Diane Kochilas, celebrity chef, TV cooking-show host, cookbook author and cooking-school owner, has been at the forefront of bringing healthy, delicious Greek cuisine to a wide international audience for many years.
The World's Most Famous Olive
Diane visits a small village in Laconia, the Peloponnese, where the famous Kalamata olive is cultivated, to follow the famous olive from harvest to table. After a chilly day of collecting, scoring, and processing the ripened fruits, Diane heads to the kitchen to whip up an olive feast. First up, a dish fit for a Greek hero, Spartan chicken, with those celebrated olives, tomatoes and feta cheese. Next, Diane shows the simple pleasures of cooking olives with oranges in an easy, elegant appetizer. The olive story doesn't end there, of course. There's a delectably spicy cuttlefish and olive dish she cooks up with an olive farmer, and a scrambled eggs-and-olives recipe to turn any light lunch or brunch into a Greek feast. Find out how olives can transform any meal into a masterpiece. Spartan chicken; Sauteed olives & oranges; Spicy cuttlefish with olives and wild greens; Kayianas, scrambled eggs with tomatoes and olives.
Flavors of Longevity - Ikaria
Diane travels to her family's native island of Ikaria, where locals are 10 times more likely to live to 100 than Americans. Diane's young 85-year-old neighbors share homemade wine and a lesson in making wild herb teas. A beekeeper reveals the honey that is one of the secrets to Ikarians' renowned longevity. Diane's friend Eleni joins her to cook a hearty one-pot summer vegetable stew and savor a rich, plant-based feast. Discover the spirit of Ikaria, which leaves no place for anxiety or life by the clock, but plenty of time for an impromptu dance and a feast for the senses that's healthy as can be. Enjoy the deliciously simple and wonderfully healthy cuisine of Ikaria. Longevity greens pies; Chickpeas baked with vegetables, herbs and honey; Soufico, a sumptuous eggplant casserole.
Ancient Grains for Modern Cooks
Diane explores the ancient grains that Greek cooks still love to use. A hearty, soul-satisfying breakfast grain called hondros, or cracked wheat, gives a great start to the day. Fresh vegetables, green apples and mint add a pop of freshness to an easy bread salad made with a classic Cretan barley rusk called dako or paximadi. Pasta tossed with Greek yogurt and half a dozen fresh herbs provides instant comfort with a taste that's quintessentially Greek. Finally, trahana, an unusual grain product made with milk and dried in the sun, turns a simple braised eggplant dish into something exotic and irresistible. Learn how to incorporate timeless ancient grains into every meal of the day. Paximadia, bread rusks; Dako, Cretan bread salad with tomatoes, green apples & herbs; Pasta tossed with Greek yogurt and herbs; Bulgur pilaf with roasted sea bass; Eggplant braised with trahana.
Olive Oil Everything
Emerald green Greek extra virgin olive oil is the star of this show, as it flows from tree to kitchen with a stop in between at the massage table. Diane goes on a journey to the stunningly preserved town of Monemvasia in the Peloponnese. Greece's liquid gold transforms a simple vegetable medley into a luscious dish and slips between the folds of billowy rice and greens in a succulent pilaf spiked with a squeeze of lemon juice. Olive oil gives dessert a distinct character too. It's a primary ingredient in Halva, an earthy pudding-like creation spiked with dried fruits, orange zest and nuts. Explore the diversity and beauty of one of Greece's most delectable exports. Saitia, greens pancake; Briam, roasted vegetable casserole; Hortorizo, comforting greens and rice; Halva, orange-spiced semolina pudding cake with dried fruits and nuts.
Diane explores the meze tradition of small plates of vibrant food meant to be shared. In Volos, she meets up with a Meze meister who creates traditional meze dishes and heads off for a sip and a bite to a cutting-edge restaurant where they push the limits of meze. She uncovers the vast variety and robust flavors of the meze table and invites a wine expert into the kitchen for advice on what to pair when the meal includes spice, yogurt, cheese, crunch, comfort, seafood, meat and more, all in one sitting. The pungent Greek yogurt dip, tzatziki, is the perfect match for Diane's juicy keftedes, or Greek meatballs. A fiery shrimp dish gets a cooling dash of feta. All make up the mosaic of the meze table, with a few regional cooks' delights tossed in for fun. Discover the fun and festive meze tradition. Tzatziki, Greek yogurt dip; Keftedes, Greek meatballs; Shrimp saganaki with ouzo and feta cheese.
