Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Ten Speed Press (June 17, 2014)
Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1 x 9.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #138,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #44 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > U.S. Regional > California #186 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Entertaining & Holidays > Seasonal #353 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Cooking by Ingredient > Natural Foods
I find the organizational scheme of Vibrant Food to be a bit confusing. The larger scheme makes sense: it's organized by season, into Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. It's just weird to me to see very general categories like `berries' or `tree fruits' next to extremely specific ones like `persimmons' or `dungeness crab'. The presence of recipes for unusual ingredients like pea shoots, nasturtium, bee pollen, and fresh nettles is excellent if you're looking for that, but not so much if you just can't source those ingredients; whether it's a positive or a negative is almost entirely dependent on your individual resources. I do agree with the author that these recipes could inspire you to bring home other unusual ingredients to play with, so just be aware of this aspect of the book and decide for yourself whether it's one you'd appreciate.I absolutely love the gorgeous, colorful photographs. What I really appreciated, however, is that Ms. Hasselbrink totally succeeded in bringing both flavor and texture into play as well as color. The recipes we've tried from this book have been uniformly fantastic.Spring: The very first recipes in the book are heavy on ingredients I have trouble finding, so I started off thinking I'd have trouble making the recipes in this cookbook. There are recipes like spring pea and pea shoot omelet, fresh chickpeas on toast, pasta with nettle pesto and blistered snap peas, nasturtium salad, and chocolate truffles with bee pollen. However, there are also things like roasted potato salad with asparagus and a boiled egg, rhubarb ginger fizz, and roast chicken with spring onions and salsa verde.
I was anxious to get into this cookbook: For I figured here was a fellow cook and eater who dwelled on the color of foods--like I do. I enjoy getting involved in the look and the feel of the veggies and fruit I grow in the garden, or meticulously pick out from the produce bins at the store or small town farmers' markets. To me, it is part of the experience: The shades of color and shine of a vegetable in a bowl on my counter. Vegetables, greens, fruits, nuts, herbs and spices should be appreciated for more than their taste!While focusing on colors, Ms. Hasselbrink does pay attention to flavor, texture and nutrition, which are at their best when used in season. And I was very happy to see her acknowledgement that “when a season begins and ends is wildly variable depending on climate and location.” And her seasonal produce overlaps into adjacent seasons, making the chapters appropriate for both northern and southern cooks.As you would expect in a cookbook with this theme, the pictures are beautiful. And there are plenty of them. I think Ms. Hasselbrink did her own photography and I think she did a good job of it.I was very excited to see the creativity and assortment of recipes, then (oh! so!) very disappointed to see only 66 recipes, (hence the four-star rating). I just cannot see the value of a bound book, even with a lot of beautiful photographs, with only 66 recipes. But I believe this book would make a beautiful present for someone. With so few recipes, it is not a book I would invest in for myself, but I sure would love to unwrap it, to have and to hold, from a loved one or a friend. It is beautiful and it does contain some pretty fantastic and unusual recipes.
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