The Breakaway Cook: Recipes That Break Away from the Ordinary

The Breakaway Cook: Recipes That Break Away from the Ordinary

by Eric Gower


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Fusion cooking broke the rules first––now Gower's breaking fusion's rules with The Breakway Cook. Despite the explosion of farmers' markets, ethnic grocers, and creative restaurants in America, lots of home cooks remain puzzled by the bewildering array of choices, and don't have the confidence to break away from tradition. Eric helps home cooks everywhere approach unfamiliar ingredients from different global regions and combine them for some amazing results of flavor.

"Breakaway" cooking pays homage to culinary traditions yet uses innovative techniques and ingredients to give home cooks a new approach to their dishes, marrying unintimidating flavors with the old standards. Sample his Miso Orange Pepper Roasted Chicken, or tease your tongue with his take on Fluffy Herby Eggs, and you'll be convinced. It's not fusion––it's fusion that makes sense. And the cardinal rule is to season with authority. Don't be afraid of the spice cabinet anymore, and use presentation to create a simple, appealing meal. Spend less time fussing about the preparation and clean–up, and more time enjoying food and its huge role in our daily lives. To further this quick and mindful approach to cooking, Eric will take us shopping in local and ethnic markets, teach the importance of table setting and presentation, and stress visual aesthetics, especially regarding pottery and ceramics.

Eric helps you reconstruct your approach to the kitchen, highlighting the seasonings and essential ingredients or "Global Flavor Blasts," such as tamarind, pomegranate molasses, miso, yuzu, green tea, Chinese plum sauce, mole, among many others, that will liberate your cooking and provide a lifetime of fantastic eating. Using Gower's recipes as broad outlines, you can be creative as you go, and within his framework you will discover your own genius in the kitchen. We feel better when we eat better, and it's easier to be productive, creative, and relaxed when the food part of life is under control. Enter The Breakaway Cook.

In addition to the recipes, The Breakaway Cook includes stunning, full–color photos by Annabelle Breakey throughout the text; a guide to using flavored salts in your dishes; sidebars on wine, tea and sake; and ideas for even shorter–cuts on Gower's easy–to–follow recipes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060851668
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/01/2007
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 7.70(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Eric Gower lived in Japan for fifteen years, working for the prime minister's office as an editor and writer on political economy before turning his interest to food. Currently a private chef and the author of two previous cookbooks, Eric's Kitchen and The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen, he lives and works in San Francisco.

Read an Excerpt

The Breakaway Cook
Recipes That Break Away from the Ordinary

Maccha Poached Eggs

Serves 2

I often eat these twice a week—I just can't get enough of them. They are simplicity itself: poach eggs in your favorite manner—I have a dedicated egg poaching pan with four individual nonstick cups—and sprinkle on some maccha salt. There is something almost celestial about the fusion of the green tea and the egg yolks: it's savory, sweet, and salty all at once. Perfect in the morning with a few slices of lightly toasted sourdough bread and a strong cup of green tea.


Dab of unsalted butter for the poaching cups or 1 tablespoon vinegar
4 large eggs, preferably organic
Generous sprinkling of Maccha Salt (page 36)
Generous sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper


Butter the poaching cups if you're using a dedicated egg poacher. Or bring a pot of water to a simmer, add the vinegar, and carefully crack the eggs into the simmering water. Poach the eggs until the yolks are more or less halfway between liquid and solid, 4 or 5 minutes for both methods.

Gently turn them out on a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. Roll them onto a warmed plate and add a few healthy pinches of maccha salt and black pepper. Eat them while still very hot.

Pomegranate Tofu with Pink Lentil Crust

Serves 4

Middle Eastern flavors like pomegranate and cinnamon showcase the many wonderful properties of soft tofu. I bake this in a clay pot, but any baking dish or casserole will work just fine,and individual ramekins also work beautifully. The ground pink lentils on top give it nice crunch. Try it with a glass of Muscat or Riesling.


1 block silken tofu, drained, wrapped in paper towels to absorb moisture, then halved
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 large egg
½ teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
Tangerine Salt (page 36) or kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Speck of butter for the baking dish
¼ cup dried pink lentils, ground to a fine powder
Olive oil spray
2 tablespoons fresh mint chiffonade
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts


Preheat the oven to 450°F. Put half the tofu, the pomegranate molasses, maple syrup, egg, cinnamon, and salt and pepper to taste into a blender and puree. Scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl, add the other half of the tofu and, using a fork, mix it to a fairly uniform texture. Butter a clay pot or baking dish or four 4-ounce ramekins, and pour the mixture into it. Top with the pulverized lentils, spray them with a little olive oil, and bake for 30 minutes, until the top turns crispy brown. Remove and top with the mint and the pine nuts. Be sure to pass some extra tangerine or coarse sea salt for guests to add at the table.

The Breakaway Cook
Recipes That Break Away from the Ordinary
. Copyright © by Eric Gower. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     xi
Introduction     1
Salt and Pepper: The Breakaway Workhorses     5
Breakaway Equipment     9
The Breakaway Pantry     15
Breakaway Tastes     19
Nine Global Ingredients     21
Breakaway Flavor Blasts     35
Breakaway Beverages     51
Starters and Salads     57
Soups     77
Eggs and Tofu     89
Seafood     111
Poultry and Meat     123
Pasta, Potatoes, and Rice     155
Vegetable Sides     181
Sweets     201
Index     215

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