Growing up, my mom worked hard to feed us reasonably healthy food. We usually had a home cooked meal each night with some type of vegetable. However, due to parental “pickiness” (my dad) the vegetables she served were primarily corn, peas, raw carrots, and sometimes broccoli. There are still many vegetables that I don’t even know exist, but I’ve slowly started to realize that life beyond corn, peas, and carrots can actually be quite delicious!
When I saw this cookbook, Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables: Kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and More I got really excited. I know how important and healthy vegetables are, especially these dark green, leafy vegetables, but I have no idea what to do with them or how to make them taste decent. I throw kale in my smoothies and steam some broccoli with cheese regularly, but that’s about as adventurous as I get. Since I have a five year old and a two year old, its really important to me to feed them a variety of wholesome, delicious vegetables served in new and creative ways.
This cookbook did not disappoint. There is a nice variety in the recipes. I can find some recipe ideas for those busy weekdays when I am tired and rushed trying to get dinner on the table, but there are also several recipes that are a little more involved for those special occasions when I have some time to make something fancy.
The cookbook also includes some “educational” pieces for the completely clueless like myself. Laura Russell talks about the different flavors for the various brassica families for the uninformed. She also provides suggestions for how to pair them, wash them, select them, and store them. Laura includes some of the best general methods for preparing brassicas which I really loved because it will allow me to use my creativity to come up with my own recipes and concoctions as my comfort with these new vegetables grows.
One of my favorite things is her section on how to handle the smell of brassicas. My first exposure to brussels sprouts was when a coworker brought a bag of frozen brussels sprouts into work, steamed them in the microwave and stunk up the entire office, for days! Who wants to eat something that smells like sweaty feet? This cookbook talks about why brassicas can get that unpleasant odor and provides tricks for avoiding it. The recipes in this cookbook do not involve sweaty feet smell or taste, which is a huge win in my book.
From Wilted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Tomatoes to Kale Chips to Lemony Kale Shreds with Salty Cheese, everything I have made from this book so far has been delicious. She does a great job introducing each recipe with a paragraph or two to give some background information and additional preparation tips. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to add some wholesome, delicious vegetables to their table.
You can find this book in most major bookstores or order it on Amazon here: