Last month I got a chance to see local personal chef and cookbook author Eric Gower do a cooking demonstration. I was sitting next to veteran culinary industry insiders, and we all marvelled at his creativity and at how truly delicious his dishes were.

Eric Gower’s latest book, The Breakaway Cook is one that in all likelihood will make you rethink how you use certain ingredients. Some of his unorthodox ideas include adding yogurt to scrambled eggs to make them fluffly, baking eggs and rhubarb for breakfast, grinding up lentils to use as a breading for chicken or fish, and making a finishing salt out of kafir lime leaves and salt.

While many of the ingredients used are Japanese such as maccha powder, miso, umeboshi, shiitake mushrooms and tofu don’t look for traditional Japanese recipes. Many recipes start with dishes from all over the world including roast chicken, risotto, tomato soup, braised turkey, kofte meatballs but are boosted with his “flavor blasts” like flavored salts, lemongrass citrus syrup, chipotle sauce and garlic confit. The philosophy of the book is also about taking shortcuts, and how to create a lot flavor in not a lot of time. You can check out recipes for Five Flavored Salts, Crispy Tangy Tofu, Maccha Poached Eggs, and more here. This book is a real keeper.

Pomegranate Potatoes
Serves 3 or 4

4 medium red potatoes, sliced into rounds slightly thicken 1/4 inch
Extra virgin olive oil in a spray bottle
1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses
A few shakes of ground cinnamon
Coarse sea salt
Freshly crushed black pepper

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Lay the potato rounds on a wire rack over a baking sheet that’s been lined with foil (to facilitate easy cleanup) and spray the potatoes liberally with olive oil. Spoon a small amount of pomegranate molasses over each round, smearing it around with a spoon, and top with cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Bake until the potatoes start to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip each one with tongs or chopsticks, repeat the seasoning, and bake for another 5 minutes or so, until nicely browned on both sides.

Cook by the Book: The Breakaway Cook 26 September,2007Amy Sherman

  • SteamyKitchen

    This is my fav cookbook that I’ve gotten this year. Because of the Internet (and food blogs) I don’t buy cookbooks as much anymore, preferring to quickly access recipes online. But this was one of a handful of books that I HAD TO HAVE!

  • Ellen

    yum-where did you get pomegranate molasses-that sounds really delicious.

  • Amy Sherman

    Pomegranate molasses is a must-have ingredient. It’s thick like syrup and very sour, but adds tremendous depth to recipes. Look for it in Middle Eastern or Mediterranean markets. I use it in soups, stews, marinades–you name it.


Amy Sherman

Amy Sherman began blogging in 2003, because all her
friends and family were constantly asking her where
and what to eat. Three months after it launched,
Forbes chose her blog, Cooking with Amy, as one of the
top five best food blogs, praising her writing as
“smart, cozy and witty”. Since then her blog has been
featured and recipes reprinted in many newspapers and
magazines in the U.S. and the world.

In addition to regularly updating her blog, Amy is a
guest contributor to the blog, and
Contributing Editor of Glam Dish. She also writes
restaurant reviews for SF Station.

Her focus on Bay Area Bites is primarily cookbook
reviews along with some interviews and current events.

Amy is a recipe developer and freelance food writer.
She is author of WinePassport: Portugal and wrote the new introduction to the classic cookbook, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, published by the University of Nebraska Press. She recently completed 45 recipes for a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and wrote her first piece for VIA magazine.

She is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco Professional Food Society and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Amy lives in San Francisco with her husband, tech journalist Lee Sherman.

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