August 25, 2013
Lonely Plant: The World's Best Street Food
Travel and food. Two wonderful things. And this book combines the two of them. Although in some ways scary and it some ways fantastic.
The book is broken up into two sections, the savory and the sweet. Each recipe has a description the left hand side including "What is it?", Origin, Tasting, and finding it. Sometimes there are tips, variations and other tidbits. The right hand side is the recipe itself, usually with a picture. And they come in alphabetical order so it's somewhat easy to find what you're looking for. And there's a lot of color in the book too in the backgrounds and text. It's very visually pleasing.
The recipes are also quite interesting. While I can't envision myself preparing chicken feet, there are plenty of approachable recipes that can be tried even if you aren't that brave. I've tried quite a few recipes in the Savory section though.
Bsarra, from Morocco, was a lovely soup that while thicker than I expected, had a terrific flavor. The Burek, from Bosnia, was also good, but it just didn't hold together well and was hard to shape. I did like the Mushroom Crostini, it was quick to make too. Pastys are either a love or hate food, but these weren't too bad and the variety of fillings are endless. Currywurst was actually really sweet, and I didn't enjoy it that much. One of the best recipes is Gozleme which, while time consuming, was tasty and filling. The Chicago-Style Hot Dogs are just that, down to the celery salt. Kelewele was easy to make, but you couldn't taste the spices, it needed to be stronger. The same with the Knish, just not a lot of flavor. One of the most interesting recipes was the Kushari. Although I didn't like the massive amount of dishes it produced, I did like the food itself. The tomato sauce had good flavor.
The Maine Lobster Roll was easy to make, surprisingly. But I felt it was kind of a waste of Lobster, to smother it in mayo like that. The Pastizzi was also relatively simple, and interesting, but a bit plain. But the pierogies. Oh, they turned out fantastic and I'll be returning to that recipe. It was fantastic. Same with the Poutine. It's fattening, but delicious. And the Pretzels. Must be something about food that starts with "p". Lastly, the Zapiekanka, was kind of like a french bread pizza, but I wasn't thrilled with the mayo.
The Sweet section wasn't near as bit as the savory. And admittedly I didn't make as many recipes in this section either. But the Baklava did taste just like store bought and were quite good. However, the Beaver Tails were ok, but didn't hold on to their cinnamon sugar that well. The Sfenj was good. But the water measurement was off by 1 1/2 cups for me. And it definitely needed a sweet topping or it was kind of savory.
Overall, most of these recipes were a success. Not all had a ton of flavor, and some were hard to cook, but the majority were well worth making. I enjoyed them quite a bit. And I did love the pierogies. The whole book is worth it just for that one recipe. And I enjoyed all the stories and history that were included for each recipe.
A great book! This is one that either a cook or world traveler will like.