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Recipes, Tips

Cookbook Review: “Vibrant Food” & Roasted Beets with Chimichurri

It’s autumn. The hot days in Switzerland are over. This rich summer was absolutely wonderful. I’m so thankful for all the great moments we had experienced.

During the first summer days I wrote our first blog article in which I shared the recipe of my beloved strawberry tiramisu. Meanwhile, many other recipes, a recipe overview, Switzerland’s most comprehensive organic restaurant directory, several restaurant reviews, two totally inspiring portraits and much more has been added. We are also active on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube. After only a summer of Journey to Real Life, I already feel that I have learned incredibly much about blogging. Of course, this motivates me even more to continue.

Recently, I decided to present you my favorite cookbooks by answering some questions and showing a recipe that I’ve tried out. I already published a review of Attila Hildmann’s book “Vegan to Go”, from which I presented the recipe for homemade wraps in a text and a video. Today I want to introduce the wonderful cookbook “Vibrant Food“. The recipe I selected contains loads of roots that you can currently buy very well from local production in Switzerland. As a sauce, the author proposes an Argentinean chimichurri.

Here is my review of the cookbook “Vibrant Food” by Kimberley Hasselbrink.

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Vibrant Food
Author: Kimberley Hasselbrink
Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Kimberley Hasselbrink is a photographer and food blogger from San Francisco. On her blog called “The Year in Food” she celebrates seasonal cooking and eating.

Who is Kimberley Hasselbrink ?

Kimberley Hasselbrink lives in San Francisco and has become known thanks to her blog “The Year in Food”. Since her childhood, cooking has been important to her. The large collection of cookbooks her mother possessed inspired her to become creative in the kitchen. But it was only indirectly that she started to devote her creativity to eating on a professional level. First, she studied furniture design at an art school. Eventually, however, she discovered a passion for photography and for food. She prefers to have home-cooked meals or unprocessed ingredients in their natural beauty in front of the lens. Because of her fascination for the variety of colorful edible plants that every season of the year offers, she plants a big part of her vegetables, fruits and herbs herself.

How are the recipes?

Based on the focus on seasonal food, the recipes in “Vibrant Food” are ordered by the four seasons of the year. Within each season, they are grouped by the ingredient that forms the basis. Kimberley Hasselbrink is neither vegan nor vegetarian. Nevertheless, many of her recipes are vegan or vegetarian simply because she is so enthusiastic about plant foods. The recipes and the photos show clearly that Kimberley Hasselbrink has a background as a designer. The basis of the dishes is always an ingredient with a strong color. Mostly, it is a type of vegetable. The recipes are all gluten-free. However, if it wasn’t mentioned in the introduction, I wouldn’t have noticed. The recipes are totally diverse and yet don’t contain any specific ingredients that are typical of the gluten-free diet. In “Vibrant Food” you can find a bit of everything: main dishes, breakfast, desserts, drinks and appetizers. The recipes are partly very easy and partly more complicated. I like the special culinary combinations. For example, chimichurri is a sauce that is served with grilled meat in Argentina. Kimberley Hasselbrink uses it as a dressing for a colorful beet salad.

What else can you find?

There is a small introduction about the vegetables and fruits of the season at the beginning of each chapter. Kimberley Hasselbrink shares her thoughts concerning the colors that dominate at different times of the year. For each recipe she offers a small text in which she tells how she came up with and how she chose the ingredients. In “Vibrant Food” you can also learn how to cook with flowers. Other ingredients, of which I have heard many times, but didn’t know how to prepare, were made familiar to me. To transform rhubarb, quince and nettle into delicious dishes is actually not that difficult.

What is particularly good?

A major concern of Kimberley Hasselbrink is promoting seasonal cooking and intuitive eating, which I find great. For her, “vibrant” means the combination of appearance (as colorful as possible), taste and texture of food. In her opinion, these three components are important, if you want to make a good dish. I find this a very interesting approach to recipe creating that she successfully turns into practice. Each recipe is illustrated with a beautiful photo. Like this, cooking is even more fun! Even between the recipes, in the introduction and at the end, there are amazing food photos. Kimberley Hasselbrink’s photography style is a bit rustic and very natural. Thus, by leafing through the book, you get in a very different and inspiring world far from everyday life. As I said, the recipes offer many special combinations that I really want to try. Through the texts, photos and sophisticated recipes in “Vibrant Food“, you realize with how much love this book was created.

What could be better?

The recipes are ordered by seasons, but not by dish. If, for example, you want to look only for dessert recipes, this is an obstacle. However, the index at the end can be helpful in some cases.

For whom is this book interesting?

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to cook seasonally. Also those who want to bring more color into their culinary creations and develop an awareness of beautiful food preparation will benefit from “Vibrant Food“. Food photographers will be inspired by the great pictures taken by Kimberley Hasselbrink. Of course, if you don’t photograph, but enjoy cooking more, when the recipes are illustrated with a beautiful photo, I also suggest you to read this cookbook. In addition, “Vibrant Food” is ideal for people who like to experiment with different vegetables, fruits or other ingredients (such as crabs). It truly enables you to cook absolutely great dishes with little effort and familiar ingredients!

Recipe

A great and typical recipe from the cookbook “Vibrant Food” is the colorfully shining beet salad with an intense chimichurri full of fresh herbs.

ROASTED BEETS WITH CHIMICHURRI

plant-based (vegan), soy-free, lactose-free, gluten-free

8 servings

Preparation time:

Level of difficulty: easy

Ingredients:

  • approx. 4 lbs beets (I used one red beet, 1 celeriac, 8 radishes and 4 carrots)
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot
  • a handful of fresh parsley
  • a handful of fresh oregano (as I couldn’t find organic oregano anywhere I substituted it with some basil from our balcony garden)
  • 1 tsp red or black pepper

Directions:

To roast the beets, you must first preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Halve and peel the roots before placing them on a baking tray or in a large gratin dish. Pierce them with a fork and cover them with a second baking tray, an ovenproof lid or aluminum foil. “Vibrant food” proposes to bake the whole beets and to peel them afterwards. However, I find it better to save energy by making the oven run less time and to intensify the roasted flavor as more areas of the roots are on the surface. For the chimichurri, slice the shallot into rings and hack the parsley and the basil. I have roasted the shallot in the oven for 5 minutes, just because I like it, although this is not written in the original recipe. Mix the shallot and the herbs in a small bowl. Add the olive oil, the red wine vinegar, some pepper and some salt. After 30 to 45 minutes of baking, you can take the roots out of the oven. Cut them in round slices, place them in a large dish and spread the chimichurri on the top.

On the left, you see the beautiful photo from the book “Vibrant Food“. Since I didn’t have golden beets, I added some orange shining carrots. In order to cook according to the philosophy of Kimberley Hasselbrinks, I wanted to make this dish as colorful as possible.

You can buy the book here:

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Do you know this cookbook ? What do you think about it?
How important do you find it to cook seasonally and colorful ?

I’m looking forward to read your answers in the comments and I hope that this cookbook review was helpful.

Kind regards,
Lisa

P.S. Feel free to share the article on social media in case you like it.

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