ripe tomato, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Wash and pat dry the eggplants. Roast them whole over an open flame on top of the stove or under the broiler, turning, until the skins are charred on all sides. (This may also be done on a grill.) Remove and let cool slightly.

2. Have a large bowl with the olive oil ready. Cut the eggplants open lengthwise and remove as many of the seeds as possible. Scoop out the roasted eggplant pulp and place it in a bowl with the olive oil. Salt lightly. With a fork and knife, cut the eggplant so that it is chunky. Add the onion, garlic, capers, tomato, and parsley and mix with a fork to combine well. Add the vinegar and adjust the seasoning with additional salt, pepper, and vinegar if desired.

Copyright © 2001 by Diane Kochilas

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2004

    GREAT SOURCE OF INFORMATION

    This books truly captures the heart and soul of Greek cuisine. Wonderfully categorized by region, where most foods in Europe vary by region, you're given rich history as well as great recipes that are as authentic as the goat herder! Opa!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2001

    Collectable rather than useful

    This cookbook's greatest appeal will be to those who collect cookbooks rather than those who use them. The author has arranged the recipes by geographic area of Greece. A very interesting approach culturally, but not much help when trying to find a recipe.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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