A Bite of Greek Red Wine
Go on a picnic at a vineyard in Naoussa where one grape dominates the table: the local Xinomavro (pronounced xee NOE ma vroe), one of Greece's noblest reds. This delicious, tannic wine pairs perfectly with a cheese and spice stuffed leg of lamb and is the key ingredient in succulent red wine and sage potatoes. Red wine with fish is on the menu, too. Diane makes an easy sea bass and mushroom dish with a splash of Greece's revered northern red. On the wine trail, she also discovers bread, cookies and chocolate truffles all spiked with this hard-to-pronounce but easy-to-love Greek varietal. Learn how to incorporate incomparable Greek wine into any menu, both as a drink and an ingredient. Cheese and spice stuffed leg of lamb braised in red wine; Pan-seared potatoes with red wine and herbs; Sea bass with mushrooms and Xinomavro red wine.
The Lesvos Spirit
Diane travels to Lesvos, one of Greece's most fascinating and easternmost Aegean islands, where the characteristic generosity of spirit almost won a few locals the Nobel Peace Prize. The crossroads of history play out on the table in Lesvos, where the waters overflow with renowned sardines and shellfish and islanders count dozens of eggplant dishes as traditional fare. Ouzo, the drink of Greek hospitality, fills glasses everywhere in this de facto center of production for the anise-flavored elixir. Diane gets an insider's taste with a good friend and local son. Then she heads to the kitchen to whip up a taste of the sea: a plate of silvery sardines roasted with a spritz of ouzo and a delectable recipe of braised octopus and black olives. Vegetable lovers will enjoy two unique eggplant dishes, one a stuffed version called little shoes and the other an irresistible eggplant patty. Discover the vibrant food and hospitality of the Aegean through its renowned food and drink. Ouzo roasted sardines; Little shoes, cheesy stuffed eggplant; Octopus with black olives; Eggplant patties.
Greek Mountain Cheeses
Grass-fed takes on a whole other dimension here in Epirus, Greece's untrammeled northwestern mainland, where sheep and goats graze in the lush green mountains. Here, Diane follows the country's best-known cheese, feta, from its artisanal roots to modern state-of-the-art production. She explores a range of other sheep and goat milk cheeses that are new to most Americans. Diane visits a shepherd in the villages called Zagorohoria and makes farmhouse cheeses with a local friend Vassilis Paparounas. Back in the kitchen, Diane whips up a fiery feta and hot pepper spread, bakes pork with vegetables and cheese in paper, and grills an easy cheese dessert paired with Greek figs. Experience the wonderful world of Greek cheeses and learn how to use them to create an irresistibly cheesy menu. Ktipiti, feta fire dip; Pork exohico with kefalotyri cubes; Grilled manouri cheese with figs.
Santorini: Flavors of a Volcano
Diane celebrates the intensely flavored food and unique wines of one of Greece's most breathtaking islands, Santorini. Diane hops in a boat to pick capers on this volcanic island. Back in the kitchen she cooks sea bass with briny capers and a dash of minerally Santorini wine and serves the delectable fish dish with fava, a velvety yellow split pea puree classic in Santorini. She visits a renowned vineyard which still practices the island tradition of growing grapes in basket-shaped vines. A local farmer shows Diane how to make the juiciest tomato fritters from tomatoes that have never been watered. Then, Diane smokes eggplants on a stovetop flame to create a luscious spread with capers and tomatoes. There's time, too, of course, to savor one of the world's most celebrated sunsets in full view of the island's majestic volcano. Enjoy the tastes of Santorini with ingredients from field to sea. Fava, puree of yellow split peas; Sea bass with capers; Roasted eggplant spread with capers; Tomato keftedes.
