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
2 replies on “Jan Roberts-Dominguez ’79”
Great to hear of Jan’s success…I love to cook…always looking for simple but elegant dishes to try on hubby and friends.
Carol Mestrich Rosenblatt
OSU Graduate Home Economics 79
I love this book! Hazelnuts are one of my favorite things to cook with and having Jan’s advice and recipes gives me inspiration. And I love all the pictures and illustrations. And the little tips she has inserted throughout the book.