For the first couple of chapters in “From Boiling Water To Master Of The Southern European Cuisine: A Travelogue” by Janisa J. Brunstein, I thought the book should’ve been titled “A Love Story To Myself”.
Most of the first part of the book was spent describing how attractive the author was to the opposite sex and how wonderful they are. But after plugging on and getting through to the actual travelogue, I did start to enjoy it much more.
I did particularly enjoy reading about the various European countries to which the author had traveled. The recipes do not seem to be overly difficult, although in some cases small details are missing. For instance, for how long does one refrigerate the gazpacho prior to serving? This missing detail may cause problems if you’re trying to figure out how far in advance to make it before your dinner party. And a Russian Salad in the middle of the Greek Cuisine section, why?
Several formatting and editing errors were extremely distracting for me. They didn’t take away from the overall value of the book itself though. The Carbonnade Belgian Beef And Beer Stew was the weirdest thing I found. It recommends transferring the prep work to a slow crock pot and cooking it overnight. If you do, then that means you’re eating beef stew for breakfast. I’m thinking that it might be a better idea to prep it in the morning so you can leave it to cook for eight hours during the day so it’s ready in time for dinner. If we actually did put the crockpot on overnight it would be mush come dinnertime the next day, or again we would have to eat stew for breakfast.
Worth A Read
In all, I believe that the book is worth reading, but I prefer books which are for any cooking level. The experienced cook seems the target audience for these recipes. Read them well before you try any of them to make sure you know what is needed.
The “Date and Almond Tart” recipe was going to be included in my review, but there are a couple of things that aren’t explained clearly. Instructions for how to create the filling have you cream the butter and sugar together. It then it says beat the egg. But it doesn’t say beat the egg in with the mixture. It also says to “stir” almond flour, all-purpose flour, and orange flower water, it’s not clear whether or not you should be adding this to the butter and sugar mixture or keeping it in a separate bowl. I am certain they meant “stir in”, again an editing issue I’m sure, clarity is so important.
I chose a completely clear and seemingly easy to make recipe. The Greek Hummus recipe looks completely straight forward (although the chickpeas for presentation seems different from the presentation in the picture). Enjoy!
- 1 14 ounce can chickpeas
- 4 tablespoons tahini -
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2-1 lemon, juice
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- Whole chickpeas, (garnish)
- Purée chickpeas in the food processor
- Add tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper and pepper.
- Garnish with chickpeas. Serve at room temperature.