Aphorisms from the Professor: Brillat-Savarin

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Promoting The Flavor Bible, aka the best "cook book" ever

The overall vision of tonight's meal was my idea, but I have to give credit where it is due. First, the lovely vidallia onion-basil sauce was entirely my boyfriend's concoction. Second (and more exciting to those of you without access to my boyfriend), the inspiration for flavor combinations must be attributed to The Flavor Bible.

The Flavor Bible is amazing, and a really cool alternative to a cook book. It is like a dictionary of ingredients, except instead of getting definitions you get a list of other ingredients that go well with the ingredient you searched. The more awesome the pairing, the more the ingredient is highlighted (either in larger font or in bold). The result is that The Flavor Bible provides inspiration and ideas without constraints, which is especially perfect for my boyfriend and I: I like to tell him what ingredients he should use (now selected with the help of TFB), and he likes to play in the kitchen without instructions.
Tonight I bought some beautiful veal scallopini, looked up "veal" in The Flavor Bible, saw that (among many things) it goes well with mushrooms, basil, and tarragon, and the vision for our dinner tonight was born! In the end I think we achieved one of the ultimate food-goals: making a meal where eating all the components together tastes better than any component on its own. Well, actually, there's a bit of debate here, as my boyfriend thought that the richness of the risotto overpowered the veal, but my counter-argument was that the sweetness of the tarragon in the risotto highlighted the veal. Yeah, that's right, dinner tonight was like judges table on Top Chef! (But seriously, to me this tarragon-veal combination was the gem we would not have discovered without TFB).

Pan-fried veal scallopini
Wild mushroom risotto: arborio rice, white wine, beef stock, onions, dried wild mushrooms* (porcini, shiitake, crimini, maitake, oyster & chanterelle), butter, tarragon & parmesean cheese
Vidallia onion & Basil sauce

*the stroke of brilliance we stole from Jamie Oliver's risotto recipe was to use the water in which the mushrooms were re-hydrated in the risotto as well.


  1. That book sounds great - perhaps Tony will finally have a Christmas gift for me after all! Huzzah!

    Also, I love tarragon (I like to add it, along with some red pepper flakes, to my vodka sauces), but I've never been able to find it fresh. Have you? I always have to use the dried stuff.

  2. Steph -- we didn't even try looking for it fresh and just went with the dried stuff (which we already had anyways).