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Russells new book makes cooking healthiest veggies easy

by: STAFF PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE - Laura B. Russell of Dunthorpe has released a second cookbook. This book, Brassicas covers unique ways to enjoy a wide variety of vegetables.

Tired of serving the same old uninspiring vegetables? Dunthorpe resident Laura B. Russell comes to the rescue with the release of her second cookbook, “Brassicas, Cooking the world’s healthiest vegetables,” published by Ten Speed Press.

Russell said that brassicas, which include cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, mustard greens and more vegetables, have been gaining popularity due to their extraordinary health benefits and “superfood” status.

“Their health benefits are enormous,” Russell said. “And now the ways to enjoy them are equally boundless.”

Brassicas are grown spring and fall and will soon be appearing in farmers markets.

“The spring vegetables are tender and not as aggressive as the fall crops,” she said. “Particularly mizuna, collards and tatsoi.”

A freelance food journalist, Russell went to culinary school in Chicago in the mid-1990s. She then spent 10 years as a recipe developer and associate editor for “Food & Wine” magazine’s cookbook division. Her family moved to Oregon about six years ago, and she released her first cookbook, “The Gluten Free Asian Kitchen,” two years ago.

She said writing cookbooks is a two-year process.

“My favorite part is recipe development. I tend to work backward,” she said. “I start with a list of about 100 recipes — things I have in my head. It takes about three or four tests to get the flavor profile tweaked just right. Then I go back and create main titles and the outline of the book.”

Russell’s recipes are intended to be quick and easy and to get people back into the kitchen. Some recipes demonstrate the easiest way to enjoy a vegetable and others “take a home-cooked meal to the next level without being overly complicated.”Each chapter is devoted to a single vegetable or class of brassicas and begins with key information on selection, preparation and nutrition, followed by recipes that capture the best flavors that each vegetables offers.

“Brassicas” retails for $23. An ebook version also is available.



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