Life of Pie
Is there a Greek dish more iconic than Spanakopita, spinach pie? Diane follows the fillo flake trail from a New York City diner to the remote Greek countryside to explore the origins of fillo pies. She proves that making homemade fillo is a lot easier than it seems and demonstrates how to transform the flaky pastry into a classic spinach pie. We see how a traditional cheese pie is made and visit one of the oldest artisan fillo makers in Greece. Store-bought fillo is the perfect shortcut for Diane's deliciously easy chicken pie. The life of pies ends on a sweet note with a heap of torn up fillo tossed with orange custard combines to make one of Diane's most intoxicating desserts: messy orange pie. Find out how to use fillo as a base for an array of dishes, both savory and sweet. Classic spanakopita, spinach pie; Homemade fillo; Flaky chicken fillo pie; Messy orange pie; Northern Greek feta cheese and egg pie.
Crete: Mother of the Mediterranean
Diane visits the source of the well-known Mediterranean diet: Crete. A hearty, soul-satisfying breakfast grain called hondros, or cracked wheat, gives a great start to the day. For a glimpse of village life, she follows a local family's daily routine of working the land and cooking up a storm and meets an unusual farmer who lives the way people did on Crete a hundred years ago. From picking wild artichokes and asparagus to preparing a simple omelet with wild greens, life's a celebration of fresh, robust food. This feast is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, featuring vibrant vegetarian stuffed tomatoes and peppers; oregano-infused lamb chops; and giant beans in Diane's special pesto, a twist on a Greek classic. Learn how to roll up a grape leaf as easy as one-two-three. Ancient porridge with dried fruits and Greek honey; Stuffed tomatoes, peppers and grape leaves; Succulent grilled lamb chops; Giant beans with grape leaf pesto; Wild greens omelet.
The Centaur's Kitchen: Preserving Nature's Bounty
Diane goes off the beaten path to lush Mount Pelion in Central Greece in search of ways to preserve nature's incredible bounty. Preserves of every kind are the starting point for so many dishes here, from whole apples and almonds put up in sugar syrup to wild pistachio shoots pickled in vinegar. With a bunch of pickled sweet red peppers in hand, Diane makes a hearty local sausage-pepper dish. A foraging escapade inspires a fabulous dish of eggs cooked inside a bed of greens. And, finally, the rainbow of fruit preserves called spoon sweets leads to a delicious cherry-preserve and Greek-yogurt mousse that's one of those desserts easy to describe as deceptively light. Discover the Greek tradition of sweet and savory preserves that pays homage to Greece's incredible produce. Whole apple preserves; Pan-fried fiddlehead ferns; Spetsofai, sausage and peppers; Eggs in a hole, cooked in greens; Sour cherry Greek yogurt mousse.
In Diane's adopted city of Athens, the food scene has everything to offer, from mouthwatering souvlaki to Michelin-starred haute Greek. In this insider's taste of the Greek capital, the amazing flavors of a bustling modern "ancient" city bubble over in every pot. A stop at one of Diane's favorite souvlaki joints is countered by a visit to one of the city's most cutting-edge restaurants for Greek salad "sorbet" and a stuffed grape leaf that looks like an architect's fantasy. Back in the kitchen, Diane's recipes are decidedly more down to earth, including a traditional Greek salad; homemade street food in the form of a crunchy, irresistible batter-fried cod pita wrap draped in Greek yogurt tartar; and the ultimate Greek classic, avgolemono chicken soup. Experience Athens like never before, through its timeless and groundbreaking cuisine. Greek salad; Crispy cod pita wrap with yogurt tartar sauce; Classic avgolemono chicken soup.
In this episode, Diane introduces viewers to the rich and varied cuisine of the two main island groups in the Aegean: the Cyclades and the Dodecanese. A visual introduction highlights the region's most stunning vistas and seminal foods. In the kitchen, Diane cooks from her basket of Greek island goodies, sharing recipes from Syros, Amorgos, Rhodes and Santorini, while she weaves the aromatic story of one of Greece's most delicious food destinations. Syros Chopped Parsley Salad; Yellow Split Pea and Herb Keftedes over "Married" Capers; Fish Wrapped in Grape Leaves.
You Say Tomato, I Say Domata
Can anyone imagine Greek cuisine without the tomato? When this relative newcomer arrived in Greece it was at first disparaged and feared. It took a curious Capuchin monk living on one of the oldest streets in the world, in the Plaka section of Athens, to first plant this new-world vegetable in the 18th century. From there, the tomato spread to Santorini, where it has been a staple crop ever since. And the rest is history. Diane follows the path of this most basic food, all the while cooking up some of Greece's most delectable tomato-based dishes. Tomatoes & Bread 3 Ways; Bruschetta, Ladenia and Pizza; My Son's Favorite Beef Stew - Kokkinisto; Green Bean Yiahni.
