This year’s New Years Resolution is to get more creative in the kitchen. I am by no means a chef. In fact, I am far from it, but I do love to eat good food.

To help me make sure my New Year’s resolution is off to a good start I prepared an incredible meal from Diane Kochilas’ newest cookbook: Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die.

Diane Kochilas

First of all if you’ve never heard of Diane Kochilas you need to. Not only is she a Greek-American chef, cookbook author and TV cooking show host, but she is a wonderful woman who I have had the pleasure of meeting.

Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die is an easy-to-follow cookbook with recipes from Ikaria. Ikaria is mythical, beautiful, enigmatic—and, as we learned after reading the New York Times article about it, a place where residents live unaccountably long lives. Part cookbook, part travelogue, filled with gorgeous photography, stunning recipes, and interviews with locals, and packed with the often quirky secrets to a long life that Ikarians are spoon-fed at birth, Ikaria is award-winning author Diane Kochilas’s ethno-culinary paean to this magical island. Here, Kochilas will marry lore to lesson and recipe to interview: we’ll meet a 101-year-old weaver—the best on the island—and taste the combinations of herbs that he cooks with and that he believes give him life. We’ll learn about the life-giving benefits of delicious salads both raw and cooked, the gorgeous breads and savory pies that are a part of every meal, the bean dishes that are passed down through generations, and the seafood that is at the root of the Ikarian culinary culture. filled with mouthwatering recipes and remarkable stories, this book will introduce many Americans to food as life, as only the Ikarians know it.

Greek Rice

There are so many reasons this has become one of my favorite cookbooks I own. The food photography is stunning, it is incredibly well written, but most of all…. the recipes are so easy to follow!

As a mom I don’t have the time to spend hours in the kitchen, I also don’t have the time to follow recipes that are difficult. I want it easy, with simple fresh ingredients, that won’t take me long to prep. I found over 20 recipes that I could make easily and without much preparation.

For instance, this Theodosi’s Tomato and Pita Salad took me less than 10 minutes to prepare and it was ready to eat immediately.

Greek Salad

You can pick up a copy of Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die by visiting: dianekochilas.com.

Okaria cooking school

If you’ve ever dreamed about visiting Greece and want to take your Greek cooking up another level, Diane Kochilas has a special event planned for you!

Visit the gorgeous Ikaria for a once-in-a-lifetime cooking class. The cooking class includes:

  • Daily 3-4 hour hands-on cooking session and meal with award-winning Greek chef, cookbook author and TV host Diane Kochilas and her husband and partner Vasilis Stenos. Together, they create an environment where guests can really enjoy the laid-back spirit of Ikaria.
  • Visits with a local artisans, including goatherds, beekeepers, and winemakers, where we participate in or watch them at their craft.
  • Herb and foraging walks and hikes with one of the most knowledgeable herbalists on the island, where we learn the natural secrets of Ikarians’ legendary longevity, the herbs that are used i n cooking and as teas, the medicinal value of almost all the plants around us as we walk along the old goat paths through Ikaria’s lush forests.
  • Cheese, honey, wine, and olive oil tastings. Throughout the week, we taste a variety of Greek cheeses, different honeys and olive oils from several parts of the country.
  • Our visit high up in the forested interior of the island with one of Ikaria’s most accomplished beekeepers in action, to see the whole process from hive to extraction.
  • A dip in the unique, therapeutic waters of Ikaria’s mineral springs at Therma.
  • A night (date permitting) to one of the unforgettable local village feasts, to dance, wine, and dine.

Guests also stay in first-class accommodations in Armenistis, overlooking Ikaria’s best beaches.

You can learn more about the Ikaria cooking class by visiting: www.dianekochilas.com/ikaria-classes