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Brassicas: Cooking the World's Healthiest Vegetables: Kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and More Hardcover – April 8, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

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*Starred Review* Brassicas is just another name for the vegetables many love to hate, from kale and broccoli to brussels sprouts and cauliflower. On the other hand, cutting-edge chefs are touting the flavors and varieties of these leafy greens, whether it’s kale chips as an appetizer or arugula pizza. There are ways at home, demonstrates Russell (The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen, 2011), to turn farmstand produce into dishes that will entice even the pickiest to eat these good-for-you items. By not overemphasizing these vegetables’ healing and health properties (and, in fact, explaining possible health hazards, such as interactions with thyroid function and Warfarin), she wins almost immediate converts in her introduction, flavor profiles, washing and selection tips, and appropriate techniques. Then the delectable follow, with two or so pages dedicated to explaining types, preparation, and nutrition. Elegant photographs display the surprisingly attractive raw and finished products. The 80 recipes stay true to contemporary tastes and include spicy kale fried rice, Mexican pickled vegetables, cabbage confetti quinoa, bok choy and crystallized ginger Waldorf salad, and turnip and apple salsa. --Barbara Jacobs


“Cabbage family vegetables are nutritional powerhouses that are inexpensive and readily available. They are rich in phytonutrients that protect against cancer and other serious diseases. This book gives quick and simple recipes for turning brassicas into culinary delights. I recommend it highly.”
—Andrew Weil, MD, founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and the author of True Food

“This is the book that will show you why brassicas are among your best friends in the kitchen. And when you see how gorgeous their portraits are, you’ll never look at cabbage or kale the same way again.”
—Deborah Madison, author of Vegetable Literacy

“Laura Russell’s inspired book dispels this often-maligned family of vegetables. Forget grandma’s simply boiled cabbage or overcooked cauliflower. I want to start with Charred Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Fig Glaze, and savor the Spanish Tortilla with Mustard Greens. What a gem of a book.”
—Diane Morgan, author of Roots

“Finally, a book that gives my favorite vegetables their due! Laura Russell shows that kale, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts deserve a starring role at the center of the plate. Laura’s pitch-perfect recipes—Roasted Broccolini with Winey Mushrooms, anyone?—stand to make a believer out of any cook who picks up this book.” 
—Joe Yonan, author of Eat Your Vegetables


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (April 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607745712
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607745716
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By I Do The Speed Limit TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Truly lovely if you have an appreciation for the Brassica Family. It seems that, lately, they have been garnering some of the favorite vegetable limelight, haven't they? And, if you feel you've been missing out, I think this book was written with you in mind.

As wonderful as the book is, and as nice as the compilation of recipes is, I just cannot give it a five-star rating: I need more than 79 recipes in a cookbook to make and keep me happy. Plus, talking specifically about Brassicas and specifically about me: I need loads more recipes for broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and radishes. And, while I appreciate the beautiful photos of fresh leafy Brassicas, I would rather the space be taken up by pictures of finished dishes.

The author takes an approach that divides the Brassicas into "Mild", "Stronger", "Peppery", and "Pungent". It is an interesting and effective approach, because when you think of the vegetable in the light of (and this is my interpretation of the author's thought process and my phrase) "degree of potent flavor", it becomes much easier to pair the vegetable with appropriate partners.

The author also talks to how to best "tame" the more potent flavors of Brassicas: Pairing is one way to achieve balance; adding dairy, starchy, sweetness, fat are other ways to "tame" by balancing. You can also fight potent, strong and pungent with more of the same: Kind of like fighting fire with fire by adding spiciness and saltiness.

With the author's words of wisdom in the back of your mind, you can handle any Brassica. And just before the author gets into her recipes, she hands us simplicity itself: "You need only three things to make nearly any Brassica taste delicious: Olive oil, garlic and salt." Amen.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By LBF on April 17, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I consider myself a pretty good home cook. However, my idea of a good meal was an elaborate main course with the vegetable dish as an after thought. My family of four would eat the green beans or salad I served because they had to and because they knew it was good for them, but it wasn’t a highlight of our meal. We had a pretty limited repertoire of vegetables that I served and my family would eat.

Laura Russell’s Brassicas book has completely transformed the way I cook and my family eats. Not only do we have about ten new vegetables that we now eat on a regular basis (kohlrabi, mizuna, tatsoi, turnips, collard greens, etc), but the brassica dish is the highlight of the meal. More often than not, our meals include a delicious brassica recipe from Laura Russell’s book, served along a simple piece of fish, steak, or chicken. Because the vegetables are so delicious, we are eating a lot more of them. I would estimate that we eat twice as many servings of vegetables/day than before we discovered this book.

Some of my family’s favorite recipes include the Kale chips, the Kale and Sweet Potato Sauté, Tatsoi and Blueberry Salad, Grilled Baby Bok Choy with Miso Butter, and the Boke Bowl Cauliflower and Brussels Sprout Salad with Thai Vinaigrette. (It is hard to just pick out a few recipes – I love them all so far).

I also enjoy the way the book is written. Laura Russell does a great job of pointing out what can be prepared ahead, what substitutions can be made, and what can be served with the dish. A lot of the recipes can be partially prepared ahead of time and then the last steps can be done quickly right before serving. I’ve found this helpful because I’m often driving my kids from activities right before dinner.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie on April 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Brassicas are any plant within the mustard family including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages and Brussels sprouts. "Ounce for ounce brassicas contain more healing properties than any other branch of food." This cookbook delivers tasty ways to serve up these nutritionally packed foods.
In the introduction there are a variety of cooking tips for plants in this family, including which plants have mild, bold or peppery tastes, how to pair them with other ingredients and how to prepare them for cooking.

The recipe sections of this book are categorized by type of plant: Kale, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts and Cabbage, Broccoli, Leafy Brassicas, Asian Brassicas and Root Brassicas and Kohlrabi. Since some of these plants are just starting to come into season in my area, I loaded up at the farmers market and tried out some recipes. I love cauliflower, and it really is underrated. I tried out the super simple Roman Cauliflower Saute with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and cheese. This was very simple, quick and tasty. Brussels sprouts are another favorite of mine. The Brussels Sprouts with Parmesean Crust is very similar to how I usually prepare sprouts, with the addition of white wine vinegar which turned out well. There are a lot of different things to do with broccoli, so I tried out the Lemony Broccoli Chop, which is sort of like a slaw. It was definitely a different flavor palate than I am used to, very Mediterranean, but good.

Overall, this is a good collection of fairly simple recipes to spice up your cruciferous vegetables. If you are looking for something different to do with your broccoli and sprouts, or if you would like to eat healthier but tastier, you should check out Brassicas.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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