It was a friend’s advice that helped food writer Jan Roberts-Dominguez strike just the right tone for her new book, “Oregon Hazelnut Country, the Food, the Drink, the Spirit”: “He told me, ‘Jan, if you’re going to write about hazelnuts, you’re going to have to make it sexy’.”
Roberts-Dominguez, a 1979 OSU graduate in home economics, whose “Food for Thought” column has been published in the Gazette-Times since 1983, has done exactly that in a book with a strong mid-valley and Oregon focus on every page.
With Corvallis photographer Karl Maasdam, a 1993 OSU graduate, providing the sensual cover photo and recipe illustrations and her husband, Steve, as her primary editor, Roberts-Dominguez has produced a book that captures the local flavor of Corvallis as well as the boundless variety of the hazelnut and other mid-valley bounty.
The cover hints at the 150 recipes (50 more than planned) that range from fancy desserts to Robert-Dominguez’s additions of spices that transform hazelnuts into appetizers. Each recipe suggests an Oregon wine or microbrew that will enhance the final product. Her favorites include a prime rib in a balsamic vinegar reduction meat sauce that “shows off what hazelnuts can do.” Her watchwords for each recipe: simple and elegant.
The book is intensely reader-friendly, offering lists of recipes that work well as gifts, or for celebrations. Two not to be missed: caramels with hazelnuts and Roberts-Dominguez’s version of a hazelnut and cocoa spread. The difference between this book and her previous efforts is that rather than hand over the manuscript, illustrations and recipes to her publisher, Roberts-Dominguez remained involved from idea through all phases of publication. And except for a short trip to a bindery in Arizona, the book is an Oregon (mainly mid-valley) product itself.
The next step? Marketing. Her copy of the book is stuffed with sticky notes that hang like confetti from the pages, each a reminder to stop by this winery or that bookstore to pitch it for sale. So far, that effort has been almost effortless.
In less than a month, about 1,400 of its initial 7,500 printing have sold without a single public appearance, both in local bookstores and via her website, janrd.com.
“It has wings!” Roberts-Dominguez said.
Article from Corvallis Gazette Times
Sunday, January 23, 2011
By Theresa Novak
Photos by Karl Maasdam, OSU ’93