Vegetarian Flavor Bible Book Cover

Karen Page, author of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE (Little, Brown: 2014) and I share a bond.

Sure, we both love food, cooking, nutrition, flavor, etc.  Yes, we both want people to eat more vegetables, considering the majority of American’s don’t get enough in their daily diets. But more than that, we share a bond through a sisterhood called Les Dames d’Escoffier. 

So, when Karen asked if I would participate in a Virtual Book Tour featuring THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE (Little, Brown; 2014) in honor of National Nutrition Month, I said absolutely. 

THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE features lists of what’s in season when – so if you’re planning a spring menu (e.g., for a wedding or other special dinner) in the autumn, you can refresh your memory of what you’re likely to be able to find at its peak then. This book is literally an A to Z guide of herbs, spices and other seasonings that best enhance the flavor of hundreds of ingredients-all of which are paramount in the effort to up the veggie ante in our diets. And, you don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to use this as a resource. It’s already had quite a bit of use in my household (it hasn’t even made it to the bookshelf-it lives permanently on my kitchen counter) as I explore new ways to cook with vegetables.

Since it’s spring and people are planning Easter and Passover menus, I knew I wanted to specifically focus in on spring veggies.

Veggies The Flavor Bible  

 

Page says “Once you choose an ingredient as a starting point, you can look in this A-to-Z guide to hundreds of ingredients to discover the herbs, spices, and other seasonings that pair best with it.”

And then, I knew I wanted to narrow it down to asparagus specifically. 

asparagus

Photos courtesy of Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg 

 

so, I turned to page 109 and found the asparagus profile:

ASPARAGUS

Season: spring

Flavor: bitter/sweet, with

pungent notes of grass and/or

nuts, and a crisp, tender texture

Volume: quiet – moderate

What it is: vegetable – green

Nutritional profile: 68% carbs

/ 27% protein / 5% fat

Calories: 30 per 1-cup serving

(raw)

Protein: 3 grams

Techniques: blanch, boil,

broil, deep-fry (e.g., tempura),

grill, pan-roast, pickle, raw, roast

(oiled, at 350 – 400°F for 5 – 20

minutes), sauté, simmer, steam

(1 – 5 minutes, depending on

thickness), stir-fry (1 – 3 minutes)

 

followed by a long list of flavors that pair well with asparagus and ideas for dishes to make with asparagus

artichokes and artichoke hearts

arugula

avocado

basil

bay leaf

BEANS, e.g., fava, green, haricots verts, white

bell peppers, red, esp. roasted

bread crumbs

butter, e.g., brown, fresh

capers

CHEESE, e.g., Asiago, blue, Brie,

Camembert, chèvre, feta,

Fontina, goat, Gruyère, mild,

Muenster, PARMESAN,

pecorino, ricotta, Romano,

Taleggio, soft, triple cream

chervil

chili paste and chili pepper flakes

chives

cilantro

corn

cream and crème fraîche

custards

dill

and then, a list of flavor affinities which Page defines as three of more ingredients that pair well together for the ingredient

asparagus + avocado + lime + mint + olive oil

asparagus + basil + olives

asparagus + bell peppers + eggs + garlic + lemon juice + thyme

asparagus + chives + hard-boiled eggs + mustard + olive oil + vinegar

ASPARAGUS + CITRUS (e.g., lemon, orange) + garlic + HERBS (e.g., parsley, tarragon) + olive oil

asparagus + couscous + orange

asparagus + fava beans + mint

asparagus + garlic + ginger + scallions + sesame + sesame oil + soy sauce + vinegar

asparagus + ginger + hoisin sauce + sesame oil + soy sauce

asparagus + goat cheese + lemon + olive oil + pistachios

asparagus + hazelnuts + Parmesan cheese + parsley

ASPARAGUS + LEMON + PARMESAN (or pecorino) + risotto

asparagus + lemon + pecans + rice

asparagus + onions + orange

asparagus + pasta + pistachios

asparagus + peas + risotto + saffron

asparagus + sesame + tofu

 

and finally, I saw a listing of what some of America’s best vegetable-loving chefs have created based on various flavor affinites:

Roasted Asparagus, Crispy Egg, and Mustard Vinaigrette

— ABC Kitchen (New York City)

Country Flatbread, Grilled Asparagus, Melted Leeks, Lightly Smoked Brie, Basil

— Green Zebra (Chicago)

Asparagus Pizza with Spring Onions, Knoll Farm Green Garlic, Feta, Asiago,

Meyer Lemon, Pepper Flakes, and Italian Parsley

— Greens Restaurant (San Francisco)

Grilled Zuckerman’s Farm Asparagus with Lemon Pistachio Gremolata,

Regina Olive Oil, and Andante Dairy Fresh Goat Cheese

— Greens Restaurant (San Francisco)

Green Asparagus and Avocado Salad, Sorrel Dressing, and Sesame

— Jean-Georges (New York City)

Asparagi alla Milanese: Grilled Asparagus with Fried Egg, Charred Scallion, Piquillo

Pepper, and Parmigiano-Reggiano

— Le Verdure (New York City)

Shaved Asparagus Salad with Fennel, Orange, Pickled Shallots, Lemon Vinaigrette

— Natural Selection (Portland, OR)

You’ll find this kind of detail for the hundreds of ingredients Page focuses on in the book. Techniques, profiles, tips and all with a a chef’s eye view of the subject make it palatable for even the most novice of cooks.   It’s much more than a cookbook-it’s confirmation that eating more plant based foods can be done-easily, economically and all in good taste. 

 

Disclaimer: I received this book from the authors. I was not compensated to write this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  

 

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