Beans for Humanity
Beans and legumes are among the most ancient foods in Greece, a mainstay of the Greek-Mediterranean Diet. But they also provide a kind of edible philanthropy, as Diane discovers in a visit with the founder and volunteers of a humanitarian group that sets up a street side pot of bean soup for anyone in need. They delve into the subject of the soup itself and the role of beans and pulses in Greek culinary history. As a humble food, pulses have sustained Greeks from prehistoric times to the present. We discover the varieties of different Greek beans and pulses as Diane strolls through the market, then heads to her own kitchen to cook up three delectable Greek bean dishes. Classic Fasolada (bean soup); Baked Giant Beans with Honey and Dill; Braised Chickpeas with Pork Shanks.
Ancient Greece for Modern Cooks
Honey. Figs. Olives. Olive Oil. Cheeses. Nuts. Snails. Spices. These are just a few of the foods that mark one of the most characteristic aspects of Greek cuisine: the continuity of ingredients from as far back as Neolithic times antiquity to the present. In a magical tour of Athens that stretches from a walk with Diane through the bustling modern market to the Ancient Agora with Dr. John Camp, one of the rock stars of archeology, this episode explores the history of this ancient cuisine, making it delightfully relevant to our needs and tastes today. Back in the kitchen, Diane prepares an ancient feast for modern cooks, based on ingredients that have been part of this diet for thousands of years. She even cooks in an earthenware pot whose design has stood the test of time. Phyllo Wrapped Feta with Poppy Seeds and Honey; Roasted Chicken Stuffed with Olives and Figs; Clay- baked Lentils with Spices, Honey and Vinegar.
Greek Yogurt for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
At a local yogurt purveyor in Athens, Diane enjoys a true Greek classic: thick, tart Greek yogurt with honey, great for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Delving into this simple pleasure leads her on an excursion to a small artisanal producer of Greek yogurt in the mountains of the Peloponnese. He follows the whole process of making yogurt and learns the secrets of setting then straining this iconic Greek food. Back in the kitchen, Diane prepares scrumptious dishes that illustrate the versatility of Greek yogurt for every meal of the day. Zucchini-Yogurt Savory Pie; Lamb Baked in Greek Yogurt; Greek Yogurt Cheesecake.
Taste the Music: The Aromatic Cuisine of the Asian Minor Greeks
Almost 100 years ago, Greeks from the shores of Asia Minor, present-day Turkey, emigrated en masse into Greece, inundating areas, among them the port of Piraeus and environs, forever changing both the flavors and music of their adopted homeland. Amid the riffs of their rebetika music, in one of the oldest tavernas in Greece, Diane tells the story of how their exodus and arrival on Greek shores brought the likes of exotic spices, luscious urbane recipes and soulful music to Greece. Back in her kitchen, she cooks up a selection of the most famous dishes these Greeks have brought to the mainland and which have become an indelible part of the culinary tapestry. Pita Kaisarias (phyllo cups with pasturma and kaseri cheese); Soutzoukakia Smyrneika (cumin-scented meatball sausages In tomato sauce); Eggplant Stuffed with Onions, Raisins and Grape Molasses.
Kalimera! Breakfast and Brunch
Kalimera! That's Greek for Good Morning, and in this episode, Diane explores the varied ways to start the day with Greek-style breakfast and brunch. From Greece's unique coffee culture to the gentle herbal teas that are at once soothing and therapeutic, Diane explores the day's first sips then delves into sweet and savory regional breakfast and brunch specialties, from the islands and mainland. Finally, in a nod to modern times, she whips up a brunch cocktail classic, a Mimosa made with traditional Greek ingredients. Herbal Tea; Froutalia with Potatoes and Sausages; Greek Yogurt Pancakes with Currants and Honey; Sweet Milk Pie with Phyllo; Greek Mimosa.
