To think it all began with a brassica.
San Francisco-based Kimberley Hasselbrink, who writes and shoots for her popular blog, The Year in Food, seems to enjoy shooting just as many photos of her raw ingredients as she does the finished dishes. Perhaps it's not surprising, since in the introduction to her new book, Vibrant Food: Celebrating the Ingredients, Recipes, and Colors of Each Season, she writes: "It was a head of overripe purple cauliflower -- the last from my friend Nicole's winter garden -- that began my obsession with colorful produce."
That obsession led her on a journey to see fruits and vegetables differently; to not only think about what meals could be made from them, but to allow their colors, and how they would interact with each other, to inspire her first, and let the recipes follow.
She began a project on her blog called "Color Studies," which eventually became the beginnings of this book, which is divided by the seasons.
Since Hasselbrink herself is gluten-free, the recipes are as well, but she says all recipes have been tested with both wheat-free and wheat flours and pastas. And while one could be forgiven for assuming this is a vegetarian book, it's not; while meat and fish don't dominate, they definitely make an appearance in dishes that also feature fresh produce, like roast chicken with spring onions and salsa verde, or roasted sardines with carrot-fennel slaw.
Fruits and veggies are definitely the stars, though, with such mouthwatering sounding dishes as pasta with nettle pesto and blistered snap peas, smoky red pepper soup with pumpkin seeds and feta, and wild rice salad with rainbow chard and grapes. There are also numerous desserts and cocktails.
Like most cookbooks from food bloggers, Hasselbrink's voice can be heard throughout, such as when she introduces a recipe for apricot and chicken salad with toasted cumin vinaigrette by saying -- italics hers -- "Apricots are so fussy."
I can't help but compare this book to the recently released Forest Feast by Erin Gleeson, but given that the two women are friends and how gorgeous that book is, the comparison isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Kimberley Hasselbrink will be appearing June 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Omnivore Books.