Cook by the Book: The Breakaway Cook


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

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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.

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