Chewing The Sea
Nothing speaks more to Greek cuisine and to Greece itself than the image of traditional fishing boats plying the waters of a crystal-clear blue sea. In this episode, Diane visits a local fisherman and fish taverna to learn the secrets of sustainable fish cookery. Along the way, she discovers some of the local fish and seafood that thrive as well as those that are endangered. On the dock, she makes a traditional fish soup, kakavia, with the captain. Back in her own kitchen, she cooks up a stormy sea of treats, all environmentally sound and sustainable, sharing with her American audience some of the practices we can all abide by in order to preserve our natural bounty. Taramosalata; Fish a la Spetsiota; Seafood Kritharoto (orzo risotto).
Lemon, Oregano & Smoke - The Greek Grill
In Greece, they say you can learn to cook, but you're born to grill. For sure, cooking over fire is one of the most ancient ways to enjoy a whole variety of meats, fish, even vegetables. Today, we're focusing on the traditions of grilling in Greece, a hero's feast, so to speak. Even battle-hardened warriors savored the succulent smoky flavors of grilled meats to celebrate victory. In this episode, Diane visits one of the best-known Greek grill chefs to learn the secrets of cooking over fire. We will see him butchering and Diane will talk about the difference between Greek and US cuts of meat. Arugula Salad with Grilled Pears and Grilled Haloumi; Grilled Chicken Legs with Tomato-Olive Paste Barbecue Sauce; Greek Burgers.
Greek food is by nature the ultimate comfort food thanks to the wealth of rustic home cooking that defines the cuisine. In this episode, Diane explores specialties from the Ionian island of Zakynthos to the Aegean island of Tinos, adding her own twist with some modern comforts, too. Back in the kitchen, she makes a juicy chicken casserole, a vegetarian moussaka, whips up feta mashed potatoes, and waxes poetic about the ultimate grilled cheese -- it's Greek, of course! Zakynthos Chicken Sartsa; Artichoke Moussaka; Feta Mashed Potatoes; Spanakopita Grilled Cheese.
Tears of Joy! - Retsina
At a seaside tavern along the Attica Coast, Diane is enjoying a typical summer meal: an array of vibrant, robust mezedes and the wine most appropriate to pair with them, retsina. Greece's most famous wine has evolved from the piney, overwhelming quaff of yore to a sleek, contemporary, light, aromatic white wine made from the Savatiano grape. Diane follows the last resin tapper in Attica to the Kouvara pine forest to see how the resin that gives retsina its characteristic flavor is extracted, and delves into the ancient history of this fascinating wine. Back in the kitchen, Diane uses retsina as an ingredient in her recipes and also prepares recipes that pair well with this iconic Greek classic. Skordalia, Garlicky Dip with Potatoes and Walnuts; Beet Salad with Garlic; Shrimp Marinated with Retsina; Batter-Fried Cod for Skordalia.
The Athens Vibe
In this love song to her adopted city, Diane explores the hip side of Athens, which tourists seldom get to see, and invites a friend and local foodie into her kitchen for a taste and talk of fascinating Athens. Under Diane's insightful guidance, we catch an insider's glimpse of everything from street art to street food, galleries to hipster bars, and life the way the locals live it in this city on the cusp of reinventing itself as one of the most exciting capitals in Europe. Nowhere is the Athens vibe more evident than in the modern but deeply rooted cuisine that defines this city's food culture today. In the kitchen, Diane pays homage to modern traditions by reinventing a few classics. She makes an easy pastitsio with wonton wrappers, gives cauliflower and feta a makeover, and, enjoys the contemporary Greek dessert that she and her friend Carolina make together. Bohemian Pastitsio; Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Feta and Honey; Mosaico, Carolina's Rocky Road No-Bake Cake.
Every region of Greece has its own unique character and cuisine, and today Diane visits Nemea and Argos, in the Eastern Peloponnese, home to some of Greece's most famous wines as well as some of its most delectable dishes. Together with a village cook in the town square, she learns to make an amazing homemade local pasta dish and an irresistible cheesy skillet pie. Back in the kitchen, she prepares an easy sauteed spinach and orange recipe, tender braised pork with cabbage, and special cookies made with olive oil. Spinach Cooked with Oranges and Garlic; Hoirino Me Mapa (pork and cabbage stew); Melomakarona (olive oil-walnut cookies).