This cookbook is a delight. The layout and graphics are exquisite and the photographs are outstanding and really capture all there is to love about my native city. Hisham Assaad did an outstanding job with this work, one that I consider to be Art through and through. Leafing through the pages, I found myself catapulted back in Beirut. The images peppered throughout the book I have seen time and again and some of them were so familiar! Hisham Assaad has a fine photographer’s eye and his shots deliver the essence of this city and its people.
The recipes are also judiciously picked. Mostly classics but approachable for the novice; Hisham has also thrown in some of his own, which I found alluring, such as the octopus with moghrabieh or the vegetarian shish barak with spinach. Incidentally, my friend Rudy in Dallas had picked one of Hisham’s recipes from the book serendipitously before we were to meet in Austin, and made it for us when he visited. Yummy!
What I also loved about this book is that it is such a cohesive work. The layout and book design, the food styling, the location shots, all of it works harmoniously to reflect the charm and allure of Beirut. I cannot imagine a better book showcasing my city.
The above is a delicious take on the classic labneh, which simply mixes in some fresh diced veggies. One bite of yummy goodness!
The classic kibbeh in a pie pan.
Spinach-filled dumplings are baked and served with a garlicky yogurt sauce with the optional rice on the side. Scrumptious!
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