Karen Page has done it again, this time with The Vegetarian Flavor Bible! This book is a massive encyclopedia of ingredients, flavors, and flavor pairings, with an A to Z listing of hundreds of ingredients, and the herbs, seasonings and spices that will best enhance their flavors. It’s also filled with interview snippets from dozens of leading chefs at restaurants like French Laundry, Per Se, Crossroads, Greens, Vedge and many more (including many chefs and bakers from Portland). This is not a recipe book per se (although there are simple recipes scattered throughout), but truly a book on flavors, techniques and pairings. This book seriously belongs in everyone’s kitchen.
I’m super excited to be part of the virtual blog tour for this book! Not only is the publisher giving away a copy of this fabulous book to one of my readers, but Karen Page is also sharing her tips on cooking legumes as well. So don’t forget to leave your name and a way to reach you in the comment section, as well as sharing your favorite herb or spice. Also, this giveaway is only open to US addresses.
And now I leave you with Karen’s tips on cooking legumes…
Adapted from THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE by Karen Page
There are three major categories of legumes:
• pulses, including chickpeas, lentils, dried beans, dried peas
• fresh beans and fresh peas
• peanuts and soybeans
It’s best to follow the specific directions on the package of legumes you are using and to understand that timing can still vary depending on a number of factors, including heat level and heat conductivity of the pot you use.
However, here are some helpful rules of thumb:
• Rinse legumes to remove any dirt or foreign objects (e.g., tiny pebbles).
• Soak most legumes overnight in water before cooking. This shortens their cooking time and increases their digestibility. Discard the soaking water. (If time is of the essence, legumes can still benefit from a quick soak achieved by bringing them to a boil in water, then removing from heat, and letting them stand for at least an hour. Drain and rinse before proceeding.)
• Combine legumes with cooking liquid (e.g., water, stock) in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, partially covering the pot, and simmer. Check to ensure that the desired tenderness has been achieved, and then remove from heat.
Once legumes are cooked, they can be seasoned to taste. Looking for ideas? Skim the listings of herbs, spices, and other seasonings that pair best with the legume you’re working with, and see which ones make your mouth water. Once you select a secondary ingredient, make sure that the third (and any other) ingredient you add to the dish is compatible with the previous ingredients as well. For shortcuts, look to the Flavor Affinities (three or more compatible ingredients) at the end of the listing.
• BEANS, CRANBERRY
(and BORLOTTI BEANS,
a popular type of cranberry
Season: summer (fresh); yearround
Flavor: slightly sweet, with
earthy notes of chestnuts, meat,
nuts, and/or peas, with a creamy,
yet firm texture
Nutritional profile: 73% carbs
/ 24% protein / 3% fat
Calories: 240 per 1-cup serving
Protein: 17 grams
Techniques: boil, braise,
Timing: Boil and simmer
presoaked dried cranberry beans
until tender, about 1 – 2 hours.
Boil fresh beans about 10 minutes.
Possible substitutes: kidney
beans, pinto beans
bell peppers, e.g., red
cheese, e.g., feta, Gorgonzola, Parmesan
onions, e.g., yellow
SOUPS, e.g., bean, minestrone, pasta e fagioli
cranberry beans + cinnamon + tomatoes
cranberry beans + feta + walnuts
cranberry beans + garlic + green onions + lemon + olive oil
cranberry beans + garlic + sage
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book to review, but all of the thoughts and opinions expressed are completely my own.This post contains Amazon affiliate links to products I love. When you buy something through my links, I receive a commission that helps support this site. Thanks for your purchase!