Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Currently Reading: The Flavor Bible to the Rescue!

The other day at the market I mistakenly grabbed arugula instead of spinach. Thanks to The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs (*affiliate link) I was still able to pull off not one but two mouthwatering salads. (If you're not familiar with arugula know that it tastes very different than spinach; it tends to be bitter.)

Arugula, Grapefruit, & Walnuts topped with Roquefort and Shiitake Dressing


What do you do with unknown ingredients?

Unlike many culinary references or cook books, The Flavor Bible doesn't include recipes or offer guidance on how best to prepare a particular ingredient. What it does do is provide a fairly comprehensive listing of common ingredients - from proteins to spices to vegetables and fruits - and identify what other ingredients pair well. Signature dishes from well-known chefs are also presented for ideas.

To use, simply look up your main ingredient(s). For me, those were arugula and strawberries. I started with arugula as that would be my main ingredient. I got the idea of using Roquefort cheese in the salad from Gabriel Kruether's Arugula Risotto with Roquefort and Pignoli Nuts dish. Strawberries weren't listed as a complementary flavor so I next looked up strawberries to see how many other ingredients that I had on hand were in common. The answer was not many. As strawberries and arugula did not look as if they'd pair well (few ingredients common to both of them) I decided to go with the only other fruit in our fridge - Ruby Red Grapefruit. (Arugula is found under Grapefruit in The Flavor Bible.) I then chose walnuts from the Grapefruit listing and went with Annie's Shiitake Dressing (vinaigrette was under both and mushroom was under Arugula) and a dish was born: Arugula with Walnuts, Ruby Red Grapefruit and Roquefort Crumbles Tossed with Shiitake Dressing.

Arugula, Tomatoes, Capers, & Pine Nuts Tossed with a Mustard Vinaigrette

For our next salad, I was out of Ruby Red Grapefruit and Roquefort. I did have on hand asparagus and tomato. Creating a dish with arugula, asparagus, and tomato required a little more thought. Asparagus and arugula both shared tomato and vinaigrette. I decided to make a Mustard Vinaigrette from The Reluctant Gourmet and top with pignoli nuts. The final dish - Arugula, Tomatoes, Capers, and Pignoli Nuts tossed with a Mustard Balsamic Vinaigrette - was a hit.

genuinely eden

P.S. Don't feel like commenting? Strike up a conversation with me elsewhere: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, or Pinterest.

Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.

This post contains an affiliate link followed by (*affiliate link). I feature products that I own or that I am considering purchasing. I own the book mentioned in this post. All opinions presented